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August 2, 1952|
Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, Rhode Island, United States
|Genres||Blues rock, Southern rock|
|Associated acts||Steve Miller Band, The Dudek-Finnigan-Krueger Band, Stevie Nicks, Cher, Boz Scaggs, The Allman Brothers Band|
In addition to his solo material, Dudek has played guitar with Steve Miller Band, The Dudek-Finnigan-Krueger Band, Stevie Nicks, Cher, Boz Scaggs, The Allman Brothers Band, as well as Maria Muldaur, Bobby Whitlock, Mike Finnigan and Dave Mason.
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Les Dudek's father, Harold, was born in Campbell, Nebraska, and was a World War II veteran in the United States Navy. His mother, Alma, born in Brooklyn, was a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette. Les has one older sister, Sandy, who was born in Brooklyn. The family is of Czech, German, Italian, and Russian ancestry. Six years after Les was born, his father retired from the Navy and the family moved to Florida where he grew up.
The Beatles caught Dudek's ear at an early age. In 1962, at the age of ten, Les asked his parents for a guitar for Christmas. They bought him an acoustic guitar from Sears & Roebuck. His musical influences, along with The Beatles, were Cream, Jimi Hendrix, and The Ventures. He had built quite a reputation around the Florida area as a proficient guitar player, having started playing in local bands as a teenager. Those bands were "The United Sounds", "Blue Truth" and "Power". That reputation would place him in the studio with the Allman Brothers Band for the recording of the Brothers & Sisters album. He played guitar harmonies with Dickey Betts on the well-known song "Ramblin' Man" and acoustic guitar on "Jessica". In Alan Paul's book, One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band, Dudek claimed to have written the part in "Jessica" from when it modulated into G then eventually back to A.
His next stops were as a guitarist for Boz Scaggs and The Steve Miller Band. Dudek was invited to play with Journey, but he had received an offer to record for Columbia Records as a solo artist. He recorded four solo albums for Columbia Records, Les Dudek, Say No More, Ghost Town Parade and Gypsy Ride. He had two minor hits with “City Magic” and “Old Judge Jones” which were played frequently on local radio stations in the Los Angeles, California area, where he lived at the time, having moved to West Hollywood in the mid-1970s.
He later collaborated with Cher, Stevie Nicks, and with two other Columbia artists, Mike Finnigan and Jim Krueger, with whom he formed The Dudek Finnigan Krueger Band in 1978. A DFKB album was released by Columbia Records a year later.
Between the years 1979 and 1982, Les and Cher had a personal as well as professional relationship. Dudek wrote and performed some of the music for the 1984 movie Mask starring Cher, Sam Elliott, Eric Stoltz, and Laura Dern. He had a small part in the film as "Boner", a biker. Dudek also appeared in the TV movie, Streets of Justice (1985). He has worked for NBC, ABC, ESPN, Fox Sports, and E! Entertainment Television. He can be heard on many television series including Friends.
In 1989, he did a brief stint with Canadian rock group John Kay & Steppenwolf as their guitarist. But problems developed between Dudek and Kay which led to him leave the band after a month of touring.
Two more solo albums later, Deeper Shades Of Blues (1994) and Freestyle, Dudek hit the road again with his own band, and has been performing songs from all his records, plus a few hits he has recorded with other artists.
In 2013, he released another solo album, Delta Breeze.
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