Well, here we go. The first time I heard
6&12 string, being a guitar player, was "Jesus
this can't possibly be one guy playing this stuff."
But I knew something was happening!!
This was early seventies, I
was playing a few clubs in Chicago. Mostly, it was
acoustic six string. A friend said, "Man you gotta
hear this guy." I knew right away this was
something nobody had done or heard before. Boy, I
started listening to that 6&12 album day and
night. However, as much as I loved it, being a
guitar player, it seemed this type of playing was
way beyond me. All the time, though, I knew
something special was going on.
Enter BOZO guitars. I'd
heard about a place on North Lincoln Ave. called
WOODEN MUSIC. So, I went down to check it out. I
was lookin' around, and there was this guy playin'
a 12 string. I started talkin' to him, and then he
played a song that he wrote called TURNPIKE TOM.
Later I found out this guy was Steve Goodman. I
mention this only to give the flavor and talent
going through this store. Wooden Music was owed by
Jim Leetch, and he rented the back of his store to
guess who?? BOZO!!
Of course, once I played
his guitars and talked with him, I ordered one. At
that time, early 70's he already had a waiting list
- about 6 to 9 months. I've got my BOZO on order
and Kottke is coming to the Quite Knight. this is a
club on Belmount in downtown Chicago. This was
promoting his 6&12 string album. Some friends
and I went down to see the show. There was no line
to get in. This place was your typical folk club
and it was a great venue for Leo.
I'll never forget, at that
time he was playing the Martin 12 with a De Armound
pick-up in the sound hole. I think he also was
playin' a 6 he had borrowed from someone. Three
songs into his set, he mention's BOZO. Yea, he
heard about the place and ordered a guitar from
him. I'm thinking this is really cool. We both were
there and we both ordered guitars.
OK. Leo comes back to the
Quite Knight a few months later. longer lines. A
few months later - lines around the block. The last
time he played there, I sat at the bar, and we
talked about his deal with Capital records. He said
he was looking forward to working with drums and a
bass player. I guess Capital wanted to see the top
40 potential for Leo. He knew I was a guitar player
and before we parted, for his next set, he asked me
if I wanted to join him on stage. Of course, I was
too nervous to accept. Boy, I'd like to have that
Then, because I worked for
a record store that also promoted all the the
Howard Stein shows out of New York, Leo came to the
auditorium theater in Chicago. He opened for Procol
Harem. That was great. I was able to spend almost
an hour back stage with, to me, the Meister of
The best part was, by then
I had figured out most of Leo's secrets like open
"Open tuning." That was the
key. Remember, back then, tab had not been
invented. And forget about finding anything by Leo
Kottke in sheet music. IT WAS ALL BY EAR
The last time I saw Leo was
in Seattle. A great little place were I snuck
backstage, found him asleep on the couch with a
broken foot, woke him up, gave him a song to play
which he never did, then talked to him after the
concert. I'm not sure if he'll ever forgive me for
disturbing him. Who cares?!?!
Man, he sure can play. He's
coming to back to Seattle in March. The journey
Keep up the good work.