Their relationship goes back more than 25 years, two guitarists who often crossed paths at venues in New Jersey and had mutual admiration for each other’s abilities.
But it took until early 2018 for Bob Lanza and Anthony Krizan to perform together for the first time. And things went so well on that particular night, they decided to join forces again shortly thereafter to make Lanza’s new album, Kids, Dogs & Krazy Women.
“I’ve done a few records before, and it was laborious,” says Lanza in late September from Krizan’s Sonic Boom Studios in Raritan, New Jersey. “This one was so much fun.”
Lanza and Krizan also had a lot of fun on March 18 during a benefit for the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen, New Jersey, not far from their respective residences. Onetime Spin Doctors guitarist Krizan — also known for his work with Lenny Kravitz and John Waite, among others — was the listed middle act, and Lanza was the scheduled headliner.
The subsequent show-closing jam featuring Lanza and Krizan prompted the former to ask the latter if he’d be interested in recording the next Bob Lanza Blues Band album. “My label had been kicking me in the ass about making a new one,” admits Lanza.
Krizan was game, so in April, Lanza, bassist Dave Lockhart and drummer-harmonica player Vin Mott convened at Sonic Boom. And even though the rhythm section came in cold, having not heard the material beforehand, Lanza and Co. cut the basic tracks live off the floor in one day for all 11 songs that appear on Kids, Dogs & Krazy Women.
In addition to his own classic gear, Lanza took advantage of Krizan’s collection of vintage equipment to record a lean, cohesive mix of originals and covers.
“It’s good to have options and try different stuff and different sounds,” explains co-producer Krizan, who also contributed guitar, vocals, drums and percussion to the album.
Released Aug. 31 via Houston-based Connor Ray Music, Kids, Dogs & Krazy Women also features veteran sideman and Robert Randolph & The Family Band alum John Ginty on piano and Hammond B3 organ. After tracking Mott’s harmonica parts, Krizan says space remained for other solos, so he brought in Ginty to give the album “another dimension.”
Prior to guesting on Kids, Dogs & Krazy Women, Ginty had shared the stage with Lanza and played on other albums recorded at Krizan’s studio. No wonder Lanza says New Jersey’s music scene is one where “everybody knows everybody,” and after hearing from people in Houston and Chicago, he’s pleased to add, “Jersey is starting to get some respect in the blues scene.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Bob Lanza concert dates (schedule subject to change):
• Sept. 29: Stanhope House — Stanhope, New Jersey
• Oct. 13: Cryan’s — Annandale, New Jersey
• Nov. 23: Rolf’s — Warren, New Jersey
• Nov. 30: The Big Easy Social and Pleasure Club — Houston
Anthony Krizan (left) and Bob Lanza at Sonic Boom Studios in Raritan, N.J., on Sept. 24. Photo by Chris M. Junior