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Ex-Y&T Drummer Leonard Haze...Our Best Of

By: Maximum Metal Staff
Published: Friday, September 30, 2016
Lenny Haze
Lenny in his early years
CONTENTS
. Lenny Haze on His Drum Kit Setup
. Lenny Haze on Biggest Influences
. Lenny's Top 10 Guitarists
. Lenny Haze and Our Music Column "Sound Affects"
. Lenny Haze on His Favorite Cities
. Lenny Haze on Throwing Furniture Out of a Hotel

In 1974, Leonard Haze was a founding member of the hard rock band known as Y&T (formerly Yesterday & Today). Many rock connoisseurs consider the group's early 80s albums--"Earthshaker", "Black Tiger" and "Mean Steak", as groundbreaking triumphs of US hard rock. Lenny also played drums for successful acts like Ronnie Montrose and Ian Gillan (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath).

Lenny passed away September 11, 2016 at age 61 after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for several years. Maximum Metal was fortunate enough to have a personal friendship with Lenny over the past few years. We had intended to create a series of posts with his stories and experiences, but with his passing we are presenting the best of them in one full tribute column.

Lenny Haze on His Drum Kit Setup
Bill Ludwig III, his father and his grandfather should be in the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame. His grandfather, William F. Ludwig, invented the trap drum set and the bass drum pedal. Ludwig also originated putting drums together into configured kits and his grandson, Ludwig III, came up with rocker heads and double flanged rings so the heads don't pull out. He created super heavy duty touring grade hardware and an artist research department. Ludwig was completely in house, making and shipping all of their own drums as well as the best hardware heads and sticks in two buildings. When I say the best hardware ever, I mean EVER.

I got all of the hardware I am using today in 1980. I replaced two cymbal stand tilters and re-riveted one set of legs since 1980! This hardware has been on all but one tour with me. I've left them in the back of a trailer that filled with water and they never even got rusted. All the nuts, wing nuts, pipes and stands can be bought at Ace Hardware. You remove the wing nut tightening collar, put it on pipe and it works. I know a guy that lost his pistol grip tom tom mount and I sent him to Ace Hardware and he got pipes and an elbow and it worked perfectly. Try that with Mapex or Pearl.

The way Bill III did his Ludwig guys...he never once made me feel that my problem meant less to him than Nick Mason's, Mick Fleetwood's or even Ringo. I can recall one time Bill and I were discussing something about pictures that were going to be in an ad and poster with myself and A.J. Pero (Twisted Sister) and I hear Bill say, "Tell Ringo I will call him back. I'm on the phone." I was like "dude you gotta talk to Ringo over me, it is cool". He said "No, I don't. Your problem is as big to you as it is to him. Both of you get the same crap disrespect". Then he cracked up. He would call me up at midnight at home and go, "guess who" and then hang up. But whenever we were on tour he had an itinerary too and would call about once every other week to see how it was going.

I am currently using my champagne sparkle 2007 kit. The snare drum I bought at Leo's Music in Oakland (long gone but what a great store and repair shop). I paid $96.00 for it in 1972. Ludwig 6 1/2" x 14" Supraphonic 400. Every company has attempted to copy it but no one has come close. Why? The alloy it is made from. Who knows what it was, you probably can't use it because of toxicity when making the alloy. The sticker in the drum still says Ludalloy, made using Ludalloy. Whatever that was gets the .357 Magnum shot sound I love. I have three other Supraphonic 400s of different years. No other Ludalloy shells.

My kick drum is a 14" x 26". If you think about it, all the really fast kick drum stuff is played with a 14" x 26". Coincidence? Maybe. You can tune it a bit tighter for more response. When I use a 22" kick I must work harder for less success. For real. No joke. Could be mental but if you believe, then it is.

I have two rack toms, a 10" x 10" and a 10" x 14" inch. I am still looking for a perfect spot for 10" x 10"...but closer. Two floor toms, 16" deep but around one is 16" x 16" and one is 16" x 18". I use Ludwig coated heavy Dot rockers on the tops of my floor toms with Ludwig thin coated rockers on the bottoms. On the rack tom toms I have a coated thin Ludwig rocker on a 10" x 14" bottom. When I can get them, a Ludwig heavy Dot coated rocker or a coated Evans head that has a muffling band around the edges. It's a good solid sounding head. On the 10" x 10" tom tom is a Ludwig silver Dot on top and bottom.

