Alvin Lee ex bandmates stunned by death
TYA: Ric Lee, Leo Lyons, Chick Churchill, Alvin Lee
Alvin Lee’s former bandmates Ric Lee and Leo Lyons have expressed their shock at his death yesterday.
Lee passed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning, March 6. He had been admitted to hospital in Spain, where he lived, for a routine surgical procedure for atrial arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) but died from unforeseen complications. He was 68.
Drummer Lee and bass player Lyons offered the following tributes:
Ric Lee: “We are all stunned. All of us. I don’t think it’s even sunk in yet as to the reality of his passing. We are all thinking of his family and friends today, and offer our own condolences.”
Leo Lyons: “It came as a complete shock to me. I still haven’t taken it in. I feel very sad. He was the closest thing I had to a brother. We had our differences, but we shared so many great experiences together that nothing can take away. I will miss him very much. He was an inspiration for a generation of guitar players. Keep on rockin’, Alvin!”
Many other musicians have echoed Lee and Lyons’ comments about Lee, who passed away in Spain as a result of medical complications following routine surgery. He was 68.
Geezer Butler: Shocked and saddened. One of the true greats and a major influence on Sabbath. The fastest guitar in the west. He was one of the few people that believed in Sabbath when we started out, and he got us our first major London gig, at the Marquee. A true gentleman and lovely bloke.”
Bill Ward: “Thank you, Alvin, for all that you were. For all that you gave. You were one of a kind. Your music rocked with passion, force, excitement; brave in risk, bringing this listener to the point of ‘wowism’. In short, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Our condolences go to Alvin’s family.”
Slash: “He was the first badass, super fast lead guitarist I remember hearing as a kid. legend.”
Glenn Hughes: “So very sad to hear of another friend passing.”
Joe Bonamassa: “Rest in peace, Alvin Lee. Another hero gone this week… This is becoming too regular. A very sad night.”
Joe Satriani: “A big influence on my playing. He was a great musician and a gentleman too. I still have the pick he gave me a few years back…”
Keith Emerson: “Dear Alvin, you checked out way too early my friend. I’ll miss the fun we had on mini-motorcycles, you as ‘Awful Knawful’ and our failed attempt to swim back to England from the Bahamas. That was some time ago but we made it through. Above all everyone will remember the fun and the music you made.”
Fish: “A great guitarist and fine and lovely bloke. Will never forget the laughs we had together in Tel Aviv at an extremely dodgy festival and the eternal drinking in the bar waiting on the gig that never happened.”
Foghat: “Truly one of the great guitarists of our time. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family and friends. You will be missed.”
Danny Vaughn: “So sad to lose Alvin Lee, one of the first great guitar heroes.”
Joe Brown: “Alvin was probably the best rock‘n’roll guitarist I’ve ever met. It is going to be a great loss to us all. I’ll certainly miss him.”
Chris Wright, chairman (non exec) BMG Chrysalis UK: “My career, and the foundations of the entire Chrysalis organisation, started when Alvin and his group, who soon changed their name to Ten Years After, came up to Manchester in 1966 to play in a small student blues club I operated with a friend. I immediately signed them to a management contract, and later they joined both Chrysalis Records and Chrysalis Music. They went on to be an integral part of the British rock and blues invasion of the States, and starred at both the Woodstock festival, and in the subsequent film. For a while in the late 60s and early 70s they were on a par with any group in the world in terms of popularity. He was known as the fastest guitarist in the West, but that belied the fact that he was also one of the most talented, and certainly the most proficient. He was also a great on stage performer. It is really sad we will never see him again. His passing leaves a tremendous void in an era of great British music.”
Brian May (writing on his website): “(Lee was) a legendary and influential guitarist and very nice bloke. His speed and dexterity, in the days when I would go as a student to the Marquee Club to see Ten Years After, was scary and exciting. He was daring enough to play and sing close to his limit every time.”
Roger Chapman: “Alvin Lee. What a great natural guitar player. Frightened of nothing, just grabbed a guitar and rocked like fuck. Met him in 1961 thereabouts, shared a stage in Nottingham with him and he was on it then. Playing songs, me being a bit snobbish, I never thought any other British muso knew except myself so I was instantly impressed and have been ever since. Always stayed pals even though we were separated by different roles and countries. He did a lot of really good stuff on my albums over the years. ‘Do you wanna run through, Alv?’ I’d say and he’d reply ‘Nah, just sling it down and take it’. What a natural! What a guy! Lotsa love Alvin, it was a pleasure knowing you.”