The Leland Four
who's in the picture
Rick Stock, Jet Kanani, Lee Henriksen, Spud Ivens.
where was the band based
Portland, Oregon (1965 -1967)
Las Vegas, Nevada (1967 - 1973)
Reno, Nevada (1973 - 1978)
The Lettermen, The Beatles, Beach Boys, Bee Gees, The Association, Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Eric Clapton, The Mamas & Papas, Harry Nilsson, The Four Seasons
(and a whole bunch more…too numerous to mention)
Leland (Lee) Henriksen, Jet Kanani, Spud Ivens and myself -
“The Leland Four” (formerly The Hawaiian Shadows 1961-65) left Hawaii bound for Portland, Oregon on April 19th 1965 and opened at the “Turquoise Room” a local night club.
The band played 8pm-2am weeknights and 8pm-4am weekends, long hours, but hey….it was Rock n Roll and great fun!!
Spud had to leave the band temporarily and return to Hawaii, he still had a year left to serve in the US Army.
Gary Weller replaced him until June 1966.
After a 3 month gig at the “T-Room” the band booked into “Ricardo’s” in Redding, California for 2 months then on to “Harvey’s Wagon Wheel” a casino at the south shore of Lake Tahoe, Nevada. This was our first exposure to Nevada cabaret style entertainment. After Tahoe we played a month at “The Golden Casino” in Reno, Nevada then off to Anchorage, Alaska for 3 months.
During this time the decision was made to change the direction of the group. We were basically a Rock n Roll band making a living playing dance gigs and had peaked financially.
Our priorities were changing. We were no longer the single, carefree rockers.
Lee, Jet & Spud were married, by this time, and starting families.
We needed to increase our income somehow.
We realized that without the elusive “hit” record we would continue at the same pay scale. But we were too busy making a living and not able to spend enough time in the studio, so a hit record was not in the cards.
During our brief experience in the Nevada casinos we had made friends with some of the cabaret groups and discovered that the casino circuit was highly lucrative, so we knew what we had to do.
The band played a gig in Anchorage, Alaska for seven months. During that time we morphed into a cabaret act, emerging in the spring of 1967 as a Nevada style show band, incorporating comedy skits, show tunes, rock n roll, country music, Jazz etc. "Variety" was the key word. The versatility of the band enabled us to play any venue.
The band doubled on several instruments making a four piece band sound more like seven or eight!
Jet played Bass guitar and Valve Trombone (at the same time!)
Spud played Drums and Trumpet (at the same time!) He also played Piano and sometimes Slide Trombone.
Lee played Keyboards and Cornet (at the same time!) when he wasn’t playing Rhythm guitar or Accordion.
I couldn’t chew gum and walk at the same time so I stayed with guitar. When the guys picked up the horns I usually played heavy on the 12-string to help fill out the rhythm section. I also played Banjo, but not at the same time!
The group returned to Nevada, but this time as a cabaret act.
Reno, Lake Tahoe, Carson City and Las Vegas became our stomping grounds! We had made the right move!
From 1967-1978 The Leland Four played in countless casinos, hotel chains, show clubs, Princess cruise ships (The Love Boat) and the Fair circuit.
Traveling extensively throughout the USA, Canada & Mexico.
Over the years we were fortunate to perform with many stars.
At times as an opening act, or alternating shows with them.
Mick Box & Uriah Heep played a 2 night concert in Portland, Or. in the early '70's
They stayed at the Ramada Inn where the Leland Four were playing in the cabaret lounge. Mick & the guys hung out at the lounge after their concerts and once they found out I was English the party was on!
We all stayed on the same floor of the hotel, partied all night!!
In 1976 The Leland Four performed at a cast party in Liberace’s honor...
Liberace was not only a great pianist and entertainer, he also had class.
As the show began he gathered his entourage and, leaving several hundred specially invited guests, sat front and center and watched the entire show, refusing to leave until it was over. He also allowed Spud to play his $25,000 piano for a comedy routine.
Liberace then stayed behind after the room cleared for a photo opportunity with the group.
brushes with fame
The Leland Four performed and/or associated with the following artists:
Jimmy Dean, Larry Gatlin, Ted Neeley, Bob Bogle (Ventures) Liberace, Lionel Hampton, Debby Reynolds, Foster Brooks, Jerry Vale, Vic Damone, Frank Sinatra Jr. Xavier Cugat, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Sam Butera & the Witnesses, Freddy Fender, Lee Greenwood, Blood, Sweat & Tears, The Cascades, Red Skelton, England Dan & John Ford Coley, Uriah Heep, The Pointer Sisters, The Lockers, Hee-Haw (and a whole bunch more…too numerous to mention).
where are they now
Spud left the band in 1978 and lives in Los Angeles. He and his wife manage a home for the elderly. He performs as a single, entertaining in retirement and nursing homes in the Los Angeles area.
Lee, Jet & I stayed together adding two new members to the group.
The name was changed to “The Lelands”.