The word “supergroup” is tossed around a lot in instrumental music circles, the result of a seemingly endless supply of efforts to package together individual virtuoso players and make a band out of them. But every once in a while, the group part of that shopworn term becomes authentic and real. Such is the case with The Aristocrats – guitarist Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson, Asia/GPS, Hans Zimmer), bassist Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, Dethklok, Steve Vai), and drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, Steve Hackett) – who defiantly and joyously blow the supergroup stereotype to bits, thrilling audiences and fans around the world in the process with a preternatural band chemistry that equals exponentially more than the sum of its parts. Perhaps Guthrie Govan said it best when he called The Aristocrats “a rowdy democracy of musicianship.”
Despite their individual followings, The Aristocrats’ formation was a matter of happenstance on a barely-paying gig. The electricity was immediately obvious, with their unbeknownst-to-them shared influences infusing a high-energy instrumental fusion with an aggressive, playful, even cheeky edge. The audience response was overwhelming, and the band formed practically by demand on the spot. Three months later, the trio convened in person – eschewing the usual remote file sharing method in favor of actual live band chemistry – to track the album. Consisting of nine tracks (three contributions from each member), the material was a melting pot of their respective influences, ranging from the seminal ’70s jazz-rock fusion of Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra, to the progressive rock of King Crimson and UK, to guitar heroes like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, to the absurdly complex and satirical music of Frank Zappa and Mike Keneally, and even to ’90s groove metal like Rage Against The Machine.
Tracked in just eight days, The Aristocrats debut album The Aristocrats  was hailed as an instant classic in leading music publications worldwide, appearing on many of that year’s top ten lists. In less than a year, The Aristocrats became one of the most sought-after live instrumental rock/fusion acts in the world. In 2013, the band released their long-awaited sophomore album, Culture Clash. The material became more aggressive, adventurous, and intense, embodying a refusal to rest on the laurels of the debut album’s surprise success. Culture Clash debuted on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart at #8. Throughout this time The Aristocrats toured the world, bringing their live energy and otherworldly chemistry multiple times to North America, Europe and Asia. This around-the-world touring madness was documented on the live CD/DVDs BOING, We’ll Do It Live!  and Culture Clash Live .
For the band’s third studio album, Tres Caballeros , they rewrote their own rules. The Aristocrats set up camp at legendary Sunset Sound studios in Hollywood, CA, where Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Van Halen all recorded landmark albums. The result was nine compositions of greater sonic depth and breadth than ever before, with unique textures and lush layering augmenting the band’s near-telepathic ability to improvise both individually and as a group at the highest levels possible. The Tres Caballeros world tour began in summer 2015 with an 8-week stint across North America, followed by a winter European leg, and topped off with tour dates throughout Asia, Australia and South America in 2016. It was interspersed with a short landmark stint as the third "G" in a G3 tour with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani (the first time any "band" became a "G" on that bill). That’s some heavy touring, but not to worry – it’s all still tempered with a steadfast refusal to take themselves too seriously, and The Aristocrats are still having more fun than an instrumental band has any right to have.
The Aristocrats will release their fourth studio album in the summer of 2019 and are looking forward to touring extensively upon its release.
A phenomenally skilled jazz and rock drummer, Chad Wackerman’s professional career began in 1978 with the Bill Watrous band. Since then, he has amassed a remarkable body of work that includes a seven-year association with Frank Zappa, with whom he toured the US and Europe and recorded 26 albums, including the London Symphony recordings.
Wackerman has recorded eight albums and toured with guitar legend Allan Holdsworth, performed on Barbra Streisand’s One Voice album, and recorded and toured with artists as diverse as Steve Vai, Andy Summers, Men at Work, Ed Mann, Albert Lee, Colin Hay, Banned from Utopia, Dweezil Zappa, Terry Bozzio, John Patitucci, Joe Sample, The World Drummers Ensemble, Steven Wilson and James Taylor
As a band leader and composer, Wackerman has Vive critically acclaimed CDs: Forty Reasons, The View, Scream, Legs Eleven and his latest CD Dreams Nightmares and Improvisations. His DVD release is titled Chad Wackerman Trio: Hits Live.
