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Topic: Defending Chuck Leavell Return to archive
07-07-03 04:19 PM
sandrew To all the Chuck Leavell slaggers out there, I gotta say, I met him backstage in Barcelona and he is the most gracious dude I've ever met.

And whether or not you like his playing, or if you think he's too loud in the mix, we should all be happy that Chuck's in the band, for one important reason.

While he was way too humble to come right out and say it, it's obvious Chuck is the one who pushes Mick and Keith to delve into the back catalogue and play obscure songs.

Otherwise, they'd just coast -- sorta like they've been doing since the Spain shows.

Without Chuck, it'd be all warhorses, all the time.
07-07-03 04:30 PM
jb I don't know about your latter assertion Sandrew. As far a Chuck L. being a nice guy, I have no doubt..he cares about the envionment and seems like a decent human being. However, that does not excuse his overbearing role with the Stones in their current version. Instead of being a accessory piece, he has literally become the driving sound in concert..whether it's b/c of Ron and Keith's inability to play guitar anymore is the only real question....but when I listen to the old boots of Nicky Hopkins, you hear the fantastic fill ins on Gimme Shelter, YCAGWYW, HTW, etc...which are great, yet, do not overpower the guitar driven sound..Of course we had the brillaint MT at the time, who perhaps, was the greatest thing to ever happen to the Stones.

[Edited by jb]
07-07-03 04:33 PM
sandrew JB, I think his playing is really tasteful ... I think he does a good job of blending Nicky Hopkins's melodic style and Ian Stewart's boogie-woogie.

If he's too prominent in the mix, we have only to blame Mr. Wood and Mr. Richards, who have ceased playing rhythm guitar.

It ain't Chuck's fault, methinks.
07-07-03 04:39 PM
T&A Sandrew:

truer words have not been written. you cannot blame CL if you don't like the current sound. and, I totally agree with his blending of Nicky's (he's a Hopkins disciple, after all) style and Stu's. In that respect, he is a PERFECT fit for the Stones. And, you're right - without a more prominent CL in the mix you'd have....nothing in some instances where KR and RW fail to show up at all.
07-07-03 04:44 PM
jb Mick would never come out and criticize Keith's playing as Keith has done to Mick...yet we must realize that Keith has really declined since 94......even Woody has brought it up a notch this tour, yet Keith simply can't play more than a few great notes at a time...still better than most, yet that Stones sound is long since gone.
[Edited by jb]
07-07-03 04:48 PM
sandrew And how many times does Chuck cover their asses, when everyone's lost on the arrangement? Too many to count. Even Charlie sometimes looks to Chuck for musical direction, and not just intro cues.

I'm convinced if Chuck weren't there, the whole thing would collapse into chaos.
07-07-03 04:55 PM
Honky Tonker Chuck only has as much power as MJ and KR give him. He didn't take over in The Allmans, Clapton, Elton, etc.. I've had the opportunity to meet him at his house and he is one very nice guy. Keef needs to sober up just a little and start back playing the guitar instead of the crowd!
07-07-03 04:59 PM
mac_daddy he is a show-off...

assuming that you all are correct - Chuck should have the taste and the humility to fade back from view. It's bad enough that the Cirkus show could be dubbed "Chuck L. and the Rolling Stones play the Cirkus," but if that's what keeps the band going - fine. If he is doing yeoman's work, and if he is truly influencing the setlist choices - fine. He has taste, and he is a fan. But his head is a bit too swelled, and I don't like to see him get as much attention as he does. He might be filling the roll of music director, but he is NOT a Rolling Stone, and he should stay out of the spotlight. Chuck should know better, too - he should talk to the lighting guy, etc...

and Daryl's following the lead, crawling out of his hole more often, too...

those guys should be washed out in cool lighting and shadows...

at least moonisup finally got rid of that God-awful shot of him (@ Budokan, I think). That is the most terrible pic I have seen...

I still think they should give Mac another chance, but I'd like to see Bill Wyman play bass on the next album and tour, as well...
07-07-03 05:04 PM
mac_daddy "Keef needs to sober up just a little and start back playing the guitar instead of the crowd!"

You should post that as a question to Keith! NME is brash enough to run it, too...

