BEING JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
A tribute to early Mahavishnu Orchestra (1971 – 73), featuring the music of inner mounting flame and birds of fire. With Tristan Gianola (guitar), Ryan Burns (keyboards), Alicia Dejoie (violin), Geoff Harper (bass) and John Bishop (drums).
“Yes indeed, a nice long set of Mahavishnu Orchestra material culled from Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire only, played impeccably by this band of consummate professionals. Filling McLaughlin’s shoes quite capably is guitarist Tristan Gianola, with Alicia DeJoie at stage left playing violin. The bandleader here is actually keyboardist Ryan Burns, with the rhythm section of John Bishop and Geoff Harper on drums and bass respectively. This was definitely a fitting tribute to a couple of the most groundbreaking albums ever recorded, fully capturing the adventurous nature of the music, not just imitating the original.” – Exploring Boundaries of Rock
“Miles Davis thought the motherfucking world of John McLaughlin. The jazz innovator showcased the British guitarist in his most electrifying bands in the late ’60s and early ’70s, allowing McLaughlin to conjure tonal lightning over immortal records like In a Silent Way, A Tribute to Jack Johnson, and On the Corner. Few could combine technical wizardry with soulful timbre and compositional prowess like McLaughlin in his prime (see all those Miles LPs, Mahavishnu Orchestra’s first two albums, and JM’s sublime 1973 collab with Carlos Santana, Love Devotion Surrender, which, I blasphemously contend, contains the greatest version of “A Love Supreme”). Local sextet Being John McLaughlin-featuring Tristan Gianola on guitar-strive to harness the virtuosic pyrotechnics of the fusion master’s tenure with Mahavishnu, which is one of the most worthwhile pursuits of sonic homaging I can imagine. – Dave Segal, The Stranger
For Being John Mclaughlin’s debut performance, Tristan Gianola and keyboardist Ryan Burns were interviewed by The Royal Room for what to expect and their thoughts on the Mahavishnu Orchestra.
RR: What interests you about the work of the players in the original band?
RB: As a keyboard player, I was really interested in Jan Hammer, and his use of electronics, especially the analog sounds of the Fender Rhodes and Moog synthesizer. I knew he did Miami Vice and other soundtrack work, but he was really letting loose in this band. I also developed a healthy idolization/man-crush on John Mclaughlin, so much so that when I went to his clinic at UW a few years ago, I was nervous and had sweaty palms!
TG: Of course I became interested in Mclaughin’s aggressive playing from a guitarist’s perspective. I found out that during the time he started Mahavishnu he was doing yoga three times a day… the guy was very fit, no wonder he could shred like that! But what intrigues me even more is how the musicians played together. Every one of them shreds as fast and as aggressively as possible, yet the music never sounds confused or muddy, just dirty and mean. It is a total wank-fest, but never feels over indulgent. If you watch live footage of the band they were so instinctive, and their communication simply freed them to do anything. The world never heard a band so loud and fast at the time, it literally scared people.