GARY WRIGHT
Connected
(Larkio Music)

 

Back in 1969, singer-songwriter and keyboard great Gary Wright was a member of British rockers Spooky Tooth and that summer of ‘69 the band released one of the best albums of that magical year, the ever-popular Spooky Two. The album was produced by Stones / Traffic studio wizard Jimmy Miller but despite the enormous inroads made by the album, the band followed up in 1970 with an avant gard album with French composer Pierre Henry. That movecoupled with Wright's departure after the Henry albumjust about closed the door on their big promises and commercial breakthrough of the Spooky Two era. Just around the time of his first solo album from 1971, Extraction, Gary Wright also became a major player in the music world, joining forces with Beatles guitarist George Harrison on a number of key projects, starting with Harrison's 1970 breakthrough solo album All Things Music Pass. Although his biggest solo hit, “Dreamweaver” came out nearly 35 years ago, Wright has continued on making solo albums, some under the radar of the 21st century music world, including several instrumental and World Beat / New Age flavored albums no doubt shaped by his interest in Far Eastern philosophies as well as a comeback and subsequent DVD/CD called Nomad Poets in 2007 with the original members of Spooky Tooth. During the summer of 2010, Wright was also part of Ringo Starr’s All Starr band and the band celebrated Ringo’s 70th birthday with a show at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. Long time Wright fans will get a kick out of Gary’s 2010 comeback album, fittingly entitled Connected. Featuring ten new Wright originals, Connected features Wright’s vocals and inimitable keyboard sounds and effects with added guitar spots from fretboard aces Joe Walsh and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter topped off by Ringo Starr taking the drum spotlight on the album’s lead off track “Satisfied”. Born the same year as his late great friend George Harrison, Wright has really been around the musical world for quite a long time and it’s quite gratifying to hear him having such a great time, once again well Connected to his many fans all over the world. www.TheDreamweaver.com


MWE3.COM PRESENTS
AN INTERVIEW WITH GARY WRIGHT


{The following interview with Gary Wright took place on October 19, 2010}



GW: ...we’re having a horrendous rainstorm...

MWE3: Oh...in L.A.

GW: Yeah...the weather’s so screwed up all over the world right now it sucks. It hasn’t rained like this in October in years...

MWE3: That’s crazy...It’s beautiful here in New York City today...Too bad you’re not in New York (laughter) today.

GW: It’s crazy here. We’ll have like five days of like ninety plus degrees weather and then we’ll have like fog and rain. It’s crazy. But anyway, that’s the way the planet is every now and then.

MWE3: Well you’ve been out in L.A. for the longest time now. ‘Cause I knew you grew up in New Jersey right?

GW: Yes.

MWE3: You’re a Los Angelino now.

GW: I am. (laughter)

MWE3: How did you hook up with Peter Holmstedt of Hemifrån in Sweden. He’s doing great things in Sweden and it’s thank to him I got to hear your new album.

GW: Oh, it was through him? Was that the connection. I didn’t realize that, okay. Peter was recommended to me by my distributor who’s ADA, they’re Warner Brothers. The distribution company.

MWE3: Yeah, Peter’s working with some great new singer songwriter from Sweden called Citizen K. I don’t know if you’ve heard that one or not.

GW: No, I haven’t.

MWE3: Is there a story behind the new Connected album? It’s been a long time since I heard a new album from you. I guess you had enough of major labels so you decided to do it yourself?

GW: Yeah, that’s true. I did and it was like the major label thing was so flavor of the month oriented. And they wanted ownership of everything and I just decided I didn’t want to do that anymore so I just went my own route. I’ve always been doing music. I’ve been writing. This was first kind of “pop” album that I’ve done since I did this album Who I Am in 1987. I did release two other albums since then but they were more World Music oriented, First Signs Of Life and Human Love. First Signs Of Life was 1995 and Human Love was in ‘99 and 2000, that time frame. And then since 2000 I was releasing singles and EPs, and stuff like that but never a full album till this one.

MWE3: You did an instrumental album too right?

GW: That was actually something I’d had in the vaults, so to speak, that I’d never released and that I actually recorded back in the ‘80s. But I never released it and I decided it was time to come out so I put it out. You’re talking about Waiting To Catch The Light.

MWE3: So the Connected album was new material or stuff you’ve had in the can for a while?

GW: Mainly recently written songs with the exception of “Satisfied”. That was written about ten or twelve years ago.

MWE3: Just to change to subject for a second, you joined with Ringo over the summer. That must have been a great experience.

