Eric McFadden, a Los Angeles-based singer and guitar whiz, usually visits New Orleans to partake in the busy nighttime music scene surrounding the Jazz and Heritage Festival and Voodoo Experience. His latest visit to the city, however, comes at Carnival time.
McFadden — a solo artist, a member of the supergroups Stockholm Syndrome and TEN, and a former member of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic and Eric Burdon’s band — is performing during Mardi Gras weekend.
McFadden will spearhead Eric McFadden’s VooDooLicious Funk Fest Sunday at The Willow Uptown. The performers he’s assembled include Angelo Moore (from Fishbone), Corey Henry (Galactic), Mike Dillion (Les Claypool) and Nikki Glaspie (Dumpstaphunk).
“I always love going to New Orleans and mixing it up with local players,” McFadden said from Los Angeles.
McFadden promises rehearsed selections for VooDooLicious Funk Fest but also much spontaneity.
“We keep it open to whatever improvisational possibilities arise,” he said. “With this group of players, there are going to be surprises. We’re going to have special guests, too, and that can get pretty wild.”
Visiting New Orleans concurrently with Jazz Fest, Voodoo Experience and now Mardi Gras, McFadden said, “it’s a lot of opportunity to play with a lot of great people. I tend to want to stay down there for as long as possible and get as much in as I can. I feel like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe there’s so much incredible talent in this one place.’ ”
McFadden keeps his formidable guitar chops sharp in part by doing annual monthlong residencies in Los Angeles.
“You gotta keep lighting the fire under your tail,” he said. “Playing with these players keeps you on top of your game. Doing many different types of music is really good for me. It informs what I do.”
The many musicians McFadden has performed with include three members of New Orleans’ classic funk band, the Meters, George Porter Jr., Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste and Leo Nocentelli.
“The Meters are one of the primary influences on me and everybody else,” McFadden said. “They are so deep into the music. It’s not just their command of the instruments, it’s the way they’re so naturally musical.”
McFadden’s extensive work with Eric Burdon includes touring with the former Animals lead singer and recording sessions for Burdon’s 2013 album, “ ’Til Your River Runs Dry.”
“He was really enthusiastic about the music and he always had great stories to tell,” McFadden said of Burdon. “It was a pleasure playing those classic songs with him and his great new stuff, too.”
Last month, some of his other collaborators, George Clinton and members of Parliament-Funkadelic, joined McFadden at one of his residency shows at The Viper Room in West Hollywood.
“Once you’re in that family, you are in the family,” he said. “It’s great to know I have a family like that.”