Michael Feldman

Leslie Lee Bell and Michael Feldman

And finally they put together their first crowning achievement, a 21 piece rock and roll big band called “The First Bang Band” that had 6 sax players, 4 trumpeters, 4 trombonists, a full trap percussionist, and of course keyboards, guitar, bass, and drums, a full five years before Brian Selzter had even dreamed of taking a rockabilly band and Leopard Jacket to London. And a full decade plus before the Boogie Swing mvoement in Southern California. They went on Sunup San Diego at 6 AM in the morning on live TV in front of 200 screaming girls, and history was made, kind of, as all the record companies wanted the next Madonna and Michael Jackson, and not a rock and roll big band fronted by a guy who looked like Elvis and sang like Barbra Streisand. At 18. They moved to Hollywood to get a deal for the band that never materialized, and while up there recorded more Bang Music at Chick Corea’s Mad Hatter studio and world famed Western Recorders and put out one incredibly collectible 12” EP of eight tunes. But the Bang Band and the dream of Bang Music would die, only to give birth years later to The Forever Family.

Upon moving to Hollywood, California, they began a three year engagement at “The Regency”, a nightclub and world-class restaurant in Downey, an affluent suburb of Los Angeles, playing seven nights a week without a vacation. They missed meeting Richard Carpenter there “by this much” on more than one occasion.

Finally choosing to settle down in Las Vegas, Leslie served as Musical Director and Arranger for the “A Tribute To Frank Sinatra featuring Duke Hazelett” Show and also the “Tribute To Elvis” Show at the Vegas World Hotel and Casino, while Mike played bass in both and put both bands together. After this engagement, Leslie became pianist and singer in the “Country Tonight” Show in the Starworld Showroom in Lake of the Ozarks (near Branson) Missoui. This show went on to become the first American Country Music Show to play in the Royalty Theater in The West End of London, England, the theatre capitol of the world. During the run of this show he was able to work extensively with the noted choeorgrapher Gui Andrisano, who toured, choreographed, and was one of David Bowie’s two featured dancers in his 1975 “Diamond Dogs” tour and became a dear friend and mentor.

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