Eddie Kramer produces Memphis rock band's debut, Indie Rock | Rock, "Dumb Luck."

Eddie Kramer produces Memphis rock band's debut, Indie Rock | Rock, "Dumb Luck."

It's the name of a song, but in some ways it's the punchline of the story, too. A story that starts with a new band and a chance e-mail and ends with a debut record helmed by a legendary rock producer.

That producer is Eddie Kramer, and the record is the debut release from Memphis rock band American Fiction. "Dumb Luck" is the lead single.

"I still don't know how he got Eddie's e-mail address," says guitarist Landon Moore. He's talking about lead vocalist Chris Johnson, who managed to dig up Kramer's contact details and decided to drop him a note. "The message essentially said, 'Hey, Eddie, we're a band that has nothing but a small group of songs. We're curious if people still take chances on unknowns in the music industry. Thanks for even reading this. If you write back, I'll shit my pants.'"

Not long after, Eddie responded. "Get some diapers. I loved the song. Let's talk."

You might know Kramer's name because of his work with Jimi Hendrix - the posthumous release of studio album People, Hell and Angels in March of 2013 bubbled up plenty of old war stories.

"I always dug Hendrix because he had style," Chris says. "He was aware of the times but way ahead of a lot of the other popular music. His sexuality also played a huge part in his music and his wild side made me want to be just like him -- playing the guitar behind my head and lighting it on fire on stage."

But really, for the musicians of American Fiction, Eddie Kramer was the fifth man behind Led Zeppelin's II through Houses of the Holy. The engineer of The Beatles' "All You Need is Love." The producer who played a console like an instrument.

So they talked. They made a deal, and they made a record. The guys spent a month practicing in Memphis before heading to Nashville, where they continued to rehearse in a warehouse with Eddie for three days straight, 12 hours a day. "He has a magnificent musical mind," Landon says. "He would take guitar parts out, put keyboard parts in, tell Zach not to play the snare on an entire section, switch Blake's electric bass for an acoustic. He moved so quickly and with such precision that no one had time or a desire to question him. But there was no need to anyway. The man is a genius."

They recorded at Nashville's 16 Ton Studios, and headed to LAFX in Los Angeles later for mixing. "Dumb Luck" was the last track they laid down, and they threw in everything but the kitchen sink: mellotron, dulcimer and eight individual layers of expressive mandolin. Landon says Eddie called it a "mandolin orchestra."

And for all that texture and nuance, the result is actually the simplest thing in the world: a good rock'n'roll song.

"Dumb Luck" will be out via digital retailers and on February 25. Look for the debut EP in summer 2014.

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