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Progressive Rock Interviews

Fernando Perdomo

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Fernando Perdomo from 2018


Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – sort of a "highlight reel?"

I'm 37, but this year I am celebrating 20 years playing "pro" gigs!

I grew up in a Cuban family in Miami Beach Florida. I started collecting records when I was seven or eight years old and started playing guitar around that time.  My high school had a rock ensemble program, and that was the turning point of my life. I played in local bands in the late 90s and got my chops together. I played on a number one hit song for Cristian Castro at 22, which led to some major touring all around the world. I played on two more number one hits in the Latin world. touring with major acts like Paulina Rubio, Soraya and El Puma. In 2009 I made a record called "Dreaming in Stereo" which established me in the power pop world. I had my own label and was called South Florida's best songwriter by a major newspaper. I moved to L.A. in 2012 and almost immediately started producing the legendary Linda Perhacs in my studio in Reseda. I joined The Dirty Diamond and played the Greek Theatre.  Itarted working with Dave Kerzner which established me in the progressive rock world.  I got "discovered" by produced Andrew Slater and put in the  Echo in the Canyon band along with Jakob Dylan, Fiona Apple, Beck and Cat Power for a huge show and forthcoming album/movie. I put out my instrumental prog rock album Out to Sea, which leads me to this interview.

MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Journalism like my mother who was the associate editor of The Miami Herald's Spanish edition El Nuevo Herald.  I'm sure I would be writing about music mostly - maybe for Guitar Player!
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
Beatles started it all..  My mom's records were the secret sauce (Michel Legrand, Charles Aznavour, World Music).   Then I became a 10 year old prog freak! Then I got heavy into Tori Amos, Kate Bush, The Cardigans, Ben Folds Five and Jellyfish. Then I discovered my biggest idol and musical influence.. Todd Rundgren..   He is the guy I emulate the most in music and life!
MSJ: What's the best thing that's ever been said about your music?
I have been told that I am melodic on every instrument and never too notey. Steve Hackett recently said that I am "interesting"  (laughter)
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Out to Sea 2 is done and set for October Release.  I also plan on making a singer songwriter EP in England in July at Abbey Road Studios...New Dirty Diamond album. I'm playing on the forthcoming album by The Lemon Twigs' keyboardist Dr. Danny, new Ken Sharp Album I co-produced, an album by Rachael Gordon I am co-producing with Ace Frehley of Kiss and Ken Sharp and a Yes tribute album I am co producing with Dave Kerzner!
MSJ: I know many artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
Classic instrumental prog...honest melodic music.
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play in the future?
Todd Rundgren, Jason Falkner, The Lemon Twigs, Dr. Danny, Ben Folds. Curved Air... I really, really want to work with Judie Tzuke!
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading or streaming of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
It has never been a better time to be a creative musician .. less roadblocks to get your music heard.  However, it is tough to make a living doing music unless you spread yourself thin like I do, but this means I get to make more music! 
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them or posting them online?
As long as the music is heard it is a win-win ..  Youtube is a blessing! 
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
Interesting question .. I would say it would be Captain Responsibility and his sidekick The Aging Monster!
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
My new band the Out to Sea Band has my three best friends who I have known for over a decade in it.. 

I just saw Utopia reunite, and that was a dream.. 

Maybe a reunion of Jellyfish or The Grays?  

MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Cruise to The Edge comes close!   I would love to see a festival curated by Todd Rundgren..  I think we are ready for a new Woodstock! 
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Khruangbin  Como Me Quieres...amazing Texas psych band with a  sound all their own.  I have been experimenting with flat-wound strings inspired by their amazing guitar player Mark Speer.   I also am huge into Vulfpeck... Their new CD Mr. Finish Line is their best yet.  I also love Dr. Danny's EP Lay It On Me Straight.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Ken Sharp's Play on Power Pop Heroes is super fun reading!   Also have been really digging Billy James's bio of Peter Banks called "Beyond and Before."
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Todd Rundgren's Utopia at the Fox Theatre in Riverside...Their reunion tour was amazing! Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, Willie Wilcox and  Gil Assayas  were amazing. Some of the biggest emotions I have felt at shows in a long time.  I hope they tour again!
MSJ: Do you remember the first concert you attended?
1992  Ringo Starr's All Starr Band with Joe Walsh, Todd Rundgren, Burton Cummings, Nils Lofgren, Zak Starkey, Dave Edmunds, Timmy Cappello and Timothy B. Schmidt...a life changing moment for me to see a Beatle and so many amazing artists in one amazing show..
MSJ: Have you come across any new gear recently that you love?
I am a devotee of IK Multimedia's Amplitube software. I also love the Veleton/Hotone pedals. I am also a co-designer of The Beat Buddy pedal that has been taking the pedal world by storm. I am proud of that thing!
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?"
Maj7th Chords,  Phasers on Everything, and 6/8 time 
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
My bass amp died at a show once so I drop kicked it ..  It started working!
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
A one on one with Laura Nyro..

I have had dinner with Todd Rundgren, and he is always a blast

I would love to hang with Paul McCartney.. I would hope the meal was on a break from a recording session...

MSJ: What would be on the menu?
I love all food.. especially Italian and Cuban.
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
This has been fun..  Go to my website and check out my music .. I hope you dig it ..  
MSJ: This interview is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at:
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