Lee O’Nell Blues Gang
MM: Can you tell us about your Band and whos your biggest
Lionel WERNERT: I’m Lionel, guitarist, leader and composer or
Lee O’Nell Blues Gang I formed in 2019.
Gipsy BACUET: And I’m Gipsy, the female voice and song writer
of the band.
Lionel: We released our first album « Different Shades Of Love »
in sept 2020, and « This is us », our second one in sept 2022.
That said about us that we play a contemporary Blues , mixing
vintage and modernity. One also wrote about us « Lee O’Nell
Blues Gang, the bad that has all figured out when it comes to
putting some Blues into Rock and vice-versa » . I pretty like this
way of speaking about us , because I mostly came from rock. I
grew up in the 70’s listening and practicing all the rock legendary
bands such as Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, Rainbow
among others. Then I studied the Blues lends: Eric Clapton,
Albert King, Peter Green and most recently Eric Gales, Christone
Kingfish Ingram or Joe Bonamassa...
So yes, in my songs, there is some Blues, there is some rock and
I like the way Gipsy brings her Jazzy way of singing above all
MM: Where do you draw your inspirations and ideas from
Lionel: Inspiration comes naturally from all I’ve been feed during
all theses practicing and listening years. In my memory there is a
kind of big catalog with all these legendary riffs and typical
phrasing. We can’t invent Blues or Rock, but we can bring a touch
of freshness by mixing everything. And with the themes we the
current themes we are approaching, we can bring the strength
and the power of rock to the groove and the metrics of the blues
with a little swing touch too. The different shades in Gipsy’s voice
allow me to play with all that genres in one song.
Gipsy: For my part, the themes that inspire me all come from
everyday life, great ideals and above all complex human
relationships. I like to write about how 2 persons can perceive the
same event, the same situation. Always trying to understand the 2
sides of a point of view, playing also with extremes and opposites.
I like ambiguity and the fact that people can recognize themselves
in our songs. And that’s right, I like to start singing a rock song
with a sassy way and then allow time to build up till strength to
allow the song to evolve.
MM: What would you say is your Bands favourite song ?
Lionel: I love them all of course, but « Never again » from our
first album is a strong song about domestic violences made
against women. On stage this one is particularly moving and
people like it too. « You don’t know who I am », from the latest
album is also a big piece, more rock in the style of ZZ Top from
the beginning to a Deep Purple atmosphere.
Gipsy: They are all important for me, because there is a part of
us inside each ...
MM: Plans tour and festival wise for 2023
Lionel: We are still a young band, but thanks to webzines, radio
shows whom airplay our music, we start to have opportunities in
Europe and not only in France. For example, we ‘ll start to play in
Belgium which is a very good thing, because there, the culture is
very open. And we are wanton for a little tour in Germany too.
Gipsy: In France, this year we will play to great festivals and will
be openers for great bands and artists such as Ana Popovic or
The Cinelly Brothers for example.
MM: What can we expect from Lee O’Nell Blues Gang live
Lionel: Well, most of our 2 albums during a 2 hours show, few
covers but mostly our songs. We make it a point of honor to
reproduce exactly the atmosphere of the album, that’s also why
we recorded it in live conditions. I allow myself some changes of
direction during solos, or accompaniment parts, because I’m the
only one guitarist on stage, so I can choose which part I wanna
play for example. But most generally, on stage Lee O’Nell Blues
Gang takes you into its varied universe, makes you want to tap
your feet and dance, and can also surprise you...
MM: What do you like best and worst about touring
Gipsy: The worst is the job before touring. As we are sept -
produced, without any booking agency; we have to do it all by
ourselves. We are still a young band in the middle of the jungle of
all the bands. And getting noticed by the festivals is not an easy
Lionel: But when the gig is booked, we’re so excited to jump into
the van, to swallow kilometers to finally bring our music on stage.