I prefer to believe that if there is anything amiss, it is due to the fact that they are burnt out from an exhaustive tour - and who can blame them...
07-07-03 10:22 PM
Prodigal Son To a certain extent, Chuck is good for the band. He keeps them going, is a fine musical director, has them do obscure tracks rather than the classics. We've all heard the pros. In summary, he is good for the health of the band. But for the fans listening enjoyment, he's a real burden. He drowns out every and any song with keyboard hoopla even when they're not there, etc. I agree that there's no reason to sack him, but that maybe Keith should try to play a little better and take a more dominant role over Chuck's Casio crap.
07-07-03 10:38 PM
TheSavageYoungXyzzy I keep hearin' "Chuck's a great guy! Quit razzin' him!" and I think "sure, he's a great guy, and he pushes the obscurities, and all, but does it change the fact that he's currently part of the problem?"

His playing style's fine. Good, actually. I like it. No problem with it. My problem is he's too damn loud in the mix. If they got him a real piano, that'd be fine, because we'd lose that goddamn reverby sound. As it is, every time I hear him do those clunky chords that he feels the need to invert every fucking second I grind my teeth together worse than I do when the synthesizers kick in on Before The Flood (which is, by the way, the first album I've sold back because I hated it so much). It ruins, amongst almost all the songs he doesn't play organ on, "Midnight Rambler" and *especially* "Sympathy For The Devil". When he plays organ, it sounds fine. Actually good. Because that's how organs sound. Pianos don't sound like they're in a soundproof chamber clunking away.

Even if they just turned him down a tad and turned up poor Ronnie who only seems to get band member treatment when he's on the slide (when he doesn't do anything - where's Ronnie "Around the fucking Plynth" Wood?), it'd be a hell of a lot better. Listening to Chuck playing with a lot of the same folks on Ronnie's Live And Eclectic, he almost *never* gets in the way, because he's very far back in the mix, where it actually sounds great 95% of the time.

In listening to the Japanese shows, however, I've gotta say there are very few genuine *kickass tunes* coming off the block ("Rambler", "Live With Me" are examples of exceptions to the rule), and that's when Chuck reallllly seeps into the mix. Some songs you just get that feeling that if he wasn't playing, nobody would be. ("Everybody Needs Somebody To Love"... whoo! Sidemen spectacular!)

It seems that Ronnie and Keith need to meet somewhere in the middle this tour, before it ends, preferably.

-tSYX --- Ev'ry'body, needs somebody to clunk, someone to clunk...
07-08-03 05:05 AM
dealer squealing Sandrew you should have used the oppurtunity when you met Chuck and tell him to play less, as we all know less is more
If he´s such a nice guy he would have listened to you
07-08-03 05:49 AM
Moonisup C.L tha BOMB
07-08-03 06:03 AM
sandrew wrote:
I met him backstage in Barcelona


how did you get backstage?

Did you meet any other members of the Leavell Quintet?!
07-08-03 07:55 AM
Angiegirl Sandrew:

You are right for the most part. Indeed without Chuck it would collapse live. He has to be the central point and often even stand up to draw everyone's attention to get them into working together, keep the same beat and tempo, etc. When a song starts to go wrong, it's CL who rises immediately to try to correct things: all noses in the same direction. I've seen it happen more than I'd like to admit these shows, since someone else pointed this stuff out to me earlier on.

He is a nice guy I heard, he really listens to fans etc.

I think lots of his piano works is annoying and over the top, some other stuff brilliant and tender, and quite needed in some songs. I think his grin is superhuman and scary .

And also, if he's the one that pushes the band into diving and not just playing the warhorses as you say, then I have an urgent message for our dear Chuck:
GET TO WORK AND TRY HARDER THIS TIME!!!! Not much diving into the back catalogue lately, now has there?
07-08-03 07:58 AM
Angiegirl O, and Sandrew:

You should really talk to Rik. I've never heard anyone cheer for Chuck at the band intros as loudly and embarrasing as Rik did last night in Paris....
Whenever the word Chuck or the letters CL are mentioned in whatever conversation, Rik is lost and there's no way anyone can get some sense out of him for at least a few

You're a sweetie Rik, see ya tomorrow in Paris.