When Miami native Aaron Lebos was a kid, his parents told him to choose between violin and piano. "I chose piano," he says, "obviously." But his big brother played electric guitar, and he wanted to too. He thought it was "cooler." Eventually, he got his hands on a guitar of his own and made his way through jazz studies programs at Miami Dade College, University of Miami and FIU.
His new CD (his third), Aaron Lebos Reality (also the name of his band), is just out, and it's a mix of his influences and experience. Just don't call it fusion. He's not sure why -- he's just been told it's a dirty word in music, and not the way to refer to his or anyone else's he likes.
"Jazz-funk-rock" is OK.
Here's a list of albums Lebos says have influenced his music:
- Metal Fatigue - Allan Holdsworth
- 2 Drink Minimum - Wayne Krantz
- Appetite for Destruction - Guns N' Roses
- Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Tore Down House - Scott Henderson
- Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine
- Evil Empire - Rage Against the Machine
- Black Codes (from the Underground) - Wynton Marsalis
- The Best of Tears for Fears - Tears for Fears
- The Next Step - Kurt Rosenwinkel
- Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
- Ifrikya - Karim Ziad
- Band of Gypsys - Jimi Hendrix
Even though some of Lebos' licks and the way he plays around with time-signatures sound very Frank Zappa-esque, there's a reason you don't see Roxy and Elsewhere on this list. "I've barely listened to Frank Zappa at all, " he says, "but it's on my list to do."
Listen the band's hour-long live performance on South Florida Arts Beat.