Leslie West Says Drugs, Bandmates Wife Led to Fall of Mountain
Drugs and women are a double edged sword for rock fans. No two topics inspire more great rock and roll songs, but sadly no two topics destroy more great rock bands. Mountain lead singer Leslie West says both led to an early demise for the 'Mississippi Queen' rockers.
"It got pretty f---ing bad," West tells Mojo Magazine. "Heroin came into it. Also, Felix (bassist Felix Pappalardi) didn't want to go on the road anymore." The band had enjoyed two-and-a-half years of success driven by one memorable performance at Woodstock and a lucky break. Their agent was also Jimi Hendrix's agent, which helped.
"We were lucky. Then we went out on tour with Black Sabbath as our opening act. I heard 'black,' I thought they were an R&B band," West said. Their run lasted until New Year's Eve, 1971 when after two-and-a-half studio albums ('Flowers of Evil' was partially live) they called it quits.
"Felix's wife (Gail Collins) had got in the way of everything. She just wanted too much control of the group and that's not how Mountain started. She eventually ended up shooting Felix (fatally, in 1983)."
There were reincarnations of the band throughout the '70s, but these days West is focused on new challenges. In addition to adapting to life with one leg, the singer has just released a solo album called 'Unusual Suspects.' "Looking back, I think it was good that we broke up because we got to do something new."