By José Oliveira, Rock At Night Columnist-Colmar, France
Venue : Wood Stock Guitares – ENSISHEIM (France) – 11th March 2016
The Band: Charlie FABERT – Lead Guitar; Gus MONSANTO – Vocals; Guillaume PIHET– Drums; Philippe DANDRIMONT – Bass
Founded by Lead Guitar/songwriter Charly FARBERT while in the French underground rock scene in September 2014, GRAND MEDIA BLACKOUT has embarked on a new venture with their new singer, GUS MONSANTO, a famous Brazilian metal master, who was the lead singer from Finnish band REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE.
The band has just released their first EP and will be realizing a follow- up album next September. With the gritty sway and swagger of their new EP, they seem ready to take a large European Tour. Rock At Night (RAN) went to Guebwiller, on the beautiful Alsace vineyards, to listen to these young rock blood guys! Check out the interview below:
RAN – It was a great pleasure to see you yesterday at your first concert at Wood Stock. A great performance! GRAND MEDIA BLACKOUT! What it means?
Charlie FABERT– In fact, the sense of the title is complicated enough. Could have several meanings. Already, that speaks of Sublime’s one Media Blackout because we make a reference so much to the music. Also, because when we make this kind of music, it is not what most of the big media support – that speaks a few of what the media don’t talk about! Concerning everything that happens here in France and somewhere else in the music business, our music is much more orientated to a special audience. Outside the general public!!
The other sense is also very important. There are signs in the dress handkerchief of this EP. It is hidden inside almost everywhere. We can say it’s about a story of a plot. About to control the state of this planet. Things which we do not say, but people should know. There are texts which speak a little about all this. Here we are. GRAND MEDIA BLACKOUT is a mixture of all this!
RAN– Yeah but MEDIA BLACKOUT has also to see about censorship , which can be voluntary or institutional…
C.F. – Absolutely. That speaks exactly about censorship. I spoke about the state of the planet at the moment and there’s one of our songs on the album – FAITH – which speaks about that. It’s an enormous problem for a very long time, but we just began to speak about it. Only now! We speak about it as if it was something which was just arriving. While it is a state of emergency since already for a very long time. That makes a reference to this kind of thing but also about banks, about money and in a general way, about the government or the lobbies.You know, all of these things!
RAN– Very original approach. Most of the hard rock or metal bands, focus on devilish texts referring to Satan or these kind of things, whereas you seem to be more directed to the environment.
C.F. – The Devil for me is the people who are making the living on Earth so hard!! The real Devil is there!
RAN– Let’s talk about the Musicians. About the beginning of this project!
C.F.– Well, I have played before in two bands the last three years and I began to write some personal material that I kept. I have toured a lot with some other artists, playing guitar especially these last five years with FRED CHAPPELIER (the most famous French Bluesman) what is always an absolute pleasure! But now, it was time for me to realize my own project– something that sounds really personal. My first influences, even if I love the blues, were more directed to rock. If LED ZEPPELIN had not existed, I would never have made music!
When I created this project, I called at once to Philippe, an excellent bass guitar player, with whom I share an enormous musical complicity for seven years. Then, arrived Guillaume. We have known each other for a very long time. I played with him in another group when I was 17 years old. He has different influences but I did not hesitate to have him join the band. I knew that I would wanted ” a bruiser ” to play the drums–somebody who would bring a different type of drum playing. And what is brilliant is that Guillaume has many African influences on percussion. So, he was the right person for this job!
About GUS, our Brasilian singer, the story is even more incredible. By the way, we were in contact. thanks to a Brazilian girl (Adriana SHARINI) whom he does not know and me either, but she saw me in concert in France a few years ago. She lives at the other end of Brazil and she saw him in concert there too. When she learnt that I was looking for a singer, she contacted me to tell me ” you have absolutely to play with GUS and she said the same thing to him. Well, so she began to send us e-mails. At the beginning, I said myself, Brazil it is still not a door so close but I did not find a singer who could fit into this project. Nevertheless we auditioned a package (English, Russians, French) Well, but when GUS sent me the first pieces by e-mail, I said to myself, finally BRAZIL it is not so far as that!
RAN-GUS, I have seen your CV on the internet and it is impressive! You already have a long and brilliant career. You played with the biggest in Brazil, also in a Finnish band, but you had already played before in a French group!
GM – Oh! Yes! I was in France for the first time in 2004. I was invited to play with a famous French metal band called ADAGIO. We played all around the world. We played in Africa, in the United States, everywhere in Europe and we spent four years together. That was my first musical experience in France and this country became my second home! I have here many friends and had made beautiful meetings. Musically, I found in France very high quality, great musicians and beautiful brotherhood. To make this beautiful album with GMB is really a great dream! In spite of the enormous quantity of albums where I participated, this one with GMB is the one which takes me in the guts!! GMB is really a great adventure!
RAN-Do you think that this kind of project is much more easier to realise here in Europe and in France then in Brazil?
GM– At least, yeah. Yes, concerning good music! In Brazil, there’s a lot of different kinds of music but as Charly said, we don’t make music for the general public. This project is much more ambitious.
RAN– Well, we know that there are some great rock festivals in Brazil…
GM– Yes, the big one is ROCK IN RIO..
