Interview: Gary Hoey

Randy Allar: Gary, what's going on? How are you doing?

Gary Hoey: I'm doing well, out on the road for Fender guitars, doing these clinics, and doing guitar workshops in a lot of music stores. I'm playing some songs to some backing tapes, and answering questions and guitar things. I'm playing stuff off the new "Hocus Pocus Live" CD.

Randy Allar: You're working on supporting the new CD. Congratulations on "Hocus Pocus Live".

Gary Hoey: Thanks, man!

Randy Allar: It's a nice looking disc.

Gary Hoey: You know what's really nice is the cover art is an original painting that a fan did. He came to a show one night and said, "Hey man, I painted this, would you sign it." I told him I can't signed it, it's my next album cover. It blew him away because he never did any commercial art at all, but he was really talented. So that album cover is really neat to come from a fan.

Randy Allar: I bet that did flip him out.

Gary Hoey: It did man, he's a hero in his neighborhood. I just saw it and it looks like the kind of art you see at Bill Graham Presents from the '60s, Doors kind of posters.

Randy Allar: The new disc is real good.

Gary Hoey: Thank you, not bad for a live CD that we did in one night. We only recorded one show. We had one night to get it on tape. It was do or die, and we were really happy with the result.

Randy Allar: Do or die and you did it.

Gary Hoey: We didn't die.

Randy Allar: I have one complaint. You recorded it in San Diego.

Gary Hoey: I know.

Randy Allar: You say, "Hello" to San Diego what happened to Cleveland?

Gary Hoey: Well, my next live CD is going to say, "Hello Cleveland". I say hello San Diego and everyone else is offended.

Randy Allar: We are terribly offended.

Gary Hoey: There's a little thing on the back of the CD. It says when Gary yells, put your city here. That's kind of it.

Randy Allar: What's tougher to do, a live album or studio album?

Gary Hoey: You know what, it's interesting because the studio CD, you know, it's hard work, because you spend months and do all this painstaking work in the studio and nit pick everything and make it right and mix it. I think that's a bigger labor, but I think a live CD is a scary thing because you're getting up there and playing live. There is nothing to hide behind. There's no overdubs, and you have to live with what you did or don't put it out. So I think there is a lot of pressure with a live CD. For me it's a difficult animal.

Randy Allar: You managed to pull it off! You do a lot of covers, fun stuff on this one.

Gary Hoey: Yes, man. I've been known for doing remakes, you know, after doing "Hocus Pocus". That was a remake, "Low Rider" and "Linus And Lucy" from the Charlie Brown thing, from the "Endless Summer II" soundtrack. I'm getting a reputation of taking cover songs and twisting them up.

Randy Allar: You also did "Red House".

Gary Hoey: Yeah, I did "Red House". A little tip of the hat to Jimi Hendrix, one of my heroes.

Randy Allar: Last but not least is "Wipeout".

Gary Hoey: We did "Wipeout" for the benefit album for the Surf Rider Program, who does great work to help clean up the oceans and beaches.

Randy Allar: You are staying very busy working with many different causes.

Gary Hoey: I try to, I like to get involved in good projects and if there's charity involved, or something to help the environment, I'm right there, man.

Randy Allar: Are you a surfer?

Gary Hoey: I wouldn't call myself a surfer. I can tell you I've been on a surf board, and I've fallen off a few. I'll stick to guitar. I'll play the surf music and let surfers do the surfing.

Randy Allar: You need a surf board that looks like a guitar.

Gary Hoey: See, then I could probably ride it, if the surf board were shaped like a guitar. You're on to something, Randy.

Randy Allar: What else do you have coming up?

Gary Hoey: Well, we're going to be traveling the West coast, and then were going to come back to the mid West in the summer with my band and do some shows. That's coming up you know.

Randy Allar: Who is in your band?

Gary Hoey: Well, the guys on the live disc, "Hocus Pocus Live". Glenn Sobel is playing drums, he's fantastic. The base player on that disc is Ray Riendau, and he's just a monster from Phoenix. Those are the guys on the record and we'll be out touring.

Randy Allar: Is Glenn Sobel taking time off from Jennifer Batten?

Gary Hoey: Yep, he's not doing the Jennifer Batten thing right now. He's hanging with me.

Randy Allar: The new disk is fantastic looking and sounds great. You guys really pulled it off for the one night show.

Gary Hoey: I know, man! Thanks, well, you know what we did? We recorded a lot of extra songs. When the crowd showed up, they were just going crazy because they knew it was a live CD. So it brought the best out in us. We ended up playing about two hours. We said if we screw up on a few songs, we'll have a few extra to put in.

Randy Allar: It has to help you as a player with the crowd behind you.

Gary Hoey: Oh, they were just into it. It was one of those clubs where the stage was up in our face. People were right up to us. My sweat flying on them, their sweat flying on me.

Randy Allar: Kind of a sweaty night.

Gary Hoey: It was just a sweaty mess. That made it really intense. It wasn't like one of those shows where there's an eight foot barrier between you and the crowd.

Randy Allar: Sounds like a wild time.

Gary Hoey: Yes, man. I got it on video, I should release it one day.

Randy Allar: Absolutely. You mean you're not going to release it?

Gary Hoey: You know, I don't know, Randy. You gotta help me out. Will you talk to my agents, man. There's not enough going on, you know?

Randy Allar: You are staying busy as it is.

Gary Hoey: Yeah, I am. I'm producing some bands now. I just met in San Francisco with an old timer named Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks. He was around in the '70s. Some people might know him. I'm going to produce his next record.

interview pic

Randy Allar: What kind of music is it?

Gary Hoey: It's kind of like swing, like swing/bluesy, kind of very fun lyrics. He's like a poet. He's great. I call him like a Johnny Cash meets Tom Waits. Like an American icon with a twisted sense of humor.

Randy Allar: That sounds like a lot of fun.

Gary Hoey: He's really talented. So I'm doing some producing, working with bands, in that sense. Other than that, I'm just working on my own stuff.

Randy Allar: When is your new one looking to be out?

Gary Hoey: Probably this summer, man, I've got a couple bands I'm working with, Dan Hicks, and a band called Sun Child, whose coming out on the Hocus Pocus Live tour with me. They'e going to be my opening band for the whole tour. You'll love these guys. They're like the Allman Brothers, like the Black Crows. I should also have a new studio record by the end of summer.

Randy Allar: Wow! You are busy.

Gary Hoey: Yeah, man. Trying.

Randy Allar: You're going to have three projects in 1998.

Gary Hoey: Yeah, that's too much. I keep telling myself that, but I'm having fun.

Randy Allar: Tell us about the new studio disc.

Gary Hoey: Well, the new studio album. I'm writing songs right now. I have a lot of stuff on tape. I have to kind of sift through and see what rises to the top. I'm hoping to do some vocals on the new album. Basically bring in some guest singers, maybe some guest guitar players. It will be fun, and where it goes, I don't know, but I think I'm going to go with what my instincts tell me.

Randy Allar: The new disc is due out in the fall. MUSIC'S BOTTOM LINE and Radio Station WCSB are looking forward to Gary Hoey returning to Cleveland to perform this summer.

interview picture
Gary Hoey is perhaps experiencing the greatest success as a solo artist as he has ever had. On the road conducting clinics for Fender guitars, producing two different bands, gearing up for a summer tour, and preparing for a new release this year, his future looks extremely bright.

Before hs recent clinic at Guitar Center, Hoey spent a few minutes on the airwaves of WCSB to discuss his career and his busy schedule.