An Interview With Fernando Perdomo Of The Marshall Crenshaw Band

Rusty Walden Interview

Feature Photo by Rusty Walden

Born in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1980, Fernando Perdomo is best known for his work as a guitarist in the film Echo in the Canyon, where he supported Jakob Dylan, Fiona Apple, Beck, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, Brian Wilson, and Cat Power.  That’s pretty nifty. What’s also nifty is his role as a member of Marshall Crenshaw’s touring band, studio stops with Carmine Appice and more. As far as session players go, Perdomo is as good as it gets. But that’s not all, as he’s also released several outstanding solo records, the latest being 2024’s Self.

True to form, the sounds heard on Self are expansive, pleasing to the ear, and filled with blissful power and inherent experimentation. If that sounds interesting, be sure to tab Perdomo’s latest via your preferred streaming service, so when the full record drops on June 14, 2024, you’ll be able to dig right in

In the meantime, in support of Self, Fernando Perdomo took a few moments to beam in with ClassicRockHistory.com to give the rundown on his career to this point, gear choices, and more.

What inspired you to become a musician, and what keeps you inspired? 

It was a combination of my mom, who played piano when she was not working for the Miami Herald and the music programs of Miami’s Public Schools. Great teachers like Raul Modia and Doug Burris really made me who I am. Burris especially got me addicted to making music and playing live with his Miami Beach Senior High Rock Ensemble. I never looked back.

Tell me about where you grew up. What was the scene like? 

I was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, in a middle-class Cuban family. I caught the final death gasp of the Miami rock scene playing local clubs that are all gone now. I was also lucky enough to have access to amazing record stores, flea markets, and thrift stores, where I became a record collector by age 10. Those records made me who I am.

What were some of your favorite spots to take in shows as a kid? 

The Sunrise Musical Theater, where I saw Yes, King Crimson, Ringo Starr, Fiona Apple, and Tori Amos for the first time. Gulfstream Horse Track, where I saw Blood Sweat and Tears, America, Jefferson Starship, and Peter Frampton for the first time.

And the Coral Sky Amphitheater, where I saw Styx, Kansas, Rush, CSN, and Alan Parsons Live Project for the first time. Also, local bars like Tobacco Road, Stella Blue, Roses, South Beach Pub and Churchills I snuck into as early as 16 to see bands. I had a beard and was never carded [laughs].

Did any local musicians inspire you as you were coming up? 

Absolutely! Mostly, Fulano De Tal, Nil Lara, The Goods, Rudy, Maria, The C-60s, and Passion Seeds!

How did you pick up the guitar, and what was your first guitar? 

My brother had a classical [guitar] and a Teisco electric I fooled around with. My first electric I still have; it’s a 1970 Guild S-100, and my first acoustic was a Harmony.

Of your older work, what albums mean the most, and why?

I’d go with my debut, Dreaming in Stereo, which turns 15 this year. I have plans!

For your new record, Self, where are you pulling from in terms of songwriting inspiration? 

It is a schizophrenic album, so I have so many influences ranging from Jason Falkner, Jon Brion, Todd Rundgren, The Free Design, Foxy, Yes, Parcels, and more. I’m just generally inspired!

Which song means the most to you, and why? 

I’d go with “Absolute Silence.” That song is so heartbreaking; I am so proud of it. It flowed out of me about a relationship I was sad to see die.

How do you view the way you sing today versus the past? What has changed most? 

My singing voice is basically the same. What’s changed is my confidence. I do not overthink singing anymore; I sing fearlessly now. The Free Design has taught me how to layer harmonies in a new way! They are by far the biggest new influence on me right now.

Tell me about your gear: guitars, amps, pedals. 

Too many guitars, too many amps, and too many pedals [laughs]. But my forever companions are my 1974 Fender Mustang, my 1970 Martin D-28, and my 1981 Fender Telecaster. My new loves include a 1963 Gretsch [6131] Jet Firebird and my amazing Electrophonic Guitarmadillo that has become a huge part of my live sound.

What’s one thing about you as a musician that you’d like people to understand? 

I love making music for myself and others. I live to serve the song and play to the song. I use my ears before my hands, and I love to see smiles in the audience and from my clients. I run on smiles!

What are your short and long-term goals?

My current touring situation with Marshall Crenshaw is the best gig I have ever had. I am perfectly happy playing with Marshall and doing my thing on the side. I love the music, and the shows are always full of people who truly love the music! Then, I get to go home, run my Forward Motion Studios, and play with dozens of people. I love my job, and I love my life!

An Interview With Fernando Perdomo Of The Marshall Crenshaw Band article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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