Alvin Lee ex bandmates stunned by death
TYA: Ric Lee, Leo Lyons, Chick Churchill, Alvin Lee
Lee passed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning, March 6.
He had been admitted to hospital in Spain, where he lived, for a
routine surgical procedure for atrial arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
but died from unforeseen complications. He was 68.
Alvin Lee’s former bandmates have
expressed their shock at his death:
Ric Lee: “We are all stunned. All of us. I don’t
think it’s even sunk in yet as to the reality of his passing. We are
all thinking of his family and friends today, and offer our own
Leo Lyons: “It came as a complete shock to me. I
still haven’t taken it in. I feel very sad. He was the closest thing I
had to a brother. We had our differences, but we shared so many great
experiences together that nothing can take away. I will miss him very
much. He was an inspiration for a generation of guitar players. Keep
on rockin’, Alvin!”
Chick Churchill: "It has taken me a few days to accept that
my inspiration has gone. Though I accept it, it does not make it any
easier. In the early days he gave me such encouragement with my
keyboard playing that he made me a much better player. When I lived in
Spain we spent many hours together and Evi cooked some wonderful meals
for us. Evi and I have emailed and she is a very brave lady. I send
all my hearfelt prayers to Evi, Jasmine and Suzanne. I shall miss a
Other musicians' comments:
Pete Pritchard (on his website):
I would like to thank the many people who have sent me messages of sympathy
at the sudden and tragic passing of Alvin Lee on 6th March.
It was my honour to play bass for him these last ten years. Alvin was a
wonderful and unique man. He was totally unaffected by his rock star status
and hated all the "star" hype, preferring to be one of the lads in the band.
To say he was an amazing guitarist is an understatement. Often his solos
would nearly lift me off the stage.
I never saw him play a bad show. He always walked off to a standing ovation
He loved his Rock n roll, rockabilly, blues and jazz and I will miss our
chats on all things music so much.
We were due to play the Olympia in Paris April 7th. This will now be a very
difficult day for me indeed. I can't believe that I will never again be
together with Alvin, Evi (Alvin’s wife), Richard Newman (drums) and Steve
Rispin (sound), laughing backstage, enjoying each other’s company and making
music. My condolences to Alvin’s family at this dreadfully sad time.
With love and respect, PETE
Richard Newman (on his website): "I just wanted to say as a lot of you
know Alvin lee died on mon, I have played drums for him for the
last 10 years and was due to do a gig with him in April. wasn't
sure if it was cool to write this on here but f..ck it.. It's
amazing how you take it for granted that you will c people again
treat everybody like its the last time your gonna c them because
it could be . Alvin to me was great to work with, kind and
respectful and had no big ego what so ever he new what the
music business was and was haveing none of it . I'll miss him,
love to all his family, rip Alvin c ya when I get there . That's
that of my chest, love to all. He Was The Real Deal".
Mama Paula: "I first met Alvin in a
restaurant called Kapinski’s on the golden mile in Marbella Spain.
Chick Churchill had recently joined my band on Key’s. We had finished
our first set and retired to the bar where Alvin was sitting with his
wife Evi. I had been a big fan of Alvin’s since seeing the film from
Woodstock; I decided there and then that I wanted to be a guitarist
just like Alvin Lee. To then see the man himself right there in front
of me was almost too much to take in. Several meetings after that I
was invited to Alvin and Evi’s for sandwiches and tea (not very rock n
roll I know) but we went up to Alvin’s studio and sat and jammed for
an hour or two. Chick was on the piano, Alvin was on his Big Red and I
was playing a rather nice white Stratocaster. I played a little finger
tap lick that Alvin quite liked and Chick said "be careful or he might
steel it". I said "if Alvin Lee uses one of my licks then my life is
complete" I do miss him so! RIP".
Joe Brown: “Alvin was probably the best
rock‘n’roll guitarist I’ve ever met. It is going to be a great loss to
us all. I’ll certainly miss him.”
