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INTERVIEWS GREG STEPHENS|
THE DARK SIDE OF YOUOn his previous release KEEP IT SIMPLE, GREG STEPHENS did just that. His debut CD was a collection of seventies styled Southern California rock with just enough of a country tinge to draw the inevitable comparision to THE EAGLES. The music was as subdued as a Sunday drive up and down the Pacific Coast Highway. On his latest release I DON'T KNOW, that sunday drive is more like a frantic walk through the dark alleyways of some God-foresaken desert town right out of a JERRY RAFFERTY song.
GREG STEPHENS TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THE RELEASE OF HIS LATEST CD
"I DON'T KNOW"
THE SECOND TIME AROUND
JUMPING OFF A PIER
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
Things aren't so simple this time around. Love is fleeting (I WON'T BE AROUND) and love is blind. (TONIGHT WILL YOU HOLD ME TIGHT)The thin line between love and lust is practically non-existent. (KEEPS ME HANGING ON) GREG STEPHENS is in a place where he can only reflect on how things should be (IN A PERFECT WORLD) but deep down he knows there's no way to fight human nature. (AIN'T NO STOPPING A WILD FIRE) I DON'T KNOW is a moody listen, that's been kicked up by top notch musicianship and first rate songwriting and it all comes to a head on the gloriously haunting, DARK SIDE OF YOU.
ROCKWIRED spoke with GREG STEPHENS once again over the phone in the week following the release of I DON'T KNOW. Here is how it went.
How are you doing? Is everything OK? I've just listened to the new CD and it's a lot darker then the last one.
I know. I made this one a little differently, but everything is alright. When you say darker what do you mean?
Lyrically. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing. I'm trying to be humorous but obviously it's not working.
For this new CD, I just rolled with it and it came out the way it did.
Was the process of getting everything written and recorded harder this time or was it easier? How did it work this time around?
This one was actually a little smoother. I had a lot more control. the first one was a little more - well, I didn't know where I was going with it. It took a while. With this one, I knew the direction that I wanted go. I also knew that I didn't want to spend a lot of time with it. I always felt like I wasted a lot of time with the first one. There were too many tracks to deal with. This CD was more gut-feeling if that makes any sense.
It makes a lot of sense. Are you going to be performing live in support of this CD anywhere right now?
Yeah. I'm gonna be playing this Friday at Martini Blue and do this little singer-songwriter thing. they have sthis thing that they do with local songwriters, and I'm gonna be playing this place in Sunset Beach in august with one of the players on the album, DANNY TIMMS. He'll be accompanying me on accordion. It'll be a fun little gig. I do plan on playing later in the year. About two or three times month.
Who all helped you out with this recording.
RICHARD RIVERDICE helped me produce this one. He played guitar. DANNY TIMMS played the keyboards and accordion. He was really interesting to bring into the project. He played with guys that i've really respected like WILLIE NELSON and JOHNNY CASH. I kind of like thta edge to country music. Not straight ahead coutnry music. It's kind of on the outside of that a little bit. I've got the same bassist and drummer from the first album. Those are the major playerson the album.
How did you come across these guys?
Throught the years. I've known LOU SAVAGE (Bassist) since the early nineties and he knew all of the other musicians that have ended up playing on this album. I met DANNY TIMMS through my publicist DOUG DEUTSCH.
With this CD finished, is it everything that you hoped it would be?
Yeah. I'm pretty satisfied with it. There is always that one song where youthink that you could have done something a little different with but overall you've just got to be finished and be done with it.
I love the song THE DARK SIDE OF YOU. You wanna talk about it?
That was a fun song to do. In the whole recording process, i kind of kept that one on the sideburner. It was atrack that I wanted to have fun with. We started out with a very simple song and then DANNY TIMMS came in with his part. verybody who played on that song loved that song. Every overdub we did the piano overdub, the electric overdub, everything made that song really happen. It's just a good rocking song. It's probably the most rock n roll song on the whole album and it's got that erotic spin to it. A lot of people who've heard that album really like that song.
I was reading in WHAT'S UP MAGAZINE , it looks like some of these songas have been with you for a while like AIN'T NO STOPPING A WILD FIRE and A DIFFERENT WAY.
AIN'T NO STOPPING A WILDFIRE is a song I wrote back in 1993 with a good frien d of mine STEVE McCORMICK. Back then we were both doing the same thing, we were both rying to get record deals as songwriters. We both met through ASCAP. DIFFERENT WAY is also from around that time. With both of these songs, I've kind of put a different spin on them. They're the same songs but they're played a little differently.
I like the cover for this CD. Who designed it?
I wanted something a little different- something a little more desperate. A photographer that I know from Huntington Beach decided that I jump off of a pier. Oceanside Pier seemed to be the best pier for it. So I jumped off the pier and had a boat down there waiting for me. So I jumped on the boat and got out of there before I got arrested.
So you really did jump.
The cover doesn't look like a cut and paste job, but I wanted to be sure.
It's the real thing. There was a little color enhancement to make it look good. It was forty five foot jump.
You suffer for your art.
I tell you what, I was sore for about a month. The landing really jarred me pretty good. I wanted to do something different and that's what I did. Thw hole concept of that album is summed up in the song DESPERATE MAN. I think a lot of the songs have that desperate theme going on and I thought that I'd jump off this pier like a crazy guy and that's what I did.
What do you want someone to walk away with after hearing this CD?
I want someone to listen my music and enjoy the songs. Everybody listens to music in a different way. Some people listen to music to feel good. Sometimes when people hear and down and out bluesy song it makes them feel better. I just want people to enjoy the music overall.
READ THE PREVIOUS ROCKWIRED ON-LINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH GREG STEPHENS HERE