FRANK HANNON - Martian Metal, Frankly
by Martin Popoff
Tesla's a great band and the guys in it have good taste, good instincts. So it's no surprise that blond-maned guitarist Frank Hannon (www.frankhannon.com), venturing out alone, has come up with a groovy solo album that spreads the hippie love. Guitarz From Marz is its jammy name and a psychedelic digipak is its home.
"It's kind of a joke - like with Spinal Tap, changing my style is my style," laughs the quintessential Californian. "I've been influenced by country, by funk. I grew up in a multicultural family, if you will, mostly Mexicans, a lot of blacks, and I was kind of like the minority. So, my mom was white, but my stepdad was Mexican, and he liked Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, so I got exposed to a lot of country. So if you listen to Tesla... like 'What You Give' is a lot of steel-sounding country guitar in there, in G Major, so some of the song structures have a real country flavour. The Frank Hannon album has a multicultural flavour as well. It has some rap, some funk, some metal, all kinds of different flavours around my influences, mixed in with my own style, which is a blend of all that stuff. Like a pizza (laughs). A combo pizza."
Have no fear, Guitarz From Marz is heavier and more mainstream than that characterization, Frank singing great, the production clear and concise, Tesla-tinged rock at the fore, very much a good hard rockin' time.
"The title track is one of the longest jams on there," notes Frank. "It's got a spacey blues flavour to it, and it's influenced a lot by Allman Brothers (ed. Dickie Betts is Frank's father-in-law!) meets Robin Trower or Pat Travers. Then there's 'Electric Warriorz', which is fusing metal guitar with jam elements, where you can improvise but still have an aggressive sound. But it's definitely a guitar rock album - it still has songs. I was being advised by different people: 'Maybe you should put out a shredder's album, something that sounds like Joe Satriani,' but I wasn't going to be satisfied with that. I have to have songs with lyrics that have powerful messages. One of the standout tracks is 'Stop The War', which has a direct lyrical message to it, but a lot of blazing guitar as well. It's just an opportunity to do things that I can't normally do in Tesla."
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