On Gary’s CDBaby page, Power Pop Paul writes about Head on a Swivel: “It’s a Potpurri of Hooks, Rocking Guitars, Pounding Drums, Melodies all over the place ….. What’s not to like?”.
Power Pop Paul has taste.
SweetSweetMusic spoke to Gary about his new album.
How did this record come together?
Well, in January of 2019, I was starting to get a little antsy and felt like I wanted to record again. It had been nearly 3 years since my last album (Poptimistic). I wasn’t sure if I had anything to say or any actual tunes. So I headed back to my music room with my Guild Jumbo acoustic to see if I had anything. A half an hour later, I had the makings of (I thought) a very cool tune, “Head On A Swivel.”
Hey, maybe I do have something more in me! So I went through my notes, old demo ideas and started writing some new tunes, finished up some old ideas I had and I was off and running.
I really love the collection of songs I came up with this time. I hope the folks out there enjoy it as much as I do.
When did you decide to start asking for opinions on the new songs?
Actually, I very rarely to never ask people for opinions on my songs. I leave that up to people to give their opinions if they want. Only a couple of times will I even ask someone “What was your fave tune on the album?”.
Now, I used to ask my recording partner, Jeff King what songs he liked of mine. Generally, he would say “Let’s do all of them.” That’s why my first 4 albums had a ton of songs on them.
On this new album “Head On A Swivel” I wanted to keep it at 13 tracks and 38 minutes to keep folks interested. Many people these days don’t have a long attention span.
Fortunately, for me, the folks that like my stuff are the type to actually put on an album and play it all the way through. Most people out there these days really “cherry-pick.” Many people seem to have 1,000 songs in their pocket, maybe 2 or 3 songs from each artist. I’m totally old school. I don’t have an iPod and I don’t listen to MP3s. It’s CDs and LPs for me.
You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who and Why?
Oh man, that’s tough. I have so many musical hero’s I’d love to do something with. But, I’ve to go with McCartney for obvious reasons. He’s a total Pop genius with a melody in everything he touches. It would be a blast to write with him.
Elton, the man is phenomenal, especially the earlier stuff. Great chords structures and melodies all over the place.
Nick Lowe has also been an absolute favorite of mine since his first solo album. Very witty, cool lyrics, lots of humor. He would fit my style of writing perfectly.
What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?
Well, that’s a bit tough. I’ve played some really great places with thousand’s of people. But, there is one that was very cool. We played a small place, it wasn’t even an actual club or concert hall, somesorts of art studio place that we had a record release party in. Well, a pretty good friend of our’s said he might show up…and he did! Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick came and joined us for a few tunes. Excellent and fun. He later produced a couple of tracks in the studio for us. So, yeah, that one sticks in my head.
Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?
Oh heck yeah! Getting things heard can be very difficult these days. I mean widely. Not many stations play the kind of music that I write or record. There are a few sort of “Independent” stations that still play PopRock, PowerPop, Indie Rock…etc. I love those guys!! They can get to a lot more people than I can. It really helps with selling a few more CDs too.
Now, the recording of a record, I won’t say it’s easy, but much easier than many years ago. Everyone has some sort of studio at home (and good ones) and can really hone a tune without spending a ton of money. Wherever you record you must be prepared to work at it to get things right. On this last album of mine, when I took it to be Mastered, my guy said “I can tell you guys really took great care in recording this album.” That was very cool to hear.
Which records would you bring with you for your stay on Mars?
Oh baby, that’s beyond tough. I listen to so much music!!
Well, I could easily take 5 Beatles’ albums but I’ll leave it to only one. “White Album” – Great array of songs. Love it.
Elton’s “Honky Chateau.”
Faces “A Nod Is As Good As A Wink.”
Allman Brothers “Live At The Fillmore East.”
Dwight Yoakam “This Time.”