On the snares is an extra thin snare head. An Aquarian is on #1, a Remo is on #2, a Ludwig is on #3, and #4 is in pieces in my house. On the batter side, a Ludwig model 4414 is my number one pick. Getting them is another story. Evans coated reverse Dot or Ludwig silver Dot is what is in use now.

All my hardware is circa 1980 Ludwig modular except the snare stand, with is a 70s Atlas. I used to find them for free but now collectors have driven the price to stupidity. I can rebuild, if need be, any of the Ludwig stands with parts I can buy at Ace or Home Depot. Everything is repairable with a pop riveter or nuts and bolts. Some use pinch pins. But I haven't rebuilt any as of yet. Changed two cymbal stand tilters. Nobody makes great hardware like these stands. Yamaha has a pro grade that looks comparable to my reliable Ludwig modular stands, but I have never seen them in a store, just on tour. Mine work perfectly so don't fix it if it ain't broken.

I took the new Ludwig hardware out with Gillan and my Y&T return tours and broke it all and threw it away. I don't recommend anything, but DW is pretty good. Axis is making a great high hat. I use one. My rack tom stands are for the 10" x 10", a pistol grip Ludwig Modular. I even put the modular Ludwig kick drum legs on my new kick drum. I hate the new style legs on kick drums. They come loose at the tightening nut and that sucks. On my 10" x 14" rack is a Rogers memory lock seat base and a Ludwig Atlas snare stand basket and tilter. The Ludwig Memory lock works with the Rogers stool base. This stand was what I made up in the 70s and 80s. I lost the stands from back then so I searched high and low for the Rogers base. Just found another recently so mine is backed up.

DW cuts their cymbal arms down for me so I can mount them on the 26" kick. They are solid. Ludwig did it for me when I used their cymbal arms. I still have one shorty. Only one though and that is why I have a DW arm on the kick now. On my kick drum I am using a 1976 black and silver trimmed Ludwig logo front to audience rocker head with a hole melted out with a soldering iron. An 18" across by 14" inch wide foam rubber cushion is super glued in. If not it would bounce all over making noise. The batter side is an Evans with the small holes and the tone ring. Since I am using the hard DW Mallet on my DW twin chain drive pedal, I use the little impact pad that comes with the head. I have an idea for bass drum pedal mallets and snares that I thought someone would be bright enough to make but not yet.

Now that I am old and not out on tour, I am without a cymbal endorsement. I have purchased some cheap cymbals for rehearsal, which I have done for years, but I love the sound of the cymbals I used since 1978. On my kick I use a very loose spring DW 3000 double chain drive pedal. Totally stock. Love it. Simple, easy fix and bulletproof. My philosophy is loose spring, no resistance in moving the mallot. Just need enough spring to return it to go again.

The sticks I use I swear by. Vic Firth is the best bar none. End of story. I use MS 2s. Marching Stick 2. Any stick from Vic Firth is the king. His salt shakers, pepper mills, salad bowls, tossing forks and wooden utensils are that of legends and Vic is a very nice man who takes pride in his products. They have always been great to me and I love them. I know a cymbal A&R guy that could learn how to treat people that way. I don't have a Ludwig or Peace endorsement now but they were class acts all the way.

I don't have techs. You must be able to fabricate as well as "MacGyver" my drums because I mutilate things. People always say this person hits harder or that guy. I say whatever. I use marching sticks and there is only one size bigger. They are 13/16 of an inch around and 18" long.

I am not doing progressive rock. I am pounding.


Lenny Haze on Biggest Influences
My biggest influences were Ringo, Ginger Baker, Ian Paice, Denny Carmassi, Cozy Powell, John Bonham, B. J. Wilson, Mitch Mitchell, Frosty, & Ainsley Dunbar. There are lots more great players that influenced me but these are my favorites for the kind of music I love to play. Carmine Appice is one of the most influential, knowledgeable, complete players I know of. So when he complemented me with his praise of my footwork I didn't know how to respond other than to say I am honored to get that response from someone I hold in the highest regard.

Now as far as great players Buddy Rich was on a level all his own. Then Tony Williams, Joe Morello, Louis Bellson, Billy Cobham...next level. Well, let me say this--Phil Rudd is better for AC/DC than Neil Pert would be. I believe playing in a band with other players is harder than soloing. When playing with other people, your job is to play the song, make the other players sound better, and challenge them so they challenge you to step up a notch and improve or play beyond your idea of limits live. Never not try suggestions either. What sounds lame to you when put in context may be genius. But you will never know if you don't try it. These are the things though that can lead to hurt feelings or challenges to people's pride. That's why playing in a band is so hard. People telling you this, that, and the other. But you gotta remember the only one who is gonna be putting their neck out with you is your bandmates. You gotta believe in each other and trust and respect each other. You don't have to be The Monkees but you need trust, respect, and have a belief in what you're doing. If you don't have that, well, then I say good luck.


