Band Interview Of The Day – Lee O’Nell Blues Gang

1. If could introduce yourselves for us, who are  you? 

Lionel WERNERT: Let me introduce you Lee O’Nell  Blues Gang. I’m the guitarist, leader and composer of  the group and decided to form it in 2019. My wife is  the female voice and the lyrics writer of this 5 pieces  Blues Rock band coming from Reims, France. 

 2. How did you all meet? 

Lionel: I play guitar for more than 40 years now, and  thanks to my old best friend, my brother of heart  Fred CHAPELLIER (N° 1 of French Bluesman)  who has invited Gipsy and me as guests to one  of his show, I finally decided to form Lee O’Nell  Blues Gang in 2019. I already knew all the guys  by their reputation here where we’re living, and I  wanted guys who could be dedicated to my  music without trying to change or arrange  something in it. So I simply phoned them, talked  about my project of a contemporary Blues Rock  band, and they immediately accepted to join us  for this new adventure ! Less than 6 months after  this phone call, I brought them to the studio with  10 original songs, and we now have recorded  and produced 2 albums. « Different Shades Of 

Love » released in September 2020 and « This is  us » released in september 2022.  

Gipsy BACUET: Lionel is the only composer and I  wrote the lyrics helped by very close friends,  cause English is not my native language ! Neal  WALDEN BLACK, who is a texan . A wonderful  guitarist and songwriter who is now living in  France since the 90’s, but who used to be  opener with his band for Stevie Ray Vaughan in  the 80’s in USA. Alain LEADFOOT Rivet, a  fantastic singer and songwriter too, a real poet  with a wonderful American musical culture with  so many stories to tell, because he was also  booker for Peter Green for example… And the  last but not least, the fabulous Jade MACRAE  who is a soul Australian singer and backing  vocalist for Joe BONAMASSA ! I’m very happy  and proud to work with such artists… 

Lionel : I wanted for my band some guys who came  from different universes. I needed a real Rock  drummer, a Blues Bass player, and a Classical  and Jazz keyboard. It also took time for me to  find the right voice , and since I met Gipsy who is  my wife now, I knew wa had something to do  together. She has a very large vocal range with 

so many shades. She can be sassy, jazzy, soul,  feline, rock powerful, strength … It’s very easy  for me to compose with such a voice without  asking me for the right tune ! 

 3.How long have you been playing? 

Lionel: I started to practice guitar with my brother of  heart Fred CHAPELLIER, I was 11 years old, and  he was 14 ! We used to not go to school  sometimes to listen to Rainbow, Deep Purple,  Thin Lizzy , Led Zeppelin etc… It was another  time, and we had to slow down the vinyls again  and again to listen and practice every riffs, every  phrasing with a lot of attention to understand the  sound of those great guitar players ! 

Gipsy: my journey in music is a little bit different  because my parents brought me to a music  school to get classical piano lessons since they  found the good idea to buy a piano to decorate  their house ! I didn’t appreciate this school rules:  a kind of competition every year to have the  chance to move up to the next level. So I  stopped at the age of 12, and started to sing  when I was 15 years old. But I get a big interest  in Jazz female voices very soon, and I think I 

keep that in my way of singing. 

 4. What three words would you use to describe the  music you play? 

Lionel : Contemporary / Blues / Rock 

Gipsy: Feeling / Strength / Passion 

 5. What are your musical influences? 

Lionel : As I told you, I grew up with all the 70’s rock  legendary bands. So I think you can recognize some  influences like Ritchie BLACKMORE, Gary MOORE  for the rock universe, and regarding to the Blues: Eric  CLAPTON, Albert KING, Peter GREEN, Joe  BONAMASSA or Eric GALES who I appreciate so  much their way to play and approach music. Gipsy: I’ve listened Sarah VAUGHAN, Billie  HOLLIDAY, Etta JAMES, Bonnie RAITT, and some  say that they can hear a little of Pat BENATAR in my  way to sing…But generally speaking, Lionel and I ,  we aim to play our own style full of those influences  and never trying to copy someone else. 

 6. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen during a  show? 

Lionel: There is no weirdest thing while a show, 

maybe it could be the room acoustic sometimes,  and the sound engineer which don’t know  perfectly your universe, but things are going  well…and we enjoy each show ! The audience is  always very attentive and reactive to what we  offer them. 

 7. Being away from the stages in the last few years,  where was the first place you visited when the  restrictions were lifted? 

Gipsy: Oh, ti was such a sad and difficult period ! We  took advantage of this time to compose and  write our second album which is more dark than  the first in the lyrics, trough the music too  because of the general mood ! 

Lionel: And it was hard to play because of all the  postponed concerts, we had to wait, but our first  show was in our country and it was really like a  big fiesta where everybody was happy to meet  again each other ! 

 8. What’s the one record you own but wouldn’t ever  admit to owning? 

Lionel: Haha !! None, I can tell you about each one  without shame !

Gipsy: He said it all ! or maybe an old vinyl with  French kids songs !! 

 9. What have you been listening in the last few  weeks? 

Lionel: « Crown » by Eric GALES. This album is  fabulous ! 

Gipsy: « Just like that » by Bonnie RAITT, fantastic  feeling… 

 10. Are there any releases you have planned in the  near future? 

Lionel: No, definitely not. We now have 2 albums to  share on stage, to offer to Europa audience, and  we will do that, even if the 3rd album is already  in my mind and with Gipsy we are working on it ! 

Gipsy: Great shows will come soon, and we will start  to play in Belgium, which is a good thing for us  to enter the European Blues Rock industry. And  a lot of radio shows in England, USA, Canada  airplay our music…which is very important and  much impactful than in France… 

Lionel: Hope to meet you soon for a next show !

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