Supersonic Blues Machine - Biography
The seeds of Supersonic Blues Machine began in 2010 and grew from the rhythm section of the Steve Lukather's side project jam band Goodfellas - bassist Fabrizio Grossi and drumming legend Kenny Aronoff. The pair wanted to continue and expand the Goodfellas concept determined to create something more than just a "session ensemble for hire."
It was when ZZ Top's Billy F Gibbons contacted Fabrizio to collaborate on the writing/production of a song for an up-coming commercial, that all pieces came together. The song didn't become a commercial after all, but had Gibbons giving Fabrizio the suggestion to write "9 more songs" and start a band, with whom he would have loved to jam with whenever ZZ Top's schedule would allow it. Kenny Aronoff immediately tracked drums to it, and the song 'Running Whiskey' ended up becoming the first single of Supersonic Blues Machine's 2016s debut album 'West of Flushing, South of Frisco'.
With a prolific career as a producer, mixer and bass player Fabrizio has worked with some of the finest musicians around today pulling into an array of eclectic styles, from Steve Vai to Tina Arena, Nina Hagen to Alice Cooper as well as Glenn Hughes, Dave Navarro, George Clinton, Joe Bonamassa, Leslie West, Zakk Wylde, Ice T, Slash and Paul Stanley to name a few.
New York native but Indiana raised drummer Kenny Aronoff brought with him the experience of working with a huge collection of artists such as John Mellencamp, Smashing Pumpkins, Meat Loaf, Brandon Flowers, John Fogerty, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Joe Cocker amongst a host of others, and their collaboration started. Over 300 million records sold worldwide feature his work – 1,300 of which are certified gold, platinum or diamond records.
Supersonic Blues Machine isn't just a band; it's a mood, a comradeship, a melting pot of ideas with likeminded people bringing their own unique talents to create something with feeling that is very organic. "I was thinking of all the people we know and thought, how about putting together something like The Who or The Rolling Stones used to do in the early 70s" Fabrizio explains, "they would put together a record and bring all of their friends on board, I thought that would be cool. Bring back the spirit of camaraderie between musicians."
Debut album 'West of Flushing, South of Frisco' was released on Provogue/Mascot label Group in February 2016 and was a sprawling and emotional journey that has an emphasis on peace, hope, forgiveness and empowerment. Fabrizio's long-time friend and co-producer, Serge Simic of hard-rockers The Slam also puts his stamp on the record as a co-writer. The album was the first of two to feature Texan bluesman Lance Lopez lead vocals and guitar.
An incredible list of collaborators gives the record added warmth and propels it on to a higher level; Billy F Gibbons, Walter Trout, Warren Haynes, Robben Ford, Eric Gales and Chris Duarte all have a deep and personal connection to Grossi and Aronoff. The importance was to have close friends on the record to have that natural and authentic quality to it. Grossi adds, "We could have done a record that was jam packed of famously random guests, but we didn't want to do that. That's not the idea." He elaborates, "It's not a guest record, those guys are part of our family and just happened to show up on that song, these guys will always be part of our life, they are so important to the sound of Supersonic Blues Machine."
Grossi first met Warren Haynes during the production of Tommy Bolin's 'Great Gypsy Soul' and raised the idea of his project after a Gov't Mule concert in LA with the laid-back Americana of 'Remedy' becoming the end result. Tennessee guitar virtuoso Eric Gales can turn his hand to dazzling effect to a number of genres and the pair first worked together with funk father George Clinton on a cover of Hendrix 'Voodoo Child' back in 2001. "I've always been a very big fan of Walter Trout" Grossi says affectionately and had discussed working on a record previously.
Chris Duarte has been friends with Lance for a long time and started to show interest in working with the Supersonic family, whilst jazz-rock maestro Robben Ford, who collaborated on 'Let's Call It A Day' was the final piece to slot in magnificently.
The album was met with critical acclaim in the UK, Guitarist magazine declared them "Guitar's hottest supergroup" and Classic Rock called it a "modern day super-session which manages to hang on to the heart and soul." Elsewhere Fireworks magazine called them a "sleek, stretched Cadillac of a Blues band," Powerplay saidit was "fantastic," R'nR said it was an "eclectic guitar feast for rock fans…sheer class" and The Guitar Magazine proclaimed "You won't find more soloing on any release this year."
Once the album was released, they set about taking the set up on the road in the summer for that year, Their live shows proved to be a spectacular display of guitar heroics and supreme blues rock dynamism, the average crowd they've performed to is 10,000 people; their first performance was at the Holland International Blues Festival back in June 2016 and since have captivated fans at the Notodden Blues Festival in Norway and the Mahindra Blues Festival in Mumbai, India and in July 2017 played Ramblin' Man Fair in the UK on the mainstage.
The band followed up with a short 4 date tour in the US and the sophomore album 'Californisoul' in October 2017, once again on Provogue, which debuted at #7 on the Billboard top 10 Blues Chart. Recorded at Fab's Lab in North Hollywood, California and produced by Grossi, and while Grossi wrote most of the lyrics, the music was created and fleshed out in the studio by the band. 'Californisoul' is a study and celebration of the human condition, and guests on the album include Billy F Gibbons, who returns with pen and guitar ('Broken Heart'), Steve Lukather (Toto) throws down some stunning licks ('Hard Times'), Eric Gales is back in the fold ('Elevate'), Robben Ford brings his bag of soulfully sophisticated chops ('Somebody's Fool'), Walter Trout brings some silky slow blues ('What's Wrong'), and the party is rounded out with Alessandro Alessandroni Jr. on keyboards, Serge Simic (co-writer and background vocals on 'Love' and 'Hard Times'), and Andrea and Francis Benitez Grossi (background vocals).
In keeping with the evolving line-up and community spirit of the band, in July 2018 they announced that fast rising UK born Blues-rocker Kris Barras will be taking over lead vocals and guitar from Lance Lopez who joined them for their first ever European Headline tour beginning at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London as part of an 11 date run through Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Poland, Switzerland and was joined by Billy F Gibbons for the duration.
In April, the band revealed the first official video and new recording featuring Barras. 'Right Now' was released on Earth Day 2019.
In May they annouced they will be releasing their first live album, 'Road Chronicles' on 12th July 2019 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group. The album followed them on their first European headline tour and was recorded during their show in Brugnera, Italy on 20th July 2018, capturing the band in a triumphant and joyous mood.
"The funny thing is," remembers Grossi, "that we were not planning to record a live record, the recordings we were capturing were just for me to study and evaluate at the end of the tour, but as soon as we're done with the last show in Brugnera, the promoter was celebrating with us and asked me "do you have a flash drive with you so I can give you tonight's recordings?" That's when I realized they recorded all the tracks isolated, and the curiosity started creeping in. Billy Gibbons was with me when I first opened up the tracks, couldn't stop smiling."The set-list weaved through the two Supersonic albums - 'West of Flushing's....' ('Remedy,' 'Whatchagonnado' and 'Running Whiskey,') and 'Californiasoul,' ('I Am Done Missing You', 'Elevate' and 'Broken Heart') as well as some ZZ Top classics and surprises thrown in.