Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Pictures of Rock Stars, Some Dead

Valued Commentator JES sends in this pic in re: the Leslie ranking. Enthusiasts over the age of two will count seven–SEVEN–Leslie speakers behind the vocalist/flautist/organist/muttonchoppist of Dutch band Focus, Thijs van Leer. I gotta be honest with you: there’s such a thing as being too European. Even the Dead wouldn’t pull this shit; it’s just unAmerican*, man.

Are the British still European? I think that question is being answered on a moment-to-moment basis this week. The island of Britain sits on the same tectonic plate as the Continent, and that’s not gonna change, but every other facet of the query is up for grabs.

The phenomenal Larry Radar sent in this action shot of Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson; go check out his pics, and tell him how awesome they are so maybe he’ll dig around in his basement and find some more for us to enjoy.

This is what that photo sounded like:

(Kinda. The shot’s from 7/27/79 and the video’s from April of 1980. But the band’s the same, so close enough.)

That’s Garcia (left) with a white Stratocaster. Where did he get it? Why was he playing it? The answers are lost to the ages. However, the fantastic Michael Clem has put together a (seemingly) exhaustive photographic timeline of Garcia’s axes.

FUN FACT: It is also a photographic timeline of Garcia’s weight, and–towards the end–hair loss.


*Unamerican? UnAmerican? Un-American? They all look horrid.


  1. Tor Haxson

    J geils band had a LOT of Leslies when I saw them in 1980 Cleveland Stadium, let me see if there are pictures

  2. Tor Haxson

    No Leslies,

    But look at that keyboard bullshit, and is that Uncle Bobo?×2048

    • JES

      Sepaking of keyboard bullshit, Wiki notes that “Geoff Downes entered the Guinness Book of Records for performing with a record 28 keyboards on stage in a single performance.” Need a photo. I have seen him a few times over the years with YES and Asia and there was certainly lots of superfluous moving of hands between keyboards, but not THAT many keyboards.

      Thijs and Jan and Pierre and Burt (the band of that era in the photo) take me to my happy place. For any prog nerds in the Comment Section, their 2019 album FOCUS XI is fantastic. Pierre puts on a freakin’ CLINIC on how to bring the jazz drum chops to the rock. And Thijs’ muttonchop solos are career highlights.

  3. Tor Haxson

    Still only 2 or 4 leslies, but holy crap, J Geils kicked ass,

    Here he goes into the crowd, loses his shirt, comes back to the stage, rocks the wrap up..

  4. Tor Haxson

    So Focus.. do they play Hocus Pocus, by Focus..Live ?

    I want to search for it, but I really do not have the strength to listen to Hocus Pocus By Focus..

    If the yodel don’t get you the flautist will.

    • J. Eric Smith

      Yes. “Hocus Pocus” by Focus (Live) is the best of all possible Focus “Hocus Pocuses”. On their live “At the Rainbow” album (1973), the set ends with a run of “Hocus Pocus” > “Sylvia” > “Hocus Pocus (Reprise).” The third part of the run (Reprise) is actually the “Hocus Pocus” by Focus that I always keep on my iPods. It rips and snorts and shreds, and the yodeling as a percentage of total song time is lower than it is on others. You could start at 28:29 on this video and get the audio of that little suite all together . . .

      Or you can watch them play just “Hocus Pocus” live and storming on Midnight Special in 1973, introduced by Gladys Knight . . .

  5. J. Eric Smith

    (Hmmm . . . I answered your question, Tor H, but it does not seem to be posting. Had two videos in it, so perhaps TotD needs to clear it lest I be a Spambot).

  6. J. Eric Smith

    If you just want to see a great live Hocus Pocus without my scintillating commentary, here’s the Midnight Special version, wherein Akkerman shreds and the band rollocks . . .

  7. J. Eric Smith

    Ah, there is the missing comment. It must have tripped the Prog Trap filter.

    • Thoughts On The Dead

      I keep telling the bouncer that you’re cool, but he insists on patting down every video like it’s Budd Dwyer’s funniest press conference.

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