Chris Wright, chairman (non exec) BMG Chrysalis UK:
“My career, and the foundations of the entire Chrysalis organisation,
started when Alvin and his group, who soon changed their name to Ten
Years After, came up to Manchester in 1966 to play in a small student
blues club I operated with a friend. I immediately signed them to a
management contract, and later they joined both Chrysalis Records and
Chrysalis Music. They went on to be an integral part of the British
rock and blues invasion of the States, and starred at both the
Woodstock festival, and in the subsequent film. For a while in the
late 60s and early 70s they were on a par with any group in the world
in terms of popularity. He was known as the fastest guitarist in the
West, but that belied the fact that he was also one of the most
talented, and certainly the most proficient. He was also a great on
stage performer. It is really sad we will never see him again. His
passing leaves a tremendous void in an era of great British music.”
Geezer Butler: Shocked and saddened. One of the
true greats and a major influence on Sabbath. The fastest guitar in
the west. He was one of the few people that believed in Sabbath when
we started out, and he got us our first major London gig, at the
Marquee. A true gentleman and lovely bloke.”
Bill Ward: “Thank you, Alvin, for all that you
were. For all that you gave. You were one of a kind. Your music rocked
with passion, force, excitement; brave in risk, bringing this listener
to the point of ‘wowism’. In short, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Our condolences go to Alvin’s family.”
Cornick (Jethro Tull): Terribly sad to hear of Alvin's death. Please pass along my regards to
his family if you can. We worked together so much in the old days. With sadness. Glenn Cornick
Slash: “He was the first badass, super fast lead
guitarist I remember hearing as a kid. legend.”
Glenn Hughes: “So very sad to hear of another
Joe Bonamassa: “Rest in peace, Alvin Lee. Another
hero gone this week… This is becoming too regular. A very sad night.”
Joe Satriani: “A big influence on my playing. He
was a great musician and a gentleman too. I still have the pick he
gave me a few years back…”
Keith Emerson: “Dear Alvin, you checked out way
too early my friend. I’ll miss the fun we had on mini-motorcycles, you
as ‘Awful Knawful’ and our failed attempt to swim back to England from
the Bahamas. That was some time ago but we made it through. Above all
everyone will remember the fun and the music you made.”
Fish: “A great guitarist and fine and lovely bloke.
Will never forget the laughs we had together in Tel Aviv at an
extremely dodgy festival and the eternal drinking in the bar waiting
on the gig that never happened.”
Foghat: “Truly one of the great guitarists of our
time. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family and friends. You
will be missed.”
Danny Vaughn: “So sad to lose Alvin Lee, one of
the first great guitar heroes.”
Brian May (writing on his website): “(Lee was) a
legendary and influential guitarist and very nice bloke. His speed and
dexterity, in the days when I would go as a student to the Marquee
Club to see Ten Years After, was scary and exciting. He was daring
enough to play and sing close to his limit every time.”
Roger Chapman: “Alvin Lee. What a great natural
guitar player. Frightened of nothing, just grabbed a guitar and rocked
like fuck. Met him in 1961 thereabouts, shared a stage in Nottingham
with him and he was on it then. Playing songs, me being a bit snobbish,
I never thought any other British muso knew except myself so I was
instantly impressed and have been ever since. Always stayed pals even
though we were separated by different roles and countries. He did a
lot of really good stuff on my albums over the years. ‘Do you wanna
run through, Alv?’ I’d say and he’d reply ‘Nah, just sling it down and
take it’. What a natural! What a guy! Lotsa love Alvin, it was a
pleasure knowing you.”
Mylon LeFevre: “Everybody
knows he was a great musician and guitarist, but he was a lot more than that
to me. He was my brother and friend from the first time I met him in 1970.
He was a good man with a good heart. He was an honest man. As far as I knew,
he did everything he ever told me he would do. He never lied to me, not one
time. He was generous, kind and loyal to our friendship. He was a “Rock
Star” and I was just a country boy from Georgia in an opening band. But from
the beginning he treated me like an equal. We met when my band opened for
Ten Years After on one of their first American tours, after the Woodstock
gig. At first, we just hung out after the gigs, got loaded and jammed.
