Interview: Gary Borden

Dan McAvinchey: Gary, how did you get interested in guitar, and how did you learn and progress as a player?

Gary Borden: Being a drummer in our family band at the age of eight, music was my daily passion. My brother was a big influence, listening to Kiss, Aerosmith, Queen, Beatles and Van Halen. My father and brother taught me a lot about theory and performance. Guitar became an obsession to me.

When I was 18 I won second place in an international guitar playing contest sponsored by Eric Clapton/Fender/GIT. I then enrolled at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California. I graduated from MIT at 20 years old and since then my playing has progressed immensely.

Dan McAvinchey: Was your album "Chasing A Dream" self-released?

Gary Borden: I intended to release my latest instrumental album "Chasing A Dream" independently, just as I released my vocal project Blood of VanGogh.
Rick Rose of Tangerine Music Group approached me to release it under his label. Rick is a long time friend and is very familiar with all my music.

Dan McAvinchey: So how would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?

Gary Borden: I love rock, country and blues. My music has elements of all of those styles.

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Dan McAvinchey: How did you write the songs for your most recent album? Was it a collaborative approach, or did you work alone?

Gary Borden: All the songs started out as riffs and grooves. I then came up with the arrangements so I could send to my friend Rory Faciane in Nashville via internet. Rory drummed on the entire album. After he sent me his drum tracks, I would then finish the recording and mix it.

Dan McAvinchey: Tell us a little about the gear you use to get your sound.

Gary Borden: Live, My main guitars are a Fender Stratocaster, G&L ASAT Classic Tele and an Ibanez "Custom Agent" Les Paul.

I run it through a Fender Showman head with a Marshall 4X12 cabinet. For lighter gigs I will use either a custom 1X12 Cabinet with the Showman head or a Peavey Delta Blues combo amp. The Peavey is an amazing amp, 30 watts and cranked so the tubes are working like they should.

In the studio I will add a Vox AC30, Vintage Gibson Skylark GA 5T, Vintage Fender Vibrolux and a Marshall JCM 800.

Dan McAvinchey: Are you using any social media sites to promote your recordings and music career?

Gary Borden: My website: has updates on what's new with my career. I am currently working on a few videos for the instrumental album. I have a lot of different musician friends helping out. It's going to be fun!

Dan McAvinchey: From a publicity and promotion standpoint, what do you find is working best for you at the moment?

Gary Borden: I find that you must have constant activity to create and maintain the interest of people. Facebook is a great way to share new projects with friends and fellow musicians but it doesn't reach people outside your circle. Trying to sell music in today's society when people want something for free is tough. Self promotion is challenging.

Dan McAvinchey: What do you now find to be the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent musician?

Gary Borden: The biggest advantage that I have had being an independent artist is that I have direct contact with the people. Whether it's a promoter that wants to have me play at his event or a new fan of my music. It makes all the hard work worth while.

The disadvantage is the marketing side of the industry. Finding the right pocket to put your music. It's your own money that goes into everything, so every step is a gamble.

Dan McAvinchey: If you could do a once-off album project with any guitarist in the world, who would it be?

Gary Borden: I would love to record an album or even a song with Jeff Beck. He's such an amazing player. He's one of a kind, and I think we have a lot of similarities that would work great together.

Dan McAvinchey: What are you looking forward to in the rest of 2015 and beyond?

Gary Borden: I am heading into the studio this month to record new material. I am also anticipating the release of Gowan's new album. I played the guitars on his new album. I hope to reach as many people as I can through my music.

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Canadian guitarist, songwriter and producer Gary Borden has parlayed his Musician's Institute education into a career as a freelance musician. He has written music for many film and T.V. shows, and has produced songs and albums for everyone from indie artists to Sony Nashville songwriters. Gary has also hosted instructional seminars supported by Boss/Roland and Charvell Jackson Guitars.

Dan McAvinchey recently touched base with Borden to learn more about his style and approach, and to get his perspectives on the business of music.