Artist profile: Marc Leon

Artist profile: Marc Leon

20 questions with Marc Leon.

Full name:
Marc Leon (actually, my Birth name is Fred Himmelsbach but name was changed in 1966, because my manager at the time suggested a shorter, more pronounceable name)

Date of birth:
2nd of January, 1942

*Sir Marc* lol…courtesy of Roy Webb and Mick Griffin

Born in:
Bavaria, Germany – migrated to Australia in 1954

First musical instrument played:
Piano Accordion at age 10…hated it – and the teacher

Other occupation apart from music:
Disability Worker (retired from that now) I was a Professional Musician for 30 years and am still active in that capacity now.

Biggest influence on music career: Ray Charles, in 1962. His music just hit the right chord for me…soulful, original and superb musicianship. BB King was my other one in 1966. His unique sound and playing inspired me to take up Guitar.

Favourite Bendigo musician: It’s a toss-up between Chris De Araugo and Andrew Watts…they’re both great guitarists.

Favourite World musician: Robben Ford is my ALL-Time fave, because he has Everything a musician would ever want to aspire to…fantastic guitarist, great tone, which is instantly recognisable, superior musicianship, song-writing ability, musical diversity..and he excels in whatever he is required to play (Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Steely Dan and Little Feat are just a few examples). I also admire is attitude and humility.

Three dream dinner guests: Robben Ford, Derek Trucks and BB King. I would really be humbled by their presence and we’d be talking *Shop* all night over a nice meal…and hopefully do some jamming later 🙂

Describe yourself in three words:
Dedicated, Creative, Persistent

Describe your music style in a sentence:
Melodic, with elements of Blues, Jazz and Rock infused.

Favourite song of all time:
*Born Again Human* by BB King. I love the soulful groove, the superb playing of all the musicians involved and the message in the lyrics is a positive one.

If you had one wish for the world what would it be?
For every one on Earth to hug one-another and get stuck into making this planet a more cheerful and sustainable place to live on.

Why are you excited to play the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival?
The concept of Bendigo having its own Blues Festival in itself is Exciting, to be able to participate is exciting, to be able to play my original  Blues and music to like-minded people will be surreal! 🙂

If you could jam with any one musician who would it be?
Hmmm…any of the three I invited to dinner earlier – but, – I’d say Derek Trucks (He also plays a Gibson SG, like I do, hahah!!)

Best gig:
Supporting Jose Feliciano at Festival Hall in 1973. It was initially scary, because I was awed by his expertise on guitar, but it was great playing in front of a few thousand people…and getting a Standing Ovation and Encore from an audience who’d actually came to hear a far better – and well-known musician play.

Strangest experience you’ve had on stage:
Falling asleep on stage at a gig in Perth, LOL!…It’s true!! We were on a Marathon Tour in Perth WA, doing 48 gigs in 3 weeks and only averaging 2 – 3 hours sleep a night. We were in the middle of *I got My Mojo Working* – and while the sax player took a 24 bar solo, I nodded off!! I remember (through the sleepy haze) hearing a woman say, “Hey Look, The Singer’s Asleep!” I was carried off-stage and put in the dressing room, but couldn’t get back to sleep, so I was back on stage after a couple of songs.

Favourite venue to play:
The Goldmines Hotel, because people really appreciate our music. The Gold Dust Room at the Hotel Shamrock is another one of my Faves. I also really dig the Blues Jams at the Newmarket, but I guess that can’t be classed as a gig…

Strangest song request:
Oh God!!! Too Many, LOL!…but I do have a pet hate for people yelling out *Chisel!!*–