A couple of months back - Yes, sorry it's taken awhile folks! - I was fortunate enough to catch up with Triumph's singing drummer Gil Moore, just as the bands recently finished, Triumph - Greatest Hits - Remixed was about to be put out officially.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Interview with Gil Moore (Triumph)
Interview with Gil Moore (Triumph) May 16th, 2010
(Triumph inducted in 2008 - Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Photo: www.triumphmusic.com/ - Gil Moore on the far left.)
A couple of months back - Yes, sorry it's taken awhile folks! - I was fortunate enough to catch up with Triumph's singing drummer Gil Moore, just as the bands recently finished, Triumph - Greatest Hits - Remixed was about to be put out officially.
Gil was a great guy to talk to - As is Rik Emmett if you ever get the chance! - and he got to share with me what he's been up to, what is on the cards in the near future and what has gone on with the reunion shows and a slight hint - but not too much of of one - of where the reunion may go, as things move forward.
It was also a sad day in the world of rock, when in fact it was Gil who broke the news to me, that Ronnie James Dio had passed away that very morning, while we spoke ...
He also clearly is very happy with what he has achieved with the Metal Works studio and how's it progressed, but enough of that from me, on to the interview!
My interview with Gil Moore was due to happen about 30 – 40 minutes before it actually did, but Gil had already called me earlier to say he was running a little late on things and could we push it back a little. No problem said I ... After all, Gil did decide to let us talk for quite a while, so grab something to drink or eat or both and read on, enjoy!
So this was how it went once we got connected. Gil called me.
Gil: Hi Alun, it’s Gil. How are ya?
AW: Gil, great, How are you sir?
Gil: Doing good man.
AW: Obviously swamped with all these interviews then?
Gil: I’m good to go if you are!
Aw: (Laughing) OK.
Gil: How’s the weather where you are? Where are you exactly?
AW: I’m very close to you I live in Sterling Heights …
Gil: (I don’t think Gil can hear me too well) Yeah, it’s nice up here in Toronto today.
AW: Yeah, I’m doing OK just glad to see the back winter right?
Gil: You’re down where exactly? Where are you, Utica?
AW: No, I’m in Sterling Heights, so just round the corner from Utica.
Gil: OK …
AW: Yep, I’m doing OK, met my wife back in 2002 and now we live here in Sterling Heights.
Gil: Yeah, that’s a nice area.
AW: Not too bad at all, I can’t complain at all, very happy. 2 kids later and a mortgage, what can you say?!
Gil: (Laughs) That’s what it’s all about buddy!
AW: I know it, but you’ve got to have a great buzz right now right, with this new set (Triumph’s Greatest Hit’s Remixed – CD/DVD) coming out on Tuesday (18th May) yeah?
Gil: I believe that is the official release date yeah.
AW: Right, so it was announced back in March, so has it been a crazy 2 months for you?
Gil: Well, it’s been very busy I mean we’ve been doing a pile of stuff now for it and it’s been great to talk to some of the folks that we haven’t talked to for a long time in the press and the blowback from fans has been fantastic.
AW: That’s great. All things considered, I know it’s been remixed, but to have such a response to, if you will, a ‘Best of’ set, I mean there’s no new material, it’s got to be great hasn’t it? I mean it shows a great deal of interest still in the band?
Gil: Well you know I think when fans really care about artists and musicians, I think it goes bi-directionally and it should you know, I mean we really care about the fans and it was a real pleasure trying to put this thing together in such a way where people would feel like they weren’t getting short shrifted or something you know … Like sometimes when record companies are like trying to make a buck on a band after they’re less than able and in this case we were able to control the production and so on and we’d done a lot of input on it with fans you know … When we were over in Sweden playing the rock festival, we ran a whole promotional thing over there, through the festival, when fans were picking songs for us to play and it helped us a lot. That was a lot of research for what went onto Greatest Hits remixed.
