About Eric Westphal
Musician, singer and songwriter Eric Westphal was born in Jackson Heights/Queens New York. He began playing guitar when he was five years old, by age nine he was taking classical guitar lessons and just as he turned eleven years old gave his first live classical guitar recital. For the next few years he focused mainly on his playing performing more classical recitals while also practicing & playing bass guitar in several pick up and mostly cover bands with high school friends.
By the age of fifteen Eric found another passion tied to his love for music – song writing. The songs ideas came pretty quickly to him although like most beginners the content was somewhat naïve, he continued to write and in his own words “after about a hundred songs in, my writing started to come together”. Working with a number of bands through these years his songs slowly made their way into the cover band’s live set lists, eventually by the age of 21 Westphal started his own full on original group called the James Blonde Band. This band played all original songs mostly penned by Eric and in Northern California they enjoyed heavy radio airplay with a solid three year run of independent record output.
The James Blonde Band were now opening multiple shows for major headliners of the day, Journey, Greg Kihn, Elvin Bishop, Tommy Tutone, The Eric Martin Band, Steele Breeze, & The Pretenders to name a few. The band did one video in 1982 for their single; Every Boy Wants To Be With My Girl. A new version of the band reformed in the 2000’s to record two fine power pop albums featuring the original 80’s material, ‘International Orange’ & ‘Stockton Rhythm’. In 1984 the original James Blonde disbanded after the tragic and sudden death of best friend and bass player Marvin Hudson. From there a songwriting relationship developed between Westphal & Dirk Hamilton that would produce fifty+ co-writes over a span of nearly 30 years and twelve plus albums. ‘Too Tired To Sleep’, ‘Go Down Swingin’, ‘Yep’, ‘Sufferupachuckle’, ‘Orphans’, ‘SexSpringEverything’, ‘The Ghost of Van Gogh’, ‘The Relative Health of Your Horse Outside’, ‘More Songs From My Cool Life’, and the 2011 release ‘Thug Of Love Live’. In the late 70’s and early 80’s Dirk recorded four critically acclaimed albums: two while on ABC records and two while at Elektra/Asylum Records.
A poet and musician known for his uniquely intelligent lyrics and passionate performance style, Hamilton created music that couldn’t be pigeon-holed into one genre or another. Westphal played bass for Hamilton on multiple US tours, including a dozen Italian tours as well. During the 90’s Westphal was still part of the Dirk Hamilton Band, but was also a member of Gary Young’s Hospital, which produced three studio albums; ‘Hospital’, ‘Things We Do for You’, and ‘The Grey Album’. Hospital played shows mostly in California, New York & Boston. On the strength of the single ‘Plant Man’ which was in heavy rotation on MTV in 1995 and was featured on an episode of Beavis & Butthead, they opened live shows for Hole, Pavement, and Beck at Lollapalooza in Sacramento, played the Fillmore in San Francisco and shows in Los Angeles with Sebadoh, and opened for Mercury Rev in New York City. Gary and Eric were also featured on a four song 1996 EP, Waterloo, California with Jackson Griffith , Westphal sang co-lead vocals on Mic Gillette’s 1995 release Newvo Kids was also featured on background vocals on 1996’s Strokeland Superband album, alongside the Tower of Power Rhythm section featuring lead vocals by Huey Lewis, Bill Champlin, & Mickey Thomas.
In the year 2000, Westphal released a solo record, Alice Street Sessions produced by Tesla drummer Troy Luccketta. This record was mainly recorded in Hayward California at Troy’s TML Studios over a period of three years with many notable guest musicians joining Eric on the final recording. Luccketta not only produced but provided the drums and a solid back bone to the 10 song CD, guitars by virtuoso Marc Bonilla & studio session masters Bobby Messano & Jimmy Z. Horns performed and arranged by Mic Gillette, with additional guest appearances by Tommy Skeoch (Tesla) & Bill Slais (Elvin Bishop/Jefferson Starship). Wake Up to Love – Written by Westphal was the featured track on Alice Street Sessions and in 2013 it was elected as the theme song for Rocking 4 Wellness. Westphal co-wrote the song Marie which was featured on Eric Martin’s 2002 album ‘I’m Goin’ Sane’, and co-wrote and sang on the song Simple Man which was featured on Jeff Watson’s 2005 (Night Ranger) solo album ‘Now Hear This One’.
