The Vehicle Production Group, a brand new American car company that designs, engineers, and distributes specialty vehicles, has altruistically gifted a brand new MV-1 to Leslie West. Faced with the challenges of touring following the June, 2011 amputation of his right leg above the knee, the MV-1 is the first mobility vehicle designed from the ground up for wheelchair accessibility, and this act of kindness has solved the major obstacle that derailed the guitarist's prior plans to return to the road.
The MV-1 is not an aftermarket conversion. The vehicle is the only factory built mode of transportation that meets or exceeds the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) direct from the factory. The fully boxed, body-on-frame design provides unrivaled strength, safety, and durability, and the MV-1 meets or exceeds all of the requirements set by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The Vehicle Production Group has partnered with AM General to assemble the MV-1 at their state-of-the-art plant in Mishawaka, Indiana, the former home of the Hummer H2. This new product is the only vehicle made in America with a factory installed Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel system option.
West received the vehicle from The Vehicle Production Group on December 22, 2011. The guitarist shared, "This is nicer than any guitar I have ever owned, and I've had some pretty incredible instruments including my own Leslie West Dean Signature Series. I was speechless. People would be proud to own this vehicle. The gestures made collectively by Fred, Brian and Steven, are the most generous I have experienced in my life." Fred Drasner, Chairman of The Vehicle Production Group LLC added, "From my days at Woodstock, to the release of Unusual Suspects, I always thought Leslie West was the best. When I heard his tour was cancelled because of a lack of accessible transportation, I was thrilled to be in a position to help him get back on the road. For me and his millions of fans, that is where he should be. All of us at VPG are extremely proud to be a part of getting Leslie safely back on the road in comfort and style in his new MV-1".
West will return to the road on January 31st for initial performances in the Northeastern U.S. Confirmed shows with Uli Jon Roth include appearances in:
1/31 New York, NY BB Kings
2/01 Foxborough, MA Showcase Live
2/03 Sellersville, PA Sellersville Theatre
2/04 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
West is a guitar god. From the Sixties through today, he has been revered by artists and fans alike. He has been in command of one of the biggest, boldest electric guitar tones known to humankind from the 1969 Woodstock Festival that placed his band Mountain in to historical lore through his current release Unusual Suspects. At age 66, West continues to remain current, as witnessed by the assemblage of legends joining him on the album which include Billy Gibbons, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Joe Bonamassa and Steve Lukather, alongside Kenny Aronoff. West shared, "These guys don't show up to play on everybody's albums. They're stars in their own right and fantastic players – everyone with their own sound and style, and about as far from 'the usual suspects' as it gets."