|Q: "How old were you when you auditioned?"
25 years old.
Q: "How long had you been playing prior to the audition?"
been playing since 1963. The auditions occurred in 1976.
Q: "What was your reaction when you got
the call telling you that "you
A: I thought
I could swing it!
(and "swing it" he did, folks!
The man is PHENOMENAL on the fretboard!!!)
in the beginning, How did you hear about BEATLEMANIA
A: I saw the ad in the Village Voice newspaper while I was at
a recording session.
* Had you
been impersonating George Harrison before you heard about
plans for a Beatlemania
A: No, but I knew all his licks since I was a kid.
was your audition experience like? eg: was the room full of
Beatle impersonators, or
was it just you and a music director?
A: Just myself and Kenny Laguna. I walked in with a Rickenbacker
12-String and a Vox Amp
for the audition. He hired me on the spot.
* How old
were you when you were accepted into the show?
A: 25 years old
you excited when you were told that you were "IN"?
A: Of course!
Had you had previous Broadway experience, prior to Beatlemania?
was your first (Beatlemania) experience on stage as George in
front of an audience like?
Tell us that moment right before you hit
that first note on IWHYH!
A: Excitement. But I really had confidence in both myself and
the band. We knew we were quite
good, even at that point.
* How many
years were you with the show?
A: Originally from July 1976 (audition thru October 1979 (Bway
close) I have performed with it
in a reunion context off and on since 1989.
* You became
a musical director for the show at some point, correct?
What was that experience
like, and how long did you "wear that hat"?
A: Yes, I MD'd for the Summer Stock shows in 1982. It was a very
interesting experience since
Steve Landes was brand new at that time. So it was exciting to
see and participate in his "Beatle"
there ever any accidents on stage say during costume changes?
eg: trips and falls,
A: Well, let's just say that I always made sure my trousers were
secure. I did get wacked on the
head during a curtain call once by the headstock of the bass.
Raised stars for me.
* If you
had any, what was the most embarrassing moment on stage?
Power outage? Flubbed
lyrics? Sneezes? etc.
A: The Power Outage of 1977 , actually, was handled quite nicely
by the group what with the
acoustic sing-a-long we gave to calm everyone down. But I don't
remember any real embarrasing
moments (or don't want to!).
* I first saw you perform
at the Shubert Theatre in Century City, Calif,
and being the big George
Harrison fan that I was (at 13 years old), I
was dissappointed that you
didn't get to do any George songs during the
show. Why was that
and What were your feelings about that situation
A: Although the story was relayed to me that George "objected
to having his material used",
that didn't preclude "Beethoven" or other pieces from entering
the fray. I actually did perform
"Something" and "Here Comes The Sun" in Boston. I can't say what
the reason was although I
was perfectly capable of singing these songs. Needless to say,
I wasn't real happy about it.
was your favorite part of the show?
A: The Pepper section and the Indian section.
was your least favorite part of the show?
A: If I felt ill, singing harmonies to "Nowhere Man" and
"Hey Jude" were especially difficult to
* Who did
you enjoy working with the most?
A: Justin was always a friend. For musical quality-Bunk One.
did you enjoy performing the most? (What city, country,
A: The Century City Schubert and The Wintergarden in NYC
* Did you
play vintage instruments and use vintage equipment for the
A: Depended on which instrument you were talking about. I occasionally
used some of my own
vintage gear in those days including a 1963 Fender Strat, 1971
Rickenbacker "Light Show"
Guitar and a 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop. Most of the gear we
used (except for the Vox
Amps) were the current models available in those days since the
re-issue market didn't yet exist.
is your most favorite guitar to play?
A: My Rickenbacker 360/12 WB/OS. I also love my white Strat.
* We know
that supposedly none of the original Beatles ever saw the
show live, but some people
from the Beatles camp (other than attourneys)
did see it.
Do you recall who?
A: Keith Allison (spotting for Ringo), Various members of Fleetwood
Mac (at my personal
invitation), Roger McGuinn (my invite), Mike Nesmith (my invite),
Paul Simon, Barbara Eden,
Jackie Lomax (my invite).....
* Did you
ever meet any of the Beatles?
A: Have met all except George.
Were there ever any VIP guests that mingled with you and the cast
backstage, before, during
or after the shows?
A:Roger McGuinn, Mike Nesmith, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie,
John McVie, Mick
Fleetwood, Jackie Lomax, Paul Simon, members of KISS, Keith Richards,
Liz Taylor, Steve
Tyler & the rest of Aerosmith, the group Boston, Rick Derringer,
the guys from the Left Banke
(who I had already worked with anyway), John Mendlsohn, Chet
* Do you
still perform with other alumni? You also have a George
Harrison Tribute show.
Is there a website we can link to for more
A: Yes, I occasionally perform with other guys from the original
show. The GH tribute website is
in the works and I'll update as soon as it's ready!
looking back, how was the Beatlemania experience for
A: A fabulous life experience.
