I recently posted a recommendation for “Heaven To Earth”, the new album from Gregory Lynn Hall, that was released through AOR Heaven on 28th July (http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/back-stage/music-reviews/1608-ni-rocks-recommends-qheaven-to-earthq-by-gregory-lynn-hall.html). I mentioned in that post that I didn’t know too much about the artist at that time. So how better to find out some more than to ask the man himself?
NI ROCKS - Gregory; thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. You have just released your solo album "Heaven To Earth". Is that a project that you had been wanting to complete for a long time?
GREGORY LYNN HALL - “Hello Nigel. Yes it’s been a long time coming, but it feels like a natural progression from 101 South to a solo album really. I’ve always been writing so I knew it would happen eventually. Just felt like the right time right now.”
Reading the promotional material it seems “solo” album is a pretty accurate description as you have played virtually every instrument on the album other than a few guest appearance on guitar and drums. Was that something that you had planned from the start?
“Yes totally; I wanted the challenge of putting it all together, and then having my friends (guest guitarists primarily) add the final touches; kinda’ like a good meal, lol.”
Tell us a little about those who have guested on the album then.
“Well. I’ve got a load of great guitarists. I’ve known Craig Goldy for many years and he is like family to me; Jeff Duncan is a fantastic rock guitarist and lives right here in Las Vegas, where I currently reside. So does Johnny Navarro. Billy Leisegang is my reliable old pal from the 101 South albums, and Mike Turner, who also mastered our 101 South “Roll Of The Dice“ album as well as this album, also makes an appearance. Then there’s Bandit Bellamia, who is a great friend and a great studio drummer/percussionist on it as well.”
Have you any plans to put a band together and play the tracks live somewhere?
“Yes, absolutely. I’m looking for musicians now. I would love to get out and play live and support the album, do some festivals, etc… I’m putting the word out that I will do 101 South songs as well as my own music, so let’s see.”
How would you compare the tracks on “Heaven To Earth” with the material you were playing with 101 South over the past 10- 15 years then saying that?
“The music that I wrote for my solo album is definitely Harder Rock; it’s more of my personal musical influences, which are kinda Dio, Whitesnake, Rainbow, etc….”
If you had to pick two favourite tracks from the album, what would they be and why?
“Man, that’s a hard question to answer, because every song is like one of my kids; they are all coming from different influences and experiences; you understand?”
Your first big venture into the music scene was with Rat Sally in LA in the late 70s and early 80s. What are your lasting memories of Rat Sally and mixing with the likes of Motley Crue and WASP?
“Oh, those were the funniest times; lots of stories, playing with all those bands, hanging out with David Lee Roth or Vince Neil at the Troubadour Bar. Great times..”
What motivated the move to Nashville in 1987?
“Basically, all the Seattle bands got signed and the music bizz changed. Also, more importantly, I left because of a family illness. My mother had cancer at the time, and I decided to care for her instead of pursue my career. I eventually did jingles, commercials, stuff like that, in the mid-west, for years.”
What brought you back? After returning to LA you released three albums with 101 South, the last of which came out in 2008. What were your highlights of those years and is there any chance of another album appearing?
“I’d have to say 101 South. I love 101 South; Roger (Scott Craig) and I have such a good chemistry for writing and recording; we produce some really great songs. We often say to each other, “I wish I had met you in 1982; we would be famously rich”. We always get a good chuckle off that one. “
Looking forward, what plans do you have for the next 6 to 12 months?
“Well, I’m continuing to write, and looking for players to put a band together… I’m currently also doing some local jams around town here in Las Vegas, which is great fun!”
You’ve been around the music business for some time and will have seen a lot of changes. What advice would you offer any young bands just starting out?
“My advice is just keep going; do what you love musically, whether it’s popular or not; don’t follow anyone. Be true to yourself….”
Finally, a few quick questions that I always like to ask.
What five artists might I find on your iPod or whatever if I pressed shuffle?
“For my Rock stuff; Foreigner, Old Aerosmith, Old Whitesnake, Bad Company, Rainbow…. And then I also have all the old Motown Soul, Temptations, Wilson Pickett, etc..”
What was the first band you saw live and first album you bought?
“My first live concert was actually at the Los Angeles Forum in 1975-76; ZZ Top and Aerosmith; Aerosmith only had the first album (“Dream On”) out; they only had 8 songs and played for 45 minutes. Then ZZ Top played.. It was great.. $6.50 for a ticket way back then! LOL! The first 3 albums I owned were an eclectic group; I had the Temptations, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Ventures.”
Have you heard any new bands recently that you’d would recommend to Rock Radio NI?
“None that come to mind, but there are some good bands out there though.”
Many thanks for answering our questions. Best of luck with the new album.
“Thank you Nigel; my pleasure. Rock on and God Bless.”
Check out http://www.gregorylynnhall.com/ for more information on Gregory Lynn Hall.