AW: Well, that was good Gil … I guess one of the biggest questions I have and I’m sure others have asked too, is what happened after those two big live shows in 2008? You know Sweden and Rocklahoma, because …
Gil: We’ve gone out to dinner a lot! (Both laughs) We got along famously. We did those two shows for a couple of reasons, one we wanted to get back together and see if we could play together again and hang out. We wanted to get our families out to see the shows. I’ve got two young kids that have never seen Triumph play live. My oldest daughter has, but she was 4½ so that was the last time Triumph had played. The same thing with Rik, he’s got a young family, older than mine but around the same age as my older daughter, so we wanted to get our families together and wanted to get ourselves together as a musical outfit and see how we sounded and kind of catch it all. I think the secondary thing was that we’ve had so many fans that have been so good to us over the years and they’ve been clamoring, clamoring, clamoring for us to do something so we thought, we’ll do one show over in Europe and anyone that is interested enough will fly in, which many did and the same thing with Rocklahoma. We had people there from New York, we had people in from Washington, I mean California, I mean they were coming in from all over and you know, it probably would’ve been better if we’d just done a tour, in 2008 but we just didn’t feel like we were ready, so we just wanted to do these two shows to test it all out again. We had a good time playing the shows, we got along great, the shows went well … Like I said we had a lot of hang time with each other since then that’s all been good, just like this week we’ve had a lot of hang time together. Mike and I are going to New York tomorrow for two days doing press, but the official Triumph plan is …, there’s no official plan! So whether we’ll tour or not still remains to be seen … Live Nation’s been all over us trying to put something together but there’s a lot of logistics involved …
AW: Ahh, there you go …
Gil: The guys are blaming me basically, which I understand because I’ve got a recording studio in Canada, in Toronto called Metalworks which was originally the bands studio and when we stopped playing back in 1990, I took the studio over and made it a commercial business. There’s 5 or 6 studio’s there, we have 2 separate divisions, there’s one that’s an educational division that’s got a school with about 225 kids in it and we’ve got a live event company that does sound and lighting events for festivals and touring and so on … So we’re always out on the road with 4 or 5 tours so it’s a pretty big operation to manage and I’m involved in it. My oldest daughter is our controller, she works there … So you know, I’ve got a life there that’s hard to pull myself away from. I really do love it, I enjoy it every day and it allows me to be close to my family and when we were touring, that was the biggest thing that would kind of tear away at me as it does all musicians, just being away from your family.
AW: Yeah, it’s tough and you know I interviewed Rik towards the end of 2008 as well and I said the same thing to him that I was fully aware that both yourself, you Gil and Rik, have a huge amount of stuff going on and I’m sure Mike does himself, but I mean it’s all been in the public eye that you’ve had Metalworks for years and been around that for years and Rik of course has carried on with his own solo career and various other side projects too, but he also teaches as well doesn’t he? So …
Gil: You know, everybody in Metalworks would love to get me out on the road just to get rid of me, you know! (Both laughing). Those guys are behind us and they’re all saying the same thing too, at our live event division they’re all saying, ‘We’ve got all the equipment too, you don’t even have to go anywhere to get the equipment or lighting or anything, we’ve got it all right here!’
AW: That’s right, well that’s all good stuff, but I mean … When I did interview Rik, he actually mentioned that you guys were planning to head out on tour on Memorial Day of last year …, but …
Gil: Yeah, we had talked about it but you know when we got into the logistics of planning it, it was kind of like …, ‘Oh my God,’ and you know, I just can’t tell you. It’s one thing to go out and play a couple of festivals, but to go out and do a tour, you need an infrastructure, you know … As much as we’ve still got our front of house sound man for example, Harry Witz, I love him dearly he came to those 2 shows with us and Paul Dexter who’s our lighting designer … Like we’ve still got our key people, but they’d be a big amount of time investment for myself and for Rik and Mike and it’s just not something to be taken lightly. So I think the press kind of got hold of the fact that we were going to tour and it was never really confirmed, it was just sort of a rumour and then the rumour became a reality.
AW: But at the end of the day, the full blown tour … I mean he was saying that you’d all planned to set time aside from Memorial weekend, through until Fall to tour North America, but I guess when it came down to it, it’s a massive logistical event and so much more right?
Gil: Yeah, it’s what goes on before that you don’t see. To say the actual tour is only 4 months long … It’s the 4 – 6 months before the tour, the rehearsing, designing the production, hiring all the people and stuff that are going to do it. So we were trying to figure out a way of trying to get a turn-key situation where we could find you know, a manager who’s got another act out on tour doing exactly the same thing and just kind of like pick up with their infrastructure and logistical team and just move forward and we weren’t quite able to put that together either, so just one thing led to another and it just got too late in the game so our agent just said, ‘You know let’s just forget about it for this year, you guys just aren’t organized enough …’
I think the burning desire is there from the standpoint of wanting to please the fans, but the upset to the lives that we’ve all got now is that it’s something that we’re just not in that mode anymore, so it is a major change around in thinking for each one of the 3 households.
AW: Yeah, because I’d actually suggested to Rik, I’d actually spoken with Mick Box of Uriah Heep and he’s been talking about trying to set up the US tour dates and everything for them, because they’ve not been over for a few years and I mentioned to Rik , I said to him, ‘You know Mick Box of Uriah Heep has been talking about trying to get over and everything and he was talking about maybe ‘piggy backing’ with someone else and doing a double bill show …, you know and Rik, ‘Well, who knows?!’ Like that, but obviously that how that goes and that’s all history now though, because that was then … and I know that Uriah Heep are doing a few dates this year but that’s another story!
