Leslie Lee Bell has had a full and varied musical career since first learning to play the piano at age five in his home town of San Diego, California. Proficient enough at an early age to move from singing in his church and school childrens’ choirs to accompaning them on the piano, he spent his teens singing and playing in his chruch’s rock band “Unconditional Love” which encouraged his burgeoning songwriting by performing many of his first songs, even years after he left. He joined his first touring group at seventeen, and opened for and backed up classic show groups like The Platters, The Coasters, The Diamonds, and the Shirelles, playing opposite a teenaged K.C. in Jacksonville Florida long before a Sunshine Band.
As a member and leader of his next eight groups he toured the United States extensively, playing from the discos of Tijuana, Mexico, to the nightclubs of Florida, Seattle, Anchorage, New Orleans, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colordado, and Las Vegas. He drove a van through Mt. St. Helens the night after the eruption. And then, back in San Diego, he met Michael Feldman.
Michael Feldman was born in Brooklyn, New York, just a few years after Leslie, and his family soon moved to Long Island. He also started joining bands and playing in school at an early age, mostly jazz on acoustic bass and fusion and rock on electric bass. He studied under his mentor jazz giant Milt Hinton, and sat in with Les Paul. When the family’s house burned down, he decided to make the move to California, where his young uncle lived, and there he met Leslie.
Leslie and Mike worked various engagements throughout San Diego during this period; Leslie worked at world-famous Patrick’s Bar downtown, while Michael worked with the Naki Ataman Trio. For three years Leslie served as Music Director for “The Bobby King Tribute To Elvis Show” while Michael played bass, which toured Hawaii and the South Pacific, including the islands of American Samoa and Apia (Western Samoa). Among the notable alumni of this killer group was Jennifer Batten, punk-haired touring guitarist with Michael Jackson duing his heyday and Jeff Beck today.