1) So, Gary..you have been touring Europe on you Captain Beefheart Tribute in January. It was SOLD OUT , apparently, isn't?
Yes, I did two sold out shows in Liverpool at the Philharmonic Hall- the promoter told me I could have done 5 nights in a row it was so successful!
2) You said Captain Beefheart , on his heydays, helped in order for you to be on the Musicians book. Would you please tell us more about it?
I think what attracted me to playing with Captain Beefheart in the first place was he was known as an exceptional musician. You needed serious skills as a player in order to pull off his music accurately. It wasn’t easy, it was almost in the realm of modern classical music. So playing with him and doing several guitar solo showpieces of his definitely put me on the map as a player to any musicians or fns or critics who had ears...
3) You started playing guitar at the age of nine thanks to your father. And you told me you were starting before the Beatles were touring the U.S.A., which has been a remarkable experience to the audience. It's funny to know in U.S.A. people started playing guitar after the Fab four!!!
Yes the Beatles sparked a tremendous surge of interest in the guitar. Maybe there were some who were inspired earlier by the Beach Boys and the Ventures...but after the Beatles hit in America, EVERY kid wanted to learn the guitar!
4) At the very beginning of the nineties you became friendly to a very special artist, and you have been writing songs which have been recorded in a very legendary place for Rock History, which is Bearsville, in Woodstock. That bloke was called Jeff Scott Buckley.
Yes, Jeff was one of the most gifted artists I have ever worked with. Certainly the most gifted younger artist. He was an amazing talent .
5) What inspired you to compose "Rise up to be", which is the guitar instrumental you wrote and gave to Jeff that became the instrumental basis for Jeff Buckley's "Grace"?"
Good question. I think the fact that I had just lost a major abel deal with the first singer of Gods and Monsters, a female--and Jeff stepped into the breach: "I'll be your singer!" So I had to come up for music for this new venture into the unknown with Jeff. And I could really hear his voice on this guitar music I composed! I went into a trance writing it and thinking about Jeff singing it. Then when it was done I titled it Rise Up to Be to encourage him to do just that--to leave LA and come to NYC to work with me in Gods and Monsters and realize his full potential which was being wasted in LA.
6) You are working on a Jeff Buckley 's biography for an Italian editor, how do you feel about it?
I am very excited about it. I think Jeff's fans will enjoy it very much. It provides a lot of background detail and insights into our working relationship that are sorely absent in all the other accounts out there. It's told from my perspective, obviously-- it is my story about meeting Jeff, knowing Jeff, and working with Jeff --and the sparks that flew between us that went into the creation of our classic songs "Mojo Pin" and "Grace" and beyond... No one knows this story better than I do.