Friday, September 25, 2015

Attention Deficit - 1998 "Attention Deficit"

Attention Deficit biography
Another instrumental "super" group (rock, metal and new age/jazz) - but this one is different. ATTENTION DEFICIT is Michael MANRING (from Michael Hedges) on bass, Tim ALEXANDER (ex-PRIMUS) on drums, and Alex SKOLNICK (from Testament) on guitar. Each has brought with him the experience of working from different musical backgrounds. The group has really found a good mix, with Michael's busy session bassist specially for new age, the thunderous drums of Tim injecting a jazzy purism into the mix, and the tandem with the fusion/heavy metal guitar of Alex. They all jell together famously.

They have issued a pair of albums thus far - 1998's self-titled debut and 2001's "The Idiot King". Their first album is HEAVY, FUNKY grooves and guitar melodies in the vein of Frank ZAPPA and BOZZIO LEVIN STEVENS, with some fusion and late KING CRIMSON overtones. The second album is a tasty hybrid of metal and jazz, united in a prog rock realm. If instrumental fusion/jazz/metal is your thing, then you'll find ATTENTION DEFICIT rather pleasing.


 "Call it mad scientist rock, or call it simply mad. Whatever it is, Attention Deficit have entered the lab and blown it up, reaching right into the atom heart mother of improvisational mondo rock, combining their trinity of disparate elements, and letting new sonic monsters find life.

The group is an exotic amalgam of bass, guitar and drums, a necessary far-flung exploration that sprung naturally and spontaneously from the collective mindmeld of three diverse and divergent talents, guitarist Alex Skolnick, drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander, and bassist Michael Manring.

The joy of it all is to watch creativity take flight, to hear what three instruments and three distinct musical histories can conjure. And understanding the rich resumés of our three noisemakers goes a long way toward deciphering the fresh kill that is Attention Deficit.

Mad axeman Alex Skolnick seems to have two defined pasts. After experiencing the revelation that was Kiss in the late '70s, Alex dove fervently into that heady mix of thrash and power metal that became the Bay Area sound. Through five records and countless tours with Testament, Skolnick's bruising riffery an rust-proofed solos defined major label extreme metal for years. After his departure, which included stints with Savatage and a solo configuration, Skolnick found new life as a noted follower of jazz and fusion. The elevated hybrid that became his new sound put Alex in the position of regular columnist for the likes of Guitar, Guitar Player and Guitar World. Clinics ensued, as did gigs with Stu Hamm and future Attention Deficit partner in crime, Michael Manring, who nicked Skolnick for his solo record Crimsonly entitled Thonk.

Mad bassist Michael Manring comes from a whole different school of thought, having cut his teeth as the ultimate session man, a bass god for the similarly chops-endowed. Having studied at Boston's venerable Berklee School Of Music, and with bass monster Jaco Pastorius, Manring moved forward to perform on all but one of the late Michael Hedges' seven solo records. His next stint was as house bassist for Windham Hill Records, spawning numerous solo projects and yet more session work; his appearances on other people's projects number well over one hundred. Gold records, Grammies, Bammies, Bass Player's Bassist Of The Year in 1994 . . . Manring is without a doubt one of his instrument's elite.

Mad percussion fiend Tim Alexander represents yet another discipline stream, having thrilled and chilled as the man pounding out Primus, alternative rock's most chops-insane ambassadors. Alexander's recorded legacy is highly appreciated, his geometric rhythms being a regular topic of discussion amongst drum magazines, possibly his greatest acclaim being named as one of the "most influential drummers of all-time" by Drum magazine. Having spent eight years driving Primus, Alexander is now lead vocalist/drummer for San Francisco act Laundry and, like Alex Skolnick, had linked up with Michael Manring for the bassist's solo record, Thonk, thereby completing the trinity that is now playfully but tellingly deemed Attention Deficit.

The bottom line is this: three true artisans have gotten together for a bit of high science, even if the jump-off point is built of raw intuition. What they've come up with offers immediate and powerful gratification to students of instrumental performance, and not so quick, but ultimately similar gratification to those who just love visceral, challenging music. We strongly suggest you pay attention. The rewards are real.


1     ATM     2:55
2     An Exchange Of Niceties     2:33
3     Scapula     5:13
4     Snip     0:22
5     It's Over, Johnny     3:31
6     TMA     2:02
7     Fly Pelican, Fly     11:55
8     Febrile     2:52
9     MAT     3:18
10     Wrong     0:47
11     The Girl From Enchilada     2:35
12     Merton Hanks     3:21
13     Ill Flated Conspiracy     3:07
14     The Blood Room     3:20
15     Festivus     0:10
16     Khamsin     1:39
17     Lydia     3:43
18     Say Hello To My Little Friend     3:01


Alex Skolnick: electric and acoustic guitars

Tim Alexander: drums and percussion
Michael Manring: four, six and ten string basses, loops.



  2. You will find NO kiss on this blog :-)