Fabrizio Grossi Talking Music Friends and Californisoul

Fabrizio Grossi Talking Music Friends and CalifornisoulIn Conversation with Bluesdoodles

Fabrizio Grossi Talking About Music Friends and Californisoul

 

 

 

BD: I was delighted when Mascot Label Group sent me a review copy of your new album Californisoul and the opportunity to find out you the band, influences and lots more. Before we talk about Californisoul and the band lets rewind to your early days

BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Italy?
FG:
My Family was not a musical family. Not much excitement musically in Italy in the late 60’s/early 70’s. Italy was traumatized due to the lost years due to terrorism. The bands I liked did not come to Italy so had to travel to France or Switzerland to see rock music live. My Mum did like music on the radio. The first 45 rpm record I was given two music records Beatles Ob La Di and Rolling Stones the kind of music being played on the radio. I have always been attracted to black music, I couldn’t understand the words as I had no English but felt it I was exposed to the music and did not realise that until recently. My Biological Mum died when I was ten and went to live with an Aunt. My Mum did love music and that was where I was first exposed to guitar driven music.  I was into the Beatles they are still my favourite band. There are a bunch of other bands that I love especially English Bands like Pink Floyd, T. Rex; and Procol Harum. When I first heard AC/DC and Queen it was like WOW! It was a shock I remember. I also loved old style black music and Motown like Marvin Gaye. I came to the UK in 1993, it was common for children to stay with family, the older cousins took me to Castle Donington it was my first encounter with a large festival seeing Whitesnake with Bernie Marsden. It was amazing I was moved as the whole park was muddy and loud then the change in atmosphere with Ain’t No Love in the Heart of The City as we all became chilled. It was a supreme moment. The first seed was planted that I wanted to be a musician. It was the impact of how one song changed the mood of thousands of people a few months later I saw the last concert of Queen played in Madrid. I walked out I knew what I wanted to be.

BD: What made you decide on the playing the Bass guitar?
FG: I started off playing the guitar when in junior high in Milan. My Uncle wanted me to play the piano. The guys on T.V were playing the guitars all the kids wanted to play the guitar. I moved back to Milan in high school I played in a couple of bands with friends. Most of us wanted to play the guitar. I had a cheap electric guitar to keep up with my friends. I was the worst guitar player so they said you should play bass. I was told it was like a guitar but with only 4 strings. I gave up the guitar, I was getting ahead playing the bass.

BD: How would you define the Blues yourself and the Supersonic Blues Machine?
FG: Wow! That is a question! Firstly, blues is a style of music, an attitude with a legacy. Artists playing the blues have to be present in the music putting in a sense of the history, blues man is not because you play the guitar. Blues is real music from the heart express music as a documentary of a story; it is a state of mind. Blues is American and is the Yin to Country music Yang. Both out of the same place in the USA country for white folk and blues for black folk. Blues allows for great interaction on an artistic level. Blues are the cultural lament of black people up to the fifties and sixties. With the rise of the civil rights, movement times changed. I feel that at the end of the day we are all human feeling the same things, want better relationships, whatever our birth, race or heritage. Blues has spread to a wider audience with the British explosion, Brian Jones, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Greg Allman and others a hundred years since the inception the blues is being played, Blues is music being played from the heart.

BD: At the heart of Supersonic Blues Machine is a trio yourself, Lance Lopez and Kenny Aronoff. How did you get together? On this and your debut album, you had guests what is the deciding factor in choosing them?
FG: We are part of a music community full of musicians who are friends. We did not want to be restricted by the  ‘boss’ to be more open. We have played at festivals including Hells Fest and Ramblin’ Man. Many people buy tickets a year in advance they go for a day or more to be surrounded by good people, friends and good music the festivals have established their credentials as the place to go and hear some bad-ass music. The principle behind the band is we will be touring playing like a jam band from ‘70’s playing the music we liked.  Played through 1996/97 and then 2001 birth of my daughter, I wanted to be around so she remembered she had a Dad. Being on the road was not for me and started to do lots of studio work.  Kenny and I became good friends in the studio playing together continuing the jamming experience. I was really busy with the band Starbreakers, and working with Toto one of the best bands around, Steve Vai and more which is why in music we are one big family of friends. Then Billy Gibbons called me one night asked me what I was doing as he was in town. He had an idea for a song which we are trying to put together for a whiskey commercial I have a great idea for a song and would like to co-write it with me so I said Yes! End of the day working together we had the song Running Whiskey from our first record. Then Billy’s manager called some good and bad news. Good news can clear the song but bad news can’t use for the advert. So we needed to find a home for this song – write more songs and start a band and that is what I did and Supersonic talked with Warren Haynes after the show. So said Gibbons was involved and Warren said yea what is going on.  So explained looking to play very loose as the end ‘60’s troubadour. Sounds fantastic count me in and here was the second recruit… So the musicians involved kept evolving so it was a group of friends that wanted to get involved. The core of the band is the three of us with the guests’ involvement very casual, the aim to create exciting music.  The first album West Of Flushing South Of Frisco, I was surprised how well it was received, we were delighted with the album created interest and a buzz. The project involves lots of friends, so we cannot do as many live shows when we do they are fun.  The idea is to have a Grateful Dead approach adding our friends to play some of their songs as well. What we want is people to experience a fun vibe a fresh approach free and not so structured.

