West on life after amputation plus Mike Portnoy and Stone Sour, BLS, Aerosmith, STP, Fleetwood Mac, Seb Bach and Kiss

Leslie West

Learning again: Leslie West

Mountain man Leslie West says he’s learning to live with one leg after he lost his lower right limb in emergency surgery to deal with an infection.

The guitarist explains: “It changes everything. I can’t just jump out of bed and go outside. It’s been different, trying to remember you have one leg. You still feel it because the nerve endings are in there. It’s called ‘phantom pain’ – you think it’s there but it’s not. I’ve had to learn how to use crutches and be in a wheelchair. But it was either my leg or my life.”

West’s new solo album Unusual Suspects is released next week, featuring appearances by Slash, Joe Bonamassa, Zakk Wylde, Billy Gibbons and Steve Lukather.

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Former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy will gist with another band when he covers for Stone Sour drummer Ray Mayorga at Rock in Rio on September 24.

The sticksman quit his prog-metal outfit while touring with Avenged Sevenfold last year, and recently said he loved the experience of being able to play drums without having to be involved in a band’s decision-making process.

Now he’ll repeat the feat while Mayorga attends the birth of his first daughter, due on the day of the show.

Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor says: “Having Mike fill in for one show will be great. We can’t wait ti take the stage and lay it down.”

Portnoy adds: “It’s an unexpected treat for me to get another visit with some of the greatest fans in the world down in Brazil.”

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Chad Szeliga, formerly of Breaking Benjamin, will become Black Label Society’s fourth drummer in less than a year.

He replaces Mike Froedge, who says: “It’s not every day one gets to tour the world with a living guitar legend and his amazing band. I will never forget it.”

Szeliga comments: “Being a hired gun can be hard. If you don’t do your job you’ll be replaced instantly. You have to be hungry. You have to practice and show that you’re dedicated.”

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Aerosmith have laid down 13 basic tracks for their strife-torn follow-up album to 2004′s Honkin’ on Bobo.

Bassist Tom Hamilton says: “The bass parts are done, subject to some adjustment in the future. The drum tracks are all done and we’re starting to do guitar overdubs. It’s fun.

“We can see and hear the album in our minds – we can kind of tell what’s going on. I like to describe it as being crunchy on the outside with a creamy centre.”

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Stone Temple Pilots have cancelled the remaining shows of their US tour after frontman Scott Weiland was ordered to rest his vocal cords.

Dr Sid Khosla, who treated Weiland at the UC Health Voice Center in Cincinnati on Tuesday, reports: “We determined his left cord has likely scarring and his right cord is tremendously inflamed. With such a heavy concert schedule we determined Mr Weiland could potentially run the risk of a vocal haemorrhage or suffer permanent damage, hence putting him on complete vocal rest.”

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Meanwhile, Sebastian Bach has suggested Velvet Revolver made a mistake in hiring Weiland to front the band rather than himself, after he spent a month working with them during their formation.

The ex-Skid Row man says: “They put their faith in a heroin addict. How did that work out for them? If they had picked me we’d probably still be together right now. I’m a musician like them; I’m not a junkie and not into that kind of thing.

“So they don’t have a singer – and I have a new album.”

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Fleetwood Mac are laying plans to tour next year, although Mick Fleetwood admits the plans aren’t very sturdy.

He says: “We’re so disorganised as a band. All we know is we’re working next year. We’re all up for touring in the early summer of next year, I think, and once we start we’re much like U2 and the Stones in terms of workload – we basically play until no one wants to book us any more.”

Meanwhile, his bandmate Stevie Nicks has revealed Prince invited her to co-write the song which became Purple Rain; but the concept scared her too much.

She explains he sent her a ten-minute instrumental version of the track after the pair had discussed working together. “It was so overwhelming. I called him back and said, ‘I can’t do it. I wish I could. It’s too much for me.’

“I’m so glad that I didn’t, because he wrote it and it became Purple Rain.”

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Kiss mainman Gene Simmons doesn’t want talk of an original lineup reunion to circulate after he met up with former bandmate Ace Frehley recently.

Simmons says: “Ace and I had a nice, friendly lunch together. It was wonderful to see him. He looked healthy and happy. Nothing else was talked about. Ace and I are both happy with our lives and are not changing anything.”

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