Six ‘godfathers’ of the guitar
for a ‘supersonic’ debut
When news broke that they wanted to create the Supersonic Blues Machine, they didn't need to look for godfathers, they lined up to make the credit list on their debut album. And it wasn't about promising youngsters, but weathered veterans like Billy Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Robben Ford...A strange phenomenon considering the new band was formed by almost perfect strangers to the public at large. But not by those who work in blues rock.
At the outset of the decade, three session musicians decided to go it alone with their ‘supersonic machine’. Kenny Aronoff is probably the best known, at least in the USA, through his splendid drum work with John Mellancamp´s band. The bassist and producer Fabrizio Grossi, who had met him in the Goodfellas working under Steve ‘Toto’ Lukather, never hesitated for a second to add him to an idea floating around in his head.
A rhythm section of this calibre needed a guitarist and destiny brought them to Lance López, also starving for blues, and armed with a re-edition of the Les Paul Gold Top from 1957, plugged into a Marshall tuned like a Ferrari. A project that began to roll in 2012, led to the recording studio with the same enthusiasm he had in his day with Gov’t Mule, and gave birth to a spectacular debut, West of Flushing, South of Frisco, without a doubt, one of the best records of 2016.
A chance like this doesn't come around everyday, and his ‘homeboys’ signed up for the party. There was nothing prepared, it was simply about “ family, a few guys that are part of our life”, explains Grossi, to find the mood that was created, song by song, in the studio.
Running Whiskey seemed custom made ` by sheer coincidence’ for Gibbons, when it was written, Remedy is perfect for Warren Haynes comparing his Les Paul -Lester or Chester, doesn´t matter- with that of López; whereas Can’t Take No More is more a duel to the death with the 1973 Stratocaster of Walter Trout, another blues 'beast’ in top form. López likely used his ´65 Strat, another of his favorites, for the occasion.
Let's Call It A Day, with Robben Ford’s ES-355 (1963) as the main star, -at least it's the guitar he would like to have if stranded on a deserted island-. It is probably the most ‘different’ on a record that hopes to be, above all, a classic high-voltage blues record.
Eric Gales and his Magneto are defined as “brothers” of the supersonic trio. Nightmares & Dreams is redolent in many ways of Voodoo Chile on which Tennessee and Fabrizio met in 2001, it’s what is usually called ‘the beginning of a wonderful friendship’. Like the one that got the last guy invited, Chris Duarte, together with Lance López, despite also being addicted to the Strat which styles the catchy melody of That's My Way.
In this 6-string symphony however, the boss, ’a monster’ with just 5 ‘fingers’ is the Malibu Gloss 5 Fabrizio Grossi Signature, a handmade gem by Manne Guitars, as custom-made as Kenny Aronoff´s ‘supersonic’ drums. Absent the deep and powerful bassist (he’s the producer after all) ‘the blues machine’ would never have taken off.
(Images from the band: www.supersonicblues.com