Band & Artist Profiles
The Aristocrats are: Bryan Beller (bass), Guthrie Govan (guitar) and Marco Minnemann (drums)
The word “supergroup” is tossed around a lot in instrumental music circles, the result of a seemingly endless supply of efforts to package together individual virtuoso players and make a band out of them. But every once in a while, the group part of that shopworn term becomes authentic and real. Such is the case with The Aristocrats – guitarist Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson, Asia/GPS), bassist Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, Dethklok), and drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani) – who defiantly and joyously blow the supergroup stereotype to bits, thrilling audiences and fans around the world in the process with a preternatural band chemistry that equals exponentially more than the sum of its parts. Perhaps Guthrie Govan said it best when he called The Aristocrats “a rowdy democracy of musicianship.”
Tracked in just eight days, The Aristocrats debut album The Aristocrats  was hailed as an instant classic in leading music publications worldwide, appearing on many of that year’s top ten lists. In less than a year, The Aristocrats became one of the most sought-after live instrumental rock/fusion acts in the world. In 2013, the band released their long-awaited sophomore album, Culture Clash. The material became more aggressive, adventurous, and intense, embodying a refusal to rest on the laurels of the debut album’s surprise success. Culture Clash debuted on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart at #8. Throughout this time The Aristocrats toured the world, bringing their live energy and otherworldly chemistry multiple times to North America, Europe and Asia. This around-the-world touring madness was documented on the live CD/DVDs BOING, We’ll Do It Live!  and Culture Clash Live .
For the band’s third studio album, Tres Caballeros , they rewrote their own rules. The Aristocrats set up camp at legendary Sunset Sound studios in Hollywood, CA, where Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Van Halen all recorded landmark albums. The result was nine compositions of greater sonic depth and breadth than ever before, with unique textures and lush layering augmenting the band’s near-telepathic ability to improvise both individually and as a group at the highest levels possible. The Tres Caballeros world tour began in summer 2015 with an 8-week stint across North America, followed by a winter European leg, with tour dates planned for Asia, Australia and South America in 2016. That’s some heavy touring, but not to worry – it’s all still tempered with a steadfast refusal to take themselves too seriously, and The Aristocrats are still having more fun than an instrumental band has any right to have.
From Keneally’s well-documented recorded work as a guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist with Frank Zappa to his recordings and performances with Robert Fripp, Wayne Kramer, Steve Vai,Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Andy Partridge and many others, he’s earned a reputation as someone who brings an intense, original musical voice to any and all musical happenings.
Mike is also currently a touring member of Dethklok (as a guitarist) and the Joe Satriani Band (as a keyboardist and more recently guitarist). His extensive and wildly diverse original catalog of 21 albums (and counting) defies traditional classification, and concertgoers are regularly left awestruck by his band’s high-wire-act execution of the eclectic material.
Mike’s live band ‘The Mike Keneally Band’ features longtime Keneally compadres Bryan Beller (The Aristocrats, Steve Vai, Dethklok) on bass, drummer Joe Travers (Duran Duran, Zappa Plays Zappa), and guitarist Rick Musallam(Ben Taylor, Cirque du Soleil). All Music Guide calls Keneally "the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era," and Time Out New York adds "this band, with such a peculiar genius leading it, is a thing to savor."
Umphrey's McGee are: Brendan Bayliss (guitar, vocals), Jake Cinninger (guitar, vocals), Joel Cummins (keyboard, piano, vocals), Ryan Stasik (bass), Kris Myers (drums, vocals), Andy Farag (percussion)
The music of Umphrey’s McGee unfolds like an unpredictable conversation between longtime friends. Its six participants—Brendan Bayliss [guitar, vocals], Jake Cinninger [guitar, vocals], Joel Cummins [keyboards, piano, vocals], Andy Farag [percussion], Kris Myers [drums, vocals], and Ryan Stasik [bass]—know just how to communicate with each other on stage and in the studio. A call of progressive guitar wizardry might elicit a response of soft acoustic balladry, or a funk groove could be answered by explosive percussion. At any moment, heavy guitars can give way to heavier blues as the boys uncover the elusive nexus between jaw-dropping instrumental virtuosity and airtight songcraft. The conversation continues on their eleventh full-length album, it’s not us [Nothing Too Fancy Music]—out January 12, 2018.
