Magic Carpet Ride With Rick Vito and King Paris

Posted on March 15, 2012


Rolling Stone magazine once called Rick Vito one of “the best thing[s] to ever happen to Fleetwood Mac.”

When Vito stepped in for longtime guitarist/singer/songwriter Lindsey Buckingham in the late 1980s, he had big shoes to fill – but he came prepared.

He had worked as a solo artist and session musician since the 1970s. He had played with numerous top-notch acts including John Mayall, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Seger, Jackson Browne, Roger McGuinn and many other Rock and Roll Hall of Famers.

However, when I first saw Vito on stage, I was ready to be critical; I mean, who did he think he was trying to be a part of Fleetwood Mac — one of the most popular bands of the era – let alone my favorite band.

Vito quickly won me over with his blues-flavored electric slide and rockabilly sensibilities. It was a good fit; I should have trusted Mick Fleetwood‘s decision to bring him into the fold. Now I know better.

Fleetwood’s belief in Vito reaches far beyond Fleetwood Mac. He has since brought Vito into several bands that I’ve been lucky to see on stage here in Maui; Vito is an integral part of Mick Fleetwood’s Island Rumours Band and Mick Fleetwood’s Blues Band, both very entertaining projects.

This weekend, the entertainment flows again as Rick Vito opens for King Paris and The Hypnotics Saturday night at Stella Blues Cafe in Kihei. Vito is an accomplished solo artist in addition to his work with Fleetwood and I’m looking forward to seeing him shine as he sets the stage for King Paris.

The mysterious King meshes musical elements of American Rock and Roll, World Beat, Exotica, Bhangra, House and Slide Blues Guitar into a west-meets-east stye that is uniquely his own. Backed by Bollywood and Belly dancers, flooded in beautiful lights, the magic of a King Paris performance seems to fill the air as it were smoke from the genie’s lamp.

The fact that Vito is opening the show, sealed the deal for me. I’m there.

“It is a known music industry fact that Rick Vito is one of the great slide guitar players in the world,” said actor/musician Eric Gilliom. “When King Paris takes over, it becomes another whole thing. Incredible!”

The show promises some special guests including “Chandu – the Genie Giant” on percussion. I suspect – though I can’t get confirmation – that “Chandu” is Mick Fleetwood; he is, in fact, the only “giant” drummer on this island that I know of. Plus, with all of the talented players involved in Vito’s island projects (Gilliom and Mark Johnstone to name two) who knows what the Saint Patty’s day celebration will bring.

Regardless of surprises, Saturday night’s show promises to be a musical magic carpet ride of enticing sounds and alluring visions.

Check out Rick in the video below:

Check out King Paris in the video below:

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