I've been lucky to know Gary for years, way back when he started out with THE BALLS OF ADRENALINE and THE DREAM (which became EXTREME). That band and it's perennial hit - MORE THAN WORDS - youtube.com/watch?v=UrIiLvg58SY went on to giant success, celebrity and notoriety. (Gary fronted VAN HALEN for three years while EXTREME was on sabbatical, and NUNO BETTANCOURT now plays guitar for RIHANNA.) I guess the point here is that Gary, as large a musical widescreen as he's lived, has been the same great self-effacing guy he was back in the day when BERLIN AIRLIFT and LUNA had his bands open for us around town. He's never lost his true center, heart and soul, and has remained loyal to his family and his friends throughout. I'd add that his voice is stronger, more supple and has more color and sheer artistry than ever. He's sang for me once before - the lead part of Brian for the audio recording of my yet-to-be-mounted musical THE KINGDOM. Jane Mangini playing piano on those songs as well.
I'd been listening to MARY CLAYTON (20 FEET FROM STARDOM) on Fresh Air. Primarily her work with the STONES on GIMME SHELTER. I'd also loved the free singing, in the stratosphere, on DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. Listening back to the rough basics on WHATCHA THINK, I heard it. The idea. If we could get someone to wail above the song on the way out, where Jane begins to cut loose, we could achieve the same effect as Ms Clayton did on Gimme Shelter. I was thinking about this being a woman, but ran into Gary at STEVEN PAUL PERRY'S memorial. Lightbulb!
Gary came to Woolly, ready to go. He'd asked for a rough so he could have some idea of what to sing. Ever the pro. He sang through the entire song. I was in the booth while he did it. I couldn't hear the track, just Gary following his sense of what to sing, where to go with it. The song has become a duet. We'll need to edit some of what he does and some of what I do, but this is gonna rock balls. How incredible for me to 'sing with' this dude, this stand up friend who's seen more musical history and has more musical war stories about the Big Heroes in the biz than I could count. What you'll hear is the cam mike catching what he does. I layered that over the rough basic of the song (the only audio of what we've done that I have. My lead is just a scratch vocal.) What Gary heard in his cans was closer to the real deal.
He blew our minds that day. This one take took the tune into the stratosphere. And it's doubly cool because he's singing with Jane. (Friends together forevah in the scene here in town.)
Hope you dig it as much as we do.