RAN-I mean, many Brazilian bands had exported their music to Europe, like ANGRA or SEPULTURA…
GM – You’re right José. At first, to be respected in Brazil, it was necessary to be known abroad and even been successful! It became a little the mentality of “Underdog”!! Anybody is a prophet in its Country “!!
RAN – It is exactly what happened with the German band THE SCORPIONS!
GM– Yes, but don’t forget that they needed at least ten years to obtain this world consecration!!
RAN – Yeah! And now they are making a farewell Tour since five years ago!!!, They didn’’t still manage a way to stop!!!! ( Laughs )
When did you begin GRAND MEDIA BLACKOUT?
CF– We made our first concerts in small clubs in September 2014, which served to appropriate the stage, got to know how we behaved together, and once again the magic took place at once. At that moment, we decided to make an album. We began recording in February, 2015 and the first concert took place in Wood Stock Guitars yesterday. Meanwhile, the machine is really launched since September, 2014, but for me the group exists since well before!
RAN-I think you’ve record it in Los Angeles. Isn’it?
CF-No, no. We recorded it in France, in the capital of Champagne wine, REIMS, but you’re right, it was mixed in LA, at The LIGHTHOUSE STUDIO, by a friend who is an excellent sound engineer: CHRIS HESSE.
RAN-At present what are your projects?
CF– We are preparing a big European tour next September. We hope to play in Germany, where we think we can find the most important audience for this kind of music. We shall play everywhere where people will want us. It will be a great pleasure to go on the road. The complete album – with 10 songs – will be out next September. Now, we’ve just put out a limited EP edition.
RAN– Let’s talk with the other members of your band.. Yesterday I really appreciated your drum playing, Guillaume. How did you come to the music?
GP– I began early enough to play drums! I had this virus to bang almost everywhere.( laughs ). At table, flatware served me as sticks. At school, pens served me as sticks and my parents said themselves, “ here is a musician in the family”!! My parents were not musicians but suggested me taking drum lessons!!My fate was drawn! At 15 years old, I knew that it will be my job! I played in many bands where reigned a big mixed musicians. I was able to open to African musical roots. But I also listened at home to a lot of Rock music.. My background is more rock ‘n’ roll but possess this African touch. Then I met Charly and we had a Worldmusic band together.
RAN-What drummers have most influenced you?
GP– Oh! There’s a lot! I would say STEVE JORDAN, STERLING CAMPBELL, who was especially known with DAVID BOWIE’s work. Roughly, I like drummers having a big groove. Of course, JOHN BONHAM. But I’m not only influenced by drummers. I also listen to other musicians. And they influenced my play, for sure.
RAN-I remember a very interesting interview I had in the Seventies with COZY POWELL. Do you know it?
GP – Of course! He was one of the biggest Rock drummers at that time!
RAN – I don’t not know if you know that Drums, was the first instrument touched in their youth by GUS, your Brazilian singer!!!
G.M. – Jesus! It was a great thing to gave up!! If you listen to my drum play, you didn’t like rock n’ roll for a while!!! (laughs) I play really bad!
RAN – Now talking with Philippe, the Man who play bass guitar. How did you come to this noble instrument?
P.D. – I was touched by a friend , a wonderful guitar player. I was twenty years old and I spent a lot of time listen to him. One day, I said to myself I am going to try it. I began playing guitar on my room, at home, and quickly I chose the bass guitar. I felt really comfortable when I tried it the first time. Then I noticed that all I was listening as music (YES, KING CRIMSON), it was always centred on the bass sound. It was always what I first heard in that great songs. So, that really tempted me to play this instrument.
RAN-And what about influences?
P.D. – JACK BRUCE, TONY LEVIN and many others, of course. A long list of names!
RAN– To finish our beautiful meeting. What do you think the future holds for GMB? What are the latest obstacles?
C.F. –Well, It is never simple! With this album we want to make some music without concession. Most of the musicians write texts or make some music to please people. Our approach is to make something which pleases us first! Not necessarily fashionable! Of course, hopefully it pleases people! Obstacles will be there as always. I made this job for ten years and I was lucky enough to had the opportunity to play with a lot of people, all around the world. I was also so lucky to co-produce projects for other artists. I always know that it is not an easy way but I am very convinced that it’s worth !!
RAN – Many thanks and good luck to the Band!!
Photos by Alain Moreau and Jose Oliviera
The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission to Rock At Night and the photographer. Use of any image is a violation of the United States and International Copyright laws.
I was born in Portugal and lived the Sixties exploring the great UK Rock magazines: "The New Musical Express" and "Melody Maker". Ray Charles and Pat Boone were my father’s fav. I became “The Great Pretender”. Cliff Richard was our Elvis Presley. As a beach boy, with my first guitar, I met a beautiful French girl on the beach! It was the Summer of 69!! We got married and rock music was our dowry. In France, I became a Wine Genetic Research Scientist. One of my works contributed to the decoding of the genome of the vine! As a rock journalist, I’ve worked twenty years for the Portuguese and Brazilian Rock Press. I ‘ve interviewed so many great artists. Then, one day I met FRANK ZAPPA! I got into trouble for introducing my wife to "Uncle Meat"!