Born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire in November 1943, Leo became a professional musician at the age of 16 and as a founder member of the band Ten Years After has been an on-stage eyewitness to some of the most pivotal moments in Rock and Roll history.
In 1962 with his band The Jaybirds along with guitarist Alvin Lee he performed at The Star Club, Hamburg, Germany where only a week earlier The Beatles had polished up their act. Leo was hired to play in the club's house band with Tony Sheridan and yet still found time to guest at the Top Ten Club with guitarist Albert Lee. Like The Beatles, The Jaybirds returned home to England, made the move from their hometown to London and secured their first recording contract with legendary record producer Joe Meek
From 1963 to 1966, as well as playing and managing The Jaybirds, Leo worked as a session musician, toured as a sideman with pop acts of the day, appeared in a play in London's West End and played a residency with poll winning British Jazz Guitarist Denny Wright.
In 1967 with a name change to Ten Years After, a residency at London’s famous Marquee Club and a debut album out on Deram Records, the band were soon to build up a huge following in Europe. Fillmore West and Fillmore East founder Bill Graham heard a copy of the band’s first album and immediately sent a letter offering to book Ten Years After into his historic venues in San Francisco and New York. They were also one of the first rock groups to be part of the Newport Jazz Festival. At Newport and on tour TYA performed with Nina Simone, Roland Kirk, Miles Davis and other jazz legends barnstorming across the US.
In August of the same year their now legendary encore “ I’m Goin’ Home” was captured on film at The Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, exposing their jazz blues rock amalgam to an even larger audience of movie goers who were blown away by the intensity of the band’s performance when the academy award winning documentary was released. Their ten-minute appearance in the film is an acknowledged highlight and established Ten Years After a place in rock history. The band’s albums are still available and all have reached Gold or Platinum status.
Between 1968 and 1975 constant touring playing shows like The Miami Pop Festival, The Isle of Wight Festival, The Toronto Peace Festival and all other important musical events brought the bands music to a global audience. Leo estimates that the band performed to in excess of 75,000 new fans a week. Almost four million people a year not counting those who saw the band in the film ‘Woodstock’.
Leo always had a passion for the recording process and it was a logical step to go into record production. In 1975 Chrysalis Records hired him as studio manager to re-equip and run Wessex Studios in London. He was later to go on and build two commercial studios of his own.
He has produced records for UFO, Magnum, Waysted, Procol Harem, Frankie Miller, Richard and Linda Thompson, Brigitte St John, John Martin, Kevin Coyne, Sassafras, MotorHead, Hatfield and The North, The Bogie Boys, The Winkies, Chris Farlowe, Chevy and many more.
Other projects include stage musicals, cartoon soundtracks, film and music videos. He also released two CDs with his own band Kick and his songs have been used in television and film. He’s also been guest bassist on CDs by Savoy Brown and Leslie West. Leo’s songs came to the attention of Nashville publishers Hayes Street Music who signed him as a staff writer and after several years of commuting from the United Kingdom he made the move to Nashville in 1998.
In 2003 Ten Years After reformed yet again, this time with new guitarist singer Joe Gooch replacing Alvin Lee, and for the past seven years, aside from writing and producing, Leo has recorded three CD’s and toured the world with Ten Years After.
Leo’s not the kind of person who lets the grass grow under his feet and in the Summer of 2010 together with TYA guitarist Joe Gooch he formed ‘Hundred Seventy Split’; a new, exciting, high energy Blues/Rock power trio showcasing their combined talents. The pair initially formed a song-writing partnership to write for TYA and have continued writing together ever since. The result was their debut CD ’The World Won’t Stop’ . . .
Leo and Joe resigned from Ten Years After at the end of 2013 and to celebrate a new beginning Hundred Seventy Split are releasing in February a new CD, simply titled, HSS.
Their live shows have already proved popular with TYA fans. HSS play TYA classics alongside new material in their shows.
‘Hundred Seventy Split’ was formed to play music that rocks outside of the TYA box.
Leo’s interests outside music include the paranormal, alternative medicine, martial arts and all new technology. He is a vegetarian, married with two grown up sons and currently resides in Nashville.