“It represents the band, because it basically runs the gamut from prog rock to dance,” says Brendan. “We’ve mastered our ADD here. The record really shows that.”
“No matter what you’re into, there’s something on it’s not us that should speak to you,” agrees Joel. “This is a statement album for Umphrey’s McGee. The sound is as fresh as ever. The songs are strong as they’ve ever been. We’re always pushing forward.”
Bringing things full circle, Umphrey’s McGee entered I.V. Labs Studio in Chicago ready (and maybe a little hungover) a week after that historic game seven. For the first time since recording Local Band Does O.K. in 2002, five of the six members roomed together in a rental condo with Brendan staying a stone’s throw away at home.
“We would wake up, bounce ideas off each other, and go to the studio together,” recalls Joel. “We did all of this as a unit. There was something really special about our group ethos coming together for this project. We decided to go in for a week, live, eat, and breathe Umphrey’s McGee. It’s the most fun we’ve had in the studio. It really was a blast. Having that camaraderie was really cool.”
That camaraderie shines through in their inimitable interplay, which finds them at the pinnacle of their craft and groove as a band. That chemistry defines the approach—which sees Umphrey’s McGee hone their songwriting to its sharpest point to date.
Over 2,200 gigs and 5 million tracks sold later, they’ve enjoyed countless milestones. 2002 saw them perform at the first-ever Bonnaroo and sell more CDs than any other act on the bill. They became the “first group to launch its own single artist streaming service” with UMLive.net, which houses recordings of every gig since 2005. The service has since grown and now lives on through Nugs.net, which is used by the likes of Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and more. They recorded ten tracks in one day at Abbey Road for The London Session in 2015. Notably, 2016’s ZONKEY mashed-up the strangest of bedfellows into a critically acclaimed collection that unites Radiohead and Beck, The Weeknd and Fleetwood Mac, Talking Heads and Bob Marley, Metallica and Gorillaz, and more.
That adventurousness extends to their legendary audience immersion experiences. From their initial bar gigs in 1998 to three-nights playing to packed crowds at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 2017, the group have simultaneously remained intensely committed to their fans. Beyond intimate backstage encounters and ski trips with their most diehard fans, Umphrey’s McGee instituted the groundbreaking “Headphones & Snowcones” program, granting fans access to professional headphones and a soundboard-quality mix at shows. At their UMBowl, they empowered the audience to vote on the setlist in real-time and choose favorite improv themes via text message. In 2017, they stepped into another realm altogether by integrating themselves into the VR Platform Endless Riff.
With the album on the horizon, a headline tour and a three-night Beacon Theatre residency in NYC plotted to celebrate the anniversary in January, It’s Not Us kicks off a new era for Umphrey’s McGee and their ever-growing audience.
Godsticks are: Darran Charles (vocals, guitar, keys), Dan Nelson (bass), Gavin Bushell (guitar) and Tom Price (drums)
Godsticks are a four-piece progressive heavy rock band from South Wales, formed in 2008. Having toured extensively throughout Europe, most recently they can be found showcasing their newer, heavier material supporting bands such as Textures and Dorje. Fresh from their European tour with The Pineapple Thief at the start of 2017, Godsticks entered the studio to finish work on their new studio album - Faced With Rage, which is due for release via Kscope on 13th October 2017. The new album is full of thundering riffs, intricate solos, and – as often is the case - a few surprises too.
Having already been hailed by the UK’s Metal Hammer magazine as “one of the UK's most idiosyncratic rock bands”, with their new album Godsticks have delivered on their promise to be just as heavy as their self-released 2015 album Emergence but this time with a darker feel and more industrial sound.
‘’The aggressive feel and sound from Emergence remains intact but we think that we’ve probably created our most progressive album to date, albeit unintentionally!” says singer and guitarist Darran Charles. “We wanted our previous album Emergence to be an onslaught of aggressive heavy guitars and vocals from start to finish because we felt we needed to make a strong statement about the direction we were heading in musically” reminisces Charles, “but ‘Faced with Rage’ features a lot more light and shade, and I think we’ve been more creative when trying to shape the dark and aggressive feel we wanted”.
