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G. W. Hill

Interviewed by Larry Toering
Interview with G. W. Hill from 2012

Editor’s Note: Since I’m the one who runs MSJ and the one who got interviewed here, this one might seem a bit weird – and it felt a little weird to me, particularly because Larry threw many of the questions I ask people at me. But, I figured with a brand new single coming out and all the CDs getting reissued, it wouldn’t be a stretch to do an interview, just like any other musician featured at MSJ. And, Larry stepped up to present me with some questions.

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music?
Wow – I always ask that question of folks, and now I realize it can be a daunting one to answer. I started playing bass guitar when I was 15 years old and the first two original songs my first band and I wrote were played on a local radio show. One was an instrumental and the other I sang. We were basically a metal band. Although, we hoped we sounded like Judas Priest, but we probably sounded more like Grand Funk Railroad.


After that I played in a lot of different local bands over the years, but most imploded before ever doing anything. I played everything from Di Meola like jazz with one trio to punk rock to prog and pop. I also recorded several solo albums that were released on cassette only (and are now the newly reissued discs for the most part) on my own label. I actually released some other music from some local bands on that label, too.

MSJ: What's ahead for you? (in the music department)
I’m actually just now starting work on my new album – the first in a very long time. I kind of quit doing music for probably ten years or so. The first single will be out within a week or so, and it will be part of an album about literature, television and film that has held a special place in my heart over the years. Unlike the rest of my music, it’s going to include some guests. One of those has already recorded a spoken bit for one of the songs about “Star Trek” for me. I won’t say who it is at this point, except that he played one of the main characters on one of the “Trek” series and he’s got a very distinctive voice.

Also, I'm talking with a couple musician friends of mine about putting together a band based recording project, but we've yet to get time to meet.
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
Too many to list. I can dream.
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
I think it’s theft and I’d like to see violators tossed in prison for it. As a journalist and doing PR work for a lot of musicians, I’ve seen the kind of devastation it causes to musicians first hand. The upper level guys who make big money and sell millions of records can survive it. And, the people who choose to give their music away are obviously unaffected. But, for the vast majority of musicians who are somewhere between, it’s really making it difficult for them to continue. Ultimately, I think if there’s nothing done to fix the problem, we’re likely to see a lot less creative music out there as people just realize that they can spend their time (and the money they’d spend on equipment, etc.) in other ways that actually helps to put food on their table. That would be a real shame because it would mean that the corporate created pop artists would be about all that would be left out there.
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
I’d say, Rob Halford on vocals, Steve Howe on guitar, Tony Levin on bass, Mike Portnoy on drums and Rick Wakeman on keyboards.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Yes (with Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman), Black Sabbath (only if Bill Ward is part of the band), Rush, a Led Zeppelin reunion, Hawkwind and Judas Priest.
MSJ: As an author, and the editor in chief of the Music Street Journal, do you have any current authoring plans, a new book or any other writing projects in the works?
Well, I’m in the exploratory phase of another non-fiction book. All I’ll say is it’s “Star Trek” related, and I’ve been knocking the idea around for a while. I’m also just starting to do a revised edition of The Strange Sound of Cthulhu which will be released on the tenth anniversary of its publishing – August 2016.
MSJ: Do you have a musical "guilty pleasure?"
OK, here it is – I’m probably going to regret this, but I really like the ballads by Barry Manillow. I can’t stand it when he tries to rock out, but you really can’t beat his ballads.
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
It would probably be when I was attending an Oktoberfest here in my hometown with some friends many, many years ago. I probably had had a bit too much to drink and was in line to get a bratwurst when one of my friends came to me and said, “the band needs a bass player.” Well, I told him I’d never played polkas, but the next thing I knew I was on-stage playing with this polka band. They’d tell me what key the song was in and off we’d go. I thought I was pretty miserable, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Frank Zappa, H. P. Lovecraft and David Tennant
MSJ: What would be on the menu?

Sushi and thai food - of course, given Lovecraft's aversion to sea food, we might have to skip the sushi.

MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
I think one of the most important things for everyone to think about in life is, follow your dreams. When your time on Earth is drawing to a close, you’re not going to regret not having spent enough time doing labor for someone else, but rather the dreams you never pursued and the people you didn’t pay enough attention to.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 5 at
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