Twinmusix Interview to Gilby Clarke about touring Australia and more
What can fans expect from your Australian tour?
Number one, a lot of rock and roll! It really gives you a good sense of who I am as an artist. I think as time goes by people loose track of certain Artist's. I think what you will see is some good old Guitar driven rock. I've been doing this for a long time and at my live show I will play songs from my whole career, we will play some Guns and Roses, MC5, Beatles and Rolling stones and a bunch of songs from my solo records. Good old fashioned Guitar Rock and Roll.
How was it recording your new album?
I was very happy with the process! It took a little longer then I thought it would but when I went in, I went in with a certain amount of songs and then in the process of recording it I ended up writing more songs that I thought were better. In my opinion it turned out really good to have a classic rock sound but it still has a modern touch to it, I'm very happy with it.
What was your recoding process?
The recording process when I usually go to make a solo album is that I usually have most of the ideas ready. I don't write 20 songs to play 10 on a album, I usually write 10 to put 10 songs on a album, I'm not one of those people who write a million songs. Usually if it gets to the point where I'm writing lyrics I'm usually pretty happy, I usually start with the riff or some kind of idea, whether it's a Drum Beat or a sound I'm looking for. I work it out with the band and the guys I jam it a bit to try out different ideas, then I go in and track it, by the time I go into track it with guitar, bass and drums I'll start working on the lyrics and the title's and things like that. Usually when I'm singing it it's the first time I've had the lyrics completely finished. This record in extremely happy with the lyrics and by far the best lyrics I've done out of all the records I've worked on.
Do you still use zemaitis guitars and what riff do you use?
They were made by a man called Tony zemaitis who in the 60s, 70s and 80's made them for a lot of English performers because he does them out of London. I've always liked them because I'm a big Rolling Stones fan, I love Ron Wood, Keith Richards and that's what attracted me to them. A Japanese company bought them out and they have been making them for the last 15 years, I've stayed on with the Guitars. I like them because I grew up playing a Gibson Les Paul and the zemaitis is like a Les Paul but it's lighter in weight and the necks are a bit slimmer. Every guitar is different I have many Les Paul's that are the same guitar but every one sounds completely different and that's the same thing with the zemaitis, they do sound different. I have a few that are my recording ones, and a few that are my live guitars. I'm lucky at this point of my life I can have more then one if each model. My guitar rigg hasn't changed much over the days I do a lot of fly dates. I rarely have my natural back line. But if I bring my natural back line I bring my match lift Avalon head It's a 30 watt EO84 head, Marshall Cabinet and I also use a vox ac30 with it and to me that is a perfect sound. When I do my fly gig I take a friedman pink taco head It's a little 20 watt head and I can fly around the world with it and I get a Marshall Cabinet it's pretty good.
You like to support the local scene can you tell us more about that?
When I first started in Hollywood in the early 80's I went back and forth I've always been mainly a guitar player. I have had a gig or two where I was the lead singer and the Guitar player I do handle the vocals.
What's your oppion on the local scene toady with new music?
I think there is some great new music, it's a very strange time now in music and all genres from rock to pop to jazz to blues. Everything has gotten into such tight category now, rock isn't just rock it's classic rock or death metal, there's so many categories I get a little confused. I think new music is pretty good, it seems like every time someone goes “hey have you heard this new band?” Like rival son's I mean they have been around for a while now but they are fantastic,Blackberry smoke is fantastic, Mount Howie is fantastic a lot of these younger bands are really good. They grew up with good influences and it's a lot easier to be a new band right now from when we started and we had to rely on record companies, producer's and Mangers. You don't have to do that anymore.
You helped The Bronx produce their first self titled album how did you come to work with them?
The Bronx record came from my Manger john and he's the one who found the Bronx. We were talking and he said I have this great new band. I really want them to make their first record really raw and really in your face, so when I went to see them I sat in the middle of the rehearsal room and it just hit me as I sat there that we had to record the album in the same room together! It's got to be dirty and sloppy but Jorma is such a powerful drummer it's still got to be punchy. I was very conscious when I was recording that record in the mix stage that I didn't get to loud with stuff but I kept the drums punchy but also kept the rawness of the Guitars. Matt did a fantastic job singing, it's probably one of my favorite record's I've ever produced.
What was the experience like helping LA guns produce their album shrinking violet and other album's ?
LA GUNS did a live record at the whisky and I helped them record that and produced it. Tracy Guns was a very good friend of mine at that time.
shrinking violet was an easy record to make because Steve Riley as a drummer had a sound like that big open bottom sound, It's somthing I could really do. Tracey is a fantastic guitar player, but having another guitar player in the room producing that record I could guide him to take some of these songs in different directions from what they intended to do, I think that record came out really good.
When you joined the MC5s was their ex guitarist a big influence on you?
I replaced Fred Sonic Smith who is the greatest. What was nice about the MC5 was; Wayne Kramer and I had done a couple of shows together with this band and he really liked the way we played guitar together. He goes “we’re going to do this MC5 tour in Europe and we are going to do it as a tribute to the MC5, we are going to have a couple of different singer's, it won't be just 5 people there will be a few different singer's handling it”. He asked me if I would sing a song, he asked Wayne to sing a song, what really taught me from the MC5 experience was how great those guitar parts were when you listen to the records they are a little messy in the mix, but when I sat down with Wayne and went through those guitar parts it made me more of a fan because I got to see how intricate the guitar parts were between the Guitars and to be honest I couldn't pick it up when I was listening to the records, all those details but when Wayne showed it to me it really made me a bigger fan of the band.
What was your experience like coming to Australia with Guns and Roses for the first time?
When I came to Australia with Guns and Roses that was the first time I had ever come to Australia, I definitely saw it through rose coloured glasses, I have great memories we spent a few days off in the Cairns area Port Douglas and we really got to enjoy the Great Barrier Reed and got to hang out with the locals. I got to go to some of the nature habitat Parks and that was really fun. The shows themselfs were insane, we got helicopters into all the shows and to be able to fly in and see the venue before you are going to play and see the excitement in the air if you can't get moved by that then you have no heart and soul, for me it got me really excited flying into shows and seeing those crowds and seeing people getting ready for the show.
Are there any stories you can tell us about hanging out with Guns and Roses?
I think I've told them all and forgotten most of them, when we flew in to Australia we flew in on a helicopter, we had to take a few different Helicopters and it was storming and the tour manger came over and said “ok helicopter 1 is gilby, Robert, John and the two photographer's” and as I'm getting in the helicopter I said “wait a minute I'm not getting in the helicopter unless Axl or slash is in the helicopter because if I go down you guys can still play the show I don't want to be and others”.
Can you tell us more about the Supernova experience and what happened?
Doing the TV show was a blast and I really enjoyed it, when I took on the project I didn't really care about the TV show I was really interested in the band part of it, a new band with Tommy and Jason that was exciting and the TV show for me was just a after thought, but I really enjoyed doing the TV show Mark Burnett who was the producer was fantastic, very encouraging, keeping things real and I had a good relationship with him, I was able to talk to him and find out a lot of things I knew nothing about.
If you could have any band play one of your songs which band would it be and in your style or there's?
Thin lizzy! A lot of my music is a lot like Thin Lizzie it's very guitar driven so I think Phil Lynott Thin Lizzy cure me or kill me Thin Lizzy.
Is there any thing else you would like to announce to your fans?
I want to keep Rock and Roll alive! We need to keep the young kids playing rock and roll and we have to support it. You have to get put there and see the live shows.