Roger ‘Deke’ Leonard seemed to add an air of glamour to the Manband. He adopted the name of a character played by Elvis Presley, wore leather and waistcoats and the style of his songwriting, singing and playing suggested he was a little bit different from the rank and file.
Yet any accusations of aloofness can be swiftly disproved by reading his books, columns and sleeve notes. The humour, generosity and wisdom, albeit rock and roll wisdom, which come through evoke a likeable and down-to-earth person.
Deke always seemed to appreciate the input of others and there appeared to be little of the narcissist in him. If his memoirs are to be believed, it was always the problems other people had getting on rather than his own ego which led to line-up changes in Man.
On stage and in the studio it looks as if he did his job as a team member and didn’t try to hog the limelight. Yet his blazing guitar, atmospheric vocals and lyrically strong songs were outstanding for so many years.
Though not talkative during a gig, in interviews and in print he had a strong, socially-concerned voice that was never unintelligent or mean spirited. Like his music, it was frequently amusing, sometimes moving and always entertaining.
Albums by Deke Leonard
Before Your Very Eyes (1981)
Unfinished Business (2002)
Freedom and Chains (2005)
Albums by Man featuring Deke Leonard
2 oz of Plastic With a Hole in the Middle (1969)
Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In? (1971)
Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics (1974)
Slow Motion (1974)
Maximum Darkness (1975)
The Welsh Connection (1976)
All’s Well That Ends Well (1977)
Friday the 13th (1984)
The Twang Dynasty (1992)
Call Down the Moon (1995)
1998 at the Star Club (1998)
Legal Bootleg (1999)
Endangered Species (2000)
Books by Deke Leonard
Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics (1996)
Maybe I Should Have Stayed in Bed (2000)
The Twang Dynasty (2012)
Maximum Darkness (2015)
NB: Deke recorded a new album in 2016.