Phil Manca: (not) a guitar hero
Hey, did you ever think rock and roll was dead all this time? You are about to embark on a journey back to its roots: the blues-rock. And who would have thought that this trip would take us to France?
I think it was Paul Westerberg (The Replacements) or Jon Bon Jovi (two genious at their own way) who once said something like: “When the music is good, you don’t listen anymore, it goes directly to your heart.” Well, I guess this is the case with the authorial work of the guitar-hero Phil Manca, which is even more electrifying than his beloved AC/DC covers.
The way I got to grips with the covers feels to me like I’m not even playing covers but my own stuff.
The new single, “Dancing Spirits”, by the way, has an intro that references Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” which is just a taste of things to come. Make no mistake: Phil Manca is a truly original artist who uses every trick of the rock gods in his own way, even if he resists entering the pantheon of guitar heroes. “There are too many famous and talented guitarists who have this label to pretend I could attribute it to myself“, says the humble french rock star.
Gary Moore made him do it
From his hard-rock roots to his latest productions, Phil (born in Paris-France) has always combined his talent as a guitarist and a song-writer. He was involved with many bands (TNT, Sortilège) and musical projects, but the most significant to date stays ERA‘s first album (7 million copies sold over the world) and several successful film soundtracks with the composer Eric Lévi.
In addition to writing songs for the French singer Renaud Hantson
(Starmania), he presents in 2003 at the Olympia in Paris a very refreshing rock musical version of the children’s tale Jack et le Haricot Magique (French translation of the English fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk) which went on tour for more than 10 years. Recently he payed a tribute to Gary Moore for nearly 2 years until he decided to record his own blues-rock material.
2 5 things about Phil Manca
RC- Do you consider yourself a guitar hero?
PM – Oh no! I would be too pretentious to define myself that way. There are too many famous and talented guitarists who have this label to pretend I could attribute it to myself. Of course, the guitar is omnipresent in my repertoire, but the track has to live up to it, I’m not a shredder who plays at maximum speed. Now if people want to define me that way, I’m ok with it!
RC – Who are the “rock and roll dancing spirits” that seem to be a part of all of your performances?
PM – If you’re talking about my musical influences, you can surely find there in a mix: Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Jeff Beck, Michael Schenker, Gary Moore, Todd Rundgren, Van Halen, Judas Priest, Pink Floyd, Beethoven, King Crimson, Ted Nugent, Jethro Tull, Queen, Thin Lizzy, Cream… you shake it all up.
RC – Besides you, of course, your band also draws a lot of attention for their talent and technique. Did you hand-pick them? Introduce them to us!
PM – The drummer and the bass player are two longtime friends so did not need to audition. On drums Eric Lafont has played with a lot of people and is undoubtedly one of the few drummers in France who can play all styles of music, a true musician who can play all instruments. David Jacob on bass is known to work mainly in the French hard rock group “Trust”, he also has a much wider musical palette ranging from jazz to classical music.The singer Josselin Jobard, nicknamed JJ. We met a few years ago when I paid a tribute to Gary Moore, JJ was on bass and vocals, because he too is a multi-instrumentalist, he also plays guitar and keyboard on stage in the current formation. JJ has a rather unique tone of voice, a style which fits perfectly to the songs.
RC – As a member of ERA, tell us an unforgettable moment you lived with the other musicians.
PM – ERA was a musical project, it was Eric Levi, Guy Protheroe (choir conductor) and myself. I put a lot of heart and energy into this project and it was very cool to record at Peter Gabriel’s recording studio, but considering how it ended for me, I have to say that unfortunately I don’t have a good lasting memory since I got my royalties stolen.
RC – Do you enjoy any Brazilian music?
I don’t really know much about brazilian music besides of course Sepultura and Gilberto Gil! Unfortunately never been to Brazil but music is inextricably linked to your country!