Eventually we started to write some songs together. After one of the five
tours we did together, we decided while on vacation in Jamaica to lay down
some tracks and see where it led us. That was the beginning of, “On The Road
To Freedom”. During the 43 years that I knew him, I learned to truly love
him like a brother and I will miss him. It was an honour to be his friend”.
Kenny Wayne Shepard: Rest In
Peace Alvin Lee, one of the greatest guitar players ever. We lost you too
soon. Thanks for the music.
Mick Mars (Motley Crew): Rest
In Peace Alvin Lee. I loved you very much. You taught me well.
Peter Frampton (Humble Pie):
“I still can’t believe we’ve lost Alvin Lee. My day went into slow motion
after I heard this. Been talking to friends about times we all spent
together. It’s very sad. He was a wonderful person and an amazing guitar
Ray Davies (The Kinks): “My rock and roll hero. I
was at a show in the Fillmore East, I yelled out several times for
“Spoonful”. Alvin said, “We have a request”. I saw them sixteen times in
three states, they got me through so many difficult years. Rock bands will
come and rock bands will go, but rock and roll will live on forever”.
Herrington: I’ve always been an Alvin Lee
fan. I was fortunate enough to see him in concert once, and have always
thought I would have another chance one of these days. With Alvin’s
passing that opportunity is gone. The one time I saw Alvin Lee in concert
was in Morgantown, West Virginia. Well, actually it was a tiny community
located on the other side of the river from Morgantown called Westover.
Westover had an open air pavilion, set into a hillside, that was curved,
not very large, and the bottom rows were about stage elevation. the seats
were bench seats and the rows rose up at a very steep angle so you could
easily see over the people in front of you and you were very close to the
stage, even in the last row, even if off to the side. I have nothing from
that concert except the memory. But it remains, to this day, my favorite
concert of all time. It was a 3 act performance with Roger McGuin opening,
then Alvin, and Steppenwolf closing. Poor Steppenwolf. No one should
have to play after Alvin Lee. He blew everyone away and, literally, stole
the show. Alvin Lee
was great that night. A truly intimate setting. I remember Roger McGuin
coming out from behind the stage curtain (or perhaps it was just stage
equipment, on the far left hand side of the stage (if looking into the
crowd from the stage), in a spot where the center stage performers could
not see him. And he was obviously enjoying just watching the crowd get
overwhelmed by Alvin Lee. A great memory.
Kevin Rey: I was lucky enough to attend a Ten
Years After concert in Buffalo, NY in September of 1969 while I was home on
leave from military service. Woodstock had taken place just a month before
that time and I had missed out on that. But there was a great concert
scheduled for a time that I was at home and it was Johnny Winter opening for
TYA in a great music venue in Buffalo, NY. That venue was Kleinhans Music
Hall (home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra). So this past week it was
very sad news to learn that a guitar hero of many millions of music fans had
died, and we all shall miss Alvin Lee. But many of us were lucky to have
seen and heard him play live, and I'm glad to be one of them.
From A Fan: “I saw them at the
Fillmore. Alvin Lee was one of the best guitarist in the world and he should
be respected just like Hendrix and Page”.
From A Fan: RIP Alvin. Thanks for
the song “I’d Love To Change The World”. You did.
From A Fan: Ten Years After was the
real star of Woodstock. Alvin, thanks for showing us all how blues / boogie
/ rock was really done”.
From A Fan: Alvin Lee has been my
favourite musician and favourite person since the first time I heard him in
1970 on the Woodstock album. The second song I heard by Alvin was Boogie On.
That was when I became a huge fan of his. I have been listening to his music
everyday since then. That’s over three decades of Alvin Lee. I will miss him
a lot. I am so sad that he died!
From A Fan: “Fillmore East, I’m still recovering WOW! I’d say RIP, but Alvin
is not going to be peacefully plucking a harp – he’s going to rock the joint