RedHawk Records recently had the opportunity to talk with Greg Golden about his upcoming follow-up album “AMERICAN THUNDER”, working with producer Frank Hannon, being the owner of one of the countries hottest guitar shops and opening for TESLA!”
RedHawk Records: Good afternoon! First things first, Congratulations on opening for TESLA! That must have been a huge thrill to have the opportunity to open for them right in their own hometown of Sacramento. How did you score such a sweet gig?
Greg Golden: First of all let me start by saying we were totally honored to be chosen to be the opener for TESLA at the Thunder Valley gig July 22. We consider that gig to be the “Super Bowl of all gigs”! We have the highest respect for TESLA and consider them to be family. We all have followed their amazing careers and share many common friends, fans and interests, as well. Our music is in a similar vain and our fans all admire TESLA, as do our band members. I think they felt we were a good fit for the fans and have seen us play many times and were confident in our ability to perform in front of their hometown crowd. We were honored to have been chosen!
RR: When was your first time seeing TESLA in concert? Did you know any of the guys at the time?
GG: The first time I saw TESLA was actually when they were City Kidd and saw them play in Reno. They played at my best friend’s club, The Grand Ballroom. I remember them well and went to see them 3 or 4 times. I never missed them coming to Reno. I think they were like 15-17 years old at the time and it would have been in 1982 I believe. They were awesome then, too. I have seen them every time they played in Reno since plus shows in Sacramento, Thunder Valley and the Monsters of Rock. Frank and other members of the band came to my store when they played in Reno back then, too.
RR: Speaking of TESLA, their guitarist and co-founder Frank Hannon is producing your upcoming album “AMERICAN THUNDER” and he produced your self titled debut album as well. Can you tell us how that came about and what it’s like working with such a rock-n-roll veteran like Frank?
GG: Before I even answer this, I would like to say I consider Frank to be my brother. He is family to me…Frank Hannon is my favorite guitarist and the only person I would ever have produce our music for many reasons. Frank Rocks and his knowledge through playing experience is unmatched by anyone in the music industry. He took my original song ideas, broke each song down, critiqued, praised and arranged as needed to finish each song. He wrote drum parts, killer bass, keyboard parts, etc. as needed, and helped with words, and really is responsible for helping create and produce each and every tune we have. His passion on this project has shown though since the beginning. He has interjected many ideas and parts that we added. It is amazing how little I knew on song writing/producing before working with Frank. He was the key figure for our success on the albums and songs with which we have. He has spent a ton of his time with our music and these albums and I will always be extremely grateful for his help.The information and technique learned from Frank has helped me individually with my playing, too. He is a wealth of knowledge and has always been generous sharing that info with me. I was really blown away with how much Frank knows on music, producing and what it takes to get songs to pop and sound killer!
RR: “AMERICAN THUNDER” is the follow-up to the Greg Golden Band’s self titled debut album which featured Randy Scoles on vocals. Tell us how you met Randy and, as a guitarist, what do you look for in a lead singer?
GG: When Frank and I decided to put together my first album of songs, he asked me if I was going to try to use this album to sell outright, which is tough to do now,or to promote live gigs. I said live gigs mostly. He felt it would make more sense to get a lead singer not to just be a guest on the album but a regular person to do gigs with. I remember Frank telling me that if we get a guest singer that is not in the band, and if we are playing those songs live we will always be trying to get the singer in the band to sound like the album. We decided to have the singer on the album be the singer in our band and Frank thought Randy would be a perfect fit and Randy agreed. We have been in a band together ever since and has been a perfect fit. Randy has written words for some of the songs on the first album and EP, as well and delivers live. He is an amazing singer and friend!! We also added Paul Holdgate’s vocals on the American Thunder album. His voice added an 80’s twist to many of the songs and has contributed with words of his own on some of the songs, as well. With both singers we have all vocal basses covered and has worked out well not just on the recording aspect but live gigs, as well. I am super proud of our band. It includes: Randy Scoles and Paul Holdgate (lead vocals), Larry Hart (bass), Steve Brown (drums) and Jeff Montgomery (guitar). All the guys add great backup vocals, as well.
RR: Your debut album was FANTASTIC! You had several singers on that one including Randy Scoles, Jeff Sandoval from ‘Six String Soldiers’ fame and even Frank Hannon lends his voice. Do you find it easy to work with multiple lead vocalists? How do you decide who is going to sound best on a particular song?
GG: Thank you so very much! Yes on the first album Jeff sang two of the slow blues ballads and Frank and I thought he was perfect for those. He did an amazing job on “Face the Storm” and “Shanda Amadeo”. Frank sang Old School which is one of my favorite songs and we still play. Frank wrote the words on it as well. The other songs were sung by Randy Scoles and we still play all of those songs live.
