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Guidry, Greg - 2000 Interview with Greg Guidry

INTERVIEW: Guidry, Greg (Nov 2000)

West Coast and Nashville flavoured AOR.. from Greg Guidry.
Written By: Gdazegod

Greg Guidry. Who might you ask? Fans of the West Coast style, as well as those for a penchant for softer radio styled rock will remember Greg on the back of his 1982 album 'Over The Line'. But somehow, Greg sort of slipped out of sight, through a combination of circumstances. The album was so good, and representative of that style of music which came out then, comparable to Christopher Cross, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs, and that ilk. Well, recently, Greg has resurfaced again, and GLORY-DAZE caught up with a man determined to make up for lost time.

A big welcome back to the music scene Greg. It has been a long time between drinks. What have you been up to over the last few years?
Thanks for the welcome! For most of the last few years I have been semi-retired. I was going through a divorce which shook the foundation of my family and I basically lost interest in my music as well as everything else. I have only recently decided to do it again. Maybe the past two years or so. I got excited about it when I was invited to do a concert over in Paris, France at the Disney World resort a couple of years ago. I had lots of fun.

Lets take a trip back in time. Born in St Louis, and bought up with a diverse background of musical influences. When exactly did you discover this affinity with pop music, and whom exactly were those artists that moved you?
Yes, I was born in St Louis where my mother exposed me and me other siblings to a diverse musical background including gospel and soul. I remember when I was about 15 years old and my mother bought an album of Brook Benton songs. She also turned me onto singers like Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, and Lou Rawls. They have been my biggest influences to date.

You had a crack at being the lead singer with local rock bands, but your career started to turn more towards the creative aspect - playing and songwriting. Was this a natural progression, or did you feel that to succeed in the music industry that this was more economically viable?
Actually, I was very much satisfied with being just a lead singer, whether it was on my own or with a group, but I was starting to feel sort of left behind when the singer/songwriter came in the picture in the early 70's. Record companies were becoming more interested in the self contained artist who could write his own material. So when I lost my voice in the early 70's from too much touring with local bands I decided to quit singing for a while and learn to write songs.

You had a few of your songs covered by other guys, Robbie Dupree, Climax Blues Band etc. This must have given you heaps of confidence to forge ahead?
You know, I didn't really think about it that much. At that time, I was in the process of recording my own album and I had mixed feelings about other artists recording material that I wanted to put on my own record. It hurt me in the end because every song that was a potential second single for me had already been recorded and released by someone else.

Is this how you got together with your eventual producer on 'Over The Line' John Ryan? As I recall he was involved with the Climax Blues Band.
Yes. He was producing the Climax Blues Band when he heard a demo of my song 'Gotta Have More Love'. He liked my voice and my demos so he offered me a production deal. If I had it to do again, I would not choose him as a producer. I actually produced my hit 'Goin' Down' and he took a lot of credit for it. That was part of our deal.

Tell us about Bruce Bird from Badlands. Why was he so sold on your demo material? Enough to sign you up..
I don't know. It seems like everybody was sold on my demos back then. I was getting offers from a lot of biggies in the business such as Christopher Cross, David Geffen, Polygram Records, and Warner Bros. But I ended up choosing John Ryan.

The debut album 'Over The Line' came out in 1982, during a period when AOR and melodic rock were really in their heyday. Do you have any particular memories of that time?
Yes. For one thing I felt like I got in on the last part of that kind of music. My album was supposed to be released one year earlier than it was, but Bruce Bird kept putting it off. When he finally released it, the music scene was beginning to change. Songs like 'Tainted Love' and 'Don't You Want Me' by the Human League, were being played a lot on the radio. I believe that my album would have been much bigger if released a year earlier.

You were based in Nashville at the time, and the album was recorded there too. I take it that was how Dann Huff came to be involved. It would have to be one of his earliest appearances on a recorded album, prior to White Heart I'd say?
Yes, My album was definitely Dann's first shot. White Heart came much later. And, by the way, I had to fight to get Dann on the project. The producer did not want to use him because he was an unknown. But I threatened to stop the project dead in its tracks unless he agreed to let Dann play guitar.

Back in the present tense now. The latest album 'Private Session' was released in Japan back in August I understand. Was this the supposed second album which never saw the light of day?
No, It was just a bunch of demos that didn't make the 'Over The Line' album. I never ever considered releasing any of them until recently when I signed a record deal with Coolsound Records in Japan. We thought that it would be an interesting piece of trivia for my die hard fans. My official second CD was supposed to be 'Soul'd Out'.

Japan still seems to have a love affair with your music. Is that why 'Private Session' is out now, due to the demand from the Japanese?
Yes, they do. It seems that they had more interest than other countries so I decided to start there. My plans now are to find as many fans out there like the Japanese and at least let them know that I am back with new product. I'm not really sure how I will do that because I'm fairly new when it comes to marketing on the Internet, but I'm learning more every day. Fans email me every day saying that they accidentally found my site so I know that they are out there I just don't know how to reach them.

Well, we'll do our best to help, and spread the word. Now, you have a brand new one called 'Soul'd Out'. Give us a run down on the material and what sort of direction your music is headed?
'Soul'd Out' basically is what it's name implies. It's what I call Pop/RandB. It's Adult Contemporary or soft rock with a soulful edge. It will be released in December.

You're obviously back in the music scene for a very good reason. What would you hope to achieve as both short and long term goals for Greg Guidry?
Well, I guess that I would like to sell some records and start doing some live performances again. I just don't know what the demand is for someone like me who really only had one hit song as an artist. I will just keep recording CD's, writing my music, and producing other artists until something big happens.

You must surely find it easier to communicate with your fans now. Gosh, why wasn't the Internet around in 1982 you must ask sometimes. But your website on is taking shape now?
Yeah it would have been nice if the internet were around then. But you know, I have access to it now and I still don't know how to market and promote myself over the internet. You are right, I almost have my Website finished but I think having a domain name without the 'tripod' part will help people find me easier. That is coming very soon. I am also having a hard time getting my Webmaster to upload songs on my Site for people to sample before they buy.

Excellent. Well, it's nice catching up with you Greg, and as I said previously, welcome back to the scene, and continued success!
Thanks, George. I really enjoyed our chat. Let me know if you need anything else and please don't forget to stay in touch! All the best, Greg.

Note: Greg Guidry died during late July or early August 2003, as a result of an apparent suicide, his body discovered in a burnt out car inside his garage. RIP.

Deepest sympathies to Greg's family, after his untimely death in mid 2003.

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