American Fiction. It’s the perfect name for a band whose story, you might guess, was just that: fiction.
It starts in Memphis, early in 2013. Landon Moore (Fast Planet, Patrick Dodd Trio, Chase Pagan) and Chris Johnson (Ingram Hill) had started writing some songs together. It wasn’t the first time the two had collaborated, but this was different. They put together a band – easy to do, as Landon tells it, because they just called up all their friends – adding Pat Fusco on keys (Kirk Smithhart, Detective Bureau, Jeremy Stanfill), and bass from Blake Rhea (CYC, Charlie Mars, The Gamble Brothers Band, Lord T & Eloise).
This sort of thing happens all the time. What happened next doesn’t.
Chris decided to take a chance, a shot in the dark, and reach out to legendary rock producer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles). He sent Kramer a demo, the ever-so-aptly named “Dumb Luck.”
Why not? The chances are that the producer who helped to launch Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios will never open that message. That he’ll never read it, never hear the song. But he did. And he did. And he liked what he heard.
“It was my better half who said, you better listen to this,” Kramer recalls. “I called Chris, and I think he was a bit apoplectic that I’d actually called him.”
Fittingly, it was the vocal that compelled Kramer to respond – he loved the sound of Chris’s voice and felt there was something about this band that he wanted to explore. And so, they put together a plan and set to work on making a record.
The guys rehearsed in Memphis before heading to Nashville, where they spent 12-hour days practicing in a warehouse with Kramer, perfecting the songs that would become their debut EP. These five long-time musicians had never worked so hard on music before in their lives.
“It was a wonderful experience actually working with them,” Kramer says. “They’re very unique individuals and very unique musicians. They come from such diverse backgrounds, you couldn’t ask for musicians that were more polar opposites – but it just sort of glues together.”
American Fiction recorded with Kramer at Nashville’s 16 Ton Studios, and traveled to California to mix and put down vocals at LAFX in Los Angeles.
The result is the purest stuff on earth: rock’n’roll. It’s at once incredibly complex and perfectly simple. The layers are evident – Chris brings musical roots in country, rock and blues. Pat brings a background in jazz, Blake is heavily influenced by funk, Landon is versed in classic pop and rock. It’s rock with a smart pop sensibility that earns comparisons to everyone from The Black Crowes to The Wallflowers to Kramer’s own work with Led Zeppelin.
The first single from the EP will be “Dumb Luck,” the song that started it all.
“Dumb Luck was one of those songs that attracted my ear,” Kramer says. “It haunted me as a potential single. There’s something about it that sort of combines the best of rock, southern rock, some blues, some country, it’s got all of these influences in it. It has some ethereal qualities to it as well. I think it really demonstrates the range of the band.”
“Dumb Luck” is out via digital release (iTunes, Amazon and AmericanFictionBand.com) on February 25. Look for the Kramer-produced EP this summer.