by Dusti Rhodes
A year and a few months back, after serving an impressive apprenticeship
recording and touring with the likes of the Allman Brothers, Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs, Les Dudek released his self-titled debut solo album. The album jacket’s front-cover photo of Les (long, streaming hair and full length cape, racing into the wind with a gleefully hell-raising look on his face and a parrot perched on the neck of his guitar) was, in retrospect, just a small visual hint of Les’s solo capabilities as an explosive, hell-raising guitarist, racing headlong into a constantly shifting breeze of musical styles.
In spite of the degree of success that Les enjoyed as a result of radio airplay of “City Magic” and the scathing instrumental, “Don’t Stop Now,” both from that first solo effort, his reputation as a “musician’s musician” (or a guitarist’s guitarist, to be more specific specific) was not immediately equaled in terms of mass acceptance as a, solo artist.
But Les is hack, and the release of his second solo album, “Say No More,” is further proof that “Les is more.” Currently on a promotional tour of the States. I caught up with Les in Cleveland, where I found that the newest pledge to the elite fraternity of real guitar whiz-kids is quiet and amiable, and talks freely about his life and ambitions:
RATW: Imagine for a moment that you aren’t a rock and roller–what do you think you’d be doing?
LD: I really don’t know what else I’d like to do … one of the only things that really keeps me going is music, as far as just livin’ on this world … I quit school in the tenth grade, ’cause I already knew what I wanted to do … I didn’t need an English teacher telling me not to say “man,” or flunking me because I did … the football coaches were after me to play football; they had the team after me, and it got to be a burden to go to school … so I joined a motorcycle gang to counteract that … it was just a really crazy life, and at the same time I was playing in bands to support my motorcycle habit…
RATW: Which artists and styles were you getting into then?
LD: I always dug Elvis … I remember my parents bought me a Roy Rogers guitar for . Christmas, and I used to sneak into the closet when they were gone, pull out the guitar and play along with Elvis Presley records, then I’d stash the guitar again before they got home so they wouldn’t think I knew about it. I was also gettin’
into stuff like the Ventures, and Chet Atkins and the country swing style . . . then I started getting into blues like Albert King and Muddy Waters.
RATW: What then prompted the move to Macon?
LD: There was nothin’ left to do in Florida … I was always interested in what was going on in Macon, then one weekend I went up to jam with Dickie Betts … I didn’t really know him at the time, but we had crossed paths several times around the South, so we knew of each other … he was trying to put together a band to maybe do a