To start with lots of thanks for giving Bluesmagazine.nl permission to do an interview with you. You will probably going to regret this because now we want to know everthing about you. So lets hurry and begin before you start to realize the implications of all of this.
Can you tell us something about your early youth years? Things like: where did you grow up,where you had your education, your home, family and parents, stuff like that.
(If this question is to personal for you please feel free to skip this one)
I was born in a place called “Annamore” which is a little town land in West Cork in Southern Ireland. I was actually born at home....not in a hospital.... (I have never been in a hospital as a patient in my life........yet!!!!).
From the age of 4 or 5 until I was 13 years old, I went to “Knockavilla National School” and from there I attended the “Bandon Vocational School” for 3 or 4 years....but, by then...the last thing on my mind was “school”....because.....I was too interested in music and girls.....not necessarily in that order!!!
My father died when I was 7 years old so, my mother had to take care me and my two sisters alone...which must have been very hard work for her but....she did it!!
Long time ago you started playing a musical instrument, an accordion. When did you decide to pick up the guitar? And why the guitar and not a harmonica, sax or whatever.
Yeah, the accordion was my first instrument. I really don’t know why I became interested in the guitar but, my mother bought me a very cheap acoustic guitar when I was about 10 or 11 years old. It was almost impossible to play because the action was very high.
I didn`t know anything about chords or tuning it etc, but.... (not really knowing what I was doing)....I eventually tuned it to an open tuning and I was playing it like that for a while.
In 1968, my mother bought a small country pub and every weekend there would be music sessions there and, I would play the piano accordion with whomever the visiting musician was.....mostly Irish traditional music!!!
I got my first electric guitar when I was about 14 years old.....I think it was a Zenta.
I still didn’t have an idea about chords at that stage so.....I began playing lead lines and solos but, I knew that I was missing something so, I asked the son of one of the musicians who played in our pub if he would give me some lessons!! The following weekend he gave me a piece of paper with my first 3 chords....C, F and G7.....and I practiced, and practiced......and practiced some more....all day and every day!! Hahaha. I even skipped going to school..... (until my mother found out.......she almost killed me!!) to learn how to play the guitar.
When you started to make music there were undoubtfully influences from other artists which made you to choose a music-style. Who were your idols at that time?
There were a lot of them...even some American Country artists but my first big influence was I guess Jimi Hendrix.I remember standing in front of a mirror in my grandmother’s house with my Zenta guitar, an old Selmer 15watt amplifier trying to play “Voodoo Child”. It was a real honor to get to work with Noel Redding (bassist for the Jimi Hendrix Experience) when he moved to West Cork to live in the 70’s. I then got into bands like Deep Purple, Lynard Skynard, The Allman Brothers…..and I also had great affection for Status Quo, in particular the early albums like Piledriver, On The Level etc etc......before they went a bit too poppy!!
Which artist is your greatest influence at present day. To who you 'look-up'
Joe Cocker....one of my favorite singers along with Ray Charles, Jimmy Barnes from Australia.... (what a voice he’s got!!), Tony Joe White from Louisiana..(Incredible songwriter) AC/DC....the greatest rock n roll band in the world!!
Did you ever had guitar- and or singing-lessons?
Just had that one guitar lesson from my friend but, I never had singing lessons. I’m sure that there is a singing teacher out there somewhere who would tell you what I’m doing wrong....hahaha!! I never did learn to read or write music, I don’t know how to do it!!!.........If you put a music sheet in front of me....I wouldn’t know what to do with it!!! I guess that you could say that I am “musically illiterate”....but, I’m in good company...... Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Tom Petty...hahaha.
What styles of music did you play during your entire career and how it evolved?
I have played everything and anything at one time of another I guess!!! I spent a few years playing the “Showband” circuit in Ireland and England and believe me…you learn a lot from that…both musically and otherwise!! In the showbands you have to play all kinds of music, from Pop to Country and Blues to Rock…. (when they let me!!...LOL) but, it was great for learning new songs and approaching my own songwriting with new ideas from other styles of music. Van Morrison and the great Rory Gallagher started out on the showband circuit in Ireland as well in their early days.
When did you finally decide: 'OK, The Blues is the kind of music I want to play' ?
