Stephens in the late 1960s.
|Birth Name||Leigh Stephens|
|Occupation||Musician, Special Effects Technician, Painter, Illustrator, Photographer, Golfer|
|Genres||Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Surf|
|Years active||1966 - Present|
|Labels||MCA, Philips, Captain Trip|
|Associated acts||Blue Cheer, Pilot, Silver Metre|
Leigh Stephens is a guitarist best known for being one of the founding members of Blue Cheer. Despite his tenure in the band being very short he left a lasting impact upon the band and even the rock industry as a whole, being ranked #98 on Rolling Stones Top 100 Guitarists: David Fricke’s Picks list while was not on the one that is not David Fricke’s Picks.
Blue Cheer[edit | edit source]
Stephens founded Blue Cheer alongside Dickie Peterson and Eric Albronda, who would soon relegate to producing duties as Paul Whaley would take over on the drums. Amidst multiple performances in 1967 & 1968, the band would record their first two albums with Stephens. Vincebus Eruptum and OutsideInside both came out in 1968. By the time the latter album had come out, Stephens had left the band citing a disinterest in the band's heavy drug usage.
Stephens would reunite with Peterson for a one-off performance with drummer Prairie Prince at the Chet Helms Memorial Tribal Stomp in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on October 29, 2005. The band performed "Out of Focus", "Doctor Please" and "Summertime Blues".
Silver Metre, Pilot and Foxtrot[edit | edit source]
Stephens went on to form Silver Metre in 1969 after moving back to San Fransisco. With Pete Sears, Micky Waller (drummer), and Jack Reynolds (singer) Silver Metre recorded one album at Trident Studios in London, England. Their self-titled album was released on the National General Records, produced by FM rock radio pioneer (and manager of the band) Tom Donahue. Notably, the album contained three Elton John/Bernie Taupin songs, two of which, "Country Comforts" and "Now They've Found Me" (aka "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun") had not yet appeared on an Elton John album. Silver Metre broke up in 1970.
He then formed a new band, Pilot, which featured Waller, guitarist Bruce Stephens (who had been a replacement member of Blue Cheer), bassist Neville Whitehead, and Martin Quittenton. They signed to RCA Victor Records and released a self-titled debut album in 1972, after which Stephens left the group. His next band was called Foxtrot and featured keyboard player George Michalski, bassist/vocalist Gary Richwine, and drummer David Beebe. They signed to Motown Records and recorded an album in 1974, but it was never released.
Solo Career[edit | edit source]
He signed a solo deal with Philips and moved to Great Britain, where he recorded his debut solo album, Red Weather (February 1969).
His 1971 album, And a Cast of Thousands featured among other musicians, his fellow bandmembers from the above-mentioned band, together with the power trio Ashton, Gardner & Dyke, together with the two sax players from If, Dave Quincey, Dick Morrissey, and Jethro Tull bassist, Glenn Cornick. Stephens has went on to criticize the album in later interviews.
Stephens would eventually release three more albums in a further departure from the heavy psychedelic rock he was known for. Chronic With a K was released in 1999, High Strung/Low Key was released in 2004 (An album Stephens would later criticize) and A Rocket Down Falcon Street in 2013.
Personal Life[edit | edit source]
Stephens was born in San Francisco though in a period of his life had moved to England for a brief time before moving back to San Francisco at one point raising thoroughbred horses. He currently lives in Sacramento as a digital media artist. 
Along with being a musician, Stephens is also noted for being as a special effects technician, fabricating and painting a variety of creatures, animals, automobiles and insects for the motion picture industry. Stephens had done work for Dances With Wolves, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, The Abyss, License to Kill, Gross Anatomy and Tremors to name a few.
Bands[edit | edit source]
- Blue Cheer - Guitar (1967 - 1968, 2005)
- Leigh Stephens - Guitar, Vocals (1969 - Present)
- Silver Metre - Guitar (1969 - 1971)
- Pilot - Guitar (1971 - 1972)
- Foxtrot - Guitar (1972 - 1974)
Discography[edit | edit source]
With Blue Cheer[edit | edit source]
Solo Albums[edit | edit source]
- Red Weather (1969, Philips)
- And A Cast Of Thousands (1971, Charisma)
- Chronic With a K - Ride The Thunder (1999, Chronicorp)
- High Strung Low Key (2004, Self-Released)
- A Rocket Down Falcon Street (2013, Self-Released)
Misc. Band Appearances[edit | edit source]
- Silver Metre - Silver Metre (1969, National General Records)
- Pilot - Pilot (1972, RCA Victor)
Guest Appearances[edit | edit source]
- Tracey Adamis - Sometimes Life is Fair - Guitar and Bass (2010)
External Links[edit | edit source]
- Archived Designer Page.
- Archived interview.
- Archived interview.
- Blue Cheer performance archive.
- Interview with Vintage Guitar.
- 2010 interview with Maximum Ink.
- Interview with Blues.Gr
- Interview with Classic Bands.