Supersonic Blues power house, Supersonic Blues Machine will be headlining at the 24th annual Kalamazoo Valley Blues Associations’ Blues festival at Wings Event Center on Friday July 14th. The Blues power trio featuring legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff, bassist and producer Fabrizio Grossi and guitarist shredder extraordinaire Lance Lopez with special guest, Robben Ford.
Lance started our interview by saying “Man, we are so happy and thankful for the opportunity to play in Kalamazoo with our good friend Robben Ford! For me, it’s like a pilgrimage because of the Gibson guitars that were originally made there, we all can’t wait!”
Guitarist Lance Lopez talked to G-Note Entertainment Magazine on playing the Blues, jamming with the like of Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Walter Trout, Chris Duarte, Warren Haynes, Eric Gales, Robben Ford on their new debut album “West Of Flushing and South Of Frisco” shortly after his return from touring Russia.
Lance told me that his life has always been filled with music. He goes way back to when he was just a child of 8 years old when he became absorbed his Louisiana heritage & culture. Lance also shared with me that when he was 12 years old he moved to Dallas, just two weeks after moving to Dallas, Lance saw what would be a life changing show. He saw B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan jam together at S.R.V.’s last concert ever in Dallas. This prompted him to become a student of the roots of the blues make playing the Blues his passion for life.
At the young age of 17 years old Lance was hired by R&B/Soul Legend Johnnie Taylor and toured as his guitarist all over the Southern United States on the legendary “Chitlin’ Circuit” as his guitarist. A year later at 18 years old, Lance was hired by modern Blues legend Lucky Peterson and toured all over the world with him for 3 years. During his time with Peterson, Lance did a couple a brief stint as guitarist for one of the many versions of the Buddy Miles Express.
The years between 2008-2011 Lance, began touring Europe and began to play bigger festivals and toured with large Rock acts ZZ Top, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, and Rod Stewart. Lance stuns audiences worldwide with his fiery brand of Texas Blues Rock and Powerful performances. He has won over the likes of guitar legends like Jeff Beck, the late- great Johnny Winter, Billy Gibbons, B.B. King, and Eric Clapton who are all not only personal friends of Lance’s but they are also his fans.
G-Note: Thank you for taking your time to talk to G-Note today. How was the tour in Russia?
L.L.- “The tour was absolutely fantastic and beautiful! Everywhere we went, the people were very warm and welcoming and even though it was a little cold and chilly weather wise, not Texas or California weather but everything else was just amazing, probably one of the most wonderful experiences of my life!”
G-Note: When you play overseas or Europe, are you typically met with that kind of open arms reception?
L.L.- “Without a doubt, every single time. They are the most welcoming and accommodating people. It may be different if you were just hanging out and poking around, but you are there as a musician bringing joy and sharing music in a positive way with unity and good will.”
“Like George Washington said, ‘Cultivate peace and good will towards all nations.’ As a musician that’s what we all try to do, I am not a politician – I’m a guitar player and a singer that’s what I know what to do so I leave the politics to someone else. All we want to do is share the gift of music, we talk about guitars and amps and Blues music and Rock and Roll because that’s my business.”
“People have music as the one common denominator regardless of what you believe in regardless of your political views, everyone loves the sound of an electric guitar, music is unifying.”
G-Note: Lance, tell me how you got steeped in music, guitar playing and the Blues?
L.L.- “My first influence ever and my earliest memories were when I saw Elvis Pressley on an old beta-max video cassette that my father showed me. Elvis and my father were good friends. They were in the Army together, they went all the way to what they called ‘The Louisiana hay ride’ which is where Elvis cut his teeth and really broke open at. He and my father became friends there and as fate would have it, they were stationed in Germany together in the Army.”
“I was showed this video cassette, and I would look over and see this framed picture on the TV set of my father and Elvis, all I knew is that his guy and my father was friends and was some part of our family. Unfortunately, Elvis had passed a few days before I was born.”
“So, really it was the ’68 comeback special that Elvis had on TV. Here you had these guys were playing on stage and chatting back and forth, laughing and joking and just having a good time. It was very intimate and it hit me in the middle of my chest as an incredible inspirational thing. From that, I took an interest in playing guitar and my father was supportive of me doing that, keep in mind in playing rock guitar in the mid 80’s when you had arena rock and grudge was on the musical scene. You had your Van Halen’s and these different guys. So, while these kids are playing all that I gravitated to a darker, earlier sound that wasn’t currently happening at that time.”
“I was liking stuff from Jimi Hendrix or the Blues without knowing what it was until I actually discovered Jimi Hendrix and it was like ‘Oh man’ that style really drew me in. A few years later when we moved to Texas from Louisiana I saw Stevie Ray Vaughn in concert with B.B. King. These guys played and jammed together and that changed my life dramatically that evening! I knew that’s what I wanted to do, believe it or not, I really know or heard much about Stevie Ray Vaughn but when he came out and played some Jimi Hendrix and that was it, that’s what I wanted to do, I had to play the Blues.”
G-Note: From that experience, was that what led you to become a ‘student’ of the Blues?
L.L.- “Yeah, literally. This was way before the internet so here I was this school kid going to the library studying Delta Blues from the 1930’s, Robert Johnson, Electric Blues-rock of the 60’s and all that early music which was weird, here am I this kid listening to music from the 30’s, it was interesting but it definitely paid off for me. By the time I was 18, I was touring the world with Blues artist and in my 20’s I struck out on my own.”
G-Note: Let’s talk a bit about your band Supersonic Blues Machine.
L.L.- “When we first started with the band with the help and influence of Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. I have known his since I was 15 or 16. He was a long-time mentor of mine.”
“Each of us have our own pedigree, myself as a solo artist, Kenny has been a world class drummer everyone he has worked with is truly a legend in the music business. Kenny was John Molenkamp’s drummer during the 80’s and Fabrizio is a phenomenal record producer, he has work with Stevie Vai, Leslie West, Zach Wylde and Joe Bonamassa. Not to mention all the other superstars we work with on a regular basis.“
“We are powered by Blues, the machine has a lot of moving parts and with all of the high-power guitars with the help of Billy Gibbons, Eric Gales, Robben Ford, Walter Trout and others that what makes it “Supersonic.” It really is all about the brotherhood of guitars. We want to always to be a special event every time we take the stage.”
G-Note: Is there anything else you want to talk about that we didn’t cover?
L.L. - “We are very grateful and honored to be asked to perform the 24th annual Kalamazoo Valley Blues Festival! This will the beginning of the North America shows that we played, mainly everything we have done has been overseas. So, this week that we come to town will be the 4th show we have done live in North America! It’s really a big deal for us, we have putting everything together with all our guests, honing the act, putting it out on the big stages. And, it will be the very 1st Blues festival we have ever played in North America and to have our dear friend Robben Ford as a special guest. It is a very, very big deal for us and a historical event for us. We are so very excited and can’t wait to play in Kalamazoo!”