Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Marc Bonilla - 1991 "EE Ticket"

EE Ticket is the first studio album by guitarist Marc Bonilla, released in June 1991 through Reprise Records.

Guitar "shredding" is one of those things that as a listener one either gets or doesn't get. For those in the latter category, the style is a showoff-y example of technique over content, the sort of thing that brings people to cluck, "I bet he gets paid by the note."
For those who appreciate that there's value in the style, they can point to some of the better exponents of shredding, citing people like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and the much lesser-known Marc Bonilla as examples of players who offer subtlety and content atop the skill.
Currently the last-mentioned of these -- left-handed axeman Marc Bonilla -- is touring as guitarist with the Keith Emerson Group. And while Mr. Emerson is known more for skill and bombast than for subtlety, his guitarist has it all.
In 1991 Bonilla recorded and released his debut album, EE Ticket. A bit gimmicky in its attempts to tie the songs together thematically, the record offers extremely tuneful excursions in progressive guitar based pop. And while there's no mistaking that EE Ticket is Bonilla's show from start to finish, the presence of some very heavy friends adds to the enjoyment value of the disc. Keith Emerson, Ronnie Montrose and producer Kevin Gilbert all make their presence felt.
It's true that the songs on this instrumental album are very much in the vein of Satriani, but Bonilla seems to work from a background that's grounded more in pop and rock than in the jazz and blues influences that inform Satch's work.
The rubbery, jazzy lines of "Lycanthrope" (think: Nuno Bettencourt meets Frank Zappa) rank among the highlights of EE Ticket, but each track offers some sonic pleasures. The conceptual between-song snippets try for a The Who Sell Out feel, and succeed relatively well in a 90s context. There's easily enough variety on the disc's dozen tracks to please fans of progressive rock, metal and heavy modern pop.

Marc Bonilla is arguably one of the greatest ever instrumental guitarist-composers. Unlike many guitar heroes who seem to have only a few variations or are mostly capable of only technically-brilliant jams, Bonilla seems to delight in each composition being an musical journey bound by a theme established early on in each track. Each song in EE Ticket is distinct from the others, and the dexterity with which he plays -- his mastery of the instrument -- makes this CD hold up over many, many listens without seeming repetitive.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Marc Bonilla, except where noted.
No.     Title     Length   
1.     "Entrance"       0:46
2.     "White Noise"       3:03
3.     "Mannequin Highway"       4:58
4.     "Commotion" (John Fogerty)     3:44
5.     "Lycanthrope"       5:14
6.     "Hit and Run"       5:05
7.     "Afterburner"       4:29
8.     "Hurling Blues Skyward"       3:36
9.     "Antonio's Love Jungle"       4:13
10.     "Razorback" (Bonilla, Don Frank)     5:20
11.     "Slaughter on Memory Lane"       6:40
12.     "Exit"       0:53
Total length:


    Marc Bonilla – guitar, guitar synthesizer, synthesizer
    Kevin Gilbert – vocals, keyboard, Mellotron, organ, production
    Ronnie Montrose – guitar, slide guitar (track 10)
    Keith Emerson – piano
    Don Frank – drums, percussion
    Troy Luccketta – drums
    Dave Moreno – bass



  2. Good album and good guitarist (also prolific as soundtrack composer). Nice post, thank you.

  3. Wonderful blog, I'm very glad I could find this album in Flac. very talented guitar player.

  4. Very awesome album , very astonishing and exciting, thank You!