Eric Blowtorch, Vocalist/Guitarist/Songwriter
“You could search the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota and not find a musician as talented as Milwaukee’s Eric Blowtorch.” -David A. Kulczyk, Maximum Ink
Singer/guitarist/songwriter Eric Blowtorch sings, plays, and writes reggae, ska, rocksteady, soul, rock ‘n’ roll, funk, hip-hop, Anglo-Afropop, Latin and jazz songs with rhythm, melody, passion, and original comic timing. E. B. performs and records solo, in small combos, and with a band, Eric Blowtorch and the Bodyguards.
The latest Eric Blowtorch album is the triple vinyl LP Quality Items, recorded with the Inflammables. “Everybody has a gimmick,” Blowtorch claims. “Mine’s content” – emotional, communal, and political content delivered with intense guitar playing and singing.
Eric Blowtorch is an ambitious artist; some say lunatic. In the Duff Guide to Ska, Steve Shafer wrote, of Quality Items, “There’s some really fantastic ska and reggae here, but also a few mix tapes’ worth of top-shelf jazz (big band/free form/no wave), soul, bossa nova, pop and rock, even disco (the musically omnivorous Joe Strummer would’ve been proud)…. Like Sandinista!, the longer you live with it, the more you discover, and deeper you find your love for it.”
Eric Blowtorch has played to appreciative audiences in Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, College Station (Texas), New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, London, and Kingston, Jamaica. Leading bands he’s shared bills with Billy Bragg, Harvey Scales and the Seven Sounds, Paul Cebar and the Milwaukeeans, Diblo Dibala and Matchatcha, Dr. Madd Vibe, the Itals, and the Skatalites. Solo he’s opened for Alternative TV, Dan Hicks, the Jazz Butcher, and Alfred W. Johnson, among others. He’s also performed live with jazz saxophonist George Braith, jazz/reggae trumpeter Eddie “Tan Tan” Thornton, and the Alpha Boys’ Band of Kingston, Jamaica. The Alternative TV DVD Splitting in Two features performances of “Love Lies Limp” and “Communication Failure” by ATV with E.B. on melodica, live at London’s 100 Club in December of 2001.
In his recordings E. B. has worked with Jamaican musicians U-Roy, Horace Andy, Big Youth, Rico Rodriguez, Prince Jazzbo, Duckie Simpson (Black Uhuru), Bagga Walker (Sound Dimension, Black Uhuru), Keith Sterling (everybody), the late, great Roland Alphonso (Skatalites), and Studio One producer Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd.
Nationally, E. B. has recorded with three original Fishbone soldiers: Norwood Fisher, Angelo Moore and Chris Dowd, resulting in the 2022 7” single “Too Many Dues.”
E.B.’s Midwestern recording partners include Shahanna McKinney (Highball Holiday), Dan Hanrahan, Paul Cebar, Robyn Pluer, Paul Finger (Wild Kingdom), Danny Dan Fernández (Kings Go Forth, International Jet Set), Matt Norberg (Kings Go Forth, Highball Holiday), D. J. Brooks (Citizen King), Jason Todd (Def Harmonic, Minus After, Leo Minor) Ernie Adams (La Chazz, Ahmad Jamal, Ramsey Lewis, Dianne Reeves, Arturo Sandoval, Stanley Turrentine), Steph Lippert, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra violinist/violist Glenn Asch, De La Buena bandleader/keyboardist/vocalist David Wake, and De La Buena vocalists/percussionists Cecilio Negrón, Jr., and Julio Pabón – a formidable array of collaborators. For exciting, entertaining, and edifying music, dig Eric Blowtorch now.