Interview for GAY GUITARISTS WORLDWIDE
by Robert Urban
Phoenix, AZ based guitarist, bassist and multi-instrumentalist BRUCE GABRIEL has enjoyed a fascinating lifetime-long career in music. From styles of original progressive rock to country & western to Vegas lounge cover, he's played in professional bands all across the county. Bruce has 5 CDs to his credit. His current band is NIGHT SHIFT and he also performs solo-acoustic. Bruce teaches music and runs his own home recording studio. GLBT friends and fans may also know Bruce for the several specialty Yahoo groups he moderates; his regular "famous artist quotes" postings; his fondness for creating polls of all kinds; his fabulous collection of guitars, and his friendly enthusiam for all things artistic and musical.
- What brand/model/year instrument(s) do you record and play out with?
Guitars : 73 Fender Telecaster Custom, 84 Fender Telecaster Contemporary, 90s Ibanez semi-acoustic electric Artist (steel string), 90's Hohner "Professional" semi-acoustic electric (nylon string), custom-made Oakland neck-thru-body thrasher : DiMarzios, gold hardware, lots of frets. (For my acoustic-only folk-acts) : 1930's Valenica-made Roca Parlor Guitar, 1970's Epiphone Texan flat-top 12-string Basses : 74 Fender MusicMaster Short-scale (the nicest one you'll ever see), late 70's Gretsch medium-scale, mid-90s Fender Fretless P-bass hot-rodded with EMGs and a BadAss bridge. Keyboards : Still have the Korg Poly 800 but never use it, bought me a new Yamaha S-30 last year.
- What brand/model/year amps & effects do u use?
Amps : Musicman HD130 through 2 JBL ported cabinets with Electro-Voice Gold 300watt 12"s in each and a 10" Gauss 200watt in a JBL style cube. Peavey 300wat Combo Amp with Black Widow (I need somethign else.) Effects : mid 90s Korg A4 multi-effects board - 24 pre-sets, 24 programmable, with built-in tuner (I like that), amp simulators, harmonizer, more. Cry-baby wah, vintage Fozz manual foot-phase-shiter (NOT FOR SALE LOL), Boss "Heavy Metal" stomp box (used mainly only for kicking in a solo not for metal), Boss Acoustic simulator stomp box.
- Any special/favorite instrument tones/effects/approaches/techniques you've used/discovered in recording and/or performance that you really like?
The Hohner "Electric Classical" has a real unique and funky sound that I like to put on almost every recording and LOVE to play live (I keep it tuned down a whole step)
- Who are your main influences as an instrumentalist? Which artists? Which bands? Which artists/bands were your favorites in your youth? Instrumentalist?
: Hendrix, Rundgren. Artists? : Lennon, Rundgren. Bands? : Alice Cooper, Jefferson Airplane, Stones, CNSY, more... Youth? : Niel Young, Simon and Garfunkle, Beatles, Dylan, ect.
- How many different kinds of stringed/fretted instruments do u play? (e.g. - guitars, banjos, madolins, basses, etc) Do you play any other instruments?
(see above) but I also play drums and percussion very well and just about anything with strings on it : mandolin, I love my 1960s Hohner Melodica, it goes on a few recordings too.
- Do you play/compose/record only your own original music? Do you do any other work in music - e.g. teaching, recording session work, hired gun, producing, etc? Does your playing appear on recordings of any other artists?
1) yes 2) yes 3) yes
- Is there a particular favorite solo or part you played on a recording, or a certain piece of composed music you wrote, that you feel represents your finest work?
hrmmm that is a very hard one. I honestly can not answer that. But it would delve way back into my mid-late 80s stuff when I was on heavy drugs I'm sure... - Any special thoughts on your instrument, and what it's meant to you in your life? Even though I have not got much (any) support from my family about my "avocation" (I also spent 15 years in the high-pressure computer business simultaneously until a few years ago) music is not just a hobby, or mere job, it is my entire life. People do not understand when I mention that it is more important than a lover, my family, or anything else. But it is.
- Can you relate any special feelings or experiences about being a glbt player in the mostly straight music world... especially regarding your formative/learning years on your instrument?
Oh yeh. Back in the 70s I was super-closet of course. When I came out at 21 living in Vegas it was differnt. Thats was the era BA (before AIDS) of course when knowing/hanging out with gay people was cool. That I was in an all-gay band for 5 years afforded a certain degree of comfort level. But they turned out to be cheaters and ripped me off for about $2,000 per year the last 2 years. I never hid my gayness from any other band I got in with a bunch of straight guys. I also was in 3 lesbian rock band over the past 13 years in which I endured a certain amoutn of man-hating but WTF...
- For a glbt player - how does the overall music scene differ today from years ago?
It doesn't really. Most rockers still find themselves in the public closet (men more than women it seems).
- Any advice for young glbt players?
They are lucky they don't have to do all the hiding that I had to 30+ years ago. Go for music. If you want to do "gay music" fine, but I'd say "be gay OK, just do music for music's sake". - What are your current and future musical projects? Currently starting a yahoo group for GLBT jamsters of any level. I've only been back in Phoenix one month and do not have my home studio set up yet but once I do I will continue to re-work the music tracks to my "Greatest Fits" album and still keep hunting for vocalists willing to sinf the lyrics to it and then re-release it.
More info on Bruce at his website: www.bgmatthews.com
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