Eddie Leighton Project
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Eddie Leighton Project

Band Rock Blues


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"The boys are back"

The Boys are Back

Longtime local musicians part of festival lineup

By Klint Lowry, The News-Herald
PUBLISHED: July 6, 2005
As part of its effort to make the Taylor Summer Festival a major event not just for the city but for the entire Downriver area, planners have made it a point to book some well-known musical acts.
Saturday's lineup is headlined by Styx, and includes Randy Bachman of The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive and '60s group ? and the Mysterians.
Serious fans of local rock will want to pay attention when WCSX's Steve Kostan hits the stage. Kostan will play a set with The Eddie Leighton Project.
"We've been around this city a long, long time; a lot of people know us," Leighton said.
Perhaps they don't know them as The Eddie Leighton Project. That name has only been around for about three years. But he and bassist Rick Vee have been playing, together mostly for more than 30 years.
"We're married," Vee joked.
Actually, they've been together since their early teens, when they started out as Curtis Hyflash. Later, they were known as Artist. Vee was in a band called The Look, which was popular in the early '80s.
"We had three videos on MTV at one time, but nobody had cable in 1982," Vee recalled. "That was the only problem."
In 1983, as Artist, they won first place in a nationwide "Miller High Life Rock to Riches" competition.
In terms of the scale of the contest, Leighton compared it to today's "American Idol" competition. It was a nationwide elimination contest that took an entire year. The difference being it wasn't televised and hyped at every stage.
"Twisted Sister won the year after us; that's how they got started," Leighton said.
Leighton earned another honor 10 years later when he won the title "Motor City's Best Guitarist" in a contest sponsored by radio station WRIF. The victory was made even bigger because he won it the day after his father died.
Over the years, in all their musical incarnations, they have built up a fan base and reputation in the local music scene. Leighton said they still have people who come out to see them from their Curtis Hyflash days.
While there's a special excitement about playing a gig for the hometown folks, playing before big crowds on the same bills with big name acts is nothing new to them.
"We've played with a lot of bands," Vee said, "the Allman Brothers, Peter Frampton, Jefferson Airplane, REO Speedwagon, Blue Oyster Cult, Pat Benatar, J. Giles Band, Wendy O. Williams, Burton Cummings, The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive.
"You name it, we probably played with them. There was no money in it, but it was a lot of fun. They give you three or four hundred dollars and you play in front of 30,000 people."
Every show is different, and the headliners are all different, too. Not too long ago, they did a show with Paul Rodgers of Bad Company fame.
Rodgers proved to live up to the name of his former band, refusing to allow the warmup acts backstage and making them use the public entrance.
On the other hand, Leighton and Vee said there are other shows where it's just a big, friendly party backstage. Peter Frampton came to mind for Vee as somebody who was totally down to earth.
But it's always different. You never know what the dressing room setup will be, or if there will be one at all.
The one nice thing about playing with big-name acts, Vee said, the food's better.
Leighton and Vee have enjoyed enough success and received enough validation in their careers to know they are good at what they do. Bad timing, bad management, that one well-placed stroke of luck have kept them from crossing that fine line between good and famous.
"We've done a lot of shows, a lot of gigs, we've met a lot of great people," Leighton said. "We just love music. And that's what we do it for."
That's another thing that makes this show exciting.
"This is a show for music," Leighton said. They aren't the band at a motorcycle show. They aren't the band at the bar. The crowd will be there just for the music.
"It's a lot more positive energy," Vee added. "You got all those people screaming and hollering for you. You can see them in the daylight. And they're there for the music. It's different from playing clubs."
The energy from a big crowd like that can be such a rush, a 10-song set can seem to go by in a flash.
If there's a down side, it's that they don't have the luxury of playing all their own material.
With a show like this, Leighton said, the crowd will listen to original material, they'll even be open to it, but to really get them revved up, you have to play some covers they'll recognize.
"Like, Styx will go in there and do all their own stuff," Leighton said. "They've already been promoted and they've been around for years and years.
"We've been around for years and years, we just never had that super break they've had. But we'll still kick their butts."
And hopefully, they'll sell some copies of their new CD, "The Eddie Leighton Project," which can be found on CD Baby, a Web site specializing in independently produced music.
Those who don't catch the show at the Taylor Summer Festival can see The Eddie Leighton Experience later that night at The Trolley Stop Lounge in Taylor.
- The News Herald, Michigan


The Eddie Leighton Project has just released its first CD. You can pick up a copy of the new cd at www.CDbaby.com or go to our web site at www.elproject.com, and click on the CD cover on the home page. Pick up a copy or two, it's a great CD. We have a totally new sound, and were proud of it.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Eddie Leighton started playing the guitar at the age of twelve, and started playing clubs at sixteen years old during summer vacation from school. He has been hooked on music and performing live shows ever since then. The Eddie Leighton Project is a group of highly experienced musicians. Eddie Leighton took the Motor Citys Best Rock Guitarist award, winning first place with over 700 entries in 1993. In 1983 Eddie won 1st place in the Miller Highlife Rock to Riches Contest beating out 35,000 entries nation wide with his orginal song, (Out on the road again). We have been around the country performing for quite a while. We are all professionals at what we do. We love to perform live, and it shows when we are on stage.
Our influences are anyone who can kick are asses.