Hey Ged, you seemed to go quiet after your time with TEN and it’s good to see so active in the music scene again. But why did you stop and what inspired you to return to music?
Hi Woody… I quit music because of a lot of personal stuff that was happening in my life… I became a father and that changes your world upside down, your priorities, your aims… everything… I wasn’t enjoying my music and I had to make a decision to put a roof over our heads and food on the table… I’d just had enough and had to take stock.
Rage of Angels is the name of your new project can you tell us how the band came into existence and what you wanted to achieve?
It was originally my solo project of songs that I had started to record. I’ve always written but people weren’t interested in my songs at the time so they either got forgotten or just left. So a couple of years ago I started to play music again and decided to record some of the stuff floating in my head lol… it kind of grew from there. Khalil from Escape Music got involved and it really started to gather speed. I don’t think any of us expected it to be as big as it was – top ten new releases at Amazon in its first week wasn’t bad for a debut album!
Do you write all the songs and if so can you talk us through your song-writing process and where you get your inspirations?
I wrote everything on ‘Dreamworld’ apart from Over and Over, which Danny Vaughn offered to write the lyrics for – you accept an offer like that immediately let me tell you – and With the beating of your Heart, which I asked David Reed Watson to write most of the lyrics for. I write everything in my head first before I record it, I know exactly how the finished product is going to sound and then I go into my little studio and record it. Then I give the fully recorded versions to musicians who can play their instruments much better than I can do on drums, bass and lead guitars. I do all of the keys, backing vocals, vocal melodies and most of the guitars – and all the mad bits in between!
The Rage Of Angels debut album ‘Dreamworld’ features a whole host of guest musicians, like Danny Vaughn, Robert Hart and Harry Hess. How did you get everyone onboard?
I already had Danny and Harry on board and recorded before I took the album to Escape, thanks to Bruce Mee, David Reed Watson (who I came across via Facebook) and Vinny Burns… and then Khalil Turk kept suggesting the most outstanding vocalists who ended up on the album too. Then there’s an amazing solo from Tommy Denander too, so it was very much a joint effort.
Can you tell us a bit about some of the songs on ‘Dreamworld’, how they were written and any meanings behind them?
All of the songs on there have a very personal meaning to me, throughout all sorts of times through my life but in particular Through it All is written about my partner for who I would not be doing any of this without.
We live, We breathe, We die is about primarily one person, but in the couple of years that I was playing around with the song, we lost six people who were extremely close to us, so it’s really a tribute to them all – loved ones who are not here anymore, but for whom we will never forget.
Obviously with so many guest musicians it’s almost impossible to take the band on the road, so have settled on a live unit of Danny Vaughn (vocals), Neil Fraser (guitars), Al Barrow (bass), Paul Hodson (keyboards) & Joao Colaco (drums). Obviously some of these guys didn’t perform on the album, so how did you assemble the band?
I bribed them lol… actually I did bribe Paul with cheese and cake haha!
It just fell into place very nicely. Everyone knows each other, has been either direct friends or friends of friends, and everyone enjoys each other’s company. You have to have a great balance between the musician and the personality and I think we have the line up perfectly matched. I think it’s one of the most exciting line ups to be put together in many years.
You have a warm up show scheduled for Lucy’s Bar, Hednesford on 12th September before you set off on your European tour. What can fans expect from the band live and are you looking forward to it?
You bet I’m looking forward to it. I absolutely cannot wait to hear my songs played live. We’ve had small pre production rehearsals in twos but we step things up a bit very soon. My hope is that we don’t just recreate the album, but actually blow it out of the water!!
It will be a big task production wise, ‘cos there is so much on the album and it needs to be done live. There will be no stripping back with ROA – I want to recreate an old school gig like the ones I first attended in the late seventies. It will have everything!
You finish your European tour with a headline performance at the Skyfest festival in Mansfield. I know you plan to have some special guests at the show, can you tell us more?
I’m very much looking forward to Skyfest. It’s new and got some incredible bands on the bill, so it’s an honour to be asked to close the whole show. We will have Robert Hart with us plus David Reed Watson as well and you never know who else might just get up on stage with us. You’ll just have to buy tickets to find out, lol.
Are there any of the other bands you’re looking forward to seeing perform?
Loads of bands. I am friends with Coldspell, so I’m very much looking forward to seeing them. Moritz are superb. Pretty Maids, Summers, Tainted Nation – everyone to be honest.
That’s it for 2013 as everyone is so busy but hopefully 2014 will bring a bigger tour.
I know your hard at work on a new album, can you tell us if it will be another multi-musician project or do you plan use a set line-up?
I’m going to do it exactly the same as the first album. Why fix it if it ain’t broke? I love the fact that ROA is fluid, by that I mean that each song may have different musicians, but it still sounds like one band. That gives us the validity to tour with special guests at different times – it’s quite exciting from my point of view.
Can I drag any other details out of you, album name, song titles, predicted release date?
All I can say is that it will be out sometime next year and if you come to the live shows you may well just get to hear a sneaky preview or two!
You have been playing keyboards & guitars with Tyketto and Danny Vaughn’s solo band over the past year. How did this come about and should we expect you to be part of these band’s live line-ups in future?
I’ve been very privileged and honoured to be part of Danny’s solo band and to be part of Tyketto. We’ve just announced a headline slot at HRH AOR 2014 and the Monsters of Rock cruise 2014 in the US. There will be more dates to follow and it’s Tyketto’s 25th anniversary too – very much looking forward to that. It’s like playing with rock royalty, a massive honour.
Is there anything else you would like to say to Midlands Rocks readers?
Thank you so much for your support. We are looking forward to the shows, come out and see us, make sure you say hello. And keep supporting Woody and the other guys who work tirelessly to keep this scene alive for all of us!