Fabrizio Grossi has been a part of the rock and blues music scene for well over two decades now, through his solo projects and bands like Starbreaker and Supersonic Blues Machine to even working with the likes of Steve Vai and Chad Smith, both playing and producing. Earlier this year he released the debut album for his latest solo venture, Soul Garage Experience. We managed to sit down and speak to him after this release about how the album went and his plans on touring with it! Give it a read or check out the video down at the bottom!
You put out the debut album of Soul Garage Experience in September; it seems to have gone down pretty well?
So far so good! We’re getting a lot of very good reviews and it seems to be working quite well on the radio so let’s see what happens! Just keeping my fingers crossed!
Did you write or record any of it during the lockdowns and COVID and all that kind of thing?
Well yeah, the whole thing started earlier, some of the songs are ones I’ve been collecting over the last 10, 12 years or so. I’ve collected enough material to do a couple of different records, that’s why it’s volume one! But some songs were started and really finished… because I always wanted to do a record like this but always ended up with an excuse to not do it, something else always came around. In addition there were a bunch of songs that I was preparing for the next Supersonic Blues Machine record that, after all the demos and the writing was done, I didn’t think it was appropriate for Blues Machine as it was starting to sound more like me and all my funk stuff more than Machine. Especially now with Kris Barras in it. So I decided to pull these tracks aside, which was a good thing as we were able to finish the Machine record and we’re now really happy with what we’ve got for that, it’s consistent.
So, I ended up with this bunch of songs and then in addition I ended up writing a couple of things during the pandemic. My idea was I already had a band that I was playing around town with a bunch of different friends, Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction) on drums and Alex on guitar as well as a couple of other cats. We always kind of ended up in the jam nights or doing private events or whatever and we’re having good fun! So my idea was to put all these things together and then either use Garrett Holbrook as the singer or some other friends to be the singer. Some of these last tracks that I wrote during COVID I did what I always do and lay down some vocals and a bunch of idea. I’ve never really seen myself as a singer, I never really pursue it, but more just to document the song. But then I end up playing it for friends and family, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) and my wife both said “well, why don’t you sing?” And I’m saying “well, I put this thing down waiting for the real singers!” But everyone was saying that I delivered the message so what else did I want to do and so after listening under that new light from the Reverend I figured he might be right! So I ended up re-singing a couple of the tracks better and all of that and the feedback that I got was really good so it’s one less thing to worry about!
Everyone in the band is a singer though, so we all decided that in putting this thing together we wanted it almost like a variety show in that everyone is going to have their own time. Like Kiss or ELO or Fleetwood Mac, that kind of vibe where a lot of people sing. Everyone is going to have their own songs, which is just going to make it fun and we can always move things around!
We put out a single about nine/ten months ago to start seeing what the feedback was and the first feedback I got was really good. It was followed up by another single before I got wrapped up in another project, a short film tribute to a friend of mine who was one of the first COVID victims (find it here). Then I got back into it and we decided to release it now and hopefully we can get a few shows in this year and at the start of the next before all the madness with Supersonic kicks off again.
Is there lyrically a theme through the album or is it more on a song to song basis?
I wouldn’t exactly call it a concept in terms of like, The Wall. But there is a concept thread throughout all the songs. Sure, you might find the funny one or one that sounds happy, but if you listen to what the lyrics are and what they are talking about, I think they’re what connect all the songs.
For anyone who’s familiar with what I do with Supersonic, it’s very hippy, 70s; that kind of mentality with the lyrics. More Bob Marley, John Lennon type. Everyone in the band agrees with those messages and we have the same view about the world. But there are multiple people in the project and not everyone has the same thoughts on how they want to deliver that message, and you always have to be respectful of that. I cannot just start talking the way I want to talk if someone else doesn’t like to use my specific choice of words.
Here, it’s different. I don’t have to ask permission of anybody. I have a lot of friends and a bunch of people helping and singing and all of it, but they’ve decided to help me this time deliver my message the way I want to deliver it. So, I would say this is my unfiltered version of myself and it’s closer to early Little Stephens or Tom Morello or even Bob Marley or Peter Tosh. I don’t want to claim because of the guys I work with that I’m a blues man, I don’t have that background and cannot claim it, I was born in Millan and was raised the majority in Europe before coming to the US at a young age. I always loved funk and soul and reggae but eventually hard rock took over. But I would say what I bring is a combination of all of those styles. But yeah, it’s insane that after 50/60 years that these sorts of lyrics are still relevant!
I assume you produce your own albums too then? You don’t bring someone else in?
I guess that’s one of the perks of doing it for so long. It’s not that I do not like other producers or anything like that, but ever since I started playing back in Italy I always had a pile of records to show to the house engineer where we wanted to go, sound-wise. Those guys were probably great at doing what they were usually doing, that kind of Mediterranean pop sound, but when it came down to rock’n’roll, no fricking clue! So I had to start to get my hands dirty on it and had to learn a few things so I developed that passion for producing. I think I’m a good mixer and I like what I do with the productions of course, and I can definitely record several instruments. That helped me do what I needed to do and it became part of my package, it comes along with me. I can’t think of letting someone else change my song, I’m not that kind of songwriter, that I’m preparing stuff to give to other people. It just comes natural.
To be honest with you I wanted to do this record independently too, not with a record company. I had opportunities but I was tired, more because of COVID than necessarily the labels themselves, to take a number to fit someone else’s schedule. I had a good team around me so I decided to go out now instead of in a year, year and a half, because that’s what would have happened.
Are you planning a wider tour for the album, then?
We’ve been working behind the scenes on both projects; with Supersonic we’re up to rescheduling our tour for the fourth time in the last year and a half! And also I’m just trying to find a new pathway for Soul Garage. I don’t know how much we’ll be able to do this year because we’re almost at the end, but hopefully next year it gets really busy for both bands! Probably Soul Garage more in the early parts of the year and then Supersonic heading into the summer.
And there we have it, our interview with Fab! Make sure to check out both Soul Garage and Supersonic if you are in any way into rock or blues or funk music and keep an eye out for them touring, they will not be ones to miss!
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