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Stones keyboardist Leavell jams with House members

posted on July 18, 2008


July 17, 2008 - 12:21am

By FREDERIC J. FROMMER Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The congressman-lead singer had a question for the guest keyboardist at the all-congressional band gig Wednesday night.

"You know 'Brown Sugar'"? asked Rep. Collin Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat.

"I think I can handle that," replied Chuck Leavell, the Rolling Stones keyboardist.

And a little while later, they both took the stage with Peterson's band, the Second Amendments, at a Capitol Hill party to celebrate recent passage of a $290 billion farm bill, which Peterson helped usher through as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

Leavell, whose new album is "Live in Germany," filled in for regular keyboard player, Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., for a couple of numbers: "Brown Sugar," long a Stones standard, plus a Little Richard medley before Porter resumed his spot.

Leavell, a noted conservationist who owns a tree farm in Georgia, had lobbied Peterson for forest conservation provisions in the farm bill. Leavell recalled in an interview that during their meeting, Peterson had suggested, "Man, if you're ever around, play with us, sit in with us."

"I thought it was pretty darn cool that a congressman had a band," Leavell said.

Leavell has played for the Stones for 25 years, and has been a keyboardist for artists such as the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton and George Harrison. But Wednesday night's gig, in the House Agriculture Committee hearing room, was a first.

"That was a hoot," he said. "It was a wild and wacky thing to be playing with a bunch of congressmen. This couldn't have worked out better."

The band also includes Reps. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., on drums; Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., lead guitar, and Dave Weldon, R-Fla., on bass.


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