Gary Lucas plays Grammy Museum in Great Guitar Series

By on May 18, 2011

Avant guitar wizard Gary Lucas will be performing solo at the GRAMMY
MUSEUM in Los Angeles as part of their GREAT GUITAR SERIES on Wed. July
20th at 8pm
Billed as “AN EVENING WITH GARY LUCAS”, this will take place at the Grammy
Museum’s 200 seat theater at 800 West Olympic Blvd.Past participants
include George Benson, Richard Thompson, Lee Ritenour, George Thorogood
and Jonny Lang

In the meanwhile, Gary Lucas and his psychedelic supergroup Gods &
Monsters will be performing at Joe’s pub May 27. This world class guitar
hero, Grammy-nominated songwriter, international recording artist with
over 20 acclaimed albums to date, and soundtrack composer for film and
television is releasing a new studio recording with his psychedelic
super-group Gods and Monsters, The Ordeal of Civility produced by Jerry
Harrison (Talking Heads). The Ordeal of Civility is being released May
10th on Knitting Factory Records, distributed by Sony/Red. There’s been
some astonishing press for the new record including features in the Wall
Street Journal and New York Times.

Don’t typecast Gary Lucas too readily. His wizardly way with the guitar,
avant-garde affinities and ever-present felted beaver-fur hat might stamp
him as the definitive New York art rocker. He’s got the bona fides, dating
back to his formative early-’80s stint as a guitarist in the last edition
of the Magic Band, the alchemical engine for the late rock ‘n’ roll
visionary Captain Beefheart,whom Mr. Lucas also managed… The guitarist’s
award-worthy collaborations with singers Joan Osborne (“Spider Web”) and
the late Jeff Buckley (“Grace”) are only the best known of his musical
allegiances, which also include albums devoted to 1930s Chinese pop songs,
original soundtracks for silent films, and studio summits with the Dutch
minimalist and lute player Jozef van Wissem. While looking ahead to the
May 10 release of “The Ordeal of Civility,” a new album with his band Gods
and Monsters, and a release party Saturday at
the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, Mr. Lucas was racking up his
frequent-flyer points… -Steve Dollar/Wall Street Journal

The music business has never quite known what to make of Gary Lucas. Go to
a site for streaming or downloading songs, and you may find his music
consigned to a vague category called “other.” Look him up in standard
reference works, and he’s likely to be referred to as a “legendary
left-field guitarist” whose work is “eclectic” or just plain “eccentric.”
But that’s what happens when you’ve performed with everyone from Captain
Beefheart to Leonard Bernstein (on his “Mass”), and your tastes and
itinerary take you as far afield as Poland, China, Spain, Israel, India
and Cuba. You end up with a reputation for being all over the map, both
literally and figuratively…Larry Rohter/New York Times

Gods and Monsters, the long-running vehicle for the former Captain
Beefheart guitar sideman Gary Lucas, celebrates the release of The Ordeal
of Civility. Lucas, a refreshingly understated guitar hero, has a diverse
musical history that ranges from collaborating with the singer and
guitarist Jeff Buckley to covering Chinese pop songs from the thirties and
forties. The new album is in a pop-rock vein with an eighties flavor,
accentuated by the former Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison’s
straightforward production and a lineup of keyboards, saxophone, guitar,
bass, and drums. -Dan Kaufman/New Yorker 5/9

For the last 20 years, perhaps the only constant in Mr. Lucas’s musical
life has been the rock group he leads, Gods and Monsters, which includes
members of Television and the Modern Lovers and is scheduled to perform at
Joe’s Pub on May 27. The Ordeal of Civility is meant to be radio-friendly
and, without forcing Mr. Lucas to relinquish his guitar frolics, finds him
singing more and incorporating horns into his sound to a greater extent
than in the past.

