Can you tell us where does the name "Ten Years After" come from ?
I was looking through a newspaper that advertised Radio programmes and in this newspaper there was an advertisement for a book...called Suez. You know the Suez canal ?
AM : yes
Leo : and the book was called "Suez Ten Years After". We were looking for a name and I thought, well, Ten Years After would be very interesting, because for the next 40 years people are going to be asking me where did you get the name ?...It's an interesting name in as much as the number 10 is an interesting number, Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end, and it's an important number in the Tarot...yes there's a lot of things you could say about it, and over the years I guess I have !
Can you sum up the band history in few words ?
Can I sum up the band history...Oh that will be difficult. Well, we formed in 1967, worked
in the UK. I think our first big break was the Marquee club and for the Marquee club
we did the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival, we toured all over Europe, started touring in
America. We were doing pretty well there, and then Woodstock came along, a year
after the festival the film came out, and I guess that opened up a lot of areas
that we've never been to before, smaller towns in between the big towns that we were
playing, and then we continued doing that and a number of hit records, gold
albums, mostly albums, finished in 1975 and we signed for a couple of little short
reformations, got back together five years ago, almost six years ago with Joe, and since
then we've done one studio album and one live album.
We've got a new studio album coming out in the couple of months time called "Evolution"
we have a DVD coming up as well and that's where we are and here we are tonight wherever
we are blues en Bourgogne...
What is your best memory about Woodstock Festival (1969) and this period of time ?
The best memory. I think the festival and the movie can even run into one and it's difficult
to remember which is which. The whole period was great, I mean that was just one festival
out of a lot, and that particular tour, and we were doing three tours a year, twenty one
weeks a year in America at that time, that particular tour, we did I think, oh the
Newport Jazz Festival and the Texas Pop Festival and the year after that we did the Isle of
Wight festival, they were all great festivals. Woodstock really stuck out because the mood,
more than anything, that maybe because of more people there, 50 000 - 100 000,
half a million so I mean it was still a pretty big crowd..it's the same feeling so when
the movie came out and we looked back at it fondly, I think it captured the essence of
what was going on, and for the people that weren't there, it's something worth seeing,
very interesting to know what was it was like.
We are now in 2008.
Leo : Yes.
AM : So what can you say as the original member of the band ?
What can I say ? I've never thought I would be still playing. I actually retired when I was about 27 from touring, but I missed it. I've never stayed out of music, I wrote songs, I produced other bands, playing in studio. But last 6 years ago, I had the chance to come out and play again and I wanted to do it and I enjoy it. Touring, playing live concerts is my first love, that's what I like above everything else, I enjoy the other things I do, but I like this.
Do you prefer to play in big venues or small ones ?
I like both. I like festivals, I like the outdoor things, I'm more of an outdoor person and that's one thing that is very fitting with the job I do, and I like the outdoors, so festivals are great, clubs too, you know, all of them.
Joe Gooch has replaced Alvin Lee after 1997...Can you develop ?
Yes. I think it was the Summer of that year. I live in Nashville, I'm a song writer.
I got a call asking if I wanted to go and do a couple of gigs, a couple of weeks in
Italy with an American blues guitar player and they asked Rick Lee, the Ten Years After
drummer, if he was going to do it, Rick called me and I thought : "I like Italy".
It's very hot in the summer in Tennessee it's over 100(F) degrees ...What's that...39(C) degrees
so I did it and people came along to see
us and wanted to hear Ten Years After and promoters started saying what about
Ten Years After and it wasn't practical to work with Alvin, Alvin didn't wanted it,
and I didn't really want to do it with someone who didn't want to do it, you know,
because for me it was fun, and we look around and we tried a few different guitar
players, and my son funnily enough recommended Joe - he was at school with him - Joe
fitted perfectly...and I guess it was meant to happen really.
We were very lucky. I wouldn't have thought it would work if someone had said to me
why don't you put Ten Years After back together and go back on the road again
I would have said : "No I have done all that"... so it happened...synchronicity...that's
why it happened and that's almost 6 years ago.
Can you talk about your live album called "Roadworks"
Roadworks, yeah.This really sums up what we've been doing the last five years.
it's some old numbers, some new numbers, on the road, some were recorded in France
some were recorded in Germany. Funnily enough the picture on the front is (showing the sleeve) : "that's where I live" I'm passing it...I'm rather over there, yes that's where
I live in Tennessee, that's it, that's all I can tell you about it. It's a live recorded
double CD, some numbers are from the "Now" CD, which is the new Ten Years After CD,
and some numbers that our fans always want to hear.
AM : Which songs do you like the most ?
Leo : I don't know, I don't really have a favourite one. The one we don't play very often
I guess because I always like to do new songs. On our new album we have ten new songs.
I'm looking forward to playing the others. I enjoy all of them, very live, something
which is different because it's an interaction with the audience, I enjoy that.
How do you work to compose the songs and who write them ?
I usually write most of the stuff or co-write the stuff because that's what I've been
doing for a living for a long time. Maybe get together with the band, include the band
in some songs and hopefully develop them, that's how it usually works.
What kind of music do you like apart from rock and blues ?
All sort of music. Country music. I was a staff writer for a country music publisher
for a quite number of years, so I like country music. I like rock music, I like blues
music, and some of the pop music....Dave Matthews....and Cold Play, I like lots and
lots different things.
Do you know who are your fans ?
I know a lot of people, I know a lot of the fans because they are the same people.
I mean we were in Germany last night and after the show we usually go and sign albums
and whatever, so we get to talk to people, and people say : "This is the 18th times
I have seen you in the last 2 years or 3 years". Some people come from quite a long way,
so yeah I know some by name. We get more and more young people coming which is great and
they seem to be interested in retro, in anything, in cars, in clothes, in music you know
and that's good. It's nice to see young people starting to play.