Gil: Yeah, good for those guys, I don’t know how they’ve kept it up after all these years!
AW: Yeah, I mean Mick Box is the only original guy still there …
Gil: I thought Lee Kerslake was still there?
AW: Well Lee backed out about 2007 because of health issues. Basically Mick and Lee sat down and had a heart to heart and Mick was worried to death about Lee’s health and he said, ‘You know Lee I think you need to sit it out for a while man, you need to get yourself back in shape …
Gil: Yep …
AW: They’ve got a great guy that’s stepped in called Russell Gilbrook and he did the ‘Wake the Sleeper’ album in 2007 which is phenomenal, it’s a great album and they’ve just re-recorded 12 of their best known songs and 2 new ones, for a release that’s just come out, that’s called ‘Celebration’ and it’s very good. Very good! I mean the current line up, barring the drummer has been together for about 20 years anyway you know … Yeah, I’m getting sidetracked here sorry!
Rik had told me that the 2 gigs had both been filmed, Sweden and Rocklahoma and that there was a possibility that those would get releases on DVD anyway …
Gil: Well, it’s possible, we got them both recorded and they’re both in the can. We’ve looked at all the footage from Sweden and we did a rough cut on it and it doesn’t look too bad, but the issue would be that the Sweden footage … It was never recorded for what I’ll say, DVD purposes. It was recorded for broadcast in the facility and on that and stuff. So it’s a little more challenging to edit. The issue with Rocklahoma, again it was not done specifically for that purpose, so what we’ve got there is not enough light on the audience, so it would have to be very cleverly edited and corrected and so on, to try to get the stuff you need to understand the scope of the venue so to speak.
AW: Sure, sure …
Gil: But I’m hoping we get to that, even if we put them both on 1 DVD, I said to the guys you’ve got 1 in daylight and 1 at night so I was thinking kind of like, ‘Black and Blue’ (Laughs) or ‘Up and Down’ or ‘On and Off’ or I don’t know, ‘Two Opposites,’ because they are, they’re opposites.
AW: Right, well I was going to say if that’s the case Gil, if you’re not 100% happy with them then there you go, there’s an excuse to do another gig or two! (Laughs)
Gil: Yeah, well the thing is too we’ve got some phenomenal ‘b-roll’ because we’ve got all the backstage stuff at Sweden and the press conference and the press conference at Rocklahoma was unbelievable! There was like more people there … I thought there was like 100 people in the press tent, interviewing us. One of the guys there was saying it was the most amount of press people they’d had in there at any one time for the festival.
AW: Yeah? Wow! I’m telling you, there’s demand for it man! (Laughing)
Gil: Well, it remains to be seen Alun, we sure appreciate all the faith of the people in the business and the fans and stuff that keep ratcheting up the kilt meter, I’ll tell ya! God knows we owe it to them?! Hopefully they’ll see the love that went into the making of the Greatest Hit’s Remixed as it’s not in the record company, cut the corners package. This is like, here you go, here’s everything you asked for, everything you wanted all done up to the nines!
AW: Well that’s cool. I’m really looking forward to getting it!
Gil: Well the DVD, one neat thing on the DVD that delayed things, was we wide-screened all the videos at the last minute. Literally, we tried to wide screen them, but we all looked fat right (Laughs)? Normally what happens is all of a sudden your cheek bones are twice as wide as they really are or your butt’s the size of 2 volleyballs and they came up with this new software where you can stretch the picture without making everybody look like they’re six inches shorter or 50 lbs heavier!
It’s kind of neat and it just works really good so the stuff looks like its shot widescreen and it isn’t, it’s shot 4 x 3, so we just pulled around to just get that perfected at the last minute. Makes a big difference if you watch it on a modern monitor you know or HDTV or something like that. It makes a huge difference.
AW: Right, well that’s cool. I’m looking forward to seeing it when it does show up.
Yeah, well a Triumph show was always a special event, I mean fans have always said it and when Triumph played the UK back in the 80’s, I caught one of the shows and that’s the only time I’ve got to see you guys, which is a big shame. It was when you played Southampton and I spoke to Rik about this too and he said, ‘Yeah that was the night I was sick wasn’t it?!’ I said, ‘Yeah.’
Gil: I don’t think we ever played the UK where one of us wasn’t sick. We had so much bad luck over there it was unbelievable. I mean even when we played the ‘Heavy Metal Holocaust’ with Motorhead in ’81, when we went onstage, half the PA system stopped working!
AW: I know, I know I ….
