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16 in Motion Volume 21, Issue 5 September/October 2011

MOUNTAIN

Legendary rocker LeslieWest reinvents himself

withanewalbumandupcoming tour

by Kortney Wesley

One of the greatest compliments a man can receive is being truly appreciated for his work. Legendary guitarist and front man Leslie West, of Mountain fame, has seen his share of ovations and accolades, performing with such greats as Van Halen, The Who and Jimi Hendrix. West has always been in the spotlight. His face and brand appear on T-shirts, music videos and even in video games. Leslie has virtually been immortal-ized in the music industry. It would be easy

to think that this man has it all – a great career, talent and a loving family. But a fulflling career can also come with tremen-dous obstacles. Now, Leslie owns a new image – that of an amputee. Earlier this year, Leslie lost his leg to diabetes, but that’s not holding him back. He has a new album coming out and will hit the road with veteran guitarists Uli Jon Roth and Michael Schenker in October for the 3 Guitar Heroes tour. inMotion Magazine caught up with Leslie and his wife, Jenni West, recently

ng career and

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a great career . I had the aring the i Hendrix ther greats. with Ozzy and Howard is diabetes ’t going to own – but it my leg. Over s, I knew the ges with my t and the ase, but after ars of therapy nd treatments, lost most f my right eg above the nee.

inMotion: Can you tell me about losing your leg?

Leslie: On Saturday, June 17, I was in Biloxi, Mississippi, and my leg started to swell and my foot went septic. I was admitted to a hospital down there and the doctors worked for 2 days to save my leg. The infection was spreading throughout my body, so we made the decision to amputate to save my life. Actually, it was Jenni who made the decision, and I think it was the right decision. She’s been with me every step of the way.

inMotion: Jenni, studies show family caregivers are critical to recovery and readjustment after limb loss. You two are clearly a team. How has Leslie’s limb loss impacted you?

Jenni: I see Leslie and remember that he needs me and I need him. It’s as simple as that. If he can get outta bed each morning, so can I. This new life has been a huge adjustment. We’ve been married 2 years and spent the last year trying to heal a diabetic heel ulcer that started in March 2010. After multiple surgeries, including femoral bypass surgery and six stents in the leg to return blood fow to the foot, diabetes fnally cost him his leg.

inMotion: This had to have been a diffcult experience. I mean, you two were virtually newlyweds.

Jenni: There is nothing more heart-wrench-ing than to see someone you love fght so hard to keep doing what he loves. Music is part of Leslie’s soul and we are grateful

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