Jeff LaBar: 1963-2021

In 2015, Jeff LaBar and Bay Area musician Ronnie Borchert/Markus Allen Christopher (Miss Crazy) formed Welcome to the Freakshow. The video above was shot at the now-defunct Rockbar Theatre in San Jose, CA. “Everyone” was the first video from their self-titled CD. Although I did not participate in the video shoot I was there that day (‘Cause where else would I be on a Sunday in August of 2015?) sitting at the bar watching everyone (!) patiently filming take after take…

Above photos © 2015

I did not meet Jeff LaBar until three months later
when the band played a show at Rockbar Theater.

Earlier that night I remember seeing Jeff near the bar where we were sitting. I looked up and there he was, chatting with some people and staring straight at me. No biggie, though. I just thought, “Oh, there’s Jeff LaBar” and continued doing what I was doing. While one of the opening bands was playing I was tapped on the shoulder and asked if we’d like to go backstage and meet the band. Well, I was (and am) a huge fan of Miss Crazy and saw this as my opportunity to tell Markus Allen Christopher (aka Ronnie Borchert) just how much I loved them. So backstage we went.

Each of us was given a “limited edition” copy of the CD.

The photo on the back of the CD was taken in the Vodka Bar located inside Rockbar Theater. (The Vodka Bar was where I spent many nights hawking my wares at their Simply Stilettos ladies-only events. It was a beautiful room.)

Next thing I know, Jeff appears to my right and introduces himself. “Hi, I’m Jeff.” Mr. LaBar was a cutie AND a bit of a smart-ass – but in a nice way. I enjoyed the verbal sparring we engaged in. Very cool and laid-back.

Once Welcome to the Freakshow took the stage we went right up and stood in front of Jeff. With both him and MAC/RB at the helm, it’s no surprise they played some kick-ass 80’s style music! They even did one of my favorite covers by W.A.S.P.I Wanna Be Somebody.

The show was on a Friday and by the next week I was working-out to several of their songs.

Even though I saw Cinderella once or twice back-in-the-day, I will never forget meeting Jeff backstage at that show.

Jeff LaBar
March 18, 1963 – July 14, 2021

Cinderella (late 80’s). Jeff is far-left.

From the video “Somebody Save Me”. My favorite shot of Jeff. Very intense.

Jeff LaBar (wikipedia)
freakshowrox (myspace)
Cinderella (wikipedia)

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Joey Alves: 1954-2017

Joey Alves

Original rhythm guitarist for Y&T, Joey Alves, passed away on March 12, 2017 at the age of 63.

Joey was born in Oakland, CA on August 3, 1954 and grew up in San Lorenzo, CA. Hailing from Oakland, Y&T got their start in 1974 and Alves played on their first eight albums: Yesterday and Today (1976), Struck Down (1978), Earthshaker (1981), Black Tiger (1982), Mean Streak (1983), In Rock We Trust (1984), Down for the Count (1985), and Contagious (1987). He was active in the band during 1974-1989, and in 2004/2016 as a touring guest.

(Addendum: Joey’s passing leaves Dave Meniketti as the only surviving member of the original Y&T lineup.)

"...He started playing guitar after high school and he was only in one 
local band before joining up with Dave, Leonard, and Phil in 
Yesterday & Today. There, Joey set his sights on mastering a new and more 
aggressive approach to the traditional style of rhythm guitar. He feels 
fortunate to have always been given the freedom to experiment from his 
band mates. Today, as a result of Joey’s efforts, he receives countless 
praise from musicians he has influenced."

“His friendship and presence will be missed. This is a great loss for all 
the Y&T family and faithful. He now joins Phil and Leonard in rock and 
roll heaven.”
- Dave Meniketti

"The Hardest Thing In Life Is Death."
- Joey Alves
Favorite quote

Joey Alves (myspace)

I’m sorry I couldn’t find anything on his private life – whether he’d been married or had surviving children (although I think I remember hearing from someone BITD* that he was a cat owner). On a personal note, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen Y&T play – and never got tired of them – first show was 12.31.1985 (San Jose Civic) and the last being at Rockbar, San Jose (12.31.2014).