Lenny's Top 10 Guitarists
10) Steff Burns: Y&T, Vosco, Huey Lewis & the News, Alice Cooper, Prince. Just the list of different things & he plays all styles well. Great guy, monster player. Gets some recognition.
9) Frank Hannon: Tesla. Great player very bluesy with great feel.
8) Brad Whitford: Joe Perry gets the accolades, but Whitford gets the tone and his rhythm playing is great.
7) Dave Davies: The Kinks. Played some festivals with Kinks while in Gillan. He was a great player. I didn't know he was that good. Bought a couple of their records & he was smokin'.
6) Joey Alves: Y&T. Because it is my list and to me the band piece missing from Y&T's sound is the tone, great precision and all downstrokes of Mr. Alves. I know this for fact when all hell was breaking loose on stage--feedback, monitors blowing up and I just blew through two measures of the solo outtro, can't find the one or the two... JOEY HELP ME!!! And he's got it and he's still nailing it hard. He saved everyone many times.
5) Mick Ralphs: Mott the Hoople, Bad Company. Gets great tone, has excellent slow vibrato and.plays excellent rhythm guitar.
4) Buck Dharma: What a great soloist. Very tasty. His solo on Cities on Flame on the Live Album. Even on Don't Fear the Reaper he burns.
3) George Harrison & Keith Richards: Tie. Neither are burning flash players, but name something that either of them played that wasn't perfect for the song. I saw Harrison playing "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and the tone changes, knob work and switching pickups on the guitar part were amazing. He makes me think there were more than 4 tracks that were used back then. He did all the overdubs live because he had to record it that way live too. Keith on Jumpin Jack Flash, Satisfaction, or Sympathy for the Devil perfect parts but my favorite is on Gimme Shelter. Great solo & fill lines. Great and different tone than anyone before or since.

Number 2 is a tie.
2) Mike Campbell: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Goes from a jangling 12-string Rickenbacker to heavy blues lead on Les Paul. Saw him go and do the impossible one night on Runnin Down a Dream. He was playing a John Lennon 3/4 neck 3-pickup Rickenbacker guitar. Not a guitar known for note sustaining ability or Gibson style tone. And from the sound he got using a fuzz box on the hook earlier in the song I never would've believed it if I hadn't heard it and seen it myself. He did the most screaming sustained tone note it was jaw dropping. He was as unbelievable as was Jimi Hendrix the first time I saw him. Petty knew the audience loved the hits but he knew Campbell would get them stomping and he did. Crowd went nuts. Phenomenal solo. With all the different styles and guitars he plays he is always on it.

2) Randy Hanson: Yes the guy with the tribute to Jimi Hendrix. People think that is his only style he can play which has hurt him. What makes Randy the best Hendrix tribute is his covering Jimi's rhythm chops closer than anyone else. Randy can burn up a fret board. He opened for Y&T in Reno one night. Randy was sprinting across tables running through the house doing the splits and ripping on his guitar. Him and Dave Meniketti put on a show of heavy rock lead guitar 101. That was the second best two guitar players I saw on a gig Y&T did. The first was with this Vern Halen guy.

Number 1 is a tie.
1) Malcolm Young: AC\DC. Angus gets the starring part and the solos and not many of us listen to Mal. I do. He is a monster on rhythm guitar. Listen to "For Those About to Rock" the song itself during the solo. My god the tone THAT HE IS GETTING IS SO FAT. But it's clean with big time crunch and not a lot of overdrive. Live he shakes you from the outside in and inside out. He goes into every entrance to your insides and comes out your pores as sweat while the rest comes out your gobsmacked mouth.

1) Brian May: Queen. He designs his own multiple trac echo overdubbing live echo units. Then gets a chase thing happening across 3 Vox AC30's. So an amp rig that only he has figured out. He builds a very versatile guitar that gets great tones. He can play a solo on "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", then the heaviest guitar licks ever on "Ogre Battle", "Stone Cold Crazy", the solo on "Bohemian Rhapsody", or "Modern Times Rock n' Roll". The man is maybe more versatile than Steph Burns & Mike Campbell combined but did it in one band Queen. I have had the honor and pleasure of opening two Queen shows and Brian was amazing tone-wise and playing perfectly and smiling like yeah this is cool.

