Music News

Mountain Guitarist Leslie West Has Leg Amputated; Expected to Make Full Recovery

Aside from perhaps Lynyrd Skynyrd, you'd be hard pressed to find a classic rock band that's been through more tribulations than Mountain. The Long Island, New York-based band is perhaps best known for their 1970 hit "Mississippi Queen," but there's some ugly lore in the band's story, too.

After leaving Mountain partly because of hearing loss, vocalist and bassist Felix Pappalardi was shot in the neck (and killed) by his wife, Mountain album cover designer Gail Collins Pappalardi, in 1983. And this past Saturday, legendary Mountain guitarist Leslie West had one of his legs amputated up to the knee.

West began his storied career with 1960s rock group The Vagrants, and after Mountain dissolved, he worked on various projects with such artists as The Who (Who's Next), Bo Diddley (Diddley's 20th Anniversary of Rock 'N' Roll), and Ozzy Osbourne (Under Cover).

On Saturday, West was in Mississippi to perform at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino with the reunited Mountain. West, who's diabetic, noticed his leg beginning to swell and went to the emergency room at a hospital in Biloxi. The decision was made to amputate his leg up to the knee in order to save his life, according to a press release from West's publicist.

West is expected to make a full recovery, but requests privacy at this time. His next solo album, The Unusual Suspects, features fellow guitarists including Slash and Zakk Wylde. No release date has been issued for The Unusual Suspects yet, but Light In The Attic records has been re-issuing albums by West's old band, The Vagrants.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea