Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
Jersey born, Pittsburgh raised, NYC honed, California based: I’m a big fan of making ‘plug in and play’ rock and roll – the kind that moves your feel and stirs your soul.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to keep going?
My mother was an artist and painted constantly while listening to vinyl records. The house was always filled with everything she got from the Columbia Record & Tape Club: Neil Diamond, Led Zeppelin, Patsy Cline, Huey Lewis & The News, Willie Nelson. My sister gave me her guitar when I was 10. I learned by ear, and the first guitar solo I picked up was ’I’ll Wait’ by Van Halen…on acoustic. My mom got me a book called ‘Play the Guitar in 30 Minutes or Less’ by Tony Mottola.
Music is the universal. It gets even the most ardent enemies to embrace in life. Add a little alcohol and there’s no telling how much peace, love, and understanding we could really achieve.
How is this new release different than previous ones? Were you trying to accomplish anything specific?
My mom passed after living for many years with dementia. When I would visit in her last months, I’d play those same songs we listened to when I was a boy and she would be painting. The best way to process was to dive into writing. I wanted to make a physical piece of art which was why the sessions became a gatefold LP just like those great 70’s sleeves by Chicago, The Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd.
Name one or two challenges you face as an indie musician in this oversaturated, digital music age? How has technology helped you (since we know it does help)?
Without struggle, there’s no growth. Ask a toddler or a rose. Growing up, you’d hear a song you loved on the radio but maybe you didn’t catch the name of it. You’d have to really remember it, then go sing it to the person working at the music store. Hopefully they’d know what it was so you could buy it and hear it again.
We’re in an age where everyone’s reactionary. Everyone’s lizard brain is being bombarded. Yet by taking the time to live with a piece of art — a full album, a 90 minute movie, a book — we expand our minds and our outlooks. Technology is useful and gets you to the experience. Then it’s time to take the technology away and be present. I like what Jack White and other artists are doing having audiences ditch their phones. Otherwise, what’s the point?
I’ll give you a great example in another context. We’re touring the US in a 1973 Airstream RV we renovated. We’re going to all the national parks we can. We use Google Maps to get us there. Then we put our phones on airplane mode (we still use them as cameras). We were in the Badlands of North Dakota hiking this beautiful path and came upon three college age or so folks. They spent their entire time trying to get the. perfect. photo. for their instagram pages.
Three young, vibrant, strong folks surrounded by the most natural beauty all staring at their phones. We have a song called ‘FOMO YOLO ONO’ and the chorus is ‘You’re so happy with your phone’.
What was the last song you listened to?
That new Sturgill Simpson song ‘Sing Along’ is the best thing since 80’s ZZ Top.
Which do you prefer? Vinyl? CDs? MP3s?
I’m a vinyl junkie when home and streaming in the van on tour.
How about this one…. Do you prefer Spotify? Apple Music? Bandcamp? Or something else? Why?
Bandcamp is the clear winner. It’s by artists, for artists. There’s an aesthetic democracy to it that blows the data mining competition away. Plus when it comes to compensation, your money actually goes to the makers.
Where is the best place to connect with you online and discover more music?
Bandcamp, of course! Our new 6 song LP will be out in October for our east coast tour: we recorded it with Steve Albini and mixed it with Sylvia Massy. You should check out anything those two folks have worked on. https://greghoyandtheboys.bandcamp.com
Anything else before we sign off?
Get off your phones and go see a live band: feed your soul.