Levon Helm is an American treasure. Beginning as a drummer with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, later working with Bob Dylan and then as a founding member of the legendary Band, he was always regarded as a “musician’s musician.” In recent years that respect continued to grow and Levon’s Midnight Ramble sessions at his Woodstock studio became sold out must see events with a stellar list of all-star performers and celebrities.
He’s also an accomplished film actor with critically acclaimed performances in Coal Miner’s Daughter and The Right Stuff. His book This Wheel’s on Fire provided an insiders look into the Band’s storied history.
In 1996 Levon was diagnosed with throat cancer and his distinctive singing voice was silenced for awhile. When he stopped by for a live studio visit in November 2000 he sat in on drums with a local band, The Electrix, unable to sing, but lighting up the room with his energy and enthusiasm. We spoke about his history, the dawn of the new century and since it was Thanksgiving weekend, reminisced about The Band’s farewell performance, dubbed The Last Waltz.