Heart of Steel: Interviews

Interview With Hugo
Interview By Keith McDonald

hugo Hugo - Doing It His Way

Some people may not be familiar with Hugo and his music but the ones that do know what a great talent he is. At first look, you’d think you were seeing and hearing Journey’s Steve Perry on stage. Yet, it’s him playing some the best AOR/ Melodic rock out there. After being the frontman for Valentine and Open Skyz, Hugo set out on his own releasing solo albums including his most recent release ‘Fire In The Night’. I had the chance to speak with him about his plans and other past projects. You can check out his website at www.hugothisway.com.



Why so long between albums?

When I was recording Time On Earth, my mother had gotten sick and passed away. It was a hard time to get the album done. When it was completed, I was just happy to relax and try to find what it was that I was missing in my life at that time! I'm in love with my wife and family and life is good! In that time I had been writing songs and thinking when to actually record! In early 2003, I began to record the songs for Fire In The Night and a year later, it's done. It's been a couple of years and I really missed it-I'm glad to be doing this once again!!!!



What ever happened to the Valentine and Open Skyz projects/albums?

I speak to my old bandmates all the time!!! We are all still the best of friends. We basically got killed by the corporate bullshit that happens every day at the big record labels!!-You make a rock album that people say is GREAT, then your label decides to concentrate on the dance music-It's that simple! They take 10 bands of the same format, throw them up and see who sticks!!!



Why the name change?

We were signing with RCA and some asshole there decided the name VALENTINE was too dated-We really were against the wall-We weren’t about to blow a deal because of a name so we rolled with it. As frustrating as it was, we had a blast on tour with OPEN SKYZ!! It's something I will never forget!



Will you tour behind this?

It's hard to say-so much depends on finances. I do know that the guys in EVOLUTION would definitely hit the road if the opportunity was there.



How much has the hard rock scene changed since you came on?

Well, I've been doing this for a long time-we had a decade of grunge where I really thought that I was going to move to a mountain and die happily with my JOURNEY albums. Rap still sucks to me-don’t get it, never will! ---Thank God for BON JOVI- He single handedly plowed through the 90s and saved what ever is left of AOR/Melodic rock-Things seem to be a little more melodic on the radio so that’s cool! - I think we’ll have to wait and see!



Who's in your band?

Eddie Jelley and Gus Karras on guitars, Gerard Zappa and Joe Cumia swapped bass tracks, Lance Millard on keys and my brother Chuck on drums!



I see you're in a Journey tribute band? How is that experience?

It's been a great time-These are basically the same guys who played on the album! -we are real tight and have a good time when we play-It's a chance to play in front of a lot of people and keep playing - I love it!



How would you describe your music?

The music is just good time melodic rock and roll! There are some sweet ballads and some cool rockers-If you like JOURNEY, DEF LEP or anything else I’ve ever done, - you're gonna like this stuff and that’s all I wanted!



Will there be a US release?

It is now available at the website www.hugothisway.com I've been tracking the progress of the album and the orders are amazing. People have been responding and the reviews have been really great! -That is sometimes a scary thing. Melodic fans are very passionate about what they like, myself included, but people are really loving this one-I’m very happy with the turnout!



How does the songwriting process go?

I usually start a song with the chorus first - I picture the melody of the chorus with big harmonies. If that works, then the rest of the song kind of falls together! !



Do you have more creative control now?

I really do Keith! I've had so many bad experiences with labels that it was natural for me to do this on my own-Bulk orders are drop-shipped for a location in Manhattan and I personalize all copies sold on the website-this is the kind of stuff that you cant do unless it is hands on!



Will there be a DVD?

I'm actually trying to decide whether to record all songs acoustic-live or full-blown loud-but yes I do plan for something on DVD. Possibly a mix of solo stuff and VALENTINE songs as well!



Anything you'd like to plug/promote?

I'm just happy to be making music again and having such a hands-on approach has been great for me! The CD as well as merchandise can be found on www.hugothisway.com.



What lies ahead for you?

I'm gonna take a little time and see where this album takes me. I'll take on this DVD project which should be interesting and my VALENTINE bros and I have been talking about a new album. Everyone is up for it and as soon as we find time, it could be cool! -thanks for everything Keith!

Band Website: www.hugothisway.com