Whoopgnash: LACK OF EDUCATION released 2007 Sadly, the band has no website presence now. Whoopgnash's newest release, Lack of Education, has that intensity and frantic, frenzied fusion rock in so many cuts that just making me listen has me breaking into sweat. But that's good ~ as the drive in Erickson's guitar work is brilliant versus brawn alone. Everyone in the group is killer tight and on the money top-shelf playing. A beautiful outro dedication to the late Shawn Lane closes this fine CD. I notice too that this recording is mastered, mixed and produced excellently with fun channel pans and crystalline separation. This is a wide-open, headroom maxed CD. Signal to noise ratio is ~ 100 to 0 if ya know what I mean. Compositions & voicings are varied enough to easily avoid that typical fusion rock rut of every song being too narrow in the spectrum of sonicland. For those needing places to anchor their heads as to what this Whoopgnash band is all about, try and figure this description out: Allan Holdsworth, in his I.O.U era was given a dose of Scott McGill's eclectic rock heaviness and kink ~ mixed in with a healthy swig of Ohm's Chris Poland ferocity and then the bpm is cranked way up. In a word, exhilarating! Whoopgnash has really matured over their three-CD span of releases and this one shows them coming into their own trademark sound. I give this high-octane, fusion rock a solid 10 and highly recommend it for your collection. So buy it now! That's how fusion survives. ~ John "JazzFusionGuy" Patterson of JazzRock-Radio.com
TRACK LISTING: 1 Cuff Em Up 7:49 2 Tiny Bone 10:37 3 Tweezed 5:15 4 Lack Of Education 7:08 5 F'Nheimers and Children 5:20 6 Rageahol 6:56 7 Dedication 8:39 MUSICIANS: John Erickson - Guitar Bill Paul - Drums Jeff Jarrard - Bass
WHOOPGNASH UNCLEAR CHANNEL - LIVE 2004 DVD Review by Randy Booth (a.k.a. Rand X) Today, what is called fusion is often really either heavy instrumental shred rock with little or no jazz influence, or it's new-age sleep-inducing fuzak. For those who long for fusion that fits the classic definition -- a seamless blend of the energy and loudness of rock with the complexity, dexterity and improvisational spirit of jazz -- Whoopgnash delivers. While Whoopgnash's music obviously travels through territory blazed about 20 years ago by Holdsworth's IOU band and Bill Connors, Whoopgnash comes off as more of an extension of that music rather than a slavish clone. The 2004 live DVD Unclear Channel solidifies Whoopgnash's stature as one of today's finest fusioneers. The DVD case states, "This DVD was shot in one, two hour in-studio session, no overdubs. These are all first takes and represent Whoopgnash as we play live, mistakes and all."
I had a hard time detecting any mistakes, which is especially amazing considering the extremely complex material this tight trio performs. It's exciting enough to listen to this music being played, but the experience goes to a whole new level when you watch guitarist John Erickson's fleet fingers traversing the fretboard as effortlessly as if he were playing air guitar to "Devil Take The Hindmost." Bassist Jeff Jarrard and drummer Bill Paul show remarkable telepathic interplay, often changing tempos faster than you can count the time signatures. The bass playing is busy without getting in the way, while somehow always managing to set the foundation of the music - a lot like what Jeff Berlin was doing back in his days with Bruford and on Holdsworth's Road Games album. Paul is all over the kit, and like Erickson, seems to do it effortlessly. The ultimate charm of this DVD is it's like the band invited you over to their soundproofed garage to hang with them and watch them play - no fancy camera work, no artsy conceptual computer-animated interludes, no dry ice, no spandex, no scantily clad dancers (guys, can you at least squeeze that into your next DVD?) - nothing but fiery instrumental fusion played before your eyes by 3 highly skilled musicians. If you own Whoopgnash's 2 CDs, this DVD is a must. If you're a fan of fusion with a capital F - especially the Holdsworth/Connors brand of fusion -- and you haven't yet discovered this band, this DVD is a great place to start. Also, although there is no official audio CD version of the DVD music, band leader John Erickson offers a no-frills homemade CDR for a mere $12 (includes shipping within USA), so you can get an earful of this incredible live performance when you cant watch the DVD. For details about Whoopgnash, visit www.whoopgnash.com or email John at email@example.com EER-MUSIC.com Editor's note: Thanks Rand X for that fine review! Randy Booth is one of the "last words" when it comes to fusion -- knowing his stuff like few fusion fans I have encountered. He stays ahead of even a fusion junkie like me with what's hot in the genre. I have to agree 100% with his review of this DVD and EER-MUSIC.com highly recommends it. Also the DVD has hilarious segues, intros & outro of David Letterman meets SNL's Mr. Bill type humor. Who ever would think of ending a DVD with a toaster full of firecrackers or M-80s plugged in and cooking? ;-P
