Aristocrats | (Beller, Govan, Minneman) | CD
The Aristocrats – instrumental rock/fusion’s rowdy new power trio featuring guitarist Guthrie Govan (Asia/GPS, Dizzie Rascal) bassist Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Dethklok, Mike Keneally), and drummer Marco Minnemann (Adrian Belew, UKZ, Necrophagist) –release their eponymous debut album The Aristocrats worldwide on October 25, 2011. Featuring three compositions from each band member, the album showcases a uniquely explosive band chemistry, translating each individual’s well-known virtuosity into an aggressive, melodic, and sometimes even cheeky group dynamic…in which anything goes.
The band was formed practically by demand after a wildly enthusiastic response to a single performance at The Anaheim Bass Bash during the Winter NAMM show in January. With just one rehearsal the night before the gig, the trio unexpectedly floored the audience – and themselves – with near-telepathic interplay and boundless musical energy, leaving heads shaking in disbelief that it was their very first gig. “The chemistry was so great,” recalls Govan, who was just featured on the cover of Guitar Player, “that when we came offstage we all said to each other, ‘This is working. We should record this.’”
Not content simply to rush together a remote recording, each far-flung band member left their homes (outside London; Nashville, TN; southern California) to meet in a Chicago studio and track the record in person, which took just under two weeks. The music became a melting pot of their respective influences, ranging from ’70s fusion (Return To Forever) to prog (King Crimson, UK) to instrumental rock (Vai, Satriani) to groove metal (Rage Against The Machine) to just plain absurdity (Frank Zappa). Says bassist Beller, “We ended up using our different influences to write for each other. I wrote “Sweaty Knockers” specifically for Guthrie to have fun with, while Guthrie wrote “I Want A Parrot” with bass leads in mind. As for Marco’s material, we’re just lucky to be able to keep up with it!”
The ever-mischievous Minnemann’s song titles – such as “Boing!…I’m In The Back” (borne from a publicly indescribable incident in Russia) and “Blues Fuckers” (in which a typical blues form is violated in every way imaginable) – along with Beller’s shameless pole-dance rocker “Sweaty Knockers,” prompted Govan to wonder if the band shouldn’t be named The Aristocrats, after the infamous dirty joke and movie of the same name. It stuck, and The Aristocrats were born. “We’re going to have a raucous rock vibe and a sense of humor about the music,” says Govan, “which you might not expect to find in other muso projects in which people are flung together to make an album in a hurry.”