G A R Y H U G H E S Talking Ten, Bob Catley, Solo, Hugo, King Arthur and more...
G'Day Gary, I hope you have a few minutes spare to type out some answers to the following questions. Thanks in advance for taking part!
First, let's go to the new Ten album Far Beyond The World.
This is obviously another collection of songs to add to the Ten legacy and you have written a lot of material over the years.
What did you have in mind when writing for this album? We just felt it was time to return to our melodic roots for a while. The new album is basically an album of love songs. I suppose that would be the thread if any. I have gone for the commercial elements this time and I am very pleased with the material on the new album.
You write for yourself, Ten and other artists - do you set aside a time frame to write for each one, or write constantly, assigning songs as you see them fitting those other artists or yourself? I write constantly. But when a particular project is imminent I put a couple of months concentrated time in for the project and add any material I have pre written at a later stage if I feel I don't have enough to go with.
Far Beyond The World contains some familiar styles and expected sounds, but also some new directions.
Do you set out to always try and include something new - break new ground with each release - or is it just a natural progression with your writing? For the most part, we recorded it in the same ways as before, only this time we have gone for a more modern approach to the material. It is important to justify yourselves in today's market.
No-one can make music that sounds like it belongs to the eighties anymore. Not and survive.
We have always believed that Ten are one of the few bands with the
potential to `cross over' musically. We believe if we persist, that sooner or later its going to happen for us. Also the fans always liked the commercial side of Ten so why should we disappoint them.
How would you describe the material on the new album? I think as set of songs it is the most representational album of Ten as a band we have done so far.
In my opinion, it retains the heavier edge of the last couple, but has more melody in there again... Many thanks for that.
We have tried to examine what are the good and the not so good aspects of our sound and capitalise on the good ones this time.
I love the Ozzy Osbourne like guitar riffing on High Tide. What was the idea behind that song? Thanks. High Tide is possibly the heaviest song on the album.
A touch of blues about it. Some good soloing on guitar especially in the keychange part of the solo. It's very rare that I base a song purely on a riff but that was all I had with High Tide in the beginning and so we placed the emphasis on it.
It has an unexpected section in the middle where the entire track goes through
an old analogue flanger to emerge again.
Lyrically it is about being tired of drowning in a dying, deceitful
relationship. And deciding that enough is enough and that the charade is over.
Glimmer Of Evil is also an interesting song, what was the story behind that one? Glimmer Of Evil is a very solid pounding drum and bass song.
Very blues orientated guitar wise. It has very interesting offbeat bridge sections.
Big harmonies again and a more bluesy vocal.
Lyrically it is about a physical midnight rendezvous with a woman who
is the embodiment of ones greatest fears.
I also love the anthem rocker Scarlet And The Grey - great hooks and melodic twists are at play within the song, that essentially is a rocker. How do you achieve the balance between the two? Scarlet And The Grey has a modern sounding edge to it.
It is very guitar driven but with big vocal harmonies. I think the balance comes where we have been careful with overlaps.
The vocals and guitars seem to give way to each other well and compliment without interfering with each other. It has some flange effects on the lead vocal tails in the verses.
Lyrically it is based on the legend of "She".
An immortal princess who waits for the rebirth of her lost love only to loose her immortality when her lover gains his own immortality.
Ok, so what are your favourite songs from this album? I would say What About Me?
It is a big sounding ballad in the style that Diane Warren might write for Aerosmith. It has some nice piano from Paul (Hodson).
It has some very nice mid gain guitar played through an oscillating Lesley
Cabinet. It has big harmonies. A sentimental vocal and a very personal feel.
Lyrically, it is an expression of ones real feelings in answer to the
question. How do you feel about me? What are your feelings?
Do you have a list of personal favourite songs that you have written for you or others across the years? The Loneliest Place In The World - off the debut / The Name Of The Rose- off The Name Of The Rose / Arcadia - off The Robe / We Rule The Night - off Spellbound / Thunder In Heaven - off Babylon.
Ten as a band, sells a lot of units and has now made several records. What is the secret to your success, based on a music scene that often has it's detractors? I have no idea really. We just keep making music we like and hope everyone else does too. Maybe also because we don't move with trends people know they can rely on Ten for an honest Melodic Hard Rock album. There's no gamble for the record buyer.
Would you also put it down to good song writing and good playing? I hope so. I suppose it's not for me to say but I hope people see us as keeping the melody foremost in our writing.
You produced this album again, do you enjoy the ultimate control of being the man at the helm in the studio? I suppose I do. Although I have to say that working with Tommy (Newton) this time was a great pleasure for me. He is a true professional and a great friend.
Your solo album took on a different feel. Will there be another album in that ballad vein in the future? I hope so. I have lots of material in that vein and some songs that I am particularly proud of. So a lighter mood album of more soothing rockers and ballads could be on the cards sooner rather than later.