BD: The title of your latest album Californisoul is interesting how did it come about? And is there any particular meaning to the word you have created?
FG: California is not just a State of USA. California is an attitude state of mind, a way of life, a sound and feel. A philosophy living California Style. The album is capturing the music we grew up on in the ‘60’s & ‘70’s. Mama & Papa’s, Janis Joplin, Santana. Jimi Hendrix, BB King etc… played on the radio. The big blues, soul sound of the past all that music surrounding the summer of love is tangible throughout the Cali spirit/soul. Radio had a big impact as always driving around the state everyone embraces that feel. We are like a family both Robben Ford and Steve Lukather are from California   Lots of the songs came out of my vault some that didn’t make West Of Flushing they were all looking for a common thread a Californisoul was the place they belonged.  The songs, lyrics and sound of the late sixties & seventies are still applicable for today. Standards have not moved forward despite lots of technology humanity has not moved forward, we still have the same issues wars, not Vietnam but around the world, problems with racism, poverty, social problems and ecological disasters. So the name is capturing the sound and philosophy we are addressing.

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Californisoul Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?
FG:  Songs are important it is why we like these songs. It is essential to produce real art, real music, real lyrics found in all the best art/culture and movies the times dictate the issues that art is addressing.

When I write I don’t have an inner alarm clock the songs come to me from other lyrics, experiences and improvising with friends. Many of the tracks have been sitting waiting for this album.  The album embraces message from back in the day those being delivered by Bob Marley/John Lennon. Pretty much wanted to record an album that was the ideal soundtrack for a road trip.  The lyrics and the melodies as very natural and organic and pull out what we want to capture on Californisoul.

BD: I am sure you have many plans for 2018 and beyond for the band do you plan to tour UK and Europe?
FG: We are planning to do shows in 2018. Whenever we have the opportunity to take Supersonic Blues Machine out we will. Playing live is fun and we love to jam and create the vibe that is fun for audiences.

 

Fabrizio Grossi Talking Music Friends and Californisoul

 

Album Review of Claifornisoul HERE

Journey With Supersonic Blues Machine Californisoul

Journey With Supersonic Blues Machine Californisoul

Journey With Supersonic Blues Machine Californisoul

 

Join the journey With Supersonic Blues Machine Californisoul. Following on from 2016 debut album West of Flushing South of Frisco we continue the sonic journey with Californisoul.  Thirteen tracks with special guests adding to the heat and excitement on five numbers is a journey you will want to be part of as Californisoul  Comes Alive On Supersonic Blues Machine’s New Album. The concept behind the title and album, “CALIFORNISOUL! That’s exactly what it is. It’s the missing soundtrack to a summertime drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 1971!” says Fabrizio Grossi.

 Supersonic Blues Machine is three musicians who definitely know how to create a storyboard of music that shapes the carefully crafted lyrics. They comprise Lance Lopez (guitars/vocals/songwriter), Fabrizio Grossi (bass, producer, songwriter), and Kenny Aronoff (drums). They want to have a party of a trip so have invited some friends, and for Californisoul, who is joining Californisoul? Robben Ford. Billy F. Gibbons, Eric Gales, Steve Lukather and Walter Trout.

If you are expecting traditional electric based blues from Supersonic Blues Machine, disappointment awaits you. BUT, if you are looking for exceptional grooves digging deep into the vein of the blues extracting the essence and weaving a new road to tread your blues shoes then you are in for a fun ride.  The opening track is full of sunshine and genuine warmth, I Am Done Missing You. Yes, they are back with a follow-up album that builds on the debut with music that charms and endears. A blending of vocals that adding the tension to the rhythms and adds a sting in the tail to the guitar. An opening number that pulls you onboard pumped with excitement at what the rest of the album will unveil.