Gil: It was like … If there was a band that was jinxed, you know over there it was us! We would fly over there for some reason or another, it was never Mike that got sick! It was always, I would come down with some massive laryngitis or Rik would come down with some head cold or whatever and then it would be like this series of … We had this limo driver named Bill and he had a Daimler limo. He was a great guy, but the limo always broke down and it kind of set the tone for what happened every time we would go over there. We were always thinking, OK as we called him – Puts on fake British accent. - ‘Bill, is Bill going to have a flat tyre on the way to the ‘otel?!’ (Much laughter) or ‘Are we goin’ to be ‘avin’ to get tools from the boot?!’ (More laughs.). But we loved it over there, I don’t know what? We just had bad luck! Maybe we should go back 20 years later and maybe things will work out for us?
AW: There you go, but I mean it wasn’t a long tour was it and very often that was the case and very often with many US and Canadian bands, when they did come over to the UK, it was typically one or two dates … I mean it was the same with like Styx and Toto and people like that. They’d come over and there was also even loads of bands that never even got over at all you know … or they came over and played opening slots and you didn’t find out about it until too late in the day so it was a bit of a downer for a lot of UK rock fans … By the same token though, since I’ve lived here in the States, I see the same thing. The shoe is on the other foot now! It’s like, ‘Wow, why don’t those guys come over here and do a decent tour? I really miss seeing those guys live?!’ You know?
Gil: Well, what used to happen to us is don’t forget, our US and Canadian tours, I mean North American tours basically, were bigger than the average North American tour. Like we would go out and do like 100 shows. That’s a shit pile of shows and … if we were going out and doing like these little ‘candy assed,’ 35 city tours, then we would’ve been over in Europe all the time, but that’s not what we were doing.
AW: I know, when you’re crossing a continent like the US, it takes like a year or two to do it, you know?
Gil: Yep and it takes a long time to recover man. It takes .., it puts a lot of kilometers on you know … And you know for me, if I’d just been playing drums you know or just singing instead of doing both, that would’ve been a lot better. You know, if you’re on a construction site, have you ever seen an electrician and a plumber, one guy?!
AW: (Laughing) No …
Gil: Sooner or later, you know the guy is going to be holding onto a sewer pipe and he’s going to stick his screwdriver in the electrical box and he’s going to fry himself, right?
AW: (Still laughing) That sounds like an Irish …
Gil: That’s what it’s like if you’re a singing drummer, it’s just a matter of time until you pull a Spinal Tap and you …
Gil: Yeah, you explode in a ball of flame …!
AW: Yeah, I hear you, I hear you. (Both laughing) The plumber and electrician bit, sounded like an Irish joke - Side note: Sorry Irish folks, but I've also heard many a joke about Englishmen, from Irishmen! - that would classic I’ll tell you.
Gil: Well, I’ve got mostly Irish blood so … I got about two thirds Irish blood and about the other quarter is English and Scottish you know, so all of my ancestors are from over there.
AW: There you go, but anyway it goes back to, I wish it had happened, it is what it is, so …
Besides all the interviews and stuff, is there any other promo work planned for you guys and is Rik involved in this at all or not really? It seems to be just Mike and yourself?
Gil: Well, in the sense that the remix of the album, the production of the album … Mike and I handled it. It was basically all done before we …, reunited with Rik …
AW: Oh really …
Gil: Yeah, you know this has really been in the can for a long period of time …
AW: Oh yeah, you know, Rik had mentioned something about this when he and I talked …
Gil: I mean all the audio mixes were done and all the CD was finished. The thing that held things up a little bit was technical stuff on the DVD and getting the widescreening like I was saying and getting clearance to use the Hall of Fame footage that we got, we wanted to include that. So there were little hiccups but basically it’s been in the can, more or less, say 90% finished for three years.
AW: Right and I’m sorry, didn’t mean to cut you out there …, but Rik had kind of mentioned something about that there was like this CD / DVD set in the can, that you guys wanted to put out so … Wow! It’s a shame it all takes so long isn’t it? There’s so much other stuff going on, right?