Meeting new audiences is always exciting. Some already know
us, so they really are waiting for us to see what we can do on
stage, some others discover us... It’s a perpetual exchange. We
come, we play, we present our universe and they like it or not !
Most of time, they like it ! We’ve never received any tomatoes
yet !! Haha ! Then, at the merchandising stand, it’s good to be
able to discuss a little about what they liked and realize that they
are buying your album to get a part of you at home is very good
MM: Which three Bands would be your ultimate touring buddies
Lionel: Fred CHAPELLIER and his band, who is my brother of
heart and the one with whom I grew up listening music, practicing
etc... Eric GALES and Joe BONAMASSA
MM: What's the most memorable concert you've been to (other
than your own) and why
Lionel: The first time I saw Joe BONAMASSA on stage in France,
5 years ago, it was amazing. Joe is such a powerful guitarist...
MM: What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment so
Lionel: I’ve been playing with a lot of others artists and bands,
and finally I found the voice I needed to form my own band. 2
albums in less than 4 years, is my biggest accomplishment !
Gipsy: He said it all ! We’ve self-produced 2 albums with our own
words, our own music. That is also why we named the latest
« This is us » .
MM: Which are your Two favourite Albums of all time
Gipsy: I can hardly answer to that, each time I think I have a
favorite album, something new comes to my ears... There is too
much in each artists. It’s too reductive... But the only one album
which makes me feel good and calm down when I need is
« Handle me with care » from Jade MACRAE. She is a fabulous
Australian singer and the backing vocalist of Joe Bonamassa. We
became friends since the pandemic, and she agreed to write
some lyrics with me on the latest song of our second album ! A
dream came true for me !
The other one is « Swinging easy » by Sarah Vaughan
Lionel: « The green Manalishi » by Peter Green with Fleetwood
Mac for the first one. And the second is « Crown » by Eric Gales.
MM: Can you remember the first time you ever played live and
how it felt to have people watching you?
Gipsy: Each time is like the first time: so excited to pronounce the
first word, the first note. See all these faces waiting for something
that will bring them somewhere, and finally going to the same way
Lionel: I was excited and I wanted to show everything I could
do... I was 13 years old !
MM: Growing up which Bands posters did you have on your
Gipsy: Only one poster, Elvis Presley !
Lionel: Plenty of Kiss !
MM - Who do you think influenced the world of Metal / Rock more
than any other person
Lionel: Black Sabbath and their heavy riffs !!! Yeah, love that !
MM - What's the most important thing to the band right now?
Lionel: Promote the albums now we can do it, because the first
was stopped in his audience meeting thanks to the pandemic. So
we will play everywhere we can and as much as we could ! We
are looking for a real international tour . Here in France you know,
French people always catalog everything in tight boxes. We don’t
like and don’t share this tight vision of music. We think that
English and American audience is not like that ! Show us we’re
MM:If you could do a cover of any song which one would it be and
Lionel: « Too close to the fire » by Eric Gales, because this song
is so simple and it’s so hard to sound good with easy notes and
chords.. This song could have been played by so many great
guitar players... You can find some Gary Moore, some BB King, a
lot of little things from the legendary blues man... I love this song.
Gipsy: We already sometimes play « Need your love so bad »
from Peter Green, I love so much this song. But for me a cover is
something interesting when you share the moment with the
creator. So I would say « Crazy » with Willie Nelson....
MM: Tell us why we should buy and listen to your Band
Lionel: and why not ?
MM: Four words to describe Lee O’Nell Blues Gang
Lionel: Energy / Rock / Blues / Feeling
Gipsy: Different / Fresh / Mix / Us
Final Words for your fans and our readers
Lionel: Thanks a lot for following us. We hope to have made you
want to discover us a little more. Follow us, share our music if you
like it, and hope to meet you one day on the road !
Gipsy: Exactly the same, and if one of you is interested to help
us a little more, don’t forget we are looking for any booking