A variety of synth sounds have found their way into the longer song formats (brevity had been the Godsticks calling card up until this point) but as always guitar and Charles’ vocals are still at the forefront of the band's sound. Lyrically, Faced With Rage, explores the theme of people dealing with emotional conflict in different scenarios, and who have a powerful desire to change their behaviour or situation. It features for the first time a four-piece line up with new drummer Tom Price and guitarist Gavin Bushell who bring a more aggressive playing style to back up Darran Charles unique vocal sound and Dan Nelson’s driving bass. Drums and vocals were recorded at the world-renowned Monnow Valley Studio in Wales (Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Feeder, Rush and Manic Street Preachers) and the album was produced by James Loughrey.
Their previous album, Emergence, was also produced by James Loughrey (known for his work with acts such as Skindred, Manic Street Preachers and Def Leppard). It received great reviews and signified a milestone in the progression of the band from complex eclectic prog-rock to a more focused, heavier progressive metal style filled with addictive grooves and memorable choruses. Total Guitar Magazine said “Emergence is a rare thing – an album of technically astounding prog-metal replete with hooks and melodies"
Godsticks burst onto the progressive rock scene way back in 2009 with their eclectic EP, titled simply Godsticks. The sheer originality of the music was greeted with enthusiasm by critics and music fans alike, with the band being considered “a refreshing approach to the contemporary music scene”. In July 2010, the band released their debut full-length album Spiral Vendetta –the culmination of 16 months of writing and a lengthy production process. The extensive production proved worth it as the album received a unanimously positive response. A worldwide distribution deal was secured on the strength of Spiral Vendetta and the band completed a number of tours and festivals, supporting such acts as ‘The Pineapple Thief’ and ‘The Aristocrats’.
Their extensive live work influenced their second full length album "The Envisage Conundrum" and the music became much heavier and more guitar-driven. None of the band's vaunted originality was lost but The Envisage Conundrum represented a more focused and settled band, still offering an eclectic array of songs, but in a much more accessible package. In 2013 Godsticks supported ‘The Mike Keneally Band’ on a 13-date tour of Europe and co-headlined a UK tour with ‘Knifeworld’. A three-week European tour in 2014 supporting ‘The Aristocrats’ followed, and that tour in particular indirectly forged a path towards an even heavier sound. In April 2014, Godsticks continued to explore the heavier side of their musical style and set to work writing their third full-length studio album Emergence (released September 2015). Godsticks frontman Darran Charles commented that “A conscious effort was made only to select songs for the album that maintained a stylistically consistent theme throughout. The original premise of Godsticks, to ensure that a song remains interesting from start to finish, was still intact but our live shows seemed to have an overarching influence on every new song written - the more we play live, the heavier our sound seems to get.
In 2017 Godsticks supported The Pineapple Thief on an extensive tour, playing tracks from Emergence and Faced With Rage to music fans all over the UK and Northern Europe. The band are currently planning some headline shows for 2018.
Ciro Manna was born in Italy in 1981, and at 14 dedicated himself to classical guitar. After two years he switched to electric guitar, but later returned to classical studies and passed his eighth year exam at the conservatory. At 17, Ciro started playing in clubs with various artists. He studied at Università della Musica (Rome) with many of Italy’s top guitarists, also attending various workshops with international guitar players including: Mike Stern, Andy Timmons, Carl Verheyen, Guthrie Govan and Greg Howe.
In 2007 he released his debut album Feel ‘N Groove, a rock-funk with jazz contaminations. The album featured Antonio Muto on drums, Marco Galiero on bass, and Angelo Abate on keyboards, as well as special guests Pietropaolo Veltre (bass) and Alex Argento (keys). The album won praise from magazines and websites in Sweden and the USA, and airplay in Italy and Australia. Since 2008, Ciro has collaborated with the Associazione “Fa Re musica” in Santa Maria a Vico, organizing clinics with international guitarists including Frank Gambale, Greg Koch, Steve Vai and Robben Ford. Ciro has also organized concerts with Carl Verheyen, Andy Timmons, Greg Howe, Guthrie Govan, Dave Kilminster, Paul Gilbert, Buddy Whittington (John Mayall) and Kiko Loureiro (Angra). Ciro opened for these concerts all around Italy and also played with the artists on stage.
