April 30, 2015
Camel keyboardist Guy LeBlanc passed away at the beginning of this week. A shock
for those who knew him and who cares about Camel.
I myself was part of Camel in the mid-1930s
After that, guitarist and band leader Andy Latimer emigrated to the
States and watered down the contact. Also the fact that I was not flying meant
too great a restriction for the group, which sometimes toured Japan and North and South America. In 2003 I was asked to fill in for Guy who had to cancel due to family circumstances. I then did the European part of the farewell tour which - fortunately - turned out not to be a farewell tour at all. A short time later, Andy became seriously ill, but he fought back and recovered, to do in 2013 what hardly anyone could have hoped for: going on tour with Camel (and Guy).
The reprise of that tour, in the spring of 2014, proved to be a bridge too far for Guy: his medical condition no longer allowed it. Twelve days before, Andy asked me to take over. In a previous blog I already described how double that felt. Of course I wanted to tour with Camel, but I preferred not to do that.
Unfortunately, Guy and I only met once, and then also very briefly. That was when I came to look at Camel in 2001 in Utrecht or Tivoli in Utrecht. Last year there was some email contact, because that minimal preparation time meant I needed all kinds of information so I knew what he was playing. Nevertheless, we naturally had a certain bond because we played the same role within the group.
Also in 2014 I didn't really have the idea that I would go on tour with Camel more often. This would probably be a one / off. If Guy got better I would leave the keyboard parts respectful to him again. That made my participation in the 'Snow Goose' tour less harsh than now. Even then the reason was sad, but then there was still hope. Now he's dead dead.
Guy, as far as I knew him and what I deduced from how everyone was talking about him, was a very nice person and a great keyboard player. I was able to observe the latter myself last year while studying the Camel parts myself, because I was sent the isolated audio of the keyboard tracks as a guide. Sweat broke out especially with his solos. I am not a soloist pur sang, but he knew how to handle it.
The upcoming summer tour will undoubtedly be a tribute to Guy. And he will certainly be there: in everyone's heart, in everyone's head.
Earlier this week Camel keyboardist Guy LeBlanc died. A shock for those who knew him and appreciated Camel.
I became a Camel band member in the mid-eighties. Some years later guitarist and band leader Andy Latimer emigrated to the US, and after that our contact became more sparse. This was also due to the fact that I did not fly, which would have meant a severe limitation to the band that occasionally toured the America's and Japan. In 2003 I was asked to replace Guy who had to cancel due to family circumstances. I did the European leg of the Farewell Tour, that fortunately proved to be no farewell tour at all. Shortly after Andy fell seriously ill, but he fought back and regained his health. In 2013 he did what only few had dared hoping: go on tour with Camel (and Guy).
Guy's medical situation did not allow him to do the tour reprise (spring 2014). Twelve days before take off Andy asked me, once again, to fill in for Guy. In an earlier blog I already wrote about my mixed feelings about this. Of course I wanted to tour with Camel, but rather not for this reason.
Guy and I only met once, briefly. I came to see Camel play the Utrecht Tivoli venue in I think it was 2001. Last year we had some e-mail contact in which he gave me info about his keyboard parts and sounds, as I only had a short time of preparation. But I feel we did have a special connection simply because of the fact that we had the same role within Camel.
Even in 2014 I did not believe I'd tour with Camel again and more or less expected this to be a one / off. I would respectfully return the keyboard seat to Guy by the time his health would have improved. This idea made my joining the 'Snow Goose' tour a little less sour. Then, too, the reason for touring was sad, but there was still hope. Now, FFS, he's dead.
As far as I knew him and judging by the way people spoke about him, he was a very kind man and a great keyboard player. This I found out for myself while preparing for the tour: I received the isolated audio of his keyboard-tracks, and especially when he solo'ed, he blew me away. I am no soloist by nature, but Guy certainly knew his way around in that field.
Without doubt the upcoming tour will be a tribute to Guy. He will be there- in everyone's heart, in everyone's thoughts.
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