Lightning and Thunder! APPICE PERDOMO PROJECT
[Article by Brad Kesner]
There are truly amazing artists in the music industry these days, but nothing gives me more joy than seeing when two or more extraordinary talents team together and produce something unique and new. That is exactly what has happened with the album Energy Overload with the teaming of multi-instrumentalist Fernando Perdomo (a guitar magician, fiery player, and a very cool cat in a hat) together with the legendary Carmine Appice of Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, King Cobra, Blue Murder, and Beck, Bogert, & Appice fame. Also, as a drummer and composer, Carmine has worked extensively with Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart and Ted Nugent. There is absolutely no question as to why Carmine has been inducted into both the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame and also the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame. Carmine Appice is one monster of a drummer and a favorite of mine for many years.
Fernando has a very impressive resume as well
and his guitar prowess has put him in demand for many projects and bands over
the years. Fernando was born in Miami Beach, Florida,
to a Cuban family and was the first Perdomo born in the USA. His mother was a
classically trained pianist who became a famous journalist. The music industry states that Fernando is a powerhouse of the LA music scene who lives and breathes
music. I completely agree. LA Weekly dubbed him as "The
millennial answer to Todd Rundgren." Yes! Absolutely! Fernando owns and operates Stairway
Studios in North Hollywood. (He formerly owned and operated Reseda Ranch
Studios in Los Angeles.) Fernando is an acclaimed recording artist with
releases in the Progressive Rock, Singer Songwriter, Rock, and Classical
genres. His album Zebra Crossing (another
incredible album) was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London. He has opened
for Todd Rundgren, Leon Russell, Filter, Adrian Belew, and Kasim Sulton. Fernando is also a producer with a very, very
long list of achievements there. He started producing at the age of 17. Then
there is his TV and filmography thing and even a connection to the series
Dexter. Music created by Perdomo has been
used in Dexter, CNN's The 90s, Pit Bulls and Parolees, Bone Collector, Melrose
Place, Real Housewives, and many more. How cool is that! ....
And then there is Fernando's signature hat which most definitely makes him one
very cool cat in a hat.
Energy Overloadis a perfect title for this first outing by the Appice Perdomo Project. The union of Carmine Appice and Fernando has been fated for a long time, and all good things must come to pass. Carmine met Fernando through Tom Dowd's daughter, Dana. Carmine had created a new studio in Florida and with the birth of this new studio, he needed a project to best learn how to utilize his studio to the fullest. Dana told Carmine that Fernando wanted him to play on a couple of tracks he was working on, so Carmine sent him an instrumental track he was working on and in the process, they both loved how everything developed. That first song was "Thunder". After exchanging segments backwards and forwards, eventually 18 songs were recorded. Carmine said, "The results were awesome. Fernando can play anything and really well. I sent a friend the song 'Flower Child'. She thought it was Jeff Beck. And she is a well known artist in her own right. So there you have it... great results." Carmine further said "We just played and had fun. The energy between us never stopped. It is still going on as we are six songs deep into album number two."
Energy Overload explodes with energy starting with the very first song. "Blow Speaker Boogie" has the spirit of very fine Cactus flowing through it. Fernando's guitar is at its fiery finest and the thunder of Carmine's drums drive that energy. The second tune "Funky Jackson" brings in a nice funky jam. Makes you wanna move! The title song "Energy Overload" is absolutely explosive. I can almost see the sweat dripping on that performance! I agree with Carmine's comment regarding "Flower Child". The Fern is definitely channeling Jeff Beck in this song. Fernando can make a guitar talk. "Rocket to the Sun" has an accompanying video and the song absolutely fits the title. There is a lot of diversity through this album which makes it a very fun ride and it is evidence of the fact that Carmine and Fernando feel right at home with a lot of different styles and play it all impeccably. "Maybe I'm Amazed" is a superb continuation of the Paul McCartney Tribute album Ram On - The 50th Anniversary Tribute to Paul and Linda McCartney. I hear Durga McBroom's lovely background vocals in this. There is even a song Carmine co-wrote with Rod Stewart "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy". Like I told you, this is a diverse album and it is a fun ride on a rocket all of the way through. Carmine Appice and Fernando Perdomo are two forces of Nature! You need to check this album out!