The Blues has always been the foundation of what I do, and it’s the foundation of a lot of the great rock bands like Deep Purple, AC/DC, Walter Trout, Joe Bonamassa and of course Hendrix...etc etc
Your cd Meloneras Blues is a mix of Chicago Blues, Bluesrock and Soul. That's quite remarkable after playing (mostly) lots of styles of music for almost twenty years. Can you tell us something about this cd and its music.
I started work on “Meloneras Blues” (The Album) in February 2008. Apart from two weeks holiday in March 2008….the rest of the time was spent writing and re-writing, recording and re-recording the album, almost 8 months in total. A few of the songs had already been written, (Meloneras Blues, Para Ti, Wasted Years and That’s Why It’s Called The Blues) but the rest of the songs were written as I was recording, and a few of them came out quite by accident!!
In the seventies and eighties you have played with very big names in the music scene and you hopped from stage to stage. When you decided to move to Gran Canaria you have chosen for a certain anonymity, far away from te big stages and big artists. What did you do in all those seventeen years, and why did you move to Gran Canaria.(except for the English/Irish weather)
Ohhhh, the reason that I moved to Gran Canaria is a long story....better not told here but...LOL but, during the first 9 or 10 years living here....I stopped writing completely. Then when I started to work in The 19th Hole....a lot of people would ask if I played any original songs....and I always said...no!! So, I started to think about writing again and one of the first songs that I actually wrote and recorded after all that time was “Retribution”.... (which is on the new CD) and “Meloneras Blues”
Could you, maybe, tell us a nice anecdote (or maybe more than one) off things happened during your musical career?
Well, one night while working with Cozy Powell in Studio 1 in RAK Records in London, the studio door suddenly burst open and in walked Shane MacGowan of The Pogues. He was totally drunk and stoned and he had two very beautiful women with him and a bottle of beer in one hand. Cozy (very politely ) asked him to leave and when he wouldn’t.......Cozy caught him by the arm and neck and threw him out.......the two ladies stayed!!
Now you're playing on regular bases in the Irish pub “The 19th Hole”. How often are you on stage there.
I work there 4 nights every week, 3 hour show and that’s 11 months of the year at the moment!
Can you also tell us something about the 19th Hole?
The 19th Hole is a great place to work in. It is situated in the beautiful Maspalomas / Meloneras area on the south of the island. From the stage where I play...I can sometimes see the beach (during the summer time) as it is only about 30 meters from the front door. The winter time is really nice there because we get all our regular people coming back to us every few months....and of course we get a lot of new people as well. We get a lot of Dutch people every year.....I have made a lot of new friends in the 19th Hole from Holland!!
When playing on a touristic island like Gran Canaria your adience comes from all over the world, so also Dutch people. Can you tell me something about your audience, their comments etc.?
Yes, they come from all over, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Italy, France, Ireland, England, Scandinavia.......we even sometimes get people from the US and Canada...but not so much.
Would you want to tell us something about your band in general and bandmembers specifically?
The band (what you hear on the CD’s) really is just....me!! I do it all myself. I record almost everything in my own studio at home. In the house studio it is impossible to record live drums because I don’t have the space to do it...so, I use a lot of drum loops for the drum tracks...played by some very talented drummers!! Most of the drums on Meloneras Blues were played by an American guy named Frank Basile who has a great webpage for his drum and studio business. All the drums on the new CD were played by the incredible Simon Phillips (Toto, Mick Jagger etc) I bought his entire loop library a few years ago. I play all the guitars and bass guitar parts and some keyboards as well....... and of course the vocals.
From time to time...I have some guests play on certain tracks.For instance, on “Hip Grinding Blues” (from the Meloneras Blues CD) my very good and talented friend from Paris France “Eric Larmier” played some great slide guitar......He has also played on three of the songs from the new CD which comes out soon. We do everything over the internet. It’s incredible these days the things that you can do in the studio over the internet......Eric and I never met personally.....yet!!!
Have you ever considered to go on tour again in order to give away gigs in Ireland, Great-Brittain and of course Holland and Belgium?
It would mean putting a band together again to do that and at the moment my contract is with the 19th Hole. I work there as I said, 11 months of the year and on my time off ... (which is normally 2 weeks in March or April and 2 more weeks in September or October) the last thing I want to do is play music....!! But, you never know what might happen in the future.....let’s see how it goes with the new CD!!
