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Progressive Rock Interviews

David Hayes

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with David Hayes from 2010


Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music?

I took piano for one year when I was 5, and one year when I was around 9. It wasn’t something I enjoyed at first, at least the practicing aspect. It’s kind of funny because I’m a private lesson music instructor now, and I come across some students who feel the same way as I did. I’ll tell them my story just so they understand that I’ve been there. To a kid music isn’t always the most exciting thing, it’s something that some learn to appreciate. I didn’t start until I was in college to really appreciate it. I took a music history class, and my instructor was awesome. I ended up buying a guitar, and haven’t spent many days without it since. I had some great teachers, the first being my old boss at a condo construction site, Larry Beeman. I would later transfer from Rock Valley College in Rockford to Columbia College Chicago in 2001. I studied classical guitar with Norm Ruiz, and Jazz Piano with Peter Saxe there. I wanted to play every genre of music because I grew tired of playing clichés in one style. I eventually picked up the bass, and played it in a couple of bands. Around 2003 I started recording little ideas on the computer, and started to create more songs. I had written some before, but now I was cranking out little ideas left and right.  Many are undeveloped, but some created the backbone of this first album. I had a lot of help from my friends, many who are great musicians. Greg Magers helped me a lot with the whole recording process. It took a long time to record an album, but at least I have an end product.

MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?

As a kid I wanted to be a baseball player, but I didn’t have the talent to make it. I’d like to be a sports writer.

MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?

I’d say the Beatles, or anything in the classic rock realm. I grew to love jazz and classical music too. I’d also say Charlie Parker, and Beethoven. As a pianist I’d say Bill Evans. As a guitarist I’d have to say my favorite is David Gilmour.  As a bassist and vocalist I’d say Paul McCartney.


What's ahead for you?

I’m trying to create a twin album called “Out with the New.”  I’ve recorded a few tracks already for it. I’d like to have it finished by next fall, but we’ll see how it goes. I feel a little more ready having been through the music creation process once before. I would like to keep on improving my music. I would like to always outdo myself if possible, but I’m just trying to make great music.


I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?

Alternative multi-genre. I describe it mostly as my own though.


Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

I just want to keep playing with the ones I work with. Graham Burris, Mike Lim, Robert Tucker, Christian Chamberlain, Taylor John Fiorelli, John Storms-Rohm, Bob Mayo, and other friends and family too. I like working with people that I have musical chemistry with. I believe that’s very important.


Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?

Music piracy goes back a long time, centuries before we even began recording music. I also remember making mix tapes off the radio way back in the day, too. I stream my album for free because I figure if someone wants a song they’re going to get it. Yeah we don’t make as much money, but it’s cool that a song can reach any corner of the Earth. Musicians will have to sustain their careers through performance. I still buy CDs and records because I feel they sound ten times better than mp3’s. There is more warmth in the overall sound. It is amazing though that you can get an abundance of music without stepping outside your door.


In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

I think that’s OK, too. If they can catch a great performance and contain the moment of that one night, awesome. It’s the same scenario, a recording will sound better coming through the soundboard than someone’s personal microphone. It depends on what kind of sound quality one would like to listen to.


If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?

That’s funny because I tell all my students that musician’s are like superheroes. They each have a “super power”, or something they do well. They also have some kind of “kryptonite” or weakness.  I’d have to say it would have to be an evil doppelganger version of myself. Almost like the red Incredible Hulk. I always want to outdo myself, and I am the only one in my way - the only one in my way from completing a new CD, or writing new music. David Hayes (armed with music) vs. David Hayes (armed with writer’s block.)


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’m not a big believer in the super-group, sometimes I think there isn’t as much chemistry. I’d have to say I’d like to see the Beatles, Pink Floyd, or Led Zeppelin perform.  They all have a big influence on me.


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?

That’s a hard question. I think it’d be tough to write all of their names on this page. So it would be a music festival where we could ride in time machines. The first stop would be to solve the question “What instrument came first, the voice or the drum?” Then we’d see the evolution of music to its present day form. We’d see all of the greats known and unknown. I guess we’d get to have the ability to see the future of music too. It would be a pretty long music festival.


What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

It was my classical guitar teacher’s CD Duos Dialogues, Norm Ruiz and Jeffrey Warren. I’ve been listening to a lot of Muse lately though.


Have you read any good books lately?

 You know, I don’t read much. I’ve been limited to only magazines these days.


What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

Well I’m always going to concerts at the local establishments in Chicago. I support my fellow musicians a lot. I went up to Milwaukee and saw Muse for the second time. Passion Pit opened for them, and they were pretty good too. I had to see this Muse show again because of the stage. It is amazing! They are on lifts and they lower up and down throughout the show. The stage design is awesome! The stage presence and performance is awesome! It is pure arena rock, and that is where I’d love to be.


Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”



What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

My love for D minor, because it’s the saddest key, really.


If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

John, Paul, and George.  I’d like Ringo to come, but you said only 3.


Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?

Be original!
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 6 at
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