BLIZZARD – BIO
Real Rock ‘N’ Roll is elusive these days. Sure it’s easy enough to go out and buy the uniform and then ape the latest trend, but you can’t fake swagger. And you can’t fake songs. Blizzard has plenty of both. From the first note, Blizzard will make you a believer. In music these days, it’s all about the complete package and these guys look like a band that can blast out hook filled songs. Whether their sonic assault takes in slashing Clash-like guitar riffs or Beatle-esque harmonies, you can tell this is a group that lives and breathes rock ‘n’ roll. It all adds up to exciting rock ‘n’ roll that draws influences from the best of each era, while maintaining a sound that’s uniquely their own. The journey began for Blizzard in 2001. Discovered by 91X Tim Pyles in a county wide battle of the bands. The band beat out over 500 local and more established acts in the region for the throne of best new artist. They were awarded an opening spot at 2001‘s 91X-Fest along side of The Vines, Jack Johnson, Unwritten Law, Cake and many more .
Their statement of intent is right there in their debut album’s title: It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll. Blizzard is perhaps the best description of their sound: loud, brash and with countless influences swirling in its midst. Even the band’s name has a rock ‘n’ roll connection. It was bestowed upon them by none other than Beatles compatriot and rock legend, Tony Sheridan, at one of their first warm up dates. The duo of songwriters, Christopher Leyva (guitar, vocals) and Gerardo Baladon (lead guitar, vocals) teamed up with Adrian Ochiuzzi (drums) and Antonio Franko (bass)for their first three albums. The band honed their sound and skills through relentless recording and touring that saw them make several road trips around the U.S. and opened shows for a host of artists including: Dramarama, Modern English, Tom Petty, Jet, Unwritten Law and many others .The group became a perennial presence on the southern California concert scene.
A short list of facts would include that they were mentored by Danny Wilde & Phil Solem of the Rembrandts, and roadied for indie rockers Convoy. To date Blizzard released six albums with two more rumored to be in the vaults of recording studios. All the bands albums sound great – production by the afore mentioned Mr. Hill and others being uniformly top notch. But listening to the albums in sequence, it’s easy to hear a growing maturity, particularly in the lyrics, as well as wider cast net of influences. Nowhere is this clearer than on album #4, The Root of Evil (2004), which likely due to the departure of Ochiuzzi and Franko. It embraces acoustic, folk and country, but follow-ups, Curve of Evolution (2005) and particularly, Road to Excess (2011), which uses numerous musicians around the core of Leyva and Gerardo Baladon , also take their rock from a wider palette. It’s a denser more intense sound.
It all adds up to, Time Lapse, an album that both shows the growth of Blizzard as a band and serves as a terrific introduction to their music. Play it loud and play it often.
BLACK CHERRY MUSIC GROUP & LEYVA
Making the whole thing more remarkable, during the same timeframe, Leyva ran a label & PR firm Black Cherry Music Group. Releasing eight solo albums, while simultaneously booking venues. There has rarely been anyone as driven as Leyva. Dedicated to the concept of rock ‘n’ roll, he was raised in Mexico City. Eventually making the move to the U.S. and becoming a mainstay of the West Coast music community, notably in San Diego, where he has been a multiple San Diego Music Award nominee & became a Grammy member before departing for Hollywood in 2014.
Leyva has recorded many solo works. He has two world tours under his belt and collaborated with numerous artists ranging from electronic pioneers Red Flag to power poppers, The Rembrandts. But perhaps one of the biggest influences is Jason Hill of Louis XIV who mentored Blizzard in both production and songwriting.
Also of note, they have appeared on several episodes of TV Series Veronica Mars and on an episode of Fox Rox. Solo accomplishments include Leyva’s appearance on an MTV show alongside Ryan Cabrera. Perhaps even more impressive, the band appeared in the 2006 film Surrender Dorothy, alongside Diane Keaton.
Performed live on both 91XFM and FM94.9