Y&T Founding Guitarist Joey Alves Dead at 63

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Y&T’s 1976 debut album

The original rhythm guitarist of the hard rock/metal band Y&T, Joey Alves, died March 12, 2017, due to ulcerative colitis and other complications. He was 63. Alves’ death leaves Dave Meniketti as the only surviving member of the original lineup that recorded the band’s debut album, Yesterday and Today (the band’s original name), in 1976.

Two other founding members of Y&T—drummer Leonard Haze and bassist Phil Kennemore—preceded Alves in death: Kennemore passed on January 7, 2011, and Haze on September 11, 2016, both from complications of lung cancer.

Meniketti posted on Facebook: “It’s with great sadness that I write this today. Y&T’s original rhythm guitarist, Joey Alves, passed away at 7:10 this morning. He suffered from ulcerative colitis and other complications that led to his passing. Joey was one of the finest rock rhythm guitarists, and I’ll always remember playing next to him chunking out those monster chords with his classic red double cutaway ’59 Les Paul Jr. As Ronnie Montrose once said about Joey, ‘There are rhythm players, then there’s Joey. A class of his own.’ He was a fun guy who always played with attitude and conviction, and was responsible for writing some memorable riffs for Y&T over the years. 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.”

Y&T’s Dave Meniketti

On Feb. 18, 2022, Meniketti revealed that he was suffering from prostate cancer. Writing on the band’s Facebook page, he said, “My doctor says we caught it early and the likelihood of surviving this is very high. Having spent a lifetime of staying on top of my health, and having caught this early, may be the reason why I should fully survive this. I urge everyone to listen to your bodies & get regular checkups. I know plenty of people that didn’t do that, and it has been the difference between an extended life and death.

“I am doing fine, feeling well, and look forward to getting this behind me 😏 and continuing to bring the music to you for many years to come.”

The current lineup of Y&T released a documentary, On With the Show, in 2019. It covered the band from its earliest days and will include live footage.

When Alves died, Meniketti wrote, “I saw this clip of Joey 2 days ago when I was reviewing part of the documentary. Seeing Joey on the screen while knowing he was not long for this earth was a shock to me at first, but hearing what he said in this clip really touched me. What he said is so right and I wanted to share this with deep respect for my friend. Thank you Mark and Geoff for putting this together for me.”

Y&T’s current lineup consists of Meniketti, guitarist John Nymann, drummer Mike Vanderhule and bassist Aaron Leigh. They released Live at the Mystic in 2012 and Facemelter, their first studio album in 13 years, in 2010. Y&T formed in Oakland, California, in 1974.

Listen to “25 Hours a Day” from Y&T’s 1976 debut album

Related: 10 seminal hard rock albums

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  1. Angelo B
    #1 Angelo B 7 September, 2020, 23:38

    And then there was one. I have fond memories of seeing the original four when they weren’t touring it seems like every weekend. It was usually The Keystones (Berkley or Palo Alto), The Stone or Wolfgang’s ( both in S.F.).Being a warm-up band for Yesterday and Today in the Bay Area was always a tough gig and sometime dangerous. Some bands left in tears some bands left in the middle of songs and sadly often went on to bigger musical careers than our local Heros. Watching Leonard Haze out rock most double bass drummers with his HUGE single bass, or watching Dave and Joey play each others and their own guitars at the same time was always a crowd pleaser. Phil always managed to SQUEEZE out the lead vocals for one song was always appreciated by the crowd. Even after the 40th or 50th time they always sounded fresh and full throttled

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