Gil: One of things that you know, I think fate plays into these things in some ways and one of the things that helped get us back together with Rik was, we were good friends with his brother Russell, particularly me and Russell died tragically of cancer …
AW: Yeah, Rik had said …
Gil: It was a life changing moment for Rik and when Russell on his death bed had told him to get back together with Mike and I and when we split in the first place, my Dad had just died and my Dad was my best friend. He died in 1987 and what happened to me, is I did a downward mental spiral that lasted for 18 months and I got so depressed, after my Dad passed away and it got worse and worse, until the point where I was starting to become kind of a hermit and not come out of my house and I was just sort of … I don’t know how to explain it … It was just a mental spiral and I was very fearful and it was a very dark space and I’ve never been in a dark space in my life before and I’ve never been there since. Fortunately I met a woman that I married right at that time, who I’ve been with now for 21 years, my wife Sunny (?) and she’s been part of the whole rebuilding portion …. It was very difficult for me when I lost my Dad and when Rik was … He was frustrated and wanting to leave the band and do some solo work and I think if I had, had all my faculties, I don’t think we ever would’ve had a bad end to it. It was just the same way as I think when my Dad passing was pivotal in the break up of the band, you know I think Russell’s passing was pivotal in the reincarnation of the band and the friendship, re-bonding … I personally feel much closer to Rik now, than I ever did when we were kids …
AW: Right and you know he actually said a number of things along those lines too and one of things he did tell me about his brother too and he added in the interview we did that he felt, he couldn’t believe he’d been such a jerk for so long and not forgiving any bad feeling sooner than when he did. He said, ’20 years is just ridiculous, to let all that bad blood sit there …’
Gil: Well, he was never a jerk it’s just that it was so hard to explain that we just lost this ability to communicate and I was lost in a dark hole for a year and a half where … The strange thing is, it wasn’t like we were fighting and telling each other to …, you know, jump off a bridge … The problem was the lack of communication, it wasn’t negative communication. It came off the rift like we were trying to hold him back you know and there’s a dynamic in a band right and the way it kind of worked like the communication with Rik, I think tended to be more with me than with Mike, although certain issues … I don’t know how to explain the dynamic but we all had different roles in the band and Rik always used to say to me, which I never quite understood, because I always thought that he was the best musician for sure … That, ‘Gil, this is your band … This isn’t my band or Mike’s band, it’s your band and if you ever stopped playing, that would be the end of Triumph.’ Now I always thought that was kind of strange you know, because it wasn’t my perspective but I think he meant it as I was the communicator, like the O’Hara airport and he and Mike were two terminals or something. Like there was a lot of communication going through me or something. When Rik was getting frustrated with us, Mike was not able to communicate with him, in a way that was going to make things resolve. It would normally have been more my role and I was unable to fulfill it, Rik got the wrong idea about what was going on and you know to this day, I just feel really, really bad but if he’s pointing fingers at himself, he shouldn’t be. It was just an unfortunate circumstance that … He’s a great guy, he’s always was a great guy and sometimes you have a fight with your brother right, even though you love him and that’s all that happened in this band. We had a great team of guys that were very close to each other and now we’re very close to each other again and we all feel like chumps that we went and were separated for so long. We like to kick ourselves all in the butt!
AW: I guess the Hall of Fame award, that really helped to break the ice and that, right and smooth a lot of things over didn’t it?
Gil: Well, with the Hall of Fame thing … First of all we did two Hall of Fame things, back to back a year apart. We went in the Music Industry Hall of Fame in ’07 and then we went into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in ’09 and every single time you go through this routine, where all your industry peers kind of come out and they celebrate you and the fans celebrate you and there’s this big overwhelming feeling … It reminds me of the scene in Spinal Tap, sorry Wayne’s World, that ‘We’re not worthy,’ when they meet Alice Cooper, you know kind of like that, for me anyhow as a musician I was just looking at it and going …, well the Hall of Fame is for Gordon Lightfoot right, Hank Snow right … It’s not for Triumph. When people are saying all these nice things about your music like this song meant this to me and that song meant that to me and then you start to realize that the music actually … The band actually means more to the fans than it does to the musicians.
AW: Yeah, I hear you … That’s kind of tough …
Gil: I think that’s probably true of all bands. I think you could probably ask anybody from The Beatles on down and they’ll probably … Probably Paul McCartney will tell you, ‘You know what …, yeah probably some of these songs I like but they mean more to you than they did to me.
AW: Yeah, it’s like how many times can you play ‘She Loves Me’ and all that kind of stuff right, you know ….
Gil: Yeah! I’m sure it’s more fun for me to listen to old Beatles music than for him. That’s just the way the world is though right?
My heroes were more hockey players though than musicians … and I can review …, when you think about what it is that you’re into and I can remember certain goals that certain players scored and stuff and you know … You meet them some years later at some banquet or a dinner or something and they don’t remember! (Laughs)
AW: It was a blur right?!
Gil: Yeah. I’m kind of lucky, because I can remember a fair number of details of Triumph, but a lot of times I’ve got them back second hand from someone, fans and so on and Mike, Rik and I play like 20 questions on a lot of stuff and … We tend to remember the stuff that was really funny … The funny stuff is pretty much the stuff that sticks and the rest of it just kind of blends in you know?!
AW: Yeah. The release itself Gil, it’s been remixed by Rich …, now how do you pronounce his last name Chycki, is it ‘Chickie’ or …
Gil: Yep, it’s Rich – pronounces ‘Chickie’ – Chycki …
AW: It is ‘Chickie?’ Interesting name?
Gil: Yeah it is a funny name.
AW: But he mixed the ‘Live at US Festival’ too didn’t he?
Gil: I believe, yeah I think he mixed that as well for us.
