Leon Economides

Leon’s Rock Lists


Leon Economides in the Studio

I was born in 1958. I’m an assurance broker. I have a son, Paris, born in 2004. I live in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

I grew up in Jhb, fully into music from the age of about 5 years old (I was reared on music like the soundtracks of Ben Hur, El Cid and others, which maybe explains why I love music with orchestras and brass, with a bit of a Classical feel). I made a point of collecting records of rare/non commercial bands from a young age, concentrating on bands like ELP, King Crimson, Captain Beyond, Beggars Opera, Atomic Rooster, Black Sabbath, If, Gravy Train and countless others. It’s very difficult for me to tell you who my ultimate best band of all time is, because I like to believe that my taste is very diverse, encompassing blues, jazz, hard rock, classical, prog rock, psychedelia, folk, etc, and I have my “favourites” in each of those genres.

If I had to stick my neck out and mention one band out of my entire collection that has had a profound effect on my life and will be the band that I will take to the grave with me, that would have to be Canadian band Lighthouse. They have it all: a great rhythm section, killer brass, strings and phenomenal songwriting. They split in the early 70’s and reformed a few years ago, but it’s the Lighthouse of the past that has been indelibly stamped in my heart. I’ve kept all my vinyl albums (except for a few thousand 70’s disco albums that I stupidly sold about ten years ago), and my collection now numbers about 13 thousand LP’s and about 12 thousand CD’s.

Favorite track? Impossible to isolate, but a few tracks have a lot of meaning for me. One of them, oddly enough, is by Lighthouse, called “Old Man”, another is by the Marshall Tucker Band called “Running like the Wind”. My favorite guitar solo is on a track called “Passacaglia” by Beggars Opera, off their first album, “Act One”, way back in the early 70’s. Musically, although there are many great latter day bands like Queensryche, Thunder, Spock’s Beard, etc, I find that I’m still seriously stuck in the seventies, which I found to be the most important and influential era for music as we know it today. Warhorse, Camel, Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express, Tonton Macoute, Spring, Jericho…. these are the bands that I grew up with, very different to what my friends were listening to, and hence I found myself alone with my music quite regularly.

I was a disc jockey in a number of clubs in the 70’s (yes, I even enjoyed some of the disco bands of the time – at least they used real instruments!). I managed a live music venue called Jaggers in Rosebank, Jhb, for many years. Jaggers was the launching pad for many great SA bands such as Sweatband, Mango Groove, The Passengers, Johan Laas’ various groups, etc, etc.

I absolutely detest “insincere” and “false” music such as techno, house, rave… call it what you will, which may be a bit of a strong statement to make, because I understand and accept the fact that this kind of crap will outsell “my” kind of music any day of the week. In my humble opinion, that kind of drivel doesn’t deserve to be called music!

Contact Leon leon@rock.co.za


10 thoughts on “Leon Economides

  1. brandon bester says:

    could i get the name of the guy interviewed last night there was some tight blues which i really enjoyed would like to get the album

  2. brandon bester says:

    could i get the name of the guy interviewed last night 8feb about 9:00 or 10:00 there was some tight blues which i really enjoyed would like to get the album

  3. harry fisher says:

    Hi Leon,

    Firstly, an apology. I emailed Aris last year congratulating him on his show. He replied and I have just written back to him generally moaning about the state of SA radio (i am British, been here 8 years) and saying we should do something to get speciality shows into the limelight more, even down to starting a radio station to cater for speciality shows.
    i have just had the chance to look properly through the Rockfest website and read the bios of your DJ’s and realise that you are doing just that and i wanted to say that i congratulate you mightily and apologise if it seemed like i was trying to set up in competition to you. i am just happy that there are other like minded people out there.
    How do we get you, however, into the wider world? why do the good citizens of Midrand get all the fun? i live near Melrose Arch and can’t really spend all night, every night in my car, which is the only place i get reception!
    Thanks for all the good music. looking forward to listening to your station a lot more. Might have to go back to the old days of taping them and listening during the day! i am sure there is a way to do this on computer now, but i’m blowed if i know how!


  4. harry fisher says:

    oh, and by the way, couldn’t agree with your last paragraph more. there has to be a bit of live and let live but just as long as i don’t have to listen to that crap!

  5. I just want to say that I never have heard one radio station which can be compared with Rockfest. From the first second I heard Leon in his show The Rockit Scientist, I was immediately sold for this great station. And that’s amazing, because I wasn’t interested at all in radio anymore, as the only thing what I heard was crap, crap, crap.
    I agree completely with you Leon! You made me believe in radio again!

  6. Hi Leon
    Nice to hear you on radio again, i was an avid listener to you when you did a show with Phil Wright many years back.
    Tired of listening to nonsensical, mindless nonsense on radio generally speaking nowadays.
    You are a breath of fresh air my good friend
    Keep on doing what you do best,
    When will youl be playing us some spice girls? Just kidding hehe:)

  7. David Breeds says:

    Hi Leon

    Enjoyed the feature with Dan Patlanksy on Friday night. Good stuff, enjoyed the whole interview and the killer performances on Acoustic in the studio.

    Just a couple of questions. Dan was talking about his influences and did mention a guitarist who he reckoned was his favourite, someone who did bebop on acid? possible a Jimmy something.
    I would like to check him out.
    Another thing – you played some great stuff in between but I could not get all the names, something near the end, a someone Palazo possibly?

    A great show


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