Any time there is a chance to see Dennis Chambers…….I’ll be there…..Put Dennis with Billy Sheehan and there is no telling what might happen. Then mix in one part B3, John Novello, and you get Niacin. Supporting their new album “Time Crunch” the band made a stop in the D.C. area and we decided to drop in and see some heavy-duty fusion. If you are not familiar with this trio you should be. They have been around for some six years now and after completing their fourth album they hit the road for a ten show cross-country pilgrimage that would have left you blinded. The scene was Jaxx a metal bar in the suburbs of D.C. There wasn’t a packed house, but the crowd was thick and excited at the chance to see the band (you don’t often get a chance to see this stuff). My guess was that most of the ready crowds were musicians and there were a lot of drummers in the house. One man once said that there are drummers and then there is Dennis Chambers. The band left little to be desired as they cranked it out with the usual in your face style. Fast paced, heavy and with the speed of light. If you don’t know what I am saying you have to check it out for yourself. This group was formed under the idea of open space and freedom of expression. These guys bleed music and their prowess on their respected instruments of choice stands on its own. They mixed it up with selections from all of their albums seemingly concentrating around the newest release and they even pulled out a Birdland for us. The great thing about these guys is that they always are in the pocket, no matter what they are playing. The group flew through their selections with no break and ended with about a hour and half set. The songs were long and they ripped all their solos, as Dennis almost brought the roof down. This was a fusion heads temple on that cold November evening. Of course afterwards these guys were all about signing autographs and even taking a few pictures. This was a great show and a lot of fun. Seeing these three guys open it up, you just can’t see that every day. All you fusion heads out there please support this music. Travel if you have to, you don’t get a chance to see this everyday. I got a chance to take a few pictures and I even got a chance to speak with Dennis Chambers.
JA: What do you think about the state of fusion in America?
DC: It’s very sad……..there is a market for it, but the record companies won’t promote it…..they are to busy going after something that is going to sell 100,000 copies.
JA: How are the audiences different in Europe/Japan from America?
DC: Japanese listeners are more educated……you go to Japan and one radio station will play rock, funk, fusion and every type of music……you get everything on one radio station……..over here it used to be that way in the sixties……I remember hearing Billy Cobham, Aretha Franklin and Miles on the same station and you had these weird things going on……..the record companies want to categorize everything because they want to have a marketing tool……in order to sell the records they have to put you in a box, for example, Nirvana, when they came out they labeled them as a grunge band, but everybody who came up in the seventies and heard Grand Funk Railroad knows its the same thing……..What’s the fucking difference?. The record companies put this bullshit on everybody where they put the label on something and call it something new……there is nothing new in the music business……..the only thing that is different between then and now is what the artist brings to it……kind of like Prince. Now you have this deal where the record company will sell 500,000 copies and then they will go out and sign another band just like that because they know it will sell……like, take all the girl and boy bands…….they all sound the same.
JA: What’s on tap for 2003?
DC: I don’t know…….I don’t set goals……I just take things day by day and what ever happens….happens.
AN URGENT PLEA FROM JOHN McLAUGHLIN: Guitar icon releases exclusive video to raise awareness and funds for COVID relief in