About American Fiction
BREAKING NEWS: Congratulations to American Fiction lead singer Chris "CJ" Johnson, who made it to the Top 24 on the final season of American Idol!
It’s the perfect name for a band whose story, you might guess, was just that: fiction.
It starts in Memphis, early in 2013. Landon Moore (Fast Planet, Patrick Dodd Trio, Chase Pagan) and Chris Johnson (Ingram Hill) had started writing some songs together. It wasn’t the first time the two had collaborated, but this was different. They put together a band – easy to do, as Landon tells it, because they just called up all their friends – adding Pat Fusco on keys (Kirk Smithhart, Detective Bureau, Jeremy Stanfill), and bass from Blake Rhea (CYC, Charlie Mars, The Gamble Brothers Band, Lord T & Eloise).
This sort of thing happens all the time. What happened next doesn’t.
Chris decided to take a chance, a shot in the dark, and reach out to legendary rock producer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles). He sent Kramer a demo, the ever-so-aptly named “Dumb Luck.”
Why not? The chances are that the producer who helped to launch Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios will never open that message. That he’ll never read it, never hear the song. But he did. And he liked what he heard.
Fittingly, it was the vocal that compelled Kramer to respond – he loved the sound of Chris’s voice and felt there was something about this band that he wanted to explore. And so, they put together a plan and set to work on making a record.
“It was a wonderful experience actually working with them,” Kramer says. “They come from such diverse backgrounds, you couldn’t ask for musicians that were more polar opposites – but it just sort of glues together.”
The result is the purest stuff on earth: rock ’n roll. It’s at once incredibly complex and perfectly simple. The layers are evident – Chris brings musical roots in country, rock and blues. Pat brings a background in jazz. Blake is heavily influenced by funk. Landon is versed in classic pop and rock. It’s rock with a smart pop sensibility that earns comparisons to everyone from The Black Crowes to The Wallflowers to Kramer’s own work with Led Zeppelin.
Their live show is an ebullient celebration of rock and pop mixed with imitable Memphis soul -- plus some smart covers thrown in for good measure. (Chris sings Hall & Oates better than Hall & Oates.) With the album out and the band gaining a huge following throughout the Mid-South, it's only a matter of time before American Fiction turns national stardom into a reality.