Between 2010 and 2013, Ciro also performed in several televised Italian orchestras, for shows such as: "Mettiamoci all'opera" (conducted by Maestro Enzo Campagnoli); "Attenti a quei Due" (conducted by Paola Perego and Biagio Izzo, and directed by Maestro Stefano Palatresi); "Non Sparate sul pianista" (conducted by Fabrizio Frizzi, where Ciro had the opportunity to play with Pino Daniele, Gino Paoli and Michael Bolton); "Amici of Maria de Filippi " (with the orchestra of Maestro Peppe Vessicchio, and the well known Italian pop singers, Emma and Alessandra Amoroso); "Napoli prima e Dopo" and "Cantare è D'Amore" (conducted by Maestro E. Campagnoli).
In 2013 Ciro developed his television repertoire further by participating in: "Epiphany Concert" broadcast on Rai 1; "Italy 's Got Talent" and " Amci di Maria de Filippi " on Canale 5; the "festival of Castrocaro" and "Napoli Prima e Dopo" both aired on Rai Uno.
During 2014 Ciro took part in an Italian tour with one of the best bass player of fusion music of the world, Alain Caron, and in the spring of 2015 Ciro (with his band the Ciro Manna Trio) supported The Andy Timmons Band on an extensive European tour.
Currently, in conjunction with his television work, Ciro is in the progress of developing the first teaching method in the language of jazz-rock. He has also recently released his second album XY, featuring special guests: Simon Phillips (Toto), Leland Sklar (Toto, James Taylor, Phil Collins), Paul Gilbert, Andy Timmons, Guthrie Govan and many others. Future works include recording a new project with the singer Patrix Duenas, including both new songs and rearrangements of famous international songs.
Janet Feder fell in love with everything about the guitar when she was a little bigger than a ukulele. Born in Boulder, Colorado and raised in Denver, her childhood was immersed in classical and folk music. As a teenager, she devoured rock n’ roll and fingerstyle playing, then spent more than a decade devoted to classical guitar study and performance. In this discipline, she was consumed by the music of J.S. Bach, the guitar icons of Spain and South America, and 20th century composers around the globe. Janet attended Denver Public Schools, the high school of the Royal Music Conservatory of Brussels, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Musicology from the University of Massachusetts.
A serendipitous conversation with a colleague in 1995 inspired what has become Feder’s iconoclastic offering: composition for prepared guitar. Her expansive sonic palette is created by applying various small, often metal objects to discrete strings of her guitars. Janet’s compositions and performances on both acoustic and electric guitar comprise five solo albums and have been featured on numerous internationally acclaimed compilations and film scores.
A reviewer noted that Songs With Words "explores the outer reaches of sonic possibility yet never loses the thread of melody and beauty" [Paul Epstein, Twist & Shout]…while T H I S C L O S E has been described as "Feder's most fully realized album...Unique and highly moving music." [Eval Hareuveni, All About Jazz].
Janet said “T H I S C L O S E feels like an arrival at the culmination of, well, everything that got me here. Previous albums felt like they happened in my head; T H I S C L O S E feels like it emerged from somewhere between my head and my heart. I played what I wanted to hear ... It was all part of accepting the invitation, this collaboration, this gift, with Mike (Yach, engineer) and Joe (Shepard, producer).”
Janet invites her listeners to explore the private, intimate landscapes she creates with her baritone guitars. She adds to her palette everyday objects as instruments that are not typically associated with music - or even sound - including toothpicks and rubber balls, bicycle inner tubes and steel ball bearings, split rings, rocks, ceramic plates and walls, egg-slicers, horsehair… and her bare hands. What defines her music, both live and recorded, is how she constructs the shapes, textures and movements of sounds to create her unique sonic universe.
Feder has performed or collaborated with: Fred Frith, Nels Cline, Henry Kaiser, Bill Frisell, Elliott Sharp, Mike Keneally, Bryan Beller, Amy Denio, Mike Johnson/Thinking Plague, Susie Asado, Nikmat Hatraktor, Paolo Angeli, Wu Fei, Tatsuya Nakatani, Erin McKeown, Jane Rigler, Shoko Nagai, Satoshi Takeishi, James Sidlo, Pauline Oliveros and poet Anne Waldman. She is also half of Denver-based duo cowhause with Colin Bricker (laptop + live electronics).
Janet lectures at the University of Colorado teaching The History of Rock n’ Roll; co-curates MediaLive, (an annual festival in Boulder, Colorado); and is an artistic associate with Square Product Theatre.