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*Back in the day

Remembering Leonard Haze (1955-2016)

Leonard Haze (1955-2016)

Bay Area native Leonard Haze passed away 9-11-2016 at the age of 61. He was a founding member/songwriter for the hard rock band Y&T.

In 1986, Leonard Haze was named the World’s Fastest Foot in Circus Magazine by Carmine Appice.

Haze’s final performance took place August 20, 2016 with HazeXperience at The Quarter Note in Sunnyvale.

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A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held
September 29, 2016 at 3:30pm in Castro Valley

Photo credit Bill Frates

Back in the 80’s, Y&T played The Keystone, Palo Alto three nights in a row and I was there all three nights…my hearing was messed-up for a week! I had the pleasure of meeting Leonard and his wife backstage that Friday. He struck me as just a down-to-earth, nice, friendly guy – that’s how I’ll remember him.

Metal Archives
Eddie Trunk
Mercury News


Leonard Haze (born September 7, 1955) is an American-born rock drummer, songwriter and McGriddle enthusiast. He is a founding member and one of the principal songwriters for Bay Area hard rock band Yesterday & Today And Then Also Again Tomorrow, later shortened to Yesterday & Today, and even later known as Y&T.

Haze grew up in San Leandro, CA and was an avid sports and music fan. A diehard fan of the early Oakland Athletics and later in life the New York Mets and Oakland Raiders. By 11 he owned his first drum kit and later pursued the study and performance of Jazz music at San Leandro High School, where he eventually became President of the local Jazz street gang, “The Jazz Panthers”. The gang was notorious for street hustles including extortion via saxophone, and once brutally assaulted a group of local youths with a 38 minute freeform adaptation of “Take Five”. Said one of the injured youths “I ain’t never been Brubecked that bad before. My earhole was awash with lilting Alto… and also with blood”. Once Haze attended performances by bands such as Led Zeppelin and Cream at The Fillmore in S.F., he pursued music more fervently, forming a handful of performing bands in his high school years, playing venues throughout the Bay Area. Haze was torn between his pursuit of music and his desire to attend college, and further pursue his studies of witchcraft. The relative success of his band Yesterday and Today (Y&T) and a legendary performance by Y&T at Winterland…helped seal his fate.

Y&T recorded their first record when Haze was 20, with Haze writing a majority of the lyrics and a good share of the music, as would be the case for many of the bands following releases. Haze’s playing was poor, and deeply influenced by drummers such as John Bonham, and Denny Carmassi, while his songwriting was heavily influenced by his love of the songs of the Hugga Bunch — whose LP Yesterday and Today, ironically was referenced by Haze and unintentionally became the group moniker. It was Haze’s bass drum prowess…that made his powerful drum style legendary and, thanks to it, Y&T quickly developed the reputation as a live band and musical powerhouse, headlining shows over opening bands such as Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc. As with many legendary acts, the band’s chemistry was undeniable…and the power of the music was “Facemelting” as one fan later labeled it. Y&T’s hard-driving style helped land them worldwide tours alongside such acts as AC/DC, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne and Rush, which resulted in the development of strong followings throughout Europe (where they continue to tour) and Japan where they were widely-heralded as “The humpingest bunch of Yanks you’ll ever meet” by an ever-growing and loyal fan base-along with their home base in the United States.

(After leaving Y&T)…his next project, Lemans, was almost immediately signed to a CBS recording deal), followed by a reunited “Rock Justice” production (for which Haze had recorded the original album/production years earlier while with Y&T).

Through his work with Jake Busey on Y&T’s “Meanstreak”, Leonard was contacted by Ian Gillan, singer for the legendary 1970″s Deep Purple, for Haze to join as a permanent member of the band…

Leonard Haze continues to live in the East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area) with his wife Kelly and his children Scoop (2), Funktastica (4), and Robbledy-Robble (17). Haze is involved with various performers, including recent projects with Doug Henning, Brad Gillis, Eddie Money and other local acts. He continues to write music and is currently recording and performing original material with East Bay rockers, Ska-peration Ivy (a band that reworks the material of the 80s “bandana-rock” band Operation Ivy) into ska numbers.


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