AW: I mean so were you tempted to do this yourselves or would that start too many battles do you think?
Gil: Well you know I think Rich was the right guy for it because we wanted to basically … We had good mixes already of all these songs from the original albums but … You know they were mixed for vinyl for later on when we were going to CD, there still wasn’t a very good mastering process for CD’s. You were kind of …, a lot of times for the older records you were taking what they were using for video tape and using those digital files for CD which of course was not the right way to do it. So we’d already remastered all the stuff once, so we just decided, you know what? Let’s bring it right up to modern standards and let’s actually remix everything, with modern technology, because now we’re in the era of the ‘sub-woofer’ which we weren’t in the 70’s and 80’s. The sub-woofer really came into prominence in the 90’s, in vehicles and in home systems and so I think it was a good treatment to take it to that extent.
AW: Right …
Gil: Let’s put it this way, anybody that has ‘Classic’s’ which is our first ‘Greatest Hit’s’ record and they play the same tracks from ‘Classic’s’ or any of the individual albums and they play the same track on ‘Greatest Hit’s Remixed?’ They will be no shadow of a doubt that they’ll be able to tell a huge difference!
AW: (Laughs) Yeah, I’ll tell ya …
Gil: There is a completely different sound.
AW: I am looking forward to it big time, I really am! I mean Rich has done some stuff with Jeff Healey before that I really enjoyed too. I love the ‘Cover to Cover’ album that Jeff did and also ‘Get Me Some.’ They were good albums and that was pretty tragic.
Gil: It was very tragic. Jeff was a very nice man …
Gil: He was a sweetheart!
AW: He was a star player he really was and …
Gil: I heard today that Ronnie James Dio passed.
Gil: Yes …
AW: Wow! Oh boy …
Gil: I heard earlier, in one of my earlier interviews …
AW: Wow … I hadn’t heard that yet … Oh my ….Oh wow.
Gil: I was really sad to hear that. He was … I … We always felt a connection to him, because for whatever reason it just seemed like a lot of times when we were in a city and he was there and he’d have a day off and he’d come to our show?
AW: Right, right …
Gil: So we met him, kind of a bunch of different times you know … Just for whatever reason, just passing ships in the night, we’d just seem to always bump into him and you know he was always a really cool guy when he was backstage at a Triumph show. He was always very gracious.
AW: Yeah …
Gil: Our lighting director Paul Dexter to this day, was Ronnie’s lighting director, so I’m sure Paul will be very upset.
AW: I’m kind of choked up myself. I can’t believe that’s happened … I guess my wife and I … We did church this morning and stuff and came back and I was just running around doing some stuff with the kids and getting the kids settle down and … Wow. I haven’t even seen any news today so ... That’s just terrible. I know obviously that the announcement was made that the Heaven and Hell dates were cancelled or postponed but …
Gil: I know, it’s very sad.
AW: That’s terrible. He was fantastic, I mean … My wife and I loved Dio and I saw Dio many times back in the UK and … Wow!
Gil: What a void!
AW: Yeah …It’s phenomenal that he kept going like he did.
Gil: He had a voice like a sledgehammer.
AW: Yeah, no kidding. He was something else. Wow. You’ve really taken me aback here Gil.
Gil: Sorry to bum you out Alun, but I thought you’d want to know that.
AW: No, I appreciate that Gil, sad as it is … It’s funny, not funny ‘ha ha’ but it’s funny. Ironically when I spoke to Rik those two years ago, it was right around the time when JY Young, his wife had just had an aneurism …
AW: You guys are filling me in on all the information there …
The album, if we can get back to it. You’ve got to be pleased on the outcome, I mean even as you say based on your comments in the press release, as I say I’m really looking forward to getting a copy of this …Should be great. I mean from a personal viewpoint …
Gil: I’m just glad it’s finally out there … You know the fans have been saying, ‘When’s it coming?!’ It was almost to the point with them, where it seemed like we were crying wolf, like we didn’t really have it and we were making it up you know?
AW: Right. Well it’s great that you’ve got it out and it’ll be good for me to look forward to and the whole package I’m looking forward to checking it out, but on a different note I guess … From a personal standpoint Gil, as you’ve not drummed with anyone else since Triumph – unless you have and people just don’t know it?! Would you ever want to do a solo album or not at all, no desire whatsoever?
Gil: I don’t think … Well, I did at one time, because I got into a sort of different style of writing and singing and stuff towards the end of the career with Triumph but I’m just so excited with all the stuff I’m doing with Metalworks because we’re doing such neat things with first of all our school … I mean we’ve got about 250 students there at the school and like seeing those young folks, you know, start to blossom and come out … A lot of the initiatives that we have at the school, I’m trying to propel them and I feel like if I take my focus off that, that things will start to fall by the wayside because I take forever in the studio, so if I did a solo record, it would probably take me a good part of my time for over a year. I wouldn’t be able to just get in and put it all together and just do it but you know what? I know what you’re saying, you know I wish I could have like nine days in the week or something just to do everything I want to do with my life because … Yeah, I would have the desire … I would love to do it, were it not for what I’m doing already with Metalworks. Yeah, I would want to do it.