Consider The Source
Drawing from progressive rock, fusion and jazz, with alien sounds soaked in Indian and Middle Eastern styles, Consider The Source blends disparate parts into a striking, utterly original whole. Dubbed “Sci-Fi Middle Eastern Fusion”, the band's music strikes a rare balance between cerebral and emotional, intellectual and primal. Even when not improvising, their music is always a conversation, a roiling stew of dynamic interplay. Each member of Consider the Source alternately leads and follows, spars and assists; in any single song, alliances are made and broken, bargains struck and divorces finalised. Their relentless touring schedule has won the band a fervent following from California to Israel, with fans ranging from jam-band hippies and jazz cats to corpse-painted headbangers and prog geeks.
Formed in 2004, Consider the Source features Gabriel Marin on fretless double-neck guitar, bassist John Ferrara, and drummer/percussionist Jeff Mann. Gabriel Marin channels the mystical fury of McLaughlin and Coltrane into wailing melodies, kaleidoscopic soundscapes and boneshaking riffs. With a background in classical music both European and Indian, and an instinct for avant-jazz and destructive metal, Marin’s hypnotic fusion of styles is ever unpredictable. John Ferrara’s propulsive, percussive attack, equally suited to simple grooves and impossible chords, can ground the music or launch it into space. His madcap gumbo of slap bass, Indian rhythms, earthy minimalism and complex tapping constantly pushes into strange new worlds, whilst still dropping thick booty-clap beats. Underneath them lies Jeff Mann’s rolling thunder; dense rhythmic architecture built from pure swagger and bounce. Half double-bass prog-metal, half crackle-pop Buddy Rich swing, with African and Balkan swirls, Mann’s muscular, freewheeling polyrhythms are the engine fuel for Consider’s multiversal mischief.
Touring from coast to coast, as well as Europe and the Middle East, has not only earned the band thousands of fans, but has allowed them to perform with a wide variety of well-known artists, including Victor Wooten, Wayne Krantz, King Crimson Projekt, Kris Myers (Umphrey's McGee), Wyclef Jean, Andy Statman, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and many others. The band have performed at numerous festivals and events, including Catskill Chill, The Big Up, Burning Man, Sun Seekers Ball (Canada), Mid-Summer Meltdown, Rootwire, the NYC Fretless Guitar Festival, and the NYC Gypsy Festival.
The band’s latest release is World War Trio (Parts 2 & 3), the second installment of their epic, three part grand vision.
Dolcetti is an instrumental duo comprising Gianni Rojatti on guitar and synth and Erik Tulissio on drums, two Italian musicians of the highest regard. Considered to be one of the most significant Italian guitar players in rock and instrumental music, Guitar Techniques described Gianni Rojatti as a “great player and can stand proudly alongside the likes of Satriani, Holdsworth and Vai but whilst there are elements similar to those players he’s very much his own man.” A Tama and Zildjian endorser, Erik “Nervo” Tulissio has worked alongside music producers such as Fabio Trentini (Guano Apes, Donots and H-Blockx) and Marco Barusso (Lacuna Coil).
Their music combines elements from a mix of disparate musical genres: progressive, electro, rock, reggae, and dubstep. The band gained many fans from all over Europe with their critically acclaimed debut album Metallo Beat, which was awarded a 5/5 rating and chosen as Album Of The Month by the influential Guitar Techniques (UK) magazine. Dolcetti are in their natural element when playing live where the duo, uniquely supported by electronic sequences and loops on the background, continually expand their repertoire with virtuoso playing, improvisations and crazy instrumental ideas.
In July 2016 Dolcetti were invited by Steve Vai to be the only European opening act for his 25th Anniversary "Passion & Warfare” tour. Dolcetti has opened for many high profile artists, including Paul Gilbert, The Aristocrats, Tosin Abasi, Reb Beach, Andy Timmons, Kiko Loureiro and Elio e Le Storie Tese (the most popular progressive-rock band in Italy). Quite unusually for an instrumental duo, Dolcetti have performed every year at the prestigious Collisioni Festival in Barolo since 2014.
Dolcetti’s soon to be released second album, Arriver, was recorded, mixed and mastered in Cagliari, Udine, Hannover and Florence with sound engineer Enrico Sesselego (Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert). Arriver represents a significant evolution in the sound of the band. Alongside guitars and drums, the sound of their new material is entirely entrusted to electronic elements. Basses have been played with the Moog and the band experiments in an even more courageous way with a mashup of progressive rock with reggae, electro dance, synth pop, blues and wild eyed instrumental virtuosity.