Dan Irion, one of four founding partners of Taos Mesa Brewing, lives by a simple philosophy found in a quote by Frank Zappa: “Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.”
Eric McFadden, who is, according to a fan on Facebook, “a Taoseño by familia y alma” – featuring his partner onstage and off, Delphine De St. Paër, and opening act Kimo, plus special guests – will decorate the Taos music scene. All plan to hit the stage today (Aug. 10), 8 p.m., at the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership, 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U.S. 64 west.
McFadden’s early influences — The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Mahavishnu Orchestra — shaped his eclectic sound that Guitar Player Magazine says “combines with flamenco, punk, and heavy metal to form a unique style.”
In the interview with Guitar Player, McFadden says his style is also influenced by flamenco and Django Reinhardt. “I don’t know where the gypsy flavor comes from specifically, but when we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, I got into flamenco. A younger kid who was a family friend needed to be taken to flamenco lessons after school, so I agreed to do it. I was overtaken as I sat there listening, so I picked up records by Paco de Lucia and Carlos Montoya, and the flamenco sound became a component of my style. There’s a lot involved, but once your alternate picking is fluid, and you master the harmonic minor scale, you’re in good shape.”
He has a special affection for Reinhardt’s Romani French jazz. Gypsies draw his attention, McFadden said, “because they know and celebrate extremes. They live lives of suffering, yet they are so full of love and passion. There is beauty in acknowledging the suffering and relating it to other people. I’m drawn to extremes in music. I like to play with reckless abandon, absolute delicacy and everything in between.”
Because of Irion’s connections in the international music community and as an accomplished musician himself, he booked the upcoming show of the “six-string virtuoso” because “Eric has been a staple anytime he passes through Taos at our venue. He was our first ‘big’ name to book after we opened in August of 2012. We all knew him from his days touring with P-Funk and knew he was an incredible guitarist with local roots. I think it was his mom, Vicki [McFadden], that booked him the first time in an attempt to get him to come home to Taos for a visit.”
Irion has seen McFadden perform many times. “My band, Last to Know, played a New Year’s Eve show with Eric years ago in the [Taos] Ski Valley. I’ve seen him numerous times since at the brewery.”
The list of artists McFadden has collaborated with is staggering: Bo Diddley, Joe Strummer of The Clash, Bonnie Rait, Bill Kreutzman of The Grateful Dead, Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones, Stewart Copeland of The Police and many others. McFadden has recorded and produced many solos and band albums regarded as underground masterworks by fans and critics alike. McFadden’s own guitar-shredding chops have been compared to those of Jimi Hendrix.
In addition to being a musician’s musician, McFadden is an artist who gives back to the community by providing channels for artists to work with troubled youth and communities to encourage self-empowerment through music and arts.
He co-founded the not-for-profit 10-Star Program with partner De St. Paër. McFadden’s supergroup, T.E.N., has been involved with this program, as have various other artists. The program has visited schools, detention centers and teen homeless shelters and continues to provide creative outlets and support to those in need. In 2013, McFadden and De St. Paër took over producing the annual San Francisco Strummerville benefit, which raises money to provide resources and performance opportunities for artists who would not normally have access to them.
Irion says the attendance this summer at the brewery shows has been excellent. He tries to keep a mix of music genres in the lineup to offer something for everyone. “It has been a good summer for us. We’ve had some big shows [and] weekend festivals. As much as possible, we try to vary the artist genre bookings to provide a little something for everyone.”
Cover is $10 at the door. For more information, call the venue at (575) 758-1900 or visit taosmesabrewing.com.