Most people assume the opposite like, ‘You’ve got eight or nine studios there. You’ve got all the Engineers, why on earth wouldn’t you do it?’
AW: (Laughing) Yeah, why don’t you do it?! It’s like you were saying about all the guys there telling you to get out on the road right? It’s like, ‘We’ve got it, go on, get out and do it,’ right?! (Laughing)
Gil: Yeah! (Laughs)
AW: But it’s like you know have you lost the desire to play, because I read that somewhere as well that you don’t really play anymore …?
Gil: Well, no. I think it’s more like the desire to do what I’m doing is so strong. What I found is when I started to practice playing drums again, it was very deflating when I first started and getting ready and I really thought that you know, there’s no way … I was more worried about me than I was about Mike … But what I found was after we first rehearsed, it was around about the 15th time … What I was doing was I was going home and I was just practicing on the end of my bed, every night for about half an hour to forty minutes and then when I’d go into the rehearsals and I’d start to play on the full kit ... After about 15 rehearsals it started to come back and then after about 25, I started to feel like a drummer again, but I didn’t feel when we played live I was able to pull it off … I was too … You know, like when you over-steer a car right … I could feel the fender scraping the guard rail a lot. I just wasn’t able to get back in the saddle in a big festival environment. I think I needed to play more shows, like maybe do some warm up venues or something to get my wheels on …
AW: Yeah, I know what you mean like play a few club shows or something, low key unannounced gigs or some …
Gil: It would be a hell of a lot easier if I didn’t have to sing, I can tell you that!!! (Laughs!)
AW: Yeah I know, I dabble myself and I keep getting talked more and more into singing as well! My wife plays the keyboards and me the drums, that’s how we met, so it’s great!
Gil: Ha ha! Well you know what? Speaking of drums …I’m just in the process right now of building a home gym and …
AW: Oh yeah?
Gil: Yeah and the thing is completely built and they had to do a lowered floor in this area of our house where they’re doing it. They’ve got the floor in and they’re starting to frame the interior of the gym and the way the gym is designed, there’s a set of drums in the gym that’s a piece of exercise equipment …
AW: Ha ha! How about that!
Gil: So I thought it would be really cool, like its right beside the weights and I can use the bench press and so forth and then go right over and onto the drums …
AW: There you go! Who knows, it might get you to do that solo album eventually or something?! (Both laughs)
Gil: You never know!!!
AW: So what other desires and goals do you have left then Gil or do you pretty much just take it day by day. I mean when you think about fate and so on, I know what it’s like when you lose people close to you and so on, I mean I lost my father and I’ve lost a brother too. With all those things that happen, we’ve all learned to take things day by day right?
Gil: Yeah, I think probably number one for me is making sure my kids are launched properly and that just means being around for them and just trying to give them just enough guidance and support and so on, so my kids and my wife would be number one and then beyond that I would just say that the kids at the school … I feel a bigger responsibility for the kids at the school, than I do to say clients of our business, because they’re adults and kids are kids, right?
AW: Exactly yeah …
Gil: So you’ve got to be thinking of those kids and all the initiatives that we have at the school and it’s based on the idea that … You know, I didn’t have a very good experience at school and my kids have had good experiences at school and I want the students at Metal Works to be able to do what it is they need to do to get themselves launched in the entertainment field somehow with us helping them …
AW: Right, right …
Gil: The kids that are really good students, they’re the easy ones, they don’t need too much help, but the kids that are struggling, they need a ton of help. So it’s the ones that are struggling that are the ones that need the most ‘hand holding.’
AW: Do you think that’s more kind of the kids that are more maybe being pushed by their parents, because the parents want them to do it, rather than the kids that are wanting to do it?
Gil: No, I don’t think its parents pushing them, I think it’s really the other way around. It’s really more like the kid has the burning desire to get into this business and the parents are like, ‘Oh well you know, don’t you want to be a Doctor or an Engineer putting up bridges or …
AW: Yeah …
Gil: You know do something legitimate!
AW: Well, back to Metal Works, I mean it’s been your baby from day one? I mean it’s like over 30 years now isn’t it? I mean it’s won awards …
Gil: Yeah we’re getting up there, getting closer to 35 now, but it’s changed dramatically, I mean when we started it was a very small operation. It was just built for Triumph, but now it’s a big commercial operation, I mean we’re doing ….
AW: You’re doing movies as well right?
