Chuck Leavell, the 32-year veteran of the Rolling Stones band, gave Melbourne a two-hour history lesson in his only sideshow on the Stones Australian tour.
Chuck performed at Melbourne’s Cherry Bar in AC/DC to a capacity (200 people) audience. It was a rare opportunity to hear music from The Stones, Allman Brothers, George Harrison and Eric Clapton, in an extremely intimate environment.
Chuck told the stories of his times with some of the most famous acts in the world in a Q&A conducted by 3RRR’s Brian Wise. At times he was backed on sax by the Rolling Stones “new boy”, Tim Ries, who has been with the Stones for the past 13 years.
Leavell’s professional career started as a studio musician for Capricorn Records for the Charlie Daniels Band, The Marshall Tucker Band and Wet Willie. He was 17-years old at the time.
Chuck joined Dr John’s band which brought him to the attention of Gregg Allman who recruited him for the Allman Brothers when he was 20-years old.
In 1982, after the worked dried up, he received a call from The Rolling Stones. He has been the keyboard player for the Stones ever since and is also the musical director of the band.
In Stones downtime, Chuck worked with Eric Clapton, who name-checks him at the end of ‘Alberta’ on the Unplugged album. Eric then offered up his band to George Harrison and Chuck was a member of Harrison’s 1991 Japanese tour.
The 200 people who witnessed the Chuck Leavell story at the Cherry Bar heard up close Chuck perform ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ and ‘Rip This Joint’ by The Stones, Clapton’s ‘Alberta’, Harrison’s ‘Here Comes The Sun’, the Allman Brothers ‘Jessica’ as well as Chuck’s ‘Savannah’ from his solo record ‘Southscape’.
The Rolling Stones were due to play Hanging Rock at Mt Macedon today but the show was cancelled because of Mick Jagger’s throat infection. The next Rolling Stones show in Australia will be next Wednesday, November 12 in Sydney.
The Stones played Melbourne on November 5. Read the Noise11 review here.
The next Rolling Stones show is Hanging Rock, November 8, 2014.
Rolling Stones Australian dates
October 25, Adelaide, Adelaide Oval
October 29 and November 1, Perth, Perth Arena
November 5, Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
November 8, Macedon, Hanging Rock CANCELLED
November 12, Sydney, Allphones Arena
November 15, Hunter Valley, Hope Estate
November 18, Brisbane, Entertainment Centre
November 22, Auckland, Mt Smart Arena
The Rolling Stones will tour Australia for Frontier Touring.