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
...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.
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.