Vinny has obviously left the band, which is a great shame of course, but without airing any problems, do you know why he chose to leave? His reasons were personal to him. Vinny was never a man to air any kind of dirty laundry in public and he still commands the respect of everyone in the band. We respect his decision and his reasons for making it. He is a great musician and I have had six years of immense pleasure of working with. I wish him nothing but the best with whatever he decides to do from here.
For sure .The band is often seen as the Gary and Vinny show, so will this allow an opportunity to highlight the rest of the band? After all you all play a tight show live together! Yes. I think this will probably be the case.
In looking for a replacement - can you give us any exclusives as to who might have applied so far? The closing date for submitting material for audition is December 1st. What I can say is that we have had a great response with over twenty entries so far. There are also some 'name' guitarists in there but it would be unprofessional of me to name any names at this stage. After the December 1st we will be whittling the list down to maybe 8 or 10 serious contenders for actual auditions later in December.
What are you looking for in a guitarist? You can obviously play yourself, but will this herald a change in the band's style? I think that Vinny had his own instantly recognizable sound and style. Who ever the new guy is, it is bound to sound different. It will be interesting to see what flavours he brings to Ten's sound.
Looking forward to touring again early next year? Very much. We are in the process of arranging dates for February and April next year.
Let's talk about a few of the other releases you have been involved in. Is there any chance of an official release of your debut solo album?
What was the story there - why did it become so obscure? It was legal hassle with management in 1991 that effectively buried any chance of that album ever being re-issued again. Certainly with my endorsement.
One of my favourite ever melodic rock/AOR records is the debut solo Hugo album, which you played on as a band. Do you look back on that with any thoughts? Yes. I still like that album also. I still rate Hugo as one of the best technical vocalists that I have ever recorded. It's a timeless album and I'm proud of my part in it.
I guess the big question is whether there will be a chance for another like it? That would be down to Hugo. He has incredible responsibility now with his family business and all. I would like to think that we might work together again, but as for when...who knows. I wish him well in any case.
I would also love to hear more on your epic King Arthur album plans!! How are things going so far? It's all written and in pre-production. I have approached a cast of vocalists which I will confirm to you as soon as it is finalised. I hope to begin recording in January.
Who have you lined up to play/sing on it? As soon as I have the finalised cast you will be the first to know ;-)
Haha thanks Gary! Can you fill us in on the whole concept? It will now be a multi-album project will it now? It will be a double album and it will be based on the Arthurian Legends.
It is called "Once And Future King". As far as is possible when dealing with what is essentially a legend, I have stayed to the historical timescales and the feasible. Less to the manufactured Hollywoodisms.
It is my hope that it will one day be performed by its original cast in a mini Gods type of situation. A small theater, a great rock band with some string players and a cast of 10 great singers. Who knows, maybe some day?
Bob Catley's solo records are another great set of albums you have involved in. What is it like working with the elder statesman of melodic rock? He has been an absolute pleasure to work with and a gentleman to boot. I am very proud of the albums we have made together. I am his biggest fan.
You have recorded three albums with him now - what has been the favourite? I think different albums for different reasons but if I had to pick just one then I would say "Middle Earth".
Excellent! Speaking of that album, where do songs like the epic City Walls come from? Musically speaking? Just what I imagined would be great songs for Bob to perform live.
Middle Earth is obviously the story of the Lord Of The Rings - for those unfamiliar with the story behind the album - would you mind repeating it - how you got started etc...? It was a piece of literature I loved as a child. A complete fantasy world. Over the period of our first two albums together I discovered that Bob love the novels too. The rest, as they say, is history.
Was the album a success, as far as how you wanted to portray your love of the story? I think so. When covering something like Lord Of The Rings you can only tread this way once in your career. I hope I have dealt with the subject matter in as complete a way as a single album can allow.
I think the album could find a new audience with fans of the story, now that the movie is about to open. Are you hoping for renewed interest? Who knows. It would certainly be nice. Although a soundtrack placement for the trilogy of movies would have been even better for me and Bob ;-)
Is there anyone else Gary, that you would really love to write for or work with? I would like to work with John Waite, David Coverdale, Anne Wilson, John Farnham, Joe Lynn Turner, Neal Schon, Steve Lukather, Brian May, to name just a few from a list of hundreds.
What else is planned for 2002 in the busy world of Gary Hughes? Plenty of touring in February and April, with some festivals in the summer. Album wise, after the Arthurian concept there'll be another Ten album for release this time next year.
Sensational! Is there anything you would like to add or say to the fans of your music Gary? Just that I wanted to thank them yet again for their seemingly limitless support over the years. It sounds corny I know but I really do appreciate it. I hope they like the new Ten album and we'll try to play to as many people as we can next year in support of it. Thanks for keeping melodic hard rock music alive and for keeping the faith.
Thanks again mate for answering these and taking the time to do so. Appreciate it! As always you are very welcome. All the best!