Gil: We’re doing movies, movie stuff and TV stuff and we’ve got some really good … Fortunately we’ve got some really good credits and that just really kind of attracts more business right, because the longer your track record is, the more likely it is that someone will refer you for something and we’ve got really good engineers and editors and stuff, so it’s really because of our strong staff.
AW: That’s awesome, that’s great stuff, it really is and that’s got to make you feel so good as well, I mean just everything that you’ve achieved with that and as you say I mean, the schools got to be like extended family right?
Gil: Yeah, it is and you know I really have this thing about trying to help the kids and you know the ones that struggle you know? Like we offer free tutoring now … You can just see them when they come into the school. You get this certain group, that are the high achievers and they just seem to float through. It’s like everything is easy for them. Then you have the middle of the pack folks that usually grit their teeth, but they’ve got their seatbelt on and they know what they’re doing and then you’ve got this other group where the bicycle wheel is all bent and you can just see that if somebody hasn’t put some training wheels on here on hold them … You know they’re going to flame out!
AW: Well, it’s great that both Rik and yourself are doing that teaching stuff or getting involved in that. It’s fantastic that you’re giving back in that way, it really is you know Gil.
Gil: Well we’re lucky that we’re able to do it. I just look at it as if we don’t, where’s it going to go? I’m not writing a book. The engineers aren’t writing books, so where does this stuff go? It just evaporates!
AW: Yeah …
Gil: ... and it really helps in technology if you understand where things have come from, if you’re trying to understand where they are going to. It’s very, very helpful.
AW: I think its essential isn’t it, it really is. I mean it’s paramount …With all that aside would you say … I mean you never say never to anything, but realistically, no likelihood of any new Triumph music?
Gil: I don’t think it’s likely but you know what? Things change you know. I mean what I’ve tried to do with Metal Works, is I’ve tried to get it to the point … Like there’s Managers in all three companies there, so I can not be there and the whole place keeps running …, but I would like it to be running at a slightly … I’ve always got this thing on the other side of the pasture where I see something there that just needs to be just a little bit better. I guess what I keep looking for is that plateau of functionality that I think would make the thing run like a well oiled machine, a little better than it is right now, but I guess I keep looking for that elusive quality …
AW: (Laughs) So you can’t quite cut the cord just yet … (Both laughs)
Gil: Not at the moment, but yeah we’ll see. We’re going to hang out a lot this summer and stuff and you know we’re going to do this thing for a radio station next week I think or two weeks from now, where we’re actually going on the station and we’re going to play a song live on the air and that ought to be wild …
AW: Is that Rockline yeah?
Gil: No, it’s not actually on Rockline, we’re doing it on a station here in Toronto …
AW: Oh you know, I think I saw that on the Triumph website …
Gil: Yeah, they ran a contest for some kid to play drums in one of our songs that I sing, so I’ll just sing it and he’ll play the drums.
AW: Oh that’s cool, awesome! Good job!
Gil: Yeah, the first time in my life where I ever got away from the dual role! (Both laughs) So if he’s any good, we’re going to hire him permanently! (More laughs)
AW: Yeah, so you’ve got no excuses if you mess anything up right?!
Gil: Yeah! No, I think we’ll just hire a singer and I’ll be the manager! I’ll sit backstage and I’ll laugh at them when they screw up! (Laughs)
AW: Well it’s great Gil it really is and I’m really happy for you with everything that’s been going on. I think it’s fantastic and you’ve certainly achieved so much and any new activity is always encouraging, especially as I say with the attention it’s certainly been getting, wouldn’t you say? I mean all things said and done, good luck with it all …
Gil: Thank you very much Alun, I appreciate that.
AW: I hope it continues, long may it continue and here’s hoping with maybe some local shows would be great …
Gil: Well, we’ll just have to see what the future holds for all of us? I hope things go well for you as well this year.
AW: Thank you. I hope so too, but you know family life and day job and all this too, but then you’ve got all that too right?!
Gil: Balance is the key my friend!
AW: I know it! Well OK Gil, listen thanks ever so much for your time, was there anything else you’d like to add or say to wrap up?
Gil: No, I think that’s good. I think we covered some good ground and I sure appreciate your time.
AW: Well, if you’re ever in the area and you feel like getting together … I’m just down the road!
Gil: Well, you never know! If we end up hitting the road, that’s what we’ll do. We’ll try to meet all the journalists that have been kind to us along the way.
AW: Sounds good, well thanks ever so much for your time Gil, really appreciate it. All the best
Gil: Thanks Alun.
AW: Yep, take care, bye.
Gil: Bye Alun.
So there you go, what a good guy ...
Go and check out the latest release, 'Triumph - Greatest Hits Remixed,' it really is great to hear those songs, nay HITS, freshened up. Read my review here:
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