I feel it is important to also include mention of an absolutely splendid tribute album that Fernando has recently done, Ram On - The 50th Anniversary Tribute to Paul and Linda McCartney whichis a magnificentre-imagining of Paul and Linda McCartney's seminal "Ram" album. Fernando states he was six years old when he first heard Ram and that it has always been one of his favorites. This album is absolutely a labor of love for Fernando. Ram On is co-produced by Fernando Perdomo and Denny Seiwell. Denny Seiwell is the powerhouse percussionist who not only was the original drummer for Paul McCartney on "Ram" in 1971, but subsequently went on to drum for Paul McCartney in Wings. Fernando clearly relished the chance to collaborate with one of his childhood icons. Ram On also features three of the album's original musicians joined by a new generation of performers, all of whom share a love of the original record. You can hear that love in every note of this album. Denny was able to reunite with two of the original session players from the original Ram days. Amazingly, Fernando found trumpet player Marvin Stamm over Google, and re-connected him with Denny Seiwell after a lapse of forty years. It was important to Denny to have final say on who sang what, or who played what on the album. Ram On features 100+ musicians (wow!), including original guitarist Dave Spinozza, original trumpet player Marvin Stamm, Joey Santiago of the Pixies, Davey Johnstone of the Elton John Band, Will Lee, Eric Dover formerly of Jellyfish, Carnie Wilson and many more. (Again, wow!) Fernando wanted to stay true to the feel of the original and wanted singers who could match the vigor of the McCartney vocals, without compromising their own identities. The vocal blends for each song were accomplished magnificently and are absolutely spot on. Not an easy accomplishment based on the ranges of Paul McCartney's voice on Ram which could range from crooning to jagged. Ram On is currently shortlisted for 3 Grammy Awards ... Best Rock Album, Best Engineered Album, and Best Album Design. It is amazing how this tribute album has given a new life to an album I already loved and I feel it will create a desire for many others to pull out the original and listen to it again. I recommend this album very highly!
The thing that blows me away with Fernando is that with a huge number of bands that I dearly love, there is this "Fernando connection" ..... Boom! There is no surprise here, because Fernando is truly an amazing guitarist with that rare ability to match his ability to any genre. I have known Fernando's playing largely through Progressive Rock, which I truly love. Fernando is a full time member of The Dirty Diamond, Nine Mile Station, and The Dave Kerzner Band. He is the guitarist and bassist of The Dave Kerzner Band, he is also in another of Dave Kerzner's bands, In Continuum, and is in various projects with Dave Kerzner. (Dave's work is all phenomenal.) He has been a guest artist on work by Marco Ragni (another incredible Progressive Rock artist) and also on songs with Durga McBroom of Pink Floyd fame and appeared as a guest artist along with Dave Kerzner on the album Black Floyd by the McBroom Sisters (another amazing album). Fernando has also been a guest artist on the splendid Prog Rock album New Life by Gabriel Agudo (The Steve Rothery Band, In Continuum). Fernando has played with Rosanna Lefevre (IO Earth) on her solo songs "Desert of the Sea", "Silver Lining", "Letting Go", and "Still Together". Fernando played guitar in the amazing, highly acclaimed film and Soundtrack "Echo in the Canyon" which starred Beck, Tom Petty, Fiona Apple, Lou Adler, the Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, Jackson Browne, the Byrds, Eric Clapton, David Crosby, Jakob Dylan (son of Bob Dylan), Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Jade Castrinos, Norah Jones, and Michelle Phillips. Fernando went on to perform after the film with Jakob Dylan's band the Echo in the Canyon Band, along with Fiona Apple, and Cat Power performing songs from the film. Fernando has had his own bands Dreaming in Stereo, the Fernando Perdomo Solo Band, his band Out to Sea, and of course the featured band in this review, the amazing Appice Perdomo Project. In addition, Fernando has played on three number one albums from Christian Castro, Paulina Rubio, and Tego Calderon. He has played on records by Jakob Dylan, Todd Rundgren, Curved Air, and many more. Touring Latin America has also been a part of his past. I am only scratching the surface here. Fernando has been a part of so many bands; it would be difficult to list them all here.
