NEW ENGLAND ARE BACK -Interview with Gary Shea-

This month interview  features Gary Shea. Former bass player in Graham Bonnnet's Alcatrazz, he was also founder member of New England. Now, that three records of this band have seen the light of day, we thougth it would be nice to chat a little bit with Gary.

The first question is about Alcatrazz. Can you tell us some nice memories from those days? 
  I remember living in Los Angeles after New England broke up where the music
scene was exploding with great musicians from all over the world, and many new
bands were getting signed.

 In fact, in that band we also found another New England member, the keyboardist Jimmy Waldo
  After New England broke up Hirsh, Jimmy and I went to Los Angeles to play
with Vinnie Vincent in a group called "Warrior."  Vinnie was asked to join
Kiss, so Hirsh went back to Boston and Jimmy and I stayed in LA, sort of every
man for himself. Eventually I got a phone call from Graham Bonnett's manager
who was putting together a new band. He asked me if I knew a keyboard player
and I suggested Jimmy.  Together the four of us formed Alcatrazz auditioning
Yngwie, Vai, Jan and Danny. I had the satisfaction of helping form another
great rock band. LA was good to us and Boston had been good to New England.

Just as a curiosity. You worked in Alcatrazz along with two of the best rock guitarrists: Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen. How was your relationship with them?
  My relationship to both Yngwie and Steve Vai was that of being a rock
steady bassist. I laid down the foundation that they could skyrocket off the
stage from. Yngwie once said I was the best bassist he has ever worked with
because he could always rely on what I was going to play.

Which one did you liked most as a musician
  I like Yngwie and Steve equally. They both are great players and I learned
some new tricks working with them.

Well, now let’s get into the New England re-releases plus 1978. How did this whole story started?
  We decided to release our 1978 CD to give our fans something different in
lieu of recording anything new at this time. We also wanted to get the rights
to "Explorer Suite" and "Walking Wild" which had never been available on CD.

I think the old records have been remastered. How was all this process?
   We all went through our collections of tapes for unreleased tracks. The
mastering itself was done in LA by friends of Jimmy's.

But this is just a reissue or will the band record new material together. Are you still in touch with each other? 
   After the great response we've been getting, we have discussed recording 
some new songs. We are still in contact with each other on a frequent basis as we are now our own record company. 

Which was the main reason why New England disbanded? 
   New England was composed of four strong musical tastes and back grounds. We 
complemented each other very well. After time our visions of the group began 
to change. I for one wanted a more stripped down aggressive sound, with less 
ballads, hence the formation of Alcatrazz.  

Do you have any nice memories from the days in New England?
  There are to many great moments to think of. Recording each track was
always challenging and rewarding. I remember meeting James Brown in the studio
during the recording of "Explorer Suite" in New York City.
Do you have any favourite tracks?
 Some of my favorite tracks are "Lose Ya," "Honey Money," "L-5," and "I'm Not

I suppose working with such great producers like Todd Rundgren or Mike Stone has been a very nice and enriching experience. Did you enjoyed working with these people?
  You hire producers for their styles and recording talents. I liked working
with Todd Rundgren where it was a situation of playing it right the first
time. There were no twenty versions of any one song to argue over. The while
third album was finished start to end in 80 hours.

In your curriculum as a band, New England has toured with groups like Journey, Kiss, AC/DC, Styx… do you have any funny memory that you could tell the reader? 
  One of the funniest road stories is with Molly Hatchett. We did a 20 city
winter tour through Canada ending in Utah. We knew they would play a prank on
us for the last show. They dumped thousands of ping pong balls on us from the
top of the arena. We were ready in our own way. They had a Viking on their
latest album. We had gone out before the show and rented a Viking costume (Me)
and a fake horse, (John and our light tech.) During their encore we appeared
on stage with the Viking riding the horse. I jumped off and plated air guitar
with the axe with their three guitarists while the horse circled and picked
me back up. I have photo's of their looks of amazement the crowd of 20,000
roared thinking we part of their show.

Finally, to end the interview. What’s Gary Shea doing right now?. Do you work for other people, do you have your own projects… 
  I am currently living on Lake St. Clair near Detroit Michigan. I am working on two new CD's. One with local wonderkind guitarist Paul.Krammer, and a great drummer, Pat Deleon.

[Visit NEW ENGLAND's official site!]

Aside from our own project we are backing up
Steve Black, who is a Disc Jockey CO-host for Ted Nugents radio show here in
Detroit. Steve is a vocalist and is putting our a CD of his own.

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