The Blues Byrds are a long distance collaboration between Michael Lyzenga (West Virginia, USA) and Andrea Cremona (Travo, Italy).
Michael is an established writer, vocalist, and guitarist while Andrea Cremona is an accomplished blues drummer. The love of the blues has brought them together, sparked a long distance friendship, and has resulted in some inspirational songs.
After coming to our attention Music News caught up with Michael to find out more.Considering that the main songwriting partnership is split by the Atlantic Ocean, one of you being in Italy and the other from the US, how often do you manage to get together in person to play?
We have not been that fortunate yet. It is possible that Andrea and friends and families may be able to come to the USA later this year but that is still in the working stages. My wife and I have always wanted to go to Italy and travel to Venice, Rome, etc, so, that may have been what really what got me interested in starting up a friendship with Andrea, well, that and the fact that I loved the songs I listened to of his band Bluesbox. So, if they can’t come here first we may have to go there, when time and money would allow that to happen. For now, we are very happy just recording the music and having fun. Playing live some day would just be icing on the cake!How difficult is to collaborate via long-distance file transfers and emails considering you are not actually physically together?
Up until the point when I heard the first track that Andrea returned to me with the music I had sent him and the parts he had added I was a little sceptical of how the sound quality would be affected but, as it turned out it was actually no problem at all. It was as if he was my next door neighbour instead of somebody who lived half way around the world. It would be easier if we were all in the same room together when all of the separate parts were being played for the simple fact that it is easier to get a better feel for certain starts and stops within a song. But, I think Andrea and the rest of the Blues Byrds in Italy have done a wonderful job of listening to my tracks and then adapting to what I have sent them. To sum up this question, so far it hasn’t hindered us at all and we’ve recorded about 8 songs already and have about 4 or 5 more in the werks.Was the song 'Overseas’ written about these obstacles?
I’m not sure at this point who actually came up with the 'overseas' idea but if I was a betting man I’d say it was Andrea. Once I came up with the first line: 'I’ve got this obsession with the blues' then the rest of the song just poured out in about 5 minutes.
Most of the blues songs I write have a mean woman somewhere within the lyrics and this song was no different. The hook to this song was that I may have to go 'overseas’ in order to get away from that mean old woman! Once we finished this song we were off to the races and haven’t looked back!Where do your stage names come from?
That would be Andrea’s domain. He writes little stories about each band member and they really are fun to read. Everybody gets to be a different character. We’ve been so busy recording he probably hasn’t had time to do much writing though. Andrea also puts together all of the video’s for our sites on Myspace, Youtube. Etc. Who have been your musical inspirations throughout your lives?
Mike: Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Pink Floyd, The Beatles (of course), Robert Johnson, Son House, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Tom Petty, and many, many more great artists, plus, a whole bunch of musicians I’ve had the opportunity to jam with over the years. Like these guys in the Blues Byrds for instance!How old were you when you discovered a love blues or music in general?
Music in general: 1966 (I was ten years old) and The Monkees were the best band I thought I’d ever see!
The Blues: much later in life, probably around 1995 or so. I was a late bloomer to the blues but once I was bitten with it I just fell in love. It is such an emotional genre of music that once I found it I told myself: this is what you were born to do!How far across the world has your music spread?
With the invention of the world wide web, email, mp3’s, etc, I would say the music I have recorded has played in just about every corner of the world. As I write this somebody somewhere is probably listening to a song I recorded. I have my songs posted to all of the main websites like Myspace, Soundclick, etc, but I also have found many more sites that will let you upload your music to be played on 'podcasts’ throughout the world. So, at any given time, night or day, it is possible that someone is hearing me sing one of my solo songs or a song that has been recorded with other people, such as The Blues Byrds! Or with my acoustic blues duo buddy Ray Hensley. Our website is: www.myspace.com/bluescrossingrocks
if you care to give us a listen now and then.What are the objectives of The Blues Byrds?
For now, make great music, enjoy what we are doing, get rid of the boundaries and barriers that have kept folks like us from getting airplay on major radio stations all over the world and then we’re going to retire and just play the blues all day! Money would be nice but like they say in Nashville, USA, there are a million guitar pickers out there all searching for fame and fortune. It’s a tough world for sure! Somehow we just want to break through the ice and let our music be heard and enjoyed by as many people as possible and let the chips fall where they may.Are there any plans to unite on stage in the US, Italy or indeed anywhere in-between?
We’re still working on this idea of Andrea and family and Blues Byrd friends coming to the USA later this year but as of now it is still in the planning stages. We have talked about though so it may be a possibility soon! If Music News readers had to listen to one track from your Myspace page which would you recommend?
PEOPLE GET THE BLUES (for no other reason than that is our latest song uploaded and it has a sax lead break that is killer!)And for the record the other members of the band are:
- James "smoking guitar" Jackson (Alessandro Romanello)
- D. D. King (Davide Devoti)
- J.C. Cinel (Giuseppe Cinel)
PIANO / ORGAN
- Frank Defax (Fabrizio Defacqz)
- Rod Blouset (Sandro Camisa): tenor saxophone
- Johnny Crash (Angelo Paganini): trumpet
- Steve "the healer" Taggart (Marcello Cremona)
- Paul Knots (Paolo Groppi)
- Steve "the guideline" Ross (Stefano Guidotti)
Check it out for yourself at www.myspace.com/thebluesbyrds