Our Interview w/ The Lee Boys who play SSMF this Sat!
In speaking with The Lee Boy’s Alvin Lee, we realized how much family and the importance of touching people with their music means to the band. Music has played a huge part in Alvin’s life and the band in general. They have a long family history of musicians who played music in their church, which is where their genre called “scared steel” was born. Alvin and his brothers learned how to play music in this church when they were young. Both their father and grandfather were pastors and played steel guitar in the church. The band consists of 3 brothers, Alvin Lee (guitar), Derrick Lee and Keith Lee (vocals) along with their three nephews, Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel guitar), Alvin Cordy Jr. (7-string bass) and Earl Walker (drums). “When we 1st started out we didn’t think we would be traveling the world”, says Alvin. “We are still today doing this for the love of music and following our dream, which is to touch people with our music.” The band has gone from a small town church to playing for crowds as large as 250, 000 people. They’ve gone onto perform at some pretty heavy hitting festivals, like Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and venues like Blues and Brews in Colorado, which is one of Alvin’s favorite places to play. “We also loooove Canada”, says Alvin.
Alvin tells us their oldest brother passed away in 2000 and it inspired a mission to “take their music out of the four walls”. Before Alvin started this mission the music was only heard throughout their congregation. Then their dear friend, Robert Randolf, who also grew up in their church and is now the front man for the popular scared steel band, Robert Randolf and the Family Band, took the music outside of the four walls. “We knew Robert as a kid growing up”, said Alvin. “He asked us one day if he could play our songs outside of the church.” It’s pretty crazy for us to think that a genre born in a Florida church in the 1930′s not only sparked the Lee Boys career, but also Robert Randolf’s.
The Sacred steel genre is best described on the band’s facebook page – “Sacred steel” is a type of music described as an inspired, unique form of Gospel music with a hard-driving, blues-based beat. The musical genre is rooted in Gospel, but infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, country and ideas from other nations.” “It makes me feel good when I play”, says Alvin. Even tho the band has some songs about god and gospel the bands message as a whole isn’t really about that. It’s simply about the music. They play to really broad audiences in all types of bars and venues. They’re playing line ups with other bands and artists that aren’t gospel oriented like, The Roots and John Legend, who they are playing with this Friday night in NY. “We’re not preaching religion”, says Alvin. “We just want to touch people with our music.”
Most of the bands influences 1st were developed from guys playing in their church. But Alvin tells us he really like the funk, bands like the Gerogre Clinton and the P Funk. But also that the band was heavy into all the stuff that came out of the 80′s like Micheal Jackson and Stevie Wonder. We actuially play Steve Wonder’s “Superstition”, says Alvin.
We asked the band if they are happy to get home to the south after being out playing on the road. “We spend half the year with each other on the road and half the year with family”, Alvin says. “We do miss it [home], but when we get back we miss the road.” We also asked being that the band is all family, if they ever got into quarrels or family feuds ? “Being family is what’s made us stay together. Our Friends and family are a true blessing. It’s being in it for the love of music and all of us are still here and alive and that’s the most important part of it all.”
The Lee Boys play the Southern Shore Music Festival … Sat June 19th!
June 19, 2010 | Gates Open: 11:00am | Performances: 12Noon – 8:00pm
Trout Fishing In America
Sin City band
Just $25.00 for 8+ hours of peace and music…
$35.00 at Gate | Children 12 & Under Free!
WXPN & Jersey Arts Card Members Receive Advance Ticket Discount When Purchasing Tickets Online!