RR: Have you settled on a permanent lead singer for the Greg Golden Band?
GG: For live gigs the lead singers are Randy Scoles and Paul Holdgate. For the album work, we will have both of them and Frank Hannon,as well.
RR: Let’s talk about the upcoming album “AMERICAN THUNDER”, what are some of the songs we can look forward to hearing? How does it differ from your first album?
GG: Frank and I talked about making The American Thunder album a bit heavier than the first album and that its what we have pretty much done. “Raise the Flag” is a progressive style rock song that I write and Paul Holdgate wrote and sang the vocals on it. It has some interesting changes and is a bit different in style than some of the other songs. “On with the Show” features Randy on vocals and Frank had a lot to do with that arrangement, as well. Also there is a song called “ Another World”. I wrote the music, and Frank wrote all the words and sang it. Frank and I worked on it during the time when The Monster of Rock cruise was in the Bahamas. We had a blast writing down ideas and then putting it all together. There will be a blues song on this album that will feature Frank Hannon, Jeff Montgomery and myself all in one song with some blues guitar chops from all three of us. That was fun to record and play together!
RR: The EP features a killer track called ‘Higher Ground’ which can be heard on GregGoldenBand.com. Are all the songs originals?
GG: Yes all the songs are song ideas that I brought to the table musically. Frank Hannon would then produce the arrangement to make more musical sense and we would then add vocals to all. Higher Ground is one of my favorite songs we have done. I wrote the music parts, Randy Scoles wrote the vocals, and Frank helped to arrange like all the other songs. His keyboard work on that song rocks, too. We played that song live in Reno at our EP release at the Rockbar Theater there on Jan 14th, 2017 and Frank played keys with the band. A video was taken on that date and has reached 350,000 views on Facebook. It is pretty killer, too!
RR: Do you have an official release date for “AMERICAN THUNDER” and tour plans?
GG: We will release American Thunder before the year ends. We have club dates we are adding and hope to add many dates before yearend. We love to play live and have been super successful when we do!
RR: You and Frank Hannon did an interview a few years ago on “In The Vault with Shanda Golden” and Frank spoke about how he used to visit your guitar shop in Reno as young kid because Bizarre Guitar was and is THE place to go to find the best and most unique guitars. Tell us a little about how Bizarre Guitar came to be and who are some of the famous musician you’ve sold guitars to?
GG: In 1974, I was playing in bands and traveling playing cities on the west coast. I was buying guitars along the way and had a passion for not just playing guitar but buying, fixing them up and collecting/selling. I decided to open a small guitar shop, do repairs and had connections to sell vintage pieces that I had purchased. I also played in bands since that time period also running Bizarre Guitar. I have sold to Frank Hannon( of course),Eddie Van Halen,. Merle Haggard, Carlos Santana, Billy Gibbons, Rick Neilson (Cheap Trick), B.B. King, Randy Travis, Marty Robbins, Steve Vai, Joe Bonamassa, and many more.
RR: Some of our readers may have just caught that your interview was with Shanda Golden, for those that don’t know, Shanda hosts an entertainment channel called “In The Vault” and just so happens to also be your lovely wife. Tell us how important it is for a musician to have support from family.
GG: I am blessed to have my wife as my ally in the music business. I know first handed what it is like to have a woman in your life jealous of the fact you like to play guitar and time spent at shows, etc. My wife has photographed and interviewed many of my friends including Frank Hannon. It is fun to include her in the band endeavors and we get to talk shop about music and we both enjoy the shows, interviews, and all that goes along with it. She has really become serious with her photography and enjoys all the bands too. It is a really a great of fresh air to have her involved with all!!! I have seen many of my band friends break up the band and quit music because their wife or girlfriend was jealous of their time they spent with the band and their dreams of success. That is really sad and am so glad that is something I will never have to deal with..
RR: Thank you again Greg for sitting down with us. Anything you want to leave the fans with? How can we find you and where can we look for news on tour dates and the release of “AMERICAN THUNDER”?
GG: I would like to thank Frank Hannon, RedHawk Records, TESLA, Duane Serfass, my band, my wife and all our friends, family and fans that have supported our music, live shows and Bizarre Guitar. I am truly honored by all the love shown. Anyone interested in band info can follow us on facebook.com/TheGregGoldenBand. and our group page. Thanks again for taking the time to interview me here and we are extremely grateful for RedHawk Records!!
Shanda Golden interviews Greg Golden and Frank Hannon
SHOP GREG GOLDEN BAND