RONDO HATTON
Rondo Hatton
(Rondo Publishing)

 

There’s been some great instrumental surf-rock style guitar instrumental CDs in 2012 and near the top you’d have to include, the self-titled CD from the group known as Rondo Hatton. Based down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the four piece features some solid guitar work from Bruce Lamb, who sometimes sound like John Blakeley back during the memorable early days of John’s early band The Sandals. Lamb gets solid back up from the three other players here including Johnny Rosetti (guitars), Les LeBlanc (bass) and Joe Miceli. I close my eyes and it’s 1961 all over again, though there are plenty of other signposts on this CD to suggest the instrumental guitar sound and style will never get old. Commenting on the unique chemistry of these great musicians, Lamb adds, 'We’ve known each other for years and years. Plus, we were all friends even when we were not playing together so the chemistry is very special.' You might want to pick up the CD just for that amazing cover art, but overall Rondo Hatton is time well spent for guitar enthusiasts. In December 2012, guitarist Bruce Lamb spoke to mwe3.com about the new Rondo Hatton CD. www.RondoHattonBand.com


mwe3.com presents an interview with
Bruce Lamb of RONDO HATTON



mwe3: What’s the history of the Rondo Hatton Band and what key events led to the making of the new Rondo Hatton album?

BL: Rondo Hatton was formed in 2009 as a side project band. We were working as an R&B/ Blues band called the Circuit Breakers. I wanted to do something different and asked the guys if they were interested, they said, ‘yeah, sure!’ We always did a lot of instros anyway so it wasn’t much of a stretch.

Our current album is actually our third release. The first is a mix of covers and about six originals. The second is an all acoustic project of Latin music, mostly Tex-Mex, Mexican folk songs and some Cuban songs. I really got into writing new songs and within about six months we had enough to do an album of all original material. We recorded in December of 2011 and it was released in March of 2012.


mwe3: Where did you grow up and where do you live now and how does that impact you as a musician?

BL: I was born in Annapolis, Maryland. My family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana when I was twelve. In 1992, I relocated to Austin, Texas and I stayed there until spring of 2008 when I moved back to Baton Rouge.

At one time, Baton Rouge had a great live music scene. All kinds of bands had plenty of places to play, any kind of music you wanted to hear. Now, it seems like everyone is stuck in ‘70s/80s rock cover band music. Not really my cup of tea! We have a good following here, though. It’s mostly folks who can think for themselves and not be told what’s cool, if you know what I mean.


mwe3: Who are your big musical influences and favorite albums? What imact did the original surf-rock guitarists have on your playing and who are your favorite guitarists, legends and other favorite musicians?

BL: My first influence would be my father, Kennie Lamb, because he put the first guitar in my hands. He was a great bluegrass fiddler and I learned by backing him up.

My favorite players are whoever’s record is on the turntable right now! I’m kind of a sponge of American roots music and I’d hate to leave anybody out. I really like just about everybody, but I’ll try! First off is T-bone Walker and everyone from his “school”, like PeeWee Crayton, Gatemouth Brown, Guitar Slim, etc. Then B.B. King and Freddy King, Otis Rush, Earl Hooker and Ike Turner. For rock ‘n’ roll Chuck Berry is on the top of the list. He is a huge influence as is Bo Diddley. Then you’ve got all the rockabilly guys, Scotty Moore, Carl Perkins, Cliff Gallup and Eddie Cochran. Not to mention Joe Memphis, Jimmy Bryant, Don Rich and yes, Luther Perkins. Of course, we’re talking about instrumental music here so Duane Eddy, Link Wray, The Ventures, Lonnie Mack, Dick Dale, Paul Johnson and all the surf guys. I’d also like to mention current players like Jimmie Vaughn, Duke Robillard, John Blair, Danny Amis, John Rosetti and Grady Pinkerton.


mwe3: When did you start playing guitar and do you maintain a practice schedule these days? What inspires your approach to writing instrumentals?

BL: I started out as a drummer when I was about 13 or 14. I was in a garage band with some school buddies and got interested in the guitar. Between my dad showing me some chords and my school buddies showing me some licks I took it from there.

I practice every single day for at least 2 – 3 hours. (You’d think I’d be a lot better!) As far as inspiration for writing instrumentals, I’ll usually start with an interesting set of chord changes and write a melody to fit the changes, but I have come up with a riff or catchy lick and built a song around that as well.


mwe3: What guitars are you featuring on the Rondo Hatton CD? How do you achieve such an authentic 1960’s type sound on the instrumental tracks? The album is very cleanly mastered and well recorded so, what part does mastering and mixing play in the sound?

BL: I played an early Fender of Japan Jazzmaster reissue, a Fender ’62 Telecaster reissue with a Bigsby and a Fitzwell Strat copy all through a 1961 Fender Super with a Fender outboard reverb unit. Johnny Rosetti (the other Rondo Hatton guitarist) used a Fender Tele, a G & L Asat with a Bigsby and my Fitzwell Strat through a Fender Vibroverb.

I have to give credit to the studio, the engineer and our producer. The studio is at University of Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana. It’s part of the Broadcast Journalism Department and is just great! The engineer, Aaron Thomas, knows what we’re going for and really knows how to record it. He’s got great ears! And our producer, Bill Boelens, is not only a great friend, but a surf music fan X 10 and helps us out a lot.


mwe3: What other musicians play with you in the Rondo Hatton group and how would you describe the chemistry of the musicians in the group? Can you say something about the very cool CD packaging artwork on the new album? Just the CD packaging alone should win some kind of award!

BL: As I mentioned, Johnny Rosetti is the other guitarist and he is so good. I want to feature him a lot more but he tells me, ‘Hey, you write ‘em and play ‘em and I hold it together for you!’ He makes it easy for me. On bass is Les LeBlanc, who is also a fantastic guitar player. He helps me arrange the composition on some of our originals. Joe Miceli is the drummer. Do you remember “Judy In Disguise” by John Fred and the Playboy Band? That’s Joe’s drums that kick that song off!!! We’ve known each other for years and years. Plus, we were all friends even when we were not playing together so the chemistry is very special.

The artwork was done by a charming woman named Kerry Beary who owns a vintage record shop/art gallery/retro shop. She and her husband have helped us out a lot and I will always be grateful to them.

mwe3: What are the future plans for Rondo Hatton and what are you hoping fans will say after picking up the CD and listening to it?

BL: Well, I have written enough new songs for us to record another CD of all originals and we are working on that right now. We would also like to do more Latin music and we’ve kicked around the idea of doing an R & B/Blues instro record as well. We really want to get out on the road a lot more and take our music to parts of the U.S. and Europe where instrumental music is more popular. That is what we’re hoping for. So far, response to our current CD has been really good. We’ve gone into a second pressing, so that’s a good sign. We would just like to thank everyone who buys a CD or a download of it. That lets us know we’re doing something right! We hope that our fans enjoy all our music and that they are looking forward to another Rondo Hatton CD. I’d also like to thank you, Bob, for giving me this opportunity to tell a little bit of our story. And, I have to thank the international instro music press for giving us nice reviews and being so kind to us. It makes us VERY PROUD. Hope to see you soon. PRAY FOR SURF!

Thanks to Bruce Lamb at www.RondoHattonBand.com







 

 
   
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