ERIC GALES Interview

ERIC GALES (Live at The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., May 29, 2017)
Photo: Mick Burgess

He was signed to his first record deal at 16 years old and has now made over 18 albums as a solo artist and in collaboration with the likes of dUg Pinnick of King’s X. Mick Burgess caught up with guitarist Eric Gales ahead of his UK tour to talk about his new album Middle of the Road and playing alongside original Hendrix band members in the Experience Hendrix tour.

You’ll be starting your UK tour very soon. Are you looking forward to it?

I’m very excited. It’s my first time over there on a headline tour. We’ve been rehearsing hard and the band is sounding real good. We can’t wait to start. It’s going to be amazing. We’re going to have a wonderful time.

What sort of show can your fans expect from you?

Man, it’s going to be an exciting show with a lot of energy and passion that comes with who I am nowadays. I have a new record out and am very pleased with all of the great reviews it’s been getting so we’ll be playing plenty from that and a good selection from my other records too. If you like the record then the live show takes it to the next level

When you are on the road do you get much time to have a look around?

I try to get out a little bit but with this run of shows we are somewhere different everyday so it may be more difficult but I will try to get out and see as much as I can.

Who do you have with you in your band for this tour?

My wife, LaDonna, is singing background vocals and percussion, Cody Wright on bass and Nick Hayes on drums and we’ve been together around 5 years now.

What’s the meaning behind the album title of your new album Middle of the Road?

Being in the middle of the road gives me the vantage point of seeing across all of the lanes. Being in the middle of the road is the perfect place for me and I can look across all types of music and bring those influences into my music. I’m being influenced by absolutely everything at the moment. I’m pulling it in from all different directions. I know the Blues is there but it’s Blues and then some. I want to play all music that inspires me and I don’t want to get stuck in one genre or style.

You’ve got a couple of interesting guests on there including Lauryn Hill. How did she get involved in your record?

I used to play with Lauren for 5 years and when I asked her if she’d collaborate with me she said “No problem, let’s do it”. It was great working with her again. We’ve got a bond that goes a long way back. It was the same with all of the guests I invited, they all wanted to do it and we had a great time together. It’s times like that, that I really treasure.

Gary Clark Jr. too appears on the record. Did you get to play together in the studio?

He’s a great player. All of the guests on the album came down to the studio and we played together. There was input from everyone. It was a beautiful record to create. I’m very proud of how the record has turned out.

Is there any artist in particular you’d like to appear on your next album if you get the chance?

I’d like to get John Mayer to play on my next album. I really want to work with him. It’d be great to also work with someone like Frank Marino too. I might well reach out and see if he wants to work with me sometime too.

You have an unusual way of playing the guitar. You have a regular right handed guitar but string it with the low E string at the bottom instead of the top. Why did you first do that?

That’s just how I picked it up. I don’t know why. It’s just what feels comfortable to me. I just play it my way now and I don’t play a traditional guitar style at all.

You were only 16 when you were signed to a major label and released your first album back in 1991. How long had you been playing at that point?

At that point I’d been playing for 12 years. I started when I was 4 years old. I had older brothers who played, so music was around me all the time from a very early age.

When did you first become aware that major labels were interested in you?

I was 15 when record labels started calling and asking me to sign. I was still pretty young but they must have liked what they had heard. I wasn’t nervous when I went into a studio for the first time. I thought it was real easy. I just went in and did what I had to.

In 2004 you toured with the Experience Hendrix project featuring Billy Cox of Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies and Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. That must have been incredible to have been involved with that?

It was a major highlight for me. I’ll never forget it. It was a wonderful time and I’ll cherish that time forever. Sometimes things happen that make you go wow, and that was certainly one of those times. Brad Whitford from Aerosmith and Tommy Layton from Stevie Ray Vaughn’s band were there too. It was absolutely incredible being part of that.

You’ve done a couple of albums with dUg Pinnick of King’s X and Thomas Pridgen of The Mars Volta. How did you first put this band together?

The label came up with the suggestion and I thought it was a great idea. It was wonderful to work with those guys. It was pretty much a studio project as we haven’t played much live yet. It was great being able to do something different. I’d like to do another album but our careers are kind of hectic right now so it’s a timing thing.

You’re playing at the Ramblin’ Man Fair in July with the Supersonic Blues Machine. Who’s doing that with you?

Fabrizio Grossi is on bass, Lance Lopez on guitar and Kenny Aaronoff on drums. It’s quite a band. Then we’ll have some very special guest appearances at the show too. I have no idea yet who will be joining us but I do know they’ll be great guests. We do original music from the records that have been done and a couple of covers too.

What else do you have lined up for the rest of the year?

I’m pushing this record as hard as I can and will be playing all over the world so I’m very busy concentrating on my own work for the foreseeable future.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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