Maybe you want to share with us some info about making cd, the studiowork, preparations and plans etc. Most people don't hardly know anything about this, so we're curious.
I normally start out with my Fender Resonator guitar in my hands just....messing around with chords and riffs etc. When I get an interesting idea, I will normally make a quick recording of the piece of music in a little hand held recorder....just so that I don’t forget the idea!!! Then I will fire up my music production PC and start to build a very basic Drum pattern with the drum loops. When I have say.....an Intro and a Verse done.....then I will record a bass guitar line. Drums and bass guitar are the foundation of the track....without those you can’t really build a good song...(unless of course the whole song is just a voice and another instrument.. for example, guitar or piano...just like the song from Extreme “More Than Words”) Normally at this stage.....I will have a melody in my head but no lyrics/text yet. Then I will start on the guitar tracks and keyboards.......and build up a complete track. When I have all that done, I then start on lyrics/text. It is on a very rare occasion that I will start a song with lyrics/text.
So....when I have all the instruments done and the lyric/text....I will record the vocals and backing vocals....(if the song needs backing vocals) On the whole Meloneras Blues CD.....there are no backing vocals....on any of the songs but, on the new CD there are backing vocals on nearly every track....except two!!
It is a very long process...writing the lyric, recording the music.....and normally (because I’m a bit of a perfectionist...and a pain in the ass) I will change the whole song....or parts of the song.....2 maybe 3 times before it is finished!!
When it is all recorded.....and I’m reasonably happy with it (which is not very often….LOL).....the track has to be mastered....which is the final process in the production.
After all the songs are written and recorded.....I then have to think about the artwork for the CD. The little booklet that is in the box.....the design on the actual CD itself.....the design on the back of the CD box.....that also takes a lot of time to do. Then, when it is all finished......... the master disc and the artwork has to be sent to the pressing plant to get all the CD’s made.
So, that is a very quick idea of how a song and a CD takes shape....from the first few chords of the songs to the final product that you see in your hand. I started work on the new CD “Till The End Of The line” in the summer of 2009...when I wrote the song I’ve Cried The Blues (for New York City). I received the finished product.....the actual CD....at the end of August 2010.
Who is the producer of your cd's and in what studio?
I produce my own CD’s.....and they are recorded in my own little home studio.
Very soon we can expect the release of your new cd “Till The End Of The Line” What may we expect of this cd. Is it comparable with “Meloneras Blues”? Please tell us everything you want to share with us, because after your first phenomenal blues-cd we are, of course, very curious about it.
Well, the songs on “Till The End Of The line” are completely different to the songs on “Meloneras Blues”. On the album, I wanted to go back to my Rock n Roll days just for a little bit of fun, and that’s what I did.
It is a hard rock album with a rock ballad (Till the End of the Line) and an instrumental (La Isla) thrown in just to…..spice it up a little!!
Maybe, the people who like Meloneras Blues will hate the new one….. (I hope not!!!!)
OK, this is very interesting! Where can we buy your cd's?
The CD will be available from all the usual internet places like my own home page: www.gerrylanemusic.com / www.cdbaby.com all the Amazon stores and also on iTunes... (although that takes a little longer....it will probably be on iTunes around the middle or the end of October.)
Also of course, it will be available in the 19th Hole for the Dutch people who will come and visit us in Gran Canaria!!
How do you see your musical career in the future? Are there big plans we should know?
At the moment I’m just concentrating on getting this project finished and getting it out.
Eric Larmier has asked me on a few occasions to go to France to do some gigs with him and his great band Slideaway, but....that will be probably next year.
Bluesmagazine is visited over 2000 times a day by mostly blues-minded people. Would you want to say something to our readers?
I am delighted and honored to be featured on the Bluesmagazine.nl site.
I have a great affection for the Dutch people because……they really appreciate music, and as I said before.....I have made a lot of really good friends in Holland through music. Music really is the international language.
One last thing….just remember....”a man without the blues, is a man without soul”
Thank you Fons…..take care my friend.
Gerry, please feel free to add all the information you can't answer us in the given answers.
Thank you for doing this interview for the readers of Bluesmagazine.nl. Much appreciated and we hope to see and hear from you soon.