Another thing that beautifully showcases Fernando Perdomo's guitar mastery along with all of the above is his various projects and tribute albums. It is through these projects that one can really see who the music heroes are that are a part of his life. A listing of tribute albums and projects of Fernando's include TRGTR - Tribute to Todd Rundgren, The Crimson Guitar - a Tribute to King Crimson (a labor of love for Fernando), and this year's Ram On - The 50th Anniversary Tribute to Paul and Linda McCartney's Ram. As mentioned previously, Ram On is a spectacular album performed with Denny Seiwell who was a founding member of Paul McCartney and Wings. Additionally, Fernando was a part of Dave Kerzner's Sonic Elements tribute album Yesterday and Today, A 50th Anniversary Tribute to Yes which included Geoff Downes, Billy Sherwood, Steve Hackett, Marco Minneman, Robin Schell, Randy McStine, Francis Dunnery, and Nick D'Virgilio. Every one of these Tribute albums is worthy of a full review of their very own. In short, I can easily say I love and highly recommend each of these albums. The thing I find most fascinating with Fernando is that even though he sings and has a very good voice, a major part of his songs are instrumental. I feel there is a very good reason for this. Fernando's mastery of his guitar(s) creates a voice all of its own that goes well beyond the human voice. It takes exceptional talent to create a tapestry of all the sounds and nuances of a guitar to create songs that are so fully complete one will never miss the fact that there are no vocals. That is why I call Fernando a guitar magician and the fact that he fits comfortably into a huge variety of genres with his style and technique is rare indeed. It is another reason why so many want Fernando on their albums. One way to see Fernando's passion in his playing is to watch him perform. So much energy ... and you can see his passion in every single move. It is a real blast to watch the Fern perform. He has performed at Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, The Greek Theater, Vina Del Mar Festival, Cruise to the Edge, On the Blue Cruise, American Airlines Arena, The Fillmore Miami, Sunfest, SXSW, CMJ, and The NAMM Show. Cruise to the Edge is a blast and it is astounding how many great bands are a part of this show. He has also performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late, Late Show with James Corden, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and more. There are so many reasons why I am so impressed with Fernando. I highly recommend checking out Fernando's diverse and superb work. His Bandcamp website is: https://fernandoperdomo.bandcamp.com/
I have had the pleasure of getting with some of the incredible musicians that have had the great privilege of playing with Fernando over the years. Trust me when I say there is no shortage of love for the Fern. They will all be the first to say "to know Fernando is to love Fernando". Fernando, this is for you my friend and I have totally enjoyed getting with everyone in this salute to you and I am grateful to each of them for sharing some of that love back to you. My heartfelt thanks to Dave Kerzner, Durga McBroom, Gabriel Agudo, Marco Ragni, and Rosanna Lefevre for joining in on the conversation.
Brad Kesner: Hello Dave, Durga, Gabriel, Rosanna, and Marco. It is so great to chat with you again my friends. As you all know, we are here in honor of Fernando. Let's have some fun with this. Please share your best story about Fernando. How did you meet Fernando?
Dave Kerzner: Hi Brad. I met Fernando at a guy named Randy Fuchs' place. He does artist relations with various companies and he introduced us. As for my best story about Fernando, there are many but one funny one was on stage during the end of playing "Into the Sun". He goes crazy with the guitar ripping the strings off in the end. But, one time during a local South Florida outdoor show we did, he went and put his guitar in a tree while it was still technically on and making noise. I never know what he's going to do. But, he's fun and interesting that way.
