been some great instrumental surf-rock style guitar instrumental CDs
in 2012 and near the top youd have to include, the self-titled
CD from the group known as Rondo Hatton. Based down in Baton
Rouge, Louisiana, the four piece features some solid guitar work from
Bruce Lamb, who sometimes sound like John Blakeley back during
the memorable early days of Johns early band The Sandals. Lamb
gets solid back up from the three other players here including Johnny
Rosetti (guitars), Les LeBlanc (bass) and Joe Miceli.
I close my eyes and its 1961 all over again, though there are
plenty of other signposts on this CD to suggest the instrumental guitar
sound and style will never get old. Commenting on the unique chemistry
of these great musicians, Lamb adds, 'Weve known each other
for years and years. Plus, we were all friends even when we were not
playing together so the chemistry is very special.' You might want
to pick up the CD just for that amazing cover art, but overall Rondo
Hatton is time well spent for guitar enthusiasts. In December
2012, guitarist Bruce Lamb spoke to mwe3.com about the new Rondo Hatton
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Bruce Lamb of RONDO HATTON
mwe3: Whats the history of the Rondo Hatton Band and what key
events led to the making of the new Rondo Hatton album?
Rondo Hatton was formed in 2009 as a side project band. We were working
as an R&B/ Blues band called the Circuit Breakers. I wanted to
do something different and asked the guys if they were interested,
they said, yeah, sure! We always did a lot of instros
anyway so it wasnt much of a stretch.
Our current album is actually our third release. The first is a mix
of covers and about six originals. The second is an all acoustic project
of Latin music, mostly Tex-Mex, Mexican folk songs and some Cuban
songs. I really got into writing new songs and within about six months
we had enough to do an album of all original material. We recorded
in December of 2011 and it was released in March of 2012.
mwe3: Where did you grow up and where do you live now and how does
that impact you as a musician?
BL: I was born in Annapolis, Maryland. My family
moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana when I was twelve. In 1992, I relocated
to Austin, Texas and I stayed there until spring of 2008 when I moved
back to Baton Rouge.
At one time, Baton Rouge had a great live music scene. All kinds of
bands had plenty of places to play, any kind of music you wanted to
hear. Now, it seems like everyone is stuck in 70s/80s rock cover
band music. Not really my cup of tea! We have a good following here,
though. Its mostly folks who can think for themselves and not
be told whats cool, if you know what I mean.
mwe3: Who are your big musical influences and favorite albums? What
imact did the original surf-rock guitarists have on your playing and
who are your favorite guitarists, legends and other favorite musicians?
BL: My first influence would be my father, Kennie
Lamb, because he put the first guitar in my hands. He was a great
bluegrass fiddler and I learned by backing him up.
players are whoevers record is on the turntable right now! Im
kind of a sponge of American roots music and Id hate to leave
anybody out. I really like just about everybody, but Ill try!
First off is T-bone Walker and everyone from his school,
like PeeWee Crayton, Gatemouth Brown, Guitar Slim, etc. Then B.B.
King and Freddy King, Otis Rush, Earl Hooker and Ike Turner. For rock
n roll Chuck Berry is on the top of the list. He is a
huge influence as is Bo Diddley. Then youve got all the rockabilly
guys, Scotty Moore, Carl Perkins, Cliff Gallup and Eddie Cochran.
Not to mention Joe Memphis, Jimmy Bryant, Don Rich and yes, Luther
Perkins. Of course, were talking about instrumental music here
so Duane Eddy, Link Wray, The Ventures, Lonnie Mack, Dick Dale, Paul
Johnson and all the surf guys. Id also like to mention current
players like Jimmie Vaughn, Duke Robillard, John Blair, Danny Amis,
John Rosetti and Grady Pinkerton.
mwe3: When did you start playing guitar and do you maintain a practice
schedule these days? What inspires your approach to writing instrumentals?
BL: I started out as a drummer when I was about
13 or 14. I was in a garage band with some school buddies and got
interested in the guitar. Between my dad showing me some chords and
my school buddies showing me some licks I took it from there.
I practice every single day for at least 2 3 hours. (Youd
think Id be a lot better!) As far as inspiration for writing
instrumentals, Ill usually start with an interesting set of
chord changes and write a melody to fit the changes, but I have come
up with a riff or catchy lick and built a song around that as well.
mwe3: What guitars are you featuring on the Rondo Hatton CD? How do
you achieve such an authentic 1960s type sound on the instrumental
tracks? The album is very cleanly mastered and well recorded so, what
part does mastering and mixing play in the sound?
I played an early Fender of Japan Jazzmaster reissue, a Fender 62
Telecaster reissue with a Bigsby and a Fitzwell Strat copy all through
a 1961 Fender Super with a Fender outboard reverb unit. Johnny Rosetti
(the other Rondo Hatton guitarist) used a Fender Tele, a G & L
Asat with a Bigsby and my Fitzwell Strat through a Fender Vibroverb.
I have to give credit to the studio, the engineer and our producer.
The studio is at University of Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Its part of the Broadcast Journalism Department and is just
great! The engineer, Aaron Thomas, knows what were going for
and really knows how to record it. Hes got great ears!
And our producer, Bill Boelens, is not only a great friend, but a
surf music fan X 10 and helps us out a lot.
mwe3: What other musicians play with you in the Rondo Hatton group
and how would you describe the chemistry of the musicians in the group?
Can you say something about the very cool CD packaging artwork on
the new album? Just the CD packaging alone should win some kind of
BL: As I mentioned, Johnny Rosetti is the other
guitarist and he is so good. I want to feature him a lot more but
he tells me, Hey, you write em and play em and I
hold it together for you! He makes it easy for me. On bass is
Les LeBlanc, who is also a fantastic guitar player. He helps me arrange
the composition on some of our originals. Joe Miceli is the drummer.
Do you remember Judy In Disguise by John Fred and the
Playboy Band? Thats Joes drums that kick that song off!!!
Weve known each other for years and years. Plus, we were all
friends even when we were not playing together so the chemistry is
The artwork was done by a charming woman named Kerry Beary who owns
a vintage record shop/art gallery/retro shop. She and her husband
have helped us out a lot and I will always be grateful to them.
What are the future plans for Rondo Hatton and what are you hoping
fans will say after picking up the CD and listening to it?
BL: Well, I have written enough new songs for
us to record another CD of all originals and we are working on that
right now. We would also like to do more Latin music and weve
kicked around the idea of doing an R & B/Blues instro record as
well. We really want to get out on the road a lot more and take our
music to parts of the U.S. and Europe where instrumental music is
more popular. That is what were hoping for. So far, response
to our current CD has been really good. Weve gone into a second
pressing, so thats a good sign. We would just like to thank
everyone who buys a CD or a download of it. That lets us know were
doing something right! We hope that our fans enjoy all our music and
that they are looking forward to another Rondo Hatton CD. Id
also like to thank you, Bob, for giving me this opportunity to tell
a little bit of our story. And, I have to thank the international
instro music press for giving us nice reviews and being so kind to
us. It makes us VERY PROUD. Hope to see you soon. PRAY FOR SURF!
Thanks to Bruce Lamb at www.RondoHattonBand.com