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From the pueblos to P-Funk

Andy Stonehouse/Special to the Daily
Special to the DailyEric McFadden Trio's sounds are a bastard amalgam of the Beatles, Hendrix, Tom Waits, 1930s jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and even spaghetti western composer Sergio Leone.
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An uncommon mix of one truly interesting musical home life and a series of very cool opportunities to work with some musical greats has helped make New Mexico native Eric McFadden one seriously uncommon cat.

McFadden, a veteran of touring work with George Clinton’s P-Funk Allstars and gigs alongside figures from Bo Diddley to the late Joe Strummer, brings his new and much-hyped (or at least according to his own bio) trio to 8150 tonight for some outta-sight guitar histrionics. Rumor has it that the Eric McFadden Trio’s sounds are a bastard amalgam of the Beatles, Hendrix, Tom Waits, 1930s jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and even spaghetti western composer Sergio Leone.

McFadden’s assembled a tight rhythm section for his most recent eponymous outing, an ensemble that promises some musical directions as varied as McFadden’s own across-the-board sensibilities.

And given the guy’s upbringing, it’s no wonder he was born to rock out. Raised in Albuquerque, McFadden’s mother was one of the original members of 1960s garage rock icons the Fuggs. He also spent his youth absorbing as many different fellow 1960s musical influences, ranging from the Stones to Bob Dylan. In his teens, his tastes became a bit more eclectic and he began to spin records by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the Clash, Hank Williams, Miles Davis and even Beethoven.

McFadden is already a veteran of New Mexico and West Coast-based bands including Liar, the Eric McFadden Experience – a tribute to his favorite guitarist, Jimi Hendrix – plus Alien Lovestock and IZM.

Gigs at home and in San Francisco have given him plenty of show-opening experiences, opening for Keb’ Mo’, Les Claypool and even African-American rockers Living Colour.

His theatrical guitar style (flamenco-rock, sometimes) also earned him honors as guitarist of the year in both the New Mexico Weekly and San Francisco’s Zero magazine. All the positive vibes about his fretboard chops apparently headed directly to Parliament-Funkadelic co-founder Clinton, who recruited McFadden to play with the P-Funk Allstars – and helping him join the roster that’s included P-Funk ax-men such as Ernie Isley and Eddie Hazel.

Throw that together with what have been described as “vampiric vocals” and you’ve got a player who’s far from ordinary.

McFadden’s current band includes fellow Albuquerque native James Whiton on acoustic bass and drummer Jeff Anthony. Whiton is also the son of a musical mom – his mother played concert bass – and grew up with his classical influences fighting with rock and jazz demons. The first 18 years of his life, he played nothing but classical, and the sound still comes out in his playing.

Anthony, from Long Island, N.Y., earned a degree in jazz performance from the University of Miami and performed in a series of electronica bands in Portland, Ore. before embarking on his professional career. He got a great start in the business after befriending producer Jeff Trott, a veteran of work with Sheryl Crow, Tears for Fears and World Party – including session work on Crow’s 2002 CD “C’mon, C’mon.”

Working together, McFadden’s trio will give fans a pre-offseason kick in the pants you’ll remember for a long time.


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