Foot stomping swirling blues introduces us to Robben Ford’s guitar connecting with Lance’s vocals. Somebody’s Fool has a rocky edge that has been smoothed by the instrumentation and luscious backing vocals the energy is contained as Robben’s guitar stings in a solo confirming that one thing is for sure no-one is a fool for getting on board this journey.

Continuing with tracks with a guest Billy F. Gibbons joins the party on Broken Heart. This is a gigantic rocking and rolling curve in the road get on board the guitar is dirty and the oily rag of a rhythm section is keeping us on the road driving forward for the fun of the ride. Champagne is the perfect accompaniment to this number because none of us wants a Broken Heart.

Eric Gales guitar sound is distinct adding a powerful punch to the journey as the Elevate takes on a swooping flyover on route to San Francisco. The speed is gathering the wheels are burning up the miles with a sharp stinging fulsome guitar from Gales. The backing vocals curl and pull the guitar and connect the vocals with a party that is full on assertive and loud. Phew, that is a road you want to explore again.

The fourth guest guitarist is Steve Lukather as he and the band explore Hard Times. Kenny Aronoff’s drums add a hardened edge to a number that takes us into the second half of the album. Last but not least is Walter Trout. The instantly sweet note filled tone and texture of Trout’s guitar fills the speaker. The intro to What’s Wrong you just want to go on and on. Then the vocals pick up a perfect duet of emotions are amalgamated as they ask what is wrong with my blues? Absolutely nothing.

The seven tracks delivered by the band are the glue that makes the journey work. The Pit Stops, the viewing points of interest on this supersonic blues journey we are exploring on Californisoul. The trio of Lopez, Aronoff and Grossi capture the swirling dust and grit of the road combining this rawness with the magic of their personal interpretation of the blues. Fabrizo Grossi writer of lyrics and bassist delving deep into the grooves that adds the rhythmic poetry of this road trip.  The spirit of the Supersonic Blues Machine is captured in L.O.V.E. we are now travelling in the same direction the music is taking us. This is an album where the musical tones and textures change reflecting the changing scenery on a road trip. The funkiness of the machine is captured on The Stranger, once again the judicious use of backing vocals add so much to the seventies backdrop of the album. Closing out the album with This Is Love, chatting opening reflecting back to gospel blues and back to communal singing full of vigour and hope. The track combines blues with rhythmic beats and a spicing from a reggae groove hitting the blue sweet note they are looking for throughout the journey we have joined them on. We are left feeling upbeat with the Supersonic Blues Machine.

Without the skills and clear approach from the principal band delivering the remaining tracks giving a consistency a firm grounding to Californisoul the album could have missed its mark. Thankfully it did not this is so much more than a compilation of a band with guests. It is a coherent journey through music and lyrics with Lance Lopez vocal prowess the key to keeping the thirteen tracks on a road with a clear sense of purpose and direction. We are never taken to a backwater or miss our turning. The Satnav of music power has been set to ensure the styles may vary, the approach may be different. But the journey is clear to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco with blues-infused soulfulness.

Californisoul is full of confidence the trio know they have the power to add soul to your blues. The guests are the spice in the mix adding new tones and textures. It is the Supersonic Blues Machine that are in full control on this musical journey of Californisoul.  As Fabrizio Grossi says, “Lots of people have been saying to me ‘why does Supersonic Blues Machine always bring guests around? You guys can stand your own ground’, and there are three answers to that: 1) we’re all super friends and we’re having a blast, 2) most of them don’t give lessons and for us it’s only way to learn their secret “ways”, and three because the inspiration and the challenge they bring to the table!” We are as the band described, being taken back to 1971 immersed in a soundtrack on a drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  Sit back, turn up the volume enjoy an exuberant modern blues with twists and turns that any great journey will always take you to the unexpected.

 

Supersonic Blues MachineCalifornisoulMascot Label Group

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. I Am Done Missing You
  2. Somebody’s Fool (feat Robben Ford)
  3. L.O.V.E.
  4. Broken Heart (feat Billy F. Gibbons)
  5. Bad Boys
  6. Elevate (feat Eric Gales)
  7. The One
  8. Hard Times (feat Steve Lukather)
  9. Cry
  10. The Stranger
  11. What’s Wrong (feat Walter Trout)
  12. Thank You
  13. This Is Love

Journey With Supersonic Blues Machine Californisoul