Guitarist TRACY G (Part I of II)
Interviewed by JP
Many people know of Tracy G from his days in Dio and perhaps a few older fans may recall one of his earlier projects WWIII. However, what some casual fans may not realize that Tracy G. is not only alive and well he is kicking well into the new millennium. Entrepreneur, business owner, musician, producer and author Tracy G has had a long and prolific career in the music industry.
We are delighted to have the chance to speak to him in our special two-part interview. Part I will focus on his past and in the Spring we will catch up with Tracy again for Part II and talk about his new book and new album.
Thanks for agreeing to speak with www.Metal-Rules.com. Can you tell us about your start in the music business?
I started playing when I was 8 years old and when I was 13 played with my dads band….by 15 I knew this is what I wanted to do…playing guitar just made me feel good and I felt I could say more with it than just normal talking…making a living is kinda tuff….but I am still working on that….but I do know i feel best when I am playing!
Do you ever keep in touch with the guys from Rags or Swift Kick?
No, I have not spoke to them in a while.. my good friend Joe Richardson was the singer in Swiftkick and put together Rags with me…so sadly he passed away 2 years ago…he was an awesome guy. Long live Joe mama.
After several successful years with Dio you decided to start your own business and record label. Can you tell us how that came about?
Well, it was either try out for other group or work on my own stuff. I wanted to just do my thing so I worked on my own CDs and put them on my own label and put them for sell on my web site.
What was your first signing?
I did not sign anyone. The label was for my own music to put out. I do record a lot of other bands but my studio and label was put together so I could play what ever I wanted whenever I wanted.
Did you design the label to primarily release your own material or did you have plans to sign other bands and artists?
For my own stuff.
After being in business for well over a decade with almost 20 albums on your label how has the music industry evolved?
I’m not really sure. I am always just working on new stuff and I am not so good at the business thing.
A popular perception is that the digital age has made it increasingly difficult to survive, but you seem to have been ahead of the curve by going independent many years ago. Did you predict this industry shift or did you want control over your own rights, music, merchandise etc.?
Again, it’s really mostly about the music for me and ya..its cool to own your own stuff and rights and all that shit but I am a guitar player who feels most best and safe when I am really just playing and writing, doing shows and trying to get my music to as many people who want to listen. I work on my tone and feel and stuff more than the business end. Maybe thats wrong but, so what? That’s who I am!
Some of the Metal community may not know of your other projects like Driven, your Latin album, your Blues stuff, and your Christmas albums! Can you tell us about some of the inspiration as an artist to branch into other areas of composition and playing?
I love almost every kind of music and being free to do what ever I want and play what ever I want makes my CD’s go all over the place. Metal is great but it’s not enuff
Do you own and operate your own studio?
Could you briefly run down some of the gear you have and use?
It’s not even computer based recording unit. It’s a Roland 2480. It does the job for now. No outboard gear. All the verbs and delays are in the machine. They don’t even make them anymore, but it sounds good for me for now.
What is an ‘average’ day for someone who is so busy? Could you describe a bit of your routine?
Well, I wish I was more disciplined. I wake up, eat, go to the gym…run around and do my things I gotta do and sometimes have a session or work on stuff my self or practice with my band. I try to get a few hours a day and practice. I have a few students so sometimes I teach.
You have many projects on the go! What would be the primary difference between The Tracy G Group, your solo albums and Goad-ed?
The Tracy G Group is like a solo CD but I have two other guys that play with me; Johnny B. on drums and vocals and Eddie Frisco on bass. We all write together and mix up ideas but it’s still my band because I had the vision and started the band way back when. I’ve had many players in the Tracy G Group. I think every group should have a leader or someone that has the last say, otherwise its all over the fucking place!
These solo CD’s mostly I am the only one on them. I played all the instruments mostly.
Goaded was my idea and my band but it had other players that wrote with me and brought a lot of things to help the band. So it was kind of a band but I felt I started it. Jason Witte was the singer and Larry Bones was on bass, Ray Luzier was on drums but Ray was in many groups so it was tuff to do any shows with him! He is a busy boy.
Watch for Part II of our interview with Tracy as we discuss his new book, ‘The Dio Years and Beyond The Skull’ and his new studio album. Check out his site and pre-order your copy today! http://tracyg.com/