GW: This is my second tour with him. I did 2008 and then I did it again this summer. It’s always a joy to work with him. He’s a fantastic musician and a wonderful human being. It was great. A great experience.

MWE3: I know Ringo played on “Satisfied” too. So he played on that a while ago? You said you wrote that like ten years ago.

GW: No, I wrote it a while back but I’d recorded it over the past year.

MWE3: You have some great guitar players on Connected. How did you decide to work Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Joe Walsh?

GW: Well, Skunk and I had worked together on one of my albums, Heading Home back in the ‘70s so I had known him. We’d seen each other a couple of times over the years. I’ve always admired him. He’s a fantastic player. And Joe Walsh, I’d met...we had toured once together when I was, way back, in Spooky Tooth. We had played with The James Gang. But I met him at his wedding. He married Ringo’s sister in law. Barbara Bach’s sister. I met up with him then and became hooked up. He played on two of my tracks.

MWE3: Speaking of Spooky Tooth, I don’t know how I missed it, but I worked with 20th century guitar magazine for twelve years and they closed down last year. We were big supporters of Spooky Tooth and we had them on the cover on March 1999 when they first reformed without you. So this latest reunion with you must have been a blast.

GW: Yeah, it was fun. It was a fun thing. We did two concerts in Germany and we filmed them. It was released as a DVD/CD. It was good. It was fun playing that music again.

MWE3: Spooky Two was one of my favorite albums from the summer of ‘69.

GW: Oh yeah, that was a good album.

MWE3: I wonder if that will ever come out as a double or deluxe remaster. I don’t think it’s been reissued since it first came out on CD.

GW: That’s out of my hands. That’s owned by Island Records. They control all those kind of things. The only thing I control is the DVD/CD of Nomad Poets.

MWE3: That’s on your label?

GW: Yes it is. On Larkio Music.

MWE3: When did you start Larkio?

GW: That was started in like 2000...about ten years ago.

MWE3: Because I saw your web site. TheDreamweaver.com web site. It’s really beautiful.

GW: Oh, thank you.

MWE3: I really enjoyed your tributes to George Harrison.

GW: He was a wonderful human being. A wonderful friend.

MWE3: The first George Harrison album you played on was his first one All Things Must Pass right?

GW: That’s correct.

MWE3: How many albums of George’s did you play on? I remember seeing you on the inside of the Living In The Material World album.

GW: I played on all of his albums, I think, with the exception of Gone Troppo.

MWE3: You and George shared an affinity for the Indian philosophies. What do you derive from that, if you don’t mind me asking. I know you’re involved with a Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda right?

GW: Self Realization Fellowship is the name of the organization that he left behind. Paramahansa Yogananda was a Yogi. He was a Yogi master. They call it God Realized Master. Like a saint. What it is, it’s really using a scientific technique, when you meditate, to contact God. The consciousness of God in the universe. And so, as opposed to like a normal religion, which is, you go to church and you be a good human being and you pray, yoga is a far more intense path to God. It’s a direct path ‘cause you use scientific techniques to meditate and you get yourself into very deep states of consciousness and you’re actually able to feel that presence, which you really can’t do in normal life. You know people sit in church and they squirm around and their thoughts are going a million miles an hour, like most people do, and they never have that experience. So that’s what attracted me to it. It gives you balance in your life. It gives you peace of mind. It gives you a sense of security. Fearlessness...so many great things. The problem is, everybody wants the quick fix and it doesn’t happen overnight like that. It’s a thing that slowly happens. That’s what’s different about it.

MWE3: The Connected track “Can’t Find No Mercy”, I could swear there was a guitar on that.

GW: No, there’s no guitar on that. No. That’s clavinet. It’s all synth stuff.

MWE3: I really love that track “Life Is A Battlefield”.

GW: Oh thank you, that’s one of my favorites too.

MWE3: You wrote that with Joe Beck. I knew the guitarist Joe Beck.

GW: Jeff Beck or Joe Beck. No, this a different guy. This is a guy I met in Nashville and he and I wrote that together.

MWE3: I guess you call the album Connected because you want people to make a connection to your music again.

GW: There’s that song on the album that’s called “Connected” and I thought that would be a good title for the album too because I feel that everybody, the universe, is connected in some way or another through our thoughts and our consciousness. Like plants are connected with the roots, the soil...and there’s an underlying field of energy. It’s all creation and we’re all connected. When you’re connected to the higher part of the universe, with a consciousness I should say, in a positive way, the planet I feel moves forward. When it’s in negative thought and hatred and prejudices and wars it goes backwards. So I think it’s important to know that we’re all connected to our thoughts and our actions and when ever we think things or do things, it’s important to think twice about realizing the karmic results of action.