Durga McBroom: I met Fernando through Dave Kerzner. We were recording at Reseda Ranch Studios. Then Fernando asked me to sing with Linda Perhacs. We toured Europe, and became fast friends. Fernando has the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy. Every time we'd exit the freeway in Germany, he'd crack up because the sign says "Ausfahrt". I also have some great blackmail photos of Fern wearing my kaftan. But I think I first realized what a genius he is when we did our first Cruise to the Edge with Kerzner, and Fernando performed his iconic solo in "Into the Sun" where he destroyed his guitar at the end. It was volcanic! Wait, we might have met before that first session at Reseda Ranch Studio. Oh well, it was around the same time on the same Kerzner project.
Gabriel Agudo: I first met Fernando in Cruise to the Edge 2015. He was playing guitar with Dave Kerzner's band. I was totally hooked by his musicality, soulful phrasing, and his strong personality on stage. He went to one of my shows on that Cruise and we talked for the very first time. That day I never imagined that I would have the privilege of working with him later on in so many great projects.
Marco Ragni: I was looking for an eclectic guitarist for my new album which had Durga McBroom as a guest. I said to myself: why not ask Fernando to play the solo of "Money doesn't think"? I killed two birds with one stone. Durga was recording the choirs, right in Fernando's studio!
Rosanna Lefevre: I met Fernando on one of the Cruise to the Edge trips a few years ago. I remember he was dressed in a blazer jacket, with a black bowler hat and a polka dotted shirt and had a big black beard. I remember specifically thinking to myself - "that guy has an unusual style!" Because of me being a long term Stevie Nicks fan, I remember specifically thinking that he reminded me of the sort of musician that Nicks would have worked with, especially on the In Your Dreams album. I saw Fernando play on the ship and thought he also had a unique playing style. A few months after I was working on a solo single I had written. Fernando and I had connected via social media at this point already. Despite me being in the UK and Fern in LA at the time, I messaged him asking if he'd be interested in playing some lap steel guitar / acoustic lead guitar for my music. He said yes and the rest is history.
Brad Kesner: What is one of your favorite projects, songs, or albums that you have worked with Fernando on?
Dave: There are many but perhaps my first solo album "New World" because it was a big moment for me finally singing my own songs. Fernando really got what I was after and helped take it further which is what he does for every project he's part of. He really adds a lot of raw musical energy and enthusiasm to whatever he works on.
Durga: God, we've done so many. I'm thrilled with what he played on "Black Floyd", The McBroom Sisters album. "RAM ON, A 50th anniversary tribute of Paul McCartney's RAM", is another highlight. We did a cover of "License to Kill" for an album of Bond theme covers I'm especially proud of. And we wrote a song together called "On My Mind" that hasn't been released, but I love it. I generally love everything we do together. We've achieved a nearly psychic relationship in the studio, where we barely have to ask each other for anything; we just instinctively know what the other needs. It's magical. Fernando is hands down my favorite person to record with. Well, aside from my sister.
Gabriel: There are so many. It's always a real pleasure to work with him and Dave Kerzner! I remember lots of great moments shared with him on stage like Dave Kerzner's Band live where I was a special guest, In Continuum US Tour during 2018, Prog all Stars show during On the Blue Cruise 2019. Fern also co-produced and co-arranged with me on the song "Angel's Call" from my first solo album "New Life". Nowadays, we are working together on a new project called "Troubadours" playing prog classics stripped in acoustic versions. He will play bass on my band on next Cruise to the Edge Festival 2022.
Marco: The song "Money Doesn't Think" is definitely my favorite with Fernando.
Rosanna: I have a particular love for Fernando's lead work; he has bought almost a Latin vibe to my music. It was just what the tracks (which are predominantly in an Americana / Western genre) needed. The acoustic guitar lead solo in "Silver Lining" is a particular favorite of mine. As is the lead guitar work in "Desert of the Sea". Finally the lap steel embellishments in "Still Together" also add depth and beauty to the track that I appreciate every time I listen to it.
Brad Kesner: What would be something you would love to say to Fernando? Have fun with this one also.
Dave: Nice hat! J
Durga: STOP TOUCHING THAT!! Zere is a great Klamrisk!
Gabriel: Well, I've always wondered when he sleeps. He has always reminded me of Stevie Ray Vaughn's character in the "Cold Shot" video. Seriously, I would love to say to him, that he's an outstanding person and artist. I'm super happy that he's getting the recognition he really deserves!
