Brett Ellis: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric) | Stacey Ellis: Bass guitar, Vocals | Mike McFarland: Drums

Genre: Rock

Sound description: Female-fronted rock.

RIYL: Heart, the Pretenders

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Synoposis

Inception: San Diego, 1992

Current Status: Split up. Singer Stacey Ellis has relocated to L.A. and is recording a solo album. Brett Ellis has released two solo Spanish classical guitar albums, <em>Calssical Guitar Compositions by Fernando Sor, Volumes 1 and 2.</em>

Influences: Heart, the Love Mongers, Pat Benetar, Blondie, the Pretenders, Foghat

Background:

Mix one part explosive vocalist with one part guitar genius and one part powerhouse drummer. Add a heaping portion of sophisticated song writing and a splash of "sass." These are the ingredients that make up the potent cocktail called Ellis.

Fronted by singer/bassist Stacey Ellis, Ellis puts forth an exciting array of edgy scorchers, smoky ballads, funky groovers, and epic rockers. People like Grammy-award winner Steve Vai have given Ellis the nod of approval. Vai signed the group to a deal on his Favored Nations Entertainment label in 2002.

Other pioneering rockers like Marcos Curiel of P.O.D. fame have been quick to spot the inimitable qualities of Ellis. Stacey made a guest appearance on Curiel's soon-to-be released album with his new project, The Accident Experiment. Glenn Hughes (Trapeze, Deep Purple) says that Ellis is the "trio of the moment...over the top, with a wide vocabulary of sounds, and an awesome voice. You can't hide in a trio, and they deliver live."

-- GlennHughes.com

Though their musical boundaries are vast, their focus on musical expression is razor sharp. The result is a musician's band: captivating, artistic and timeless.

The depths of Ellis go far beyond Stacey's astonishing "can-do-anything-with-them" vocals. Ellis' foundation is fortified in the hands of classically trained guitar hero Brett Ellis, whose ability to communicate a vast spectrum of deeply resonating moods through tone, technique, and technology has helped the group stake a claim among the world's most versatile and limitless rock artists.

Together with heavy-hitting drummer Mike McFarland, the three members have led an expedition that has brought them personal satisfaction and acclaim for nearly a decade. In for the Kill, the band's debut release, put them on the radar screen in European countries. "In for the Kill is one of the top five rock albums of 1995," said Rita Van Poorten, editor and publisher of Metal Maidens magazine. Barstool Perspective, the band's 1999 release, established them as a viable crowd pleaser in the U.S. and launched the band's first coast-to-coast radio hit, "Friend O'Mine."

In E-III, the group's latest release, Ellis charts groundbreaking territory. The 13-song album features an appearance by vocal phenomenon Glenn Hughes. The epic duet, called "Growing Wise," also features electronica input from Laurence Tolhurst (The Cure, LevinHurst). E-III also includes the band's first instrumental, a dynamic arrangement of "Couldn't Make Her Stay," a Lonesome Dave original. With the song, Ellis pays tribute to the great Foghat front man who died on February 7, 2000. Ellis puts its signature touch on a second cover, an aggressive rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition." But it's the chilling arrangements of originals like "Slide" and the steamy, lust-driven melodies of the band's "Use Me" that help create an unforgettable, intoxicating blend of moods.

-- Website bio

For 14 years, Stacey Ellis was the lead singer for San Diego threesome Ellis. The band, including her husband Brett Ellis on guitars and Mike McFarland on drums, had its share of ego clashes. Yet, their second album, Barstool Perspective, released in 2004, garnered the attention of guitarist Steve Vai, P.O.D. guitarist Marcus Curiel, and former Deep Purple vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes.

When Ellis finished its third album, Vai put it on his Favored Nations label and distributed the album in Japan. Stacey Ellis became the sole female on a roster of musicians that included Stu Hamm, Billy Sheehan, and Eric Johnson. After Ellis finished its fourth album, the band called it quits due to intense feuding. The album was never released.

Stacey and Brett divorced after the band split up. Stacey moved to Los Angeles to pursue a solo career. There, Billy Sheehan showed her methods of producing a solo album. Though she was no longer on Vai's label, he gave her free access to his studio to record her solo album Reinventing Girl. Vai has subsequently given Stacey the opportunity to sing background vocals on a song from his last solo album and used her voice for a prerecorded introduction at his 2006 4th and B concert. Stacey lent background vocals to a song on the album by Accident Experiment (formed by once and future P.O.D. member Marcos Curiel) and for one of their concert intros.

Stacey says her solo album is a shift from the multiple influences that made her former band's songs too elaborate for the public to digest.

-- "Blurt," 2-22-07

Discography

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