I Loved the music of Elvis Presley, his showmanship and presentation were inspiring. The Beatles had major impact on my life. I was highly motivated to perfect my singing, every day after school I would sing to my Beatle albums, Rolling Stones, Dave Clark Five, and a host of other English groups. I began jamming with local guys that were into guitars, keys and drums. Wow, life became all about music.
My first serious group was The Topics. We wore black blazers, white shirts, black ties, silver pants and of course, Beatle boots! We played mostly high school pep dances, oh yeah! The scene then started getting a lot heavier when Jimi Hendricks shared his experience with the world. It seemed that all the guitar players were freaking out about the new possibilities, huge amps, controlled feedback and just reckless abandon. The Who were breaking their instruments on stage, controlled chaos prevailed. Janice Joplin just blew me away. I wanted rasp, and guts, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, time to learn more about my voice. Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, James Brown a few of my favorites.
I started an underground group called The Worm, we played a late night after hours club in Seattle called The Vault. When The Worm surfaced from there, we changed to The Front Page, a name our new manager gave us. We played on the Pat O’Day dance circuit in mostly roller rinks and attracted hundreds of kids, due to radio ads that promoted the circuit. Drugs, break ups, lost direction, then Hair came to Seattle. I auditioned and made it in the show. I took it seriously and began a new journey in the world of live theater. I spent two years traveling with the show and during that time managed to write original songs that were recorded on Revelation Records. The group was called Joshua (later re-mastered and released as Les Carlsen 1971). Heavy guitars, and melotron made for a very interesting sound.
Fred Shwartz was the name of my next group- two guitars, bass and drums. We had a country rock feel and I really enjoyed performing with that band. We made some great music together. There was no one in the group by the name of Fred or Shwartz for that matter so we spent a lot of our time explaining the name. We opened for T-Rex, Blue Oyster Cult, Y and T! Got great reviews, nothing happened, broke up, still haven’t found what I’m looking for!
Decided to work with the one person I loved the most, my wife, Joyce, whom I had met and fallen in love with when we were in Hair together years earlier. Our act, The Carlsen-Macek Band, became very popular in the Northwest club scene in the early eighties and because of that we were selected to open shows for Heart, Three Dog Night, The Beach Boys, Quiet Riot, Steppenwolf, Cliff Richards, and BB King. We performed and were choreographed by Kenny Ortega who we had also met in Hair in 1970. We recorded two albums that were released outside of the USA. This led to six Saturday night performances on National TV in Italy. We worked well together for years as performers and song writers. During that time both of us studied voice with Maestro David Kyle. The idea was, once again, to improve as singers. It was through this encounter that I feel the groundwork was laid to meet the rigorous vocal challenges of being the lead singer of BLOODGOOD.
Because of the fact that Jesus is actually who He claimed to be, life has changed for me and I will "Never Be The Same"! The song titles and the lyric content within, have allowed me to communicate my passion through the course of several studio and live albums, several dvd’s of various live BLOODGOOD shows, taped interviews, and appearances on national television, newspaper, and magazine articles.
Let the Truth be known throughout the entire world that Jesus Christ is alive and well! Having said that be filled with joy and carry on!
If you want something a bit different - or at the very least on the laid back and reserved side of things - consider the spring of 2015 debut full length of Carlsen Cromwell, The Lucky Side.
This project is a collaboration between Les and Don Cromwell, who acted as the touring bassist with renowned pop group Air Supply between 1983 and 1987 in addition to touring and recording with rock legend Eddie Money over a six year period. To his credit, Cromwell co-wrote three tracks off the hit self-titled Air Supply album from 1985. Those interested in a laid back 70’s rock meets classic rock sound (or are otherwise Les Carlsen fans) are strongly encouraged to check out the Carlsen Cromwell debut The Lucky Side.
There’s underrated, under-appreciated and overlooked. And then there is plain old forgotten. As in Les Carlsen’s debut solo album, which could not have fallen between the cracks more in light of how he recorded it in 1971, hence its title, while touring as the lead role ‘Claude’ with the Broadway musical Hair. The iconic front man, with six studio albums and three live albums to his credit as part of Christian metal legends BLOODGOOD, put the album together with a group of musicians from Seattle but it never saw release until now. A lost treasure recently rediscovered by the artist on cassette, 1971 saw official release on Girder Music in January of 2019 as a full-length 11-song album (in the digi pak format) after being re-mastered by former BLOODGOOD guitarist David Zaffiro.