MWE3: Is there any comparison you can make between the music of the late ‘60s with today? How do you compare the classic era with this new era?

GW: It’s a different time, it’s a different culture. Back then, it was kind of like we had just come out of like...the ‘50s and the ‘60s were kind of like...It was more kind of controlled. It wasn’t as free. And then of a sudden when the ‘60s came along and people started smoking pot, and everything was free. Free love and peace and that whole thing. The Vietnam War. The time was right for that kind of a thing. Right now, culturally, it’s a lot different with what’s going on in the world. The economic things that are going on, with terrorism. People are much more guarded now I think, so it’s a different time frame. Musically, it’s also different because, whereas in the ‘60s you had record companies run by creative entrepreneurs, now it’s like all major corporations owned by accountants and bean counters making creative decisions. And so there’s not the flexibility, there’s not the artist development that there was back then. So it’s a different. It’ll take time before it changes to a kind of creative kind of environment like it was back then.

MWE3: Also, did you play at the Concert For George, the tribute to George Harrison?

GW: No I couldn’t. I had some family obligations that I was committed to and I couldn’t do it.

MWE3: I know it’s been a long time since he’s left this planet. Your Indian influences and George’s influences in that whole realm...do you believe in things like the spirit world? Do you ever think about where these spirits end up?

GW: Well, we were both into Eastern philosophy and both definitely accept the doctrine of reincarnation as those reincarnating as they perfect themselves. And so George and I both felt the same way. We both believed in the law of karma. And, the planet is going up now. It’s in an upward swing. So it’s not like it’s spiraling down, out of control, people predicting the end of the world and all that. It’ll just take time and it’ll take positive energy and it’ll take people putting out positive thoughts. We just have to have faith and hope and all work together and it’ll change, definitely will.

MWE3: It’s been a challenging time for me, so that’s just one philosophy people are always talking about...you know, communicating with other worlds or people that have gone away so I was wondering if there’s any hope to ever meet.

GW: When souls leave their bodies, and they go to the astral world, it’s called...it’s like heaven. It’s a temporary place where they stay a length of time that’s determined by their karma, and then they come back and they pick up another body and start all over again... Not all over again, they start from where they left off in their previous lifetime. It’s hard to contact... I should say it’s literally impossible to contact souls that are there because God keeps that very secretive. The only souls there that you can attune yourself with are souls that are totally free, like Jesus Christ or Buddha, Krishna...somebody like that. Souls that are totally liberated. Their consciousness is everywhere and it’s not restricted to any particular place. So in answer to your question, you can contact those spirits and you can always send love to your relatives because they feel that where they are.

MWE3: So do you have plans for the future?

GW: Let me tell you a couple of things that are going on... As you know I just finished the Ringo tour. There’s a DVD that’s coming...the 2008 DVD tour is now available to buy on CD and DVD. I put on my web site an OM pendant, which looks like a little kind of a locket you wear around your neck as like a necklace. You pull it open and a little USB drive comes out and you plug it in your computer and it has my whole album, it has interviews with me and has video footage with me and George Harrison and bonus tracks, two of which I did with George. A bunch of stuff. A bunch of things that you wouldn’t get when you just buy the album itself. I also just came back from having done a TV special with David Foster at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, just this past weekend, with Earth, Wind & Fire, Natalie Cole, Michael Bolton, Kenny Loggins, Chaka Khan...a bunch of other artists. That’ll be aired in March as a special on PBS and a DVD and a CD is coming out of that. And I plan also on, in the new year, doing a tour of both the USA and Europe. And then eventually I’m going to write a book. And that’s about it. (laughter)

MWE3: Who’s in your band for the tour?

GW: Shem Von Shreck on bass, Sergio Gonzalez on drums, Leon Bisquerra on keyboards and Doug Jackson on guitar.

MWE3: I gotta tell you that pendant with the USB drive is really ingenious. What a great idea.

GW: Oh yeah, it’s really cool. You can carry around all that information in one little thing.

MWE3: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. I know you were busy today, maybe it’s a bad day for you...

GW: Oh no, no, no,... This is just a real freaky day when the weather all of a sudden comes and plays a number on you. (laughter)


Thanks to Gary Wright @ www.TheDreamweaver.com and to Peter Holmstedt of Hemifrån @ www.Hemifran.com




 

 
   
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