Francis Dunnery operates as a Multi-Media Artist. His work combines music, humor, video, literature, performance art, philosophy and blistering electric guitar. Although impossible to pigeonhole, his work always reflects his deep commitment to personal Freedom and Individuality. Francis first hit the public stage back in the eighties as lead vocalist and guitarist for the progressive rock band ‘It Bites’. He has since gone on to have a very successful musical solo career spanning thirty years. During this time he has written, produced and performed music with some of the most successful artists of his time, artists such as Led Zeppelin’s singer Robert Plant, guitar legend Carlos Santana, Squeeze’s stalwart Chris Difford, Stone Roses’ singer Ian Brown, R&B superstar Lauren Hill, Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett as well as guesting with a host of bands and artists such as Yes, Hootie and the Blowfish and The Syn. Francis is accomplished in his own right, turning out ten engaging albums of original yet diverse composition and three DVD’s. Alongside his music career, Francis is also a long time student of Philosophy, Strategy, Psychology and Astrology. Always on the front foot, Francis was a pioneer in offering online consultations via Skype as early as January 2004, six months after Skype was launched, a practice that still continues successfully to this day. In 2005 Francis broke new ground once again when he initiated his House Concerts Series, offering his fans the opportunity to host intimate evenings of music, psychology, philosophy, astrology, all topped off with his tremendous humor. The shows became so popular that Francis has performed approximately a hundred and fifty shows a year for the past twelve years. He has taken these unique, inspiring and entertaining shows to front rooms throughout the world! Places as far reaching as New Zealand, Australia, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Spain, Italy, Holland, Switzerland and Germany as well as every corner of the USA and Canada. The House Concert shows have become an international phenomenon. Although his style can be jokingly brash and at times irreverent, he’s also capable of singing achingly beautiful music. Francis is also the president and founder of ‘The Charlie and Kathleen Dunnery Children’s Fund’, a charity he set up to honor his parents. The CKDCF is dedicated to children’s health and wellness providing grants and donations that directly benefit the children of West Cumbria, England. Every October, Francis and his friends from around the world, gather in Cumbria for a benefit concert and charity walk in support of the CKDCF. Francis Dunnery defies labeling. He's a musician, an educator, a mentor, and a storyteller. In fact, the legendary Robert Plant once said, "Francis Dunnery should be a public service." For more than 30 years Francis has created consumable entertainment for his fans, and this won't stop anytime soon. From new CDs and Venue Events, to Astrology Readings, House Concerts, and the NEW Big Purple Castle Podcast (available on Patreon). Present day, Francis is more than ever committed to the personal freedom and individuality of himself and his audience. He continues his studies towards his psychology doctorate at East Stroudsburg University and plans on dying when he’s around ninety six.
Hailed by many as the world’s leading solo bassist, Michael Manring has been pushing back the boundaries of what’s possible on the bass guitar for over three decades. While his technical skill and innovations always make an impression, it is his ability to communicate on a profound emotional level that most touches listeners. As editor Tom Darter wrote in Keyboard magazine after seeing one of Michael's solo concerts, "Forget his astounding technique and musicality; forget his absolute command of his instruments; forget how seamlessly the musical ideas and the performance of them were wedded together...The enlightenment came most from feeling (seeing, hearing) the joy Michael felt to be playing...his brand of transcendental chops and musical understanding...was all in the service of the final outcome, the joy of making music."
Building on the conceptions of his teacher, the late bass legend Jaco Pastorius, Michael has developed a new approach to the instrument that includes unorthodox tunings, techniques and methodologies. He has honed his skills on hundreds of recordings as a session musician and thousands of concerts throughout the world in venues including Carnegie Hall in NY, Yamaha Hall in Tokyo and Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. Michael has worked with a surprisingly diverse collection of musicians from New Age keyboardist Suzanne Ciani to avant-improv guitar innovator Henry Kaiser to celebrated folk troubadour John Gorka to experimental post-metal rockers Tim Alexander (Primus) and Alex Skolnick (Testament) to electro-pop pioneer Thomas Dolby. His long-term collaboration and close friendship with the late acoustic guitar genius Michael Hedges led to a lengthy stint as house bassist for Windham Hill Records; a label for whom he also worked as a solo artist, releasing four recordings under his own name: Unusual Weather (1986), Toward the Center of the Night (1989), Drastic Measures (1991) and Thonk (1994). These, along with his 1998 release The Book of Flame on the Alchemy record label earned him an international reputation as "a master of the fretless bass without rival." (Guitar Club Magazine, Italy). He has garnered two gold records, Grammy and Bammie nominations, a Berklee School of Music Distinguished Alumni Award, two Just Plain Folks Awards and numerous Bass Player Magazine Reader's Poll awards including 1994 Bassist of the Year. He was also the subject of a PBS TV documentary, “The Artist's Profile: Michael Manring” and a Youtube video of him playing his iconic solo piece “Selene” has well over a million views.
In his solo concerts Michael weaves together his musical influences into a tapestry rich with expression, virtuosity, humor and meaning. As one writer put it, "Michael Manring can do more with a bass than even the most creative individual could imagine" (L. Pierce Carson, Napa Valley Register). His newest release Soliloquy, performed entirely solo without overdubs, is the best recorded example yet of that depth and diversity. Using a variety of bass guitars and the far-reaching, innovative approaches he is renowned for, with Enhanced CD content including Michael’s extensive 24-page liner notes detailing the composing and recording process, photos and live performance videos, Soliloquy takes the listener on a unique musical journey. We hope you'll follow the advice of France's Musicien magazine: "Do not miss your next opportunity to discover the bassist with the most fresh and inventive playing today."