Described “an underground rock fan’s dream team” by the New Yorker, Gods
and Monsters features Gary on guitar and vocals, Billy Ficca (Television)
on drums, Ernie Brooks (Modern Lovers) on bass, Jason Candler (Hungry
March Band) on alto and tenor sax, and Joe Hendel on trombone and
keyboards. The Ordeal of Civility is a razor-sharp effort reflecting
Lucas and co.’s sensibilities without sacrifice or concession. The opening
“LuvzOldSweetSong” is a soft exhibition, nimbly driven by the Ficca/Brooks
rhythm team and Hendel’s resonant keyboards burbling low in support of
Gary’s understated vocal and hypnotic guitar motif. The sage advice found
within “Chime On” enjoys the classic twang of a country-blues,
incorporating snatches of forgotten Americana along the way. “Swamp T’ing”
is a slashing blast of Blank Generation rawk straight outta NYC.and that’s
the way, the way that it is. And for the technique freaks, there are three
instrumental tracks,the steady-rolling “Whirlygig” showcases Gary’s
trademark guitar flourishes, “Hot & Cold Everything” features G&M’s
kicking horn section with some gnarly, high-decibel fingerbusting from
Señor Lucas, and the kinder, gentler solo guitar of “Lazy Flowers”
provides an introspective pause before the ominous closing opus,

Gods & Monsters has featured many notable figures in its ranks over its
long history including the late Jeff Buckley. During his tenure in Gods &
Monsters, Gary and Jeff wrote two of Buckley’s most famous songs “Grace”
and “Mojo Pin.” The former became the title track and opener track on
Jeff’s double platinum Columbia album Grace which MOJO magazine recently
named the #1 Modern Classic Rock Album. Their collaborations can also be
heard on the Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas album Songs to No One, which
charted internationally with worldwide sales approaching 100,000.

Dubbed “The Thinking Man’s Guitar Hero” by The New Yorker, “The world’s=
most popular avant-rock guitarist” by The Independent (UK), “Legendary
leftfield guitarist” by The Guardian (UK), “Guitarist of 1000 Ideas” by
The New York Times, “a true axe God” by Melody Maker (UK), and “One of the
five best guitarists in the world” by the national Czech newspaper Lidove
Noviny, the British world music magazine fRoots recently described Gary
Lucas as “without question, the most innovative and challenging guitarist
playing today.” Rolling Stone’s David Fricke wrote: “Gary Lucas is one of
the best and most original guitarists in America.” Gary was selected by
the editors of DownBeat Magazine as one of their “Hot 66 6-Stringers”. He
was recently cited as one of the “100 Greatest Living Guitarists” in
Classic Rock magazine (UK).

Gary Lucas established his reputation as a guitarist’s guitarist with five
years spent playing with his childhood hero, the visionary avant-garde
vocalist/composer/bandleader Captain Beefheart (a/k/a Don Van Vliet). A
graduate of Yale University, where he was a DJ and served as Music
Director at WYBC FM, Gary’s childhood dream of joining Beefheart’s band
came true when he recorded two Captain Beefheart albums in the early 80’s
on Virgin Records, Doc at the Radar Station (1980) and Ice Cream for Crow
(1982), which featured his explosive solo renditions of Don Van Vliet’s
twisted instrumental compositions, “Flavor Bud Living” and “Evening Bell”
about which the latter piece Esquire wrote “Gary Lucas apparently grew
extra fingers in order to negotiate his way through it”. These recordings
put Gary on the musical map as a force to be reckoned with, and laid the
groundwork for his subsequent career. Lucas is currently taking his
Captain Beefheart Symposium on the road to celebrate the visionary genius
of his late mentor Don Van Vliet.
In 1988, Gary Lucas mounted his first solo guitar show at New York’s
downtown mecca for avant-garde and alternative music, the Knitting
Factory, and was an instant hit. The club became the launching pad for
Gary’s ensuing European success, as he was invited shortly after his first
Knitting Factory gig to appear at the prestigious 1988 Berlin JazzFest,
where a performance of his solo piece “Verklarte Kristallnacht” was
broadcast live from the festival on WDR on the 50th anniversary of
Kristallnacht and absolutely stunned the audience. The Berlin Morgenpost
raved in a review the next day: “It is Lucas!” In the years since, Gary
Lucas has released over 20 highly acclaimed albums in various different
genres (psychedelic rock, solo acoustic, world
music, electronic dance, rock-jazz, classical, ambient), played as a guest
on over 50 other albums, and has toured relentlessly, performing in over
40 countries around the world, from Tokyo to Tel Aviv – solo, with his
various ensembles, and providing live scores to a variety of films.

All in all, GARY LUCAS continues to live up the credo of his favorite
artist, Bob Dylan “He not busy being born is busy dying” by continuing to
record, release and perform an astonishing variety of music in as many
arenas of the global village as possible.


Author: DaveHHM

Dave Luttrull: Owner/Editor in Chief of Hellhound Music. Star Wars nerd, Gamer, Destiny homer, blogger, writer and lover of all things music.