Highly regarded and sought after U.S. instrumental rock fusion super group The Aristocrats are heading to Adelaide next month.
The group who have a collective wealth of talent and experience, and who have some of the most unique and hilarious song titles are hitting The Gov on October 4.
Featuring the combined virtuoso talents of drummer Marco Minnemann (Steve Wilson, Joe Satriani), bassist Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, Dethklok) and Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson, Asia/GPS), the all-star supergroup have defiantly and joyously blown the supergroup stereotype to bits
We had the opportunity to do a Q and A with The Aristocrats and they answered our questions as a band.
The Upside News: A running theme in your media materials is a natural chemistry between you all, which produces great music. What do you attribute that to? Is it combined talents? Experience? Beer? What makes the partnership so seamless?
The Aristocrats: Strangely enough, we feel being the same age has a good deal to do with it. We’re all in our mid 40s – within 12 months of each other – and so we experienced a lot of the same cultural markers growing up, both musically and otherwise. That counts for something. Also, speaking specifically of music, we seem to have similar predilections for cheeky instrumental music that’s both complex, non-mainstream, and also not always serious. That’s a Zappa ethos, and we all admire him for having pioneered that sort of thing.
TUN: What do you love about touring together?
The Aristocrats: Well, one big thing is, we’re the bosses! We’re all grateful to have worked with and toured with so many other artists, which got us where we are today and continue to enhance our musical and professional careers. But there’s something special about knowing that this is our band, and we did this on our own, and we’re calling the shots on the whole thing. That leads to all sorts of fun and occasional mischief.
TUN: Your first album was recorded really quickly. With another couple of recordings under your belt, is the recording process similarly as fast these days?
The Aristocrats: We still don’t dilly-dally in the studio, let’s just say that. The first album was tracked in seven days. The second album, Culture Clash, was tracked in nine days. For Tres Caballeros, the most recent one, it was ten days. That said, we got more done per day in the ten days for Tres Caballeros than we did on either of the previous outings; lots more overdubs. Some of this desire for efficiency is by necessity, as we live an ocean apart; time is therefore money. But we don’t feel like we’re pulling up short on it at all.
TUN: How do you feel about Australian audiences?
The Aristocrats: Ask us after the tour is over! Seriously, we all dig Australia and have had fun here in the past. We’re looking forward to seeing how our cheeky little combo fares this time around.
TUN: What are you enjoying about playing Tres Caballeros live?
The Aristocrats: We’re having fun watching and feeling these tunes evolve slowly but surely over time, which occurs slightly differently because these songs have more overdubs on the studio versions than the songs from the first two albums. So there are more different parts to dig into and explore. A song like ‘Pig’s Day Off’ contains multitudes that reveal themselves over the course of a long tour, while even something as wild as ‘Texas Crazypants’ or ‘Stupid 7’ has little moments that shift from night to night.
TUN: You’ve played with some impressive names, what’s been the most valuable musical experience in your career thus far?
The Aristocrats: At the risk of a politically correct answer, we all feel that every experience we’ve had – be it with Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Hans Zimmer, Steven Wilson, or even metal bands like Necrophagist and Dethklok – have all contributed something of value to the musical canvas we now bring to the table as a collective entity. It shows up as a tapestry, not a list of individual things with varying value.
TUN: You’re described as a ‘rowdy new democracy’. Do you think a revolution is needed in the music industry in this era?
Well, the revolution has already happened, hasn’t it? The modern digital media terrain has served as a leveller, an opportunity, and a challenge all at once. In the end, though, it contains many huge unknowns, we have to feel it’s a good thing. Otherwise a completely ‘indie’ band like The Aristocrats, in a tiny sub-genre of the music business, would have no way of reaching worldwide audiences, or probably even existing.
TUN: What are the advantages of being an instrumental group?
You mean, other than not having to deal with having a singer in the band? We feel it creates the possibility of more freedom for melodic expression on each particular instrument. In a way, The Aristocrats is a statement about musical freedom in general. Playing instrumental music is just one of many choices we’ve made along that ever-evolving journey.
The Aristocrats play at The Gov on October 4. Book your tickets HERE.
By Libby Parker