In 2007 Wounded Bird Records re-released Dirk Hamilton’s Elektra-Asylum album ‘Meet Me At The Crux’ and featured Eric playing on all 5 bonus tracks – co-writing two of the songs, ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Dirty Money’ In addition, two more songs co-written with Dirk Hamilton were featured in the 2013 film by Sara Terry, ‘Folk – a documentary’.
In 2010 & 2011 Eric was one of the featured artists in ‘The Ballads’ two shows ‘recorded for future release’ in Stockton & Modesto California. In 2014 Eric started working with the David Jenkins (Pablo Cruise, Stone Ground, Southern Pacific) and Jaime Kyle (Solo artist and songwriter for Heart, Faith Hill, Rita Collidge, and Joe Lynn Turner to name a few). In 2015 Eric began working with John Nymann’s (Eric Martin Band, Y&T) long awaited solo album with Troy Luccketta playing drums and Producing, with guest artist’s Eric Martin & Frank Hannon (Tesla), that record is now being mixed for release. Eric also started a new solo album at TJ Roxx Audio, in Lodi California, The Eric Westphal Band, with Mark Maier, John Poletti, and Dave Ionni – working on that recording presently.
December of 2017 Eric Signed with IAC Records out of Modesto California. In May of 2018, IAC Records entered into a distribution deal with IDC (Independent Distribution Collective) for label distribution throughout the US.
September of 2018 – A remastered Alice Street Sessions will be re-released on CD & Vinyl. Alice Street has been remastered by Piper Payne at Neato Mastering with the reissue Producer for IAC being Donald Setaro. A long and fruitful journey for Eric and the best has yet to come!
INDUSTRY NEWS JUNE 2002
Eric Westphal is the latest sensation to rock out of the USA. Eric’s debut album “Alice Street Sessions” has been produced by Tesla’s Troy Luccketta and also features fellow Tesla buddy Tommy Skeoch alongside such names as Bobby Messano, Marc Bonilla, Jimmy Z etc. and the album is utterly fantastic.
STOCKTON RECORD JUNE 2002
Alice Street Sessions, Wetphal’s solo debut, was recorded at TML Studio’s over a 4 year period with Troy Luccketta at the helm as Engineer and Producer. Luccketta along with Westphal, carefully selected the material and the musicians, and then went about creating what some consider to be one of the finest artist debut recording’s offered.
NICK BALDRIAN – NIKAMMUSIC 2002
Here’s a rather interesting release thanks to Tesla’s Troy Luccketta who produced this album. This is the debut CD of the very talented singer/songwriter Eric Westphal from California. Troy also handles the drums and joining Eric and Troy are a host of well known artists including fellow Tesla buddy Tommy Skeoch, Marc Bonnilla, Bobby Messano, Jimmy Z amongst others, so quite a cast of characters eh? Eric also wrote a song called ‘Marie’ for Eric Martin which you can listen to on Eric Martin’s new CD “I’m Goin’ Sane” which has just been released by Frontiers. So one would hope that the label would also show some keen interest in Eric Westphal’s music too. This is not a record of hard rock, this is an album of cool pop/rock songs, we get ten songs in total and the music is graced with passion. Having friends in high places is a good move, but at the end of the day a song is a song no matter who plays on it, and the songs on this album are excellent, packed to the gills with tasty nuggets all ranging in a variation of styles but all catchy with great hooks. Best songs for me are ‘Follow My Heart’, and the amazing ‘Wake Up To Love’ which reminds me of Richard Marx crossed with Eric Martin, also ‘Janine’ is a very memorable song. Overall a solid debut.