Remember the good old days, when jazz-fusion wasn't all about showing off your chops, and was more about creating sweeping moods, and the importance of songwriting? Well, the Bombastic Meatbats certainly remember those days. Having obviously studied the classic early-to-mid ?70s recordings of such fusion greats as Return to Forever and Jeff Beck, the group (which includes such members as Grammy winning Red Hot Chili Peppers/Chickenfoot drummer Chad Smith, plus guitarist Jeff Kollman, keyboardist Ed Roth, and bassist Kevin Chown), is back with their sophomore full-length album.
Aptly titled, ?More Meat,? the album is a follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut, ?Meet the Meatbats,? and once more, is released by Warrior Records via Universal Music Group Distribution.
??More Meat' is just that...it has much more music on the bone,? quips Smith. ?We stretched out more, the playing is more tighter, and there's a more improved recorded sound, haha!? ?There is a new depth to the songs and the band has it's own vibe," adds Roth. ?We have all played live together so much that the band has really found it's sound. Since so much of this group is interplay and listening, it was important that this time around when recording we were set up so that we could really hear ourselves and each other well. This contributed to some very strong performances.?
Smith originally crossed paths with Kollman and Roth via their mutual association with legendary singer/bassist Glenn Hughes (Smith is best friends with Hughes and he, Kollman and Roth act as his solo band). After it was discovered through jam sessions that the trio had developed an instant chemistry, Kollman suggested his pal Kevin Chown would be the perfect four-string fit. And then...voila! The Meatbats were born.
As with their debut, ?More Meat? is an incredibly consistent listen from front to back, shifting gears from smooth jazz, funk, and rock - a recipe for some truly tasty modern fusion. As Kollman recalls, ?We basically moved in to a small Venice studio and recorded over a three day weekend. DONE! Writing-wise, it was par for the course. I planted the seed on a few of the tunes at home and presented them to the Meatbats. Ed would throw in that brilliant bridge or a melody that I couldn't find. The Bats then performed quick surgery and turned it into magic...but much of the record was written by all as we jammed at the infamous Malibu Tiki room at Chad's house in Malibu. The origin of the songs are all a bit different. It could start with a drum groove, or a bass line, or a genius Ed ?the Wrench' Roth progression.?
With provoked smiles, the band points out some specific standout tunes from the album's twelve-song track list: Roth: ??Greasy Louise' - it's so funky, you need to look in your shoe. ?Shilo's Forbidden City Blues' - who doesn't love a trip to the forbidden city, as long as it's sanitary. ?Shag' - the title says it all, go make some babies. ?Dr. Blotter & Miss Purple (Ride In The Echoplex) - take a trip, without the chemistry.? Kollman: ?There's a great vibe on ?Dr. Blotter.' The track sounds a bit like Wes Montgomery jamming an instrumental with the Doors (low rent ?Wes' that is...). It was a vibe we hadn't touched on before...Ed has some genius soundscape moments with the old Echoplex. That one is probably a good trip with some smoke and the phones. ?Shag,' our first Smooth AC single, is another one that I'm stoked about. This was one I presented to the band that got lost in the pile. Chad found it on his computer and we reworked it with Ed contributing a nice bridge. Chad swung the feel, which was originally straight and Kevin added a nice haunting bass line in the A section (good job, Kevin ?Bubbles' Chown!). That one has really got a thing.?
With ?Shag? being added to Smooth AC radio, the Meatbats also celebrated their "More Meat" album release with a live on-air performance on the syndicated KLOS Mark & Brian Show in Los Angeles. And despite all four of its member's schedules jam-packed with other projects for the foreseeable future, the Meatbats do have various tour dates forthcoming, including special shows not to be missed where the lads will be doing their funky thing at New York City's famed venue, the Iridium Jazz Club.
Only two albums into their career, the Meatbats are already leaving their mark on musicians around the world, as Kollman recently witnessed the proof. ?There's already a Meatbat tribute band in Japan! They kindly mentioned to us that they were starting one...I haven't had a chance to check them out yet, but I think there's a female ?Wrench' in there. They asked me for a name...in an instant moment of inspiration, it came to me - King Tamas & the Spam Javelin. ?King Tamas,' as Chad has been referred to, is a bit crude and offensive when translated in Japanese, so the band abbreviated it to become, ?KT & the Spam Javelin'!?
With an overabundance of funk, rock, and fusion at their disposal, the Bombastic Meatbats will soon be offering another healthy helping of ?More Meat.' Or, as Mr. Roth summed up the group in exactly five words. ?Sexy. Funky. Heavy. Forbidden Fun.? We couldn't have said it better ourselves.