"The chemistry between us was so good that when we left the stage, we all said to each other: this works, we should record this", says guitarist Guthrie Govan. And so, after a near-improvised concert, The Aristocrats was born. Because the musicians - Guthrie Govan, Bryan Beller on bass and Marco Minnemann on drums - are far from being beginners. On the contrary, The Aristocrats are a luxury Cadillac driven by a trio of unstoppable technicality, stratospheric virtuosity and inordinate talent. Musicians who regularly play alongside Joe Satriani, Steven Wilson, Dream Theater or even Hans Zimmer.
And when so much ingenuity and dexterity are brought together in one place, ideas are bound to flow. If rock music brings them together, these inspired artists quickly go off in all directions, producing a de facto unclassifiable style. Here, the riffs are heavy and implacable, there, the jazz notes fly away to reach the top, further on, you can hear a touch of flamenco... Creation, audacity and originality are permanent and for all that, the group never loses its audience. On the contrary, they take them exactly where they want to go, sometimes breaking the codes to add a bit of fun in a technique that is oiled to the extreme.
Live, it's a demonstration and the fans are not mistaken. The eyes riveted on the strings, the concentration is maximum for any self-respecting musician. But far from being just a show for enthusiasts, The Aristocrats' concerts are also great moments of sharing. Between each piece, one of the three friends speaks, seasoning the concert with more or less successful jokes and crunchy anecdotes, sometimes interrupted by a "shut up and play" that amuses the whole audience. Because yes, you can be a prodigious musician, have an explosive second degree and win over the crowd!
In January 2011, Guthrie Govan stepped in at short notice to replace guitarist Greg Howe, who was to play a one-off gig with Marco Minnemann and Bryan Beller. One rehearsal later, the band went on stage and came out completely transformed. Between these three, and to their great surprise, the chemistry is more than obvious. It was as if they had been formed from the same material, each bringing their own influences to the others. Despite their various projects, they decided to continue the adventure. The Aristocrats were born and released their first self-titled album the same year, instantly gaining a great reputation among all virtuoso addicts.
Between live albums on which they excel and studio sessions to put their new creative whims on ever more awaited albums, the supergroup traces its path despite the projects of one or the other. In 2015, their third album, Tres Caballeros, was released, where the ambiances are mixed with softness and with the precision to which these jewelled musicians have accustomed us. In the wake of this, they set off on a world tour where, as usual, their performances are reminiscent of those evenings when you go out for a jam with friends. Except that, of course, with these three, the beef is of a level never seen before!
After a break to focus on their personal projects, a fourth album in 2019 entitled You Know What... ?, The Aristocrats are back with a new concept. Joining forces with the Polish-based Primuz Chamber Orchestra, they surprise their world once again with The Aristocrats With Primuz Chamber Orchestra. The album is followed by a new tour but without the orchestra, its complex arrangements not allowing a live performance of the quality to which the trio has accustomed its audience. So it will be these three virtuosos on stage again, and believe us, that is more than enough.
What these three musicians do with their instruments should not even be possible. I came to see virtuosos and I was served! But apart from their exceptional technique, they are really stage animals! They introduce each new piece with a little anecdote and a humility inversely proportional to their talent. It was really a great evening!
When three genius musicians join forces, it inevitably creates sparks. And if their music can be listened to on tape, you really have to see them on stage to measure the full extent of their talent. In addition to displaying a virtuosity that would make any guitar hero swoon, they bring with them a feel-good factor and a desire that is a pleasure to see. Here, no fuss, no frontman, just music mastered to perfection and in all humility.
So I said that as a musician, we were going to get a slap in the face, but it would be very limited to associate The Aristocrats only with a technical demonstration. On the contrary, there is, of course, technique, virtuosity even, but also a lot of humility, complicity between the three musicians, complicity put at the service of the groove, the whole interspersed with a good layer of humour and conviviality.