Here a brief listing of Leslie's
1969-1976 Hundreds of recording sessions with many artists incl.
1969-70 Staff writer for April Blackwood Music NYC
Columbia Records Solo Artist
1970-72 Staff writer for Robbins Feist & Miller Music NYC/LA
"La Chansons des Souvenirs" ("Song Of A Thousand Voices")
(Mireille Mathieu-Phillips Recs.)
#1 in France, Austria, Germany, Benelux, Israel
(Composer / Lyricist)
MGM/Sunflower Records Recording Artist
as Fearless Fradkin ("Song Of A Thousand Voices" 45 Single)
#87 US #12 MOR Charts
as The Yummies ("Patty Cake / "Hippie Lady" 45 Single)
Regional Hit in various areas
Unreleased LP for Sunflower Records
1972-73 Producer- Bell Records,
Unreleased Left Banke LP for Bell Recs.
45 Singles for:
California (fictitious group starring me)
New Hope (folk rock group from the East)
Tom Selden (solo singer from Connecticut)
Mara Lynn Brown (MOR singer from NYC)
1973-75 Recording artist for ESP-Disk'
Member/writer/producer for the Godz
The Godz-"Godzundheit" LP
Jim McCarthy-"Alien" LP
Member/writer/producer Thornton, Fradkin & Unger
1974 Release of "Pass On
This Side" (TFU)
"God Bless California" Single (TFU) (Top 20 Benelux)
TFU National Tour with Roger McGuinn, BS&T, Richie Havens,
Brewer & Shipley, Livingston Taylor
1975-76 Off Bway Show-ESTELLE (Composer)
w/ Ian Lloyd, David Peel, Drifters, Earl Lewis & The Channels,
California, Nell Carter, Dion, etc.
1976 Producer for Laurie
California (several singles)
"Jeans On" released in 1976 actually features the entire original Bway
Beatlemania cast - Mitch (Piano), Joe P. (Lead Vocals), Justin (Drums)
plus myself (Vocals, Bass, Guitar) and Diana Haig co-producing it with
1981-1987 Producer for Laurie and 3C Records
Songwriter / Artist / Performer
California- "Summer Fun Medley"
Barbara M., Valerie Tyler, many others...
1985 Kama Sutra Records Solo 12"
Roberto Jordan's cover of "Song Of A Thousand Voices"
#1 in Mexico
1985-1989 Jingles, Soap Opera Music, MIDI and Synth Programming/Composing
"Honey Nut Cheerios", "American Express", Campbell's Soup, Very Fine
Apple Juice, Nestle's, Disney, HBO/Cinemax, NBC Winter Olympics, 7Up,
Johnson & Johnson and endless others
1989-1994 Beatlemania Shows
1993-94 Godz reunion and reissues
Singer / Musician / Performer
The Godz- "Godzundheit"
The Godz- "Alien"
The Godz-"Godz Bless California" (aka "Pass On This Side")
1995 Beatlemania in Las Vegas at the Sands Hotel
Moved to LasVegas for 6 months
1996 Recorded "Get Wet" CD in Phoenix Arizona (6 months)
to Redondo Beach California for three years.
1996-99 Beatlemania Shows
1999 Opened my own Internet label-Trackbytrack Records
2000 Moved to Denver, Colorado area
"Venus In Blue Jeans" teen group CD
"June Record" single
(2nd wife) in October 2000 in CO.
2001 Formed new version of Edison Lighthouse for recording &
2002 Edison Lighthouse recording & touring
"Get Wet-A Day
At The Beach" CD-mp3.com
Birthday: January 15th, 1951
Gretsch Country Gentleman
Rickenbacker 360/12, Epiphone Casino,
Gibson J-200 Acoustic, Bass, and Sitar
Leslie's "FRADKIN FAQ's":
Q: When and Where did the show begin?
A: 1976 (Auditions) New York City
1977 (Previews) Boston, Mass.
1977 (Broadway) New York City
Q: Who were the original cast members?
A: Mitch Weissman (Bass Guitar/Piano)
Joe Pecorino (Rhythm Guitar/Piano)
Les Fradkin (Lead Guitar/Sitar)
Justin McNeill (Drums)
Q: Who were the show's original producers?
A: Steve Leber & David Krebs
Q: Was there a Cast Album?
A: Yes- on Arista Records (1978)
Q: Where else did the Original show play?
A: Los Angeles (1978), Chicago (1978)
Q: Did The Beatles ever see the show?
A: Don't know. We know several family and friends saw us.
Q: Like who?
A: Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie,
The Kinks, Boston, Aerosmith,
Mike Nesmith, Roger McGuinn, etc.
Q: What's it like to play the same songs all the time?
A: Practice makes perfect!
Q: Ever played overseas?
A: Yes... Japan, England, Iceland, Australia....
Q: Do you use equipment just like The Beatles used to play?
A: Yes. Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Hofner, Fender, Ludwig, Vox