My honorable mentions go in no order. All of them make it look easy.
Jeff Watson: Ex-Night Ranger not all of it was Gillis.
Pat Thrall: Automatic Man, Pat Travers. Thrall should've got more solos. Travers knew better. Shoulda been Travers sang, Thrall on lead.
Jake E. Lee: Everyone loves Zach I preferred Jake.
Mick Mars: Never gets any accolades but he excels on Motley stuff. Great slide player too.
Warren D'Martini: Of all the LA guitar players the one I will mention besides Randy Rhodes. Warren has feel, soul, and plays with passion not a blueprint and is his own style. His hands float on the guitar.


Lenny Haze and Our Music Column "Sound Affects"
We sent ten songs to an artist for their impression based entirely on first listen. The genres were mainly in the style that we think the artist would be familiar with. The artist chooses whether he wants to know the songs and bands or do it blindly and not know who they are. Lenny went blindly in, not knowing songs titles or bands.

1. Daniel Trigger - Unbreakable (British band, one man band)
2. Californial Breed - The Way (Glenn Hughes, John Bonham)
3. Sea - House of Air (young band from Denmark)
4. Tesla - MP3 (from their new record 'Simplicity')
5. Snew - Thunderdog (newer band from LA)
6. Ted Nugent/Sammy Hagar - She's Gone (from Nuge's new album 'Shut Up and Jam')
7. Ace Frehley - Gimme A Feelin' (from his new album 'Space Invader')
8. Monster Truck - For the Sun (new band, kinda stoner)
9. Black Trip - Voodoo Queen (new band playing the New Wave of British Heavy Metal style)
10. Kobra & the Lotus - Warhorse (newer band, female singer, power metal)

"I finished my reviews. Some I spoke more on, some tangents but it was all what came to mind when I listened. That's my approach. What is the thing these songs do to my thoughts? What's my first thought or reaction? Then where do they lead me. Then I listen a second time to how the players on it performed."

1. Daniel Trigger - Unbreakable
I like the main riff of the song. I thought the writers were attempting to get some radio time with a pop-type change for the hook but I didn't find a hook anywhere in the song other than the main riff of the song. But you need more than one riff. Singer was ok not great. Guitar solo fair. Drums are very cold & cliched. It sounds like a click track was used or more like it was a drum machine. But it sounded too synthesized & more processed than I like.

2. Californial Breed - The Way
I like this track. These guys never heard Zeppelin, right? Great drum feel, good playing. Vocals on chorus are very cool. From the opening guitar line I liked it. Tone of guitar licks being played, the drums, the sound of the track mix, and the different way the chorus is done; I like everything about it. I would take a chance on the CD and buy it.

3. Sea - House of Air
Very 80s. The rhythm is a bit busy on this. Not a fan of most 80s rock. Classic case of overindulgence as they do the song in almost every rhythm that it could've been done in. Not what floats my boat.

4. Tesla - MP3
The singer sounded like Steven Tyler. I liked the groove of the song. Whoever it was used a lot of tricks from my era--acoustic guitar, guitar harmonies, starting in a totally different rhythm then going to cut time. The solo was interesting but I am not keen on the Leslie effect on lead guitar solos. I liked all the chord patterns and rhythms that were used. I related to the lyric "gone from the phonograph record to the mp3". When we started recording it was 16 Track, two inch tape and albums on vinyl. Now unlimited tracks on computer to computer. I can't say old was better but we had more options. All in all a good tune done well. Drums were well played and sounded good. Good vocals, well-played guitars. But I have heard it all before on numerous records. I would buy it if there wasn't something new and more interesting.

5. Snew - Thunderdog
Combine AC/DC & the Ramones and that is the intro but the rest of the track sounds like 2nd rate AC/DC. AC/DC have 4 ingredients (more really) I am not hearing in here Malcolm Young & his solid rhythm & tone. Angus Young his feeling for solos, Cliff Williams solid rip you a new one bass tone & Phil Rudd's accents plus solid four on the floor kick drum. This is a good version of flattery to Brian from me. The singer isn't nearly as powerful but without the other parts there is space. Oh, if I want something that sounds like AC/DC I will buy AC/DC.

6. Ted Nugent/Sammy Hagar - She's Gone
This song has one of those old Stax/Volt intros like "Skinny Legs & All" or "Tramp" and I like those. The song is a blues-oriented piece that starts as a complete rip of "Goin' Down" but is just different enough that you can avoid being sued. They go through many variations of this type of tune and even add some Eddie Cochran type (not as cool as Cochran) change to it and then bust out with a blues-influenced solo which is my favorite style of guitar playing. Good solo too. But a solo doesn't make for a song. A little too much borrowed. Curious to hear what is on rest of that album.

