Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Miltonian Institute turns 70

On July 19th I drove up to the Alligator Soul Restaurant to participate in the 70th birthday party for the Miltonian Institute. No, it's not a financial instution, it's the name I came up with years ago to describe the musical entertainment dynamo that is better known by the name of Leslie "Star Drums" Milton." A native of New Orleans, Leslie has been active on the Seattle blues scene since the late '70s, when he played with the band BlueLights (which also included the now well-known keyboardist Chuck "Barrelhouse Chuck" Goering and Seattle guitarist Daddy Treetops).

The Alligator Soul recently moved to a new, larger facility on Everett's Broadway street. Leslie, resplendent in a canary yellow jacket and matching shoes, and his musical partner keyboardist Gael "Lady Keys" Kurath were set up on a nice large stage, and during the evening were joined by several guests, including another drummer, a bassist, guitarist, plus Seattle blues harpists Kim Field and yours truly. Leslie and Lady keys have been playing at the Alligator Soul every Saturday now for 10 years - the last time I saw them was at the old location years ago when my band was playing up the street at the now defunct Horseshoe Restaurant.

Leslie "Star Drums" Milton and Gael "Lady Keys" Kurath

Leslie Milton

Kim Field and Leslie Milton

Leslie has played with just about everybody over the years, including Johnny Otis, Lee Dorsey, Sonny & Cher, and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, and Seattle's Slamhound Hunters and the Isaac Scott Band, to name just a few. He and Lady Keys and friends put on a great show for a full house of well-wishers. Man, I hope that I've got half of Leslie's energy when I turn 70!

Happy birthday, Pops!


Toff said...

I found you, Leslie! We played together for awhile in a club on the outskirts of Los Angeles around 1962 with a singer named Rick Lancelot. I am Tom Funk and was the tenor player with that group. I had gigged at the 'Dream Room' in New Orleans on Bourbon St. around 1961 with a road group for the 'Hollywood Argyles'. Now, back to playing with you- I remember the bass player who played in our group with Leslie would fall off the stage at times from, what they said, being famished from not having the money to eat.I am now 72, I have embraced the Baha'i Teachings over the last 40 years and it's a whole new world of wisdom for humanity and actually is promoting the unity of all people no matter what their background in a way that has now created a worldwide community about 6 million strong. I think about you Leslie - especially when I hear something like Barbara George singing, 'I Know' with the band & you putting down what could be said was close to a 'reggae' feel. Loving greetings to you and yours, T.F.

Please Help us Repatriate said...

My dad, Billy Diamond, told me as soon as his grandson/my son wanted to learn how to play drums that he should look you up! He named Fats Domino in 1949 but he used to play at the Robin Hood and the Dew Drop Inn.
My dad is in his late 90s and still in the music scene and reading about you to him and the other posts, brought back a lot of memories for him.
We've been in Seattle since 2008 and he mentioned your name immediately as a great drummer and my father has incredible musical taste.