Eric Johnson

“I recently had the honor of playing a solo on an intense, left-of-center song in 15/8 time called ‘New Blues Old Bruise’ for John McLaughlin’s latest CD, Industrial Zen [Abstract Logix]. John’s musicology is so diverse that he’s as comfortable in odd time signatures as most people are in 4/4.
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Now, I’m fine in 3/4—or even 5/4—but when it comes to 7/8, I have to think about it, and soloing in 15/8 is a real challenge. Comping chords or working out a part is one thing, but creating a solo where all the licks match up and work well with the other instruments is something else. I studied the track before going into the studio, and I found that it worked well for me to break the time down into three groups of five notes, or four sets of four, losing one beat in the last set. I cut the solo ten times, but wound up using the first take. It was a dream realized to play on a John McLaughlin record, and it was a great learning experience to assimilate 15/8 time in a way that felt natural.”