Leidel/Longchamp Band
Click to EnlargeOriginally they were a Duo of a Ray Longchamp and Harry Leidel. They were a rock Duo in a heavy cover Band NY/NJ upstate area where to play originals you had to be good very good. They could, along with the mandatory covers.

They were known for playing fast and for their extended jams that were blistering. Wherever they played after the word got out the places they played were packed and they always held an audience. They were considered by many to be the best or one of the best Bands in the area loaded with high quality very competitive Bands.

Joey Santos of the Old Red Rail who had all the up and coming national Bands come through his place like Antone's was taken by their demo tape, Harry gave him and got them to open up for smaller National acts. Joey's quote was you guys sound like a Band but you're just two guys.

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Ray Longchamp, a child prodigy from eight or so, was again the best or a very very close second best lead guitar player in the NJ/NY upstate area.

Harry Leidel was the quiet one who learned guitar in school and after school traveled through New Mexico, Austin Texas and Seattle. He wrote from the beginning knowing there were so many good guitarists that writing was his strength and best career move. He probably would have never left Texas if he did not fall for a young female Seattle writer. Though Harry was the quiet one he too was an excellent guitar player who was far more than a strummer and backup. His percussive and versatile style helped and added in the Bands extended jams. Click to EnlargeHarry also was if the not the best songwriter of the time in NY/NJ area for years it would be hard to find a guy better. People knew his songs knew his lyrics. The Leidel/Longchamp Band was appreciated by the audience and bar owners equally because they entertained and also made the bars money. Eventually, the Band helped open up things to a more balanced original/cover scene.

The Band had no real leader more like co-leaders. Still Harry and Ray had different ideas on where they wanted to go musically and often expressed it to each other.

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Ray wanted to be the main man of his own cover band and went solo. He also got into teaching guitar for a living. The key for Ray, other than his love for music, was he wanted to make a living at it. He succeeded where Harry preferred the original route go for broke to make it as a songwriter selling songs or be in a top notch original Band. So Harry took a Field Tech job with Verizon and through that income was able and is still able to carry on his quest. Probably by doing a regular job helped his writing the busier he was the better he was.

The last time Harry returned back to NY in a Bar where Ray Longchamp was playing, Ray cut into the opening chords to "Keep Your Feet Movin' Ahead". When someone asked he said to his Duo partner, it was a Harry Leidel song. Immediately you heard someone yell Leidel/Longchamp. Years after they played their last time the Duo was still remembered. Says something.

Mike Rugen
Consultant to Rugen Productions