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INTERVIEWS GREG STEPHENS|
STILL GOING WITH ITGREG STEPHENS' debut CD KEEP IT SIMPLE takes it's queue from the quintessential merchants of "...takin' it easy", THE EAGLES. There are no frills, just good, honest, classic sounding rock-n-roll. It's like riding off intot he sunset in a cherry red convertible witht he wind whipping through your hair. This is California Dreamin' to the infinite degree. The stand out tracks here are TOOK THE MONEY AND RAN, the plaintive, PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP ON ME, and GOOD LUCK CHARM.
GREG STEPHENS TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
HIS DEBUT CD 'KEEP IT SIMPLE'
THE RIGORS OF SONGWRITING
THE LOVE OF MUSIC
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
ROCKWIRED spoke with GREG STEPHENS over the phone. Here is how it went.
What got you into music?
I've always played. Since I was a kid.. I was in my first band when i was nineteen. I worked for a plumbing company back then and I met these two other plumbers, who were about the same age. We put a little band together and we played for several years. That was how it started. I did some recording in my late twenties, doing some solo stuff. I was trying to get a record deal, like a lot of people were in the late-eighties and early-nineties. I've played all around Southern California in little pubs and bars. I've had a good time and I'm still going with it.
Now, is KEEP IT SIMPLE your first CD, proper?
Yes. I did alot of demo stuff back in the nineties. Back then we used tapes, and I had this six song demo. The songs came out pretty good, but not as good as this latest CD.
What inspires your music? What makes you keep wanting to do it?
Sometimes, I don't know what I want to say with my music. What inspires me? I play off of a hook or I play off of the personality of a song. Sometimes it's in the melody and sometimes, it's in the lyrics. I hold onto that little hook and sometims it takes me several years to finish a song. Some of them come real quick. There are a lot of personal things that inspire me to write different songs. Every song comes from a different direction, in terms of how it's written and how it's inspired. The love of music keeps me playing.
And is KEEP IT SIMPLE the culmination of songs from years ago, or were the songs written for this album specifically?
Most of the songs were written within the last four to five years. 2 songs are from a a demo back in the nineties. One is called TOOK THE MONEY AND RAN and the other is called IT'S SO EASY. These two were just old songs I had lying around and I thought I'd introduce them on this album.
Are there any other tracks offof this CD that stand out for you in particular?
The title track, KEEP IT SIMPLE is a favorite. It came out really quickly and the concept of keeping things simples was carried out though the whole process of recording the album. Sometimes, in the studio, things can get complicated by laying down track and tracks and more tracks. Sometimes the best thing to do is stick withthe first tracks you've got. That what the song KEEP IT SIMPLE was for the most part. Another song that I like is called PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP ON ME. It's an old song that I struggled with in the studio because of all of these overdubbs, so I stripped it down to the basics and I'm proud of the way that it came out. It's a nice tender love song. Another favorite of mine is a song called GOOD LUCK CHARM.
Have you been playing this material live?
I haven't played out in years. In the early nineties, I played out about 4 to 5 times a week in places like Downtown Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. I've done that for several years and eventually, I got burnt out from trying to write songs and trying to do these two to three hour shows. The grind can burn you out , so I stayed away from music for several years. I haven't done live shows since then, but I've been writing a lot of songs and having a lot of fun recording music. I look forward to playing out more, later this year, as soon as I'm finished with this upcomming CD. I'd like to get out there and play originals, whereas before, it was mostly covers.
Is there anything that you can tell us about this upcoming CD?
It's coming out pretty good, I think. It's got some good songs. 7 or 8 of them were written within the last three months, and there are some older songs I've written through the years. It's going good and I'm working with great musicians. It sounds like KEEP IT SIMPLE but a little more edgier and more upbeat. I'm looking forward to completing it.
Who inspired you, musically?
I was born in the early part of the Sixties. When I got older, I discovered music by THE BEATLES, and CCR. Even stuff by JOSE FELICIANO got to me. In the seventies, it was people like ERIC CLAPTON and the monster bands like QUEEN and STYX. I like a lot of Country and I like alot of Folk music. I like it all really.
What do you want someone to walk away with after hearing your music?
It's always good to hear people say they like your music. Having people recognizeyour music as something differentand not typical of something else; that's the best compliment.
READ THE THE MOST RECENT ROCKWIRED ON-LINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH GREG STEPHENS HERE