Deke was in and out of the Man band during the seventies, sometimes of his own will, sometimes not. During that time he released three solo albums, which are in my opinion absolute classics, deserving far wider recognition. He worked with his own band Iceberg, for a while, often supporting Man, and also worked with Sean Tyla in a band called The Force for a time.
Deke's songs tend towards the short and sharp, with some of the wittiest, smartest couplets this side of Shakespeare's sonnets. He 's equally capable of coming up with a memorable riff to hang a song on, and these still feature heavily in Man's live set today.
Up until the last ninties studio album, Call Down the Moon, the 1990's Man band had been a simple two guitars, bass and drums affair. With this album, Deke rediscovered his keyboard skills, and his ivory tinkling was shown off to good effect on stage as well. (Some say he just likes the chance for a sit down...). He still wields his Telecaster to good effect on stage, though it is fair to say that technically, Deke's guitar playing is not up to the same standard as Micky Jones'. His playing is certainly distinctive, being very sharp and incisive, and this is what makes Man's twin guitar sound so riveting - you can tell who is playing what with your eyes closed, the two guitars complement each other, providing variety in the Man sound, rather than just having two helpings of the same.
Deke is also blessed with a classic rock'n'roll voice, which can vary from a croon to a snarl in an instant. How someone with such qualities has never become one of music's biggest stars is simply beyond me.
On September 5 1996, Deke suffered a mild stroke; he spent a short time in hospital, and was out of action for a few months or so. After that, he made a splendid recovery, and was soon back treading the boards once again.
Deke announced he was leaving the Man band (again) in Spring 2004 to complete a solo album and undertake a few solo gigs of the evening with variety - a few songs and a lot of stories. There's more details on this on his own site, dekeleonard.com.
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