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Passings: Deke Leonard of Man and Iceberg (1944 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Deke Leonard, the guitarist who did a number of stints with the British band Man and his own Iceberg, died on Tuesday, January 31, at the age of 72.

Cherry Red Records posted on their Facebook page:

We're very sad to hear that Deke Leonard (the very talented guitarist with Welsh rockers Man) has passed away. Our heartfelt condolences go out to all those who knew and loved him. R.I.P Deke x

Born in Llanelli, Wales, he started his first band in 1962, changing his given name of Roger to "Deke" after Elvis Presley's character in the movie LovingYou.  The band, Lucifer and the Corncrackers, played support for artists like Johnny Kidd & the Pirates and the Hollies while also running their own club.

Leonard also played in a sidegroup, The Jets, which eventually changed its name to The Smokeless Zone, performing regularly in the clubs in Hamburg, Germany.

In late 1968, Deke became a member of The Bystanders who were in the midst of changing their musical style, taking on psychedelic rock and changing their name to Man. The band, especially in their early days, was a whirlwind of changing members. Leonard played on their first two albums, Revelation (1969) and 2 Ozs of Plastic With a Hole in the Middle (1969) but left while Plastic was still in the mixing stage.

Leonard returned to after the tour in support of Plastic and in time to record the band's breakthrough album, Man (1971) and remained for two more releases and a live album before being fired from the band but he wasn't unemployed for long as Man's A&R man offered him a solo deal.

Deke recorded the album Iceberg as a solo project but turned it into a full-blown band for the supporting tour. The band recorded one more album, Kamikaze, and toured it as an opening act for, ironically, Man, before Leonard broke the band up and returned to Man in January of 1974.

This time around, Leonard stayed with Man for three years, recording five more albums, before the band broke up. Deke still had a solo contract, so he reformed Iceberg and recorded Before Your Very Eyes before moving on to play with the Tyla Gang, Walter Egan and, eventually, form the band The Force.

1983 brought yet another stint with Man, but this one lasted for twenty-one years except for a short break in 1996 when he suffered a minor stroke.

In 2004, Leonard formed the last edition of Iceberg, one that lasted until the time of his death.

Leonard was also a known writer, first penning the liner notes for a number of Man's albums followed by a series of autobiographical books including Rhinos, Winos & Lunatics (1996) and Maybe I Should Have Stayed in Bed? (2000)