7. Ace Frehley - Gimme A Feelin'
If this isn't Ted Nugent it should be. Sounds like him in all ways. Style of song, how it has been structured, arrangement, rhythm guitar part, solo, and that tone. The vocals sound Ted-ish. Band sounds good. Anyway this track is either Ted or someone that is stealing his thunder.

8. Monster Truck - For the Sun
To me it sounds like an updated Lynyrd Skynyrd. Great heavy British-style blues ballad. Great guitar player but the fuzz tone could've been cleaner and less processed-- George Lynch and more of Phil X with the tonemaster natural overdriven distortion. Great solo and licks with good vibrato. All and all, I loved this track. Great lick on the chorus and a great solo. I like the singer's voice and the solid bass and drums. Well arraigned and produced. This I would buy. The more I listen to track it the more I like it. Great players and I love the singers voice. Second favorite of what I have listened to.

9. Black Trip - Voodoo Queen
Sounds dated. Singer sounds a bit Lemmy. Great guitar solos with the Crying Woman tone. Great wah wah used where it doesn't sound as if Metalica is plucking chickens alive. Not big on the song but players are exceptional. Drummer is a excellent two kick player. Lead players (sounded like two) excellent without becoming guitar wars. Both guys got plenty of space. Now the bad. It sounded dated. Wasn't a fat basic track. There wasn't a lot of energy on it. But it is played extremely well. Very basic vanilla no effects tracks. Song isn't bad but not lousy.

10. Kobra & the Lotus - Warhorse
Not my style but I can appreciate the skills that one must have to play it. But to me it is a musical track meet. I could understand this singer who has a lot of range, but I just don't get the nuances of it. These guys can definitely play their instruments well. This track is well produced, mixed, & mastered. The drummer is excellent as is the shredding, not from a blues-influenced angle; he's his own player. Singer has much needed range. Good players that take pride in what they are doing. I do know this about it--it comes from the ten-years-younger-than-me group. It isn't their fault I don't get it. My age group isn't supposed to.

"One thing I noticed in all the bands was the skilled musicians on these tunes. Not one band had a musician or two that cuts 40 tracks to edit them together or loop so they can play a song. I am from the school of Les Paul, Max Norman, Chris Tsangarides, Andy Johns, Glyn Johns, George Martin all have said--"If you can not play a song beginning to end once on a day you are recording then you shouldn't be recording. Don't turn on the machine until you know what you are supposed to play."


Lenny Haze on His Favorite Cities
Of all the places I have ever been in order of trouble I can find or just great cities for days off:
10. Miami
9. San Antonio
8. Chicago
7. London
6. Las Vegas
5. Rio
4. Amsterdam
3. Los Angeles
2. Hamburg
1. New York
(Note the San Francisco Bay Area is where I live or it would've been #1)


Lenny Haze on Throwing Furniture Out of a Hotel
I think this happened in Stuttgart Germany. Brett [Bloomfield] and I, we did some stupid shit. We would bet guys $100 each and play follow the leader. Well, let's just say we were undefeated. This time, Bret and I were bored and our hotel was not located downtown; we were out on the Autobahn. We decided to throw a room's entire contents out the window right before bus call. It's like bus call in fifteen minutes, now let's empty the room. Out goes the chairs, lamps, table, bed, drawers, and the television. We think we are gonna get on the bus and bail out of town...not quite.

We threw this stuff out and it landed perfectly to trap our bus until the staff came out and picked it all up. The manager of the hotel came out and gave Ian a bill for damages. Now, he started in on us on the bus, and I said "hey, not on the bus, no arguing on the bus with us".

Yeah, we still got yelled at but we learned this: When throwing stuff out of a hotel room window DO NOT throw the stuff where it traps the bus. Also remember all components go up in price from Walmart to hotel room. I had the same lamp, it was cheap like $8.00, but we paid $55.00 each--hotel inflation. That is what we learned.

Oh, and I agree with Bruce Dickinson. "I know rock 'n roll ain't dead because Ian Gillan is still singing."


[Links]
Eric's Interview with Lenny Haze pt 1
Eric's Interview with Lenny Haze pt 2
Eric Compton Remembers His Friend, Lenny Haze


[Other Maximum Metal Columns]

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