Whoopgnash: self-titled (CD, 51:53); Independent release, 90795 0031 2, 1999 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, the endless axe adventures of Allan Holdsworth, down through his helter-skelter career has left dents in the brains of many a guitarist, (mine included). Whoopgnash's John Erickson is severely dented by the Holdsworthian monolithic guitar benchmark. Erickson is no copycat but has caught the drift of what happens in a Holdsworth tune perfectly. His band; Bill Paul on drums, Drum KAT/synth and Keith Norton on bass follow along easily at breakneck speeds, stop-n-go time sigs, and accentuate unison jams, rim-shot tight. Erickson's attacks on solos are clean, expressively driven and fly along at legato phrasings that will make most fusion fans drool. If you have dug Holdsworth for years, then enjoy this Erickson cat skittering all over that I.O.U./ Metal Fatigue era sound. Bass work and drum lines are fine too with Erickson interweaving intricate finger rolls and subdued backing soundscapes in Texan, Eric Johnson's style. We tone down the fusion-fueled, frenzy on "Reunions" and my mind is cast into dreamworlds of chordal ascension to the stairway lit by heaven's portals. Erickson's emotive lead is precisely voiced like a soul crying out for answers to life's myriad of set backs. Wonderful cut! A wealthy amount of exactly the type fusion that typifies the best to be heard is right here folks. And executed with pizazz. Get this CD and help one more unknown fusion group make it big time. Don't believe me? Just sample "Sissy-Boy Slap Party"! You'll see the light too. Highest of recommendations. ~John W. Patterson
Track Listing: 1. Short Term Memory 2. Desmo 3. Too Hammered To Be Legit 4. Moderately Priced 5. Reunions 6. Tony 7. Sissy-Boy Slap Party ==========================
Full Scrape by Whoopgnash (CD; 53:07) 9079500322 2002 Genre: Hardcore Fusion Rock Label: Independent Website: http://www.whoopgnash.com Whoopgnash's second release, Full Scrape, offers fusion rock fans another solid offering of virtuosity in axe. John Erickson continues this outing with a cascading flurry of Holdsworth-ian, dreamy, chordal escapades -- spiced with superb legato chops I find pleasantly Bill Connors-like. Erickson's voicings of solos and effects treatments was more like Eric Wollman and Carl Roa of Magic Elf. This reverbed, delay echoes created that "in the next room" essence -- thereby rendering most solos as coming from a "distance" vs. an "in your face" attack's powerful presence. Don't get me wrong here -- the chops are solid and satisfy but lacked that immediate "headspace" present in most all the chordal passages. So I was left with this release being biased in its impact residing mainly in chords and roll-picking arpeggios song to song. Soloing, (my favorite section of fusion), took a more subtle "backseat" sonically speaking. Track six, "Eine" was more to my tastes mix-wise in its Connors' Assembler type of pushing the solo to the forefront of the mix with a "punching out" and therefore assailing the listener with more note-phatness, power & glory. "In Memory Of" held spectacular solo section riffage that really shined but was too mixed down & faraway -- "burning up off in echo land" -- to fully deliver all the umph it held. Overall, I'd recommend this as a solid fusion release but I found the mix not to my taste as I wanted to hear Erickson's superb soloing more than distant callings or echoes of the chordal cries. ~ John W. Patterson, Editor EER-MUSIC.com TRACKS: 1 There's No Sound In Flutes 6:15 2 The General 7:16 3 Sketchers in the Rye6:01 4 In Memory Of 7:59 5 I Sure Hate Ta' See A Widda' Go Down Like That 6:56 6 Eine 5:49 7 Flat Brimmed High-Rider 5:00 8 Industrial Standards 7:51 MUSICIANS: John Erickson - Guitar, Baritone Guitar, Slight Keyboard Bill Paul - Drums Jeff Jarrard - Bass (Tracks 4, 5, 6 & 7) Dan Watson - Bass (Tracks 1,2,3, & 8)
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