My own introduction to the addictive Hammond/Leslie drug....

and the further story of my complete submission to it.


A beginning interest
My interest in the Hammond/Leslie combination started in 1988 when I commenced my high school education. The school had a genuine Hammond and Leslie and the sound got me hooked from the first time I heard it. It was my music class teacher who played Smoke on The Water at full blast after class one day. Keyboards at that time were either an ordinary piano, or a synth (DX-7, JX-8P and the like). The general opinion (at least among my music freinds) was that organs were for cheesy 70's style lounge style music or easy listening that only grandparents could enjoy. But listening to a Farfisa on a record is, I found out, a completely different experience from standing next to the Leslie, hearing the motor noise and feeling the air from the rotating horn on fast speed or "tremolo". The Hammond was as fascinating as it could be. My music teacher had been playing pop and rock in the 70's and he noticed the interest from me and my fellow students in this new - to us anyway- sound.

Playing the guitar
Being a guitar player, my interest developed in the direction that I wanted to play in a band with a Hammond. Famous organist/guitarist combos like Carlos Santana/Gregg Rolie of Santana and Richie Blackmore/Jon Lord of Deep Purple became favourites. In school I got to play both groups' stuff with my teacher at the drawbars. Man - what a time. (Still don't know how my ears coped with the volume- *protect your ears!*).

...with a Leslie
Shortly before my graduation in '91 I bought a Leslie 760 to use in my guitar rig. For years it was an integral part of my guitar sound.

Hammonds on the Internet
In 1996, at the tender age of 24, I was exposed to the new big thing - The Internet. One of the first things I started searching for was websites about Hammond organs (true story!).

I found that there were a lot of poor sods like me world-wide, that loved these all too heavy, expensive and big but *wonderful* instruments. I want to thank my fellow members from the Hammond Technical List (an e-mail list for lost causes like me - see the link list) for waking up my interest in Hammonds that had 'dozed' for a couple of years. Now a complete Hammond Nerd - I had to have it. And I got it. Since I got my first Hammond, an M-3, in 1997, I have had a couple of other organs, some of which are pictures on these pages. At this point in time I am down to an M-3 again, always ready to be played in my livingroom.

First organist
Well - I guess the ultimate has happened for a wannabe organist: To be promoted to first organist in a band. This is excactly what has happened to me. When the band I had been playing with for years decided to change musical styles, I got to play organ.I played my Hammond E-100 (some of my Hammond-friends call this a quasi-console because of its odd mixture of size and features) in a Bruce Springsteen Cover band. Granted - this style of music is not the hardest to play but I'm still learning so I have enough to practice on before a show. I played my Hammond through a Leslie 122, and on occasion a 31H, and I was so fortunate that my fellow musicians were always there to lend a hand whenever the organ and/or Leslie was moved around. I enjoyed this privilegde very much and I am aware that not everyone can do this as easily as I was able to.

I have one warning to pass on: If you have ever tried gigging with a console Hammond (even if my E-100 is a quasi-console ;-) ) it will never be the same again with a spinet.

So, if you have read so far you'll know that you're not alone out there.