Marco: Hey Fernando you are a guitarist with a special energy. Could it be due to the Bustelo coffee? If so, can you send me a ton here in Italy?
Rosanna: Fernando, I hope you're well! Keep doing what you're doing and congratulations on the new studio. See you soon on the road (or via Zoom for another session at some point!)
INTERVIEW WITH FERNANDO
Brad Kesner: Hi Fernando, I have reviewed two of your amazing albums, Energy Overload by the Appice Perdomo Project and the amazing tribute album Ram On: The 50th Anniversary Tribute to Paul and Linda McCartney's Ram co-produced by you and Denny Seiwell. These are definitely two distinct and different albums. I absolutely love both of these albums! Please share a little about your experience on each album and any comments you would like to pass along.
Fernando Perdomo: Brad, never in my wildest dreams would I ever imagine working with two of my fave drummers of all time in a 6 month period. Wings are my obsession and I learned how to drum playing along to Ram, Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway. Denny still has it and when he agreed to make a new version of Ram with me I was blown away. I love how it came out and he even used the same snare drum he used on the original Ram. Denny is super modest and humble.
Carmine is a friggin rock star and I have been too intimidated to say hi to him at name shows before. I had some new music that I heard Carmine drumming on and I posted on Facebook if anyone knew Carmine. My friend Dana Dowd (daughter of Tom Dowd) made the intro. The rest is history. I'm truly pinching myself!
Brad Kesner: Both you and Carmine are champions of improvising in your jams. The first outing for the Appice Perdomo Project, Energy Overload, is perfectly titled, for there could not be a more ideal description for this album. There is definitely tons of energy between you and Carmine. I know the two of you built this album from a distance. How was this experience for the two of you? It seems that a second album could be a sure thing with the Appice Perdomo Project and that you may already be 6 songs or so into it. That's fantastic! Any comments you would like to add there?
Fernando: Carmine and I truly are a good match. We both think rhythmically when we play; we also both play too loud! So the sound we create is truly overwhelming. Our second album is almost done! On to number three!
Brad Kesner: Fernando, if you were now a reincarnated soul, who would be your favorite musician you would like to have been before in a previous life?
Fernando: Been before? A Beatle for sure. Actually I would love to be reincarnated as Jim Fielder of Blood Sweat and Tears He played in the greatest horn band of all time AND dated Laura Nyro who was the most beautiful woman of all time.
Brad Kesner: What is your dream band that you would love to be a member of? Do not include the incredible bands you have already been a part of so far in your life. Do you have a bucket list of future collaborations would you like to have or future tribute albums would you love to do?
Fernando: Santana... me on bass; Automatic Man ... me on bass; Jean Luc Ponty Band ... me on Bass; Curved Air ... me on guitar. (Smiles.)
Brad Kesner: Fernando, if you put together the ultimate fantasy super-group, who would you love to have in this band? Do not limit yourself here. Musical heroes of yours are allowed here.
Fernando: Definitely Laura Nyro fronting Blood Sweat and Tears. (IT ALMOST HAPPENED!)
Brad Kesner: What is a past gig you would have loved to have been a part of?
Fernando: Ah yes .... Woodstock.
Brad Kesner: Fernando, share something about yourself that nobody else knows. Have fun with this one.
Fernando: I faked trumpet in front of 80k at the Sugar Bowl 2000 marching with the UM marching band. (My girl friend at the time played Trumpet with them).
Brad Kesner: One last thing Fernando, is there a breaking news release or upcoming album you would like to tell everyone about that no one knows about yet?
Fernando: Here are two. Someone/Anyone? - The 50th Anniversary Tribute to Todd Rundgren's Something/Anything? This will come out Feb 2022. Also, Out to Sea 4, coming out March 2022.
Article by Brad Kesner. Thank you to Dave Kerzner, Durga McBroom, Gabriel Agudo, Marco Ragni, Rosanna Lefevre, and Gary "Toddicus" Arnold for your wonderful input and pictures.