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Non-Prog Interviews

The HazeXperience

Interviewed by Larry Toering

Interview with Leonard Haze and Johnny Gunn of The HazeXperience from 2013

MSJ:
Leonard, what was it like touring world stages with the likes of both Y&T and Ian Gillan, and can you explain some of the differences between those two experiences?
Leonard Haze: The biggest difference is that Ian is just mellow to work with. He has four rules, basically, and that is to just be on time, play as best you can, don't complain about bad gigs, and especially don't complain about it on the bus. Those are his four rules, and we played everywhere. For instance, when we were in Australia we played  a stadium and after the show we went drinking that night, and then next thing we knew we were playing there the next night. And while we were playing there, people were crossing the drum riser to go to the bathroom. It was so packed it was ridiculous, and anyway, Ian would often do stuff like that, as where Y&T would always stick to the plan. Ian would change in the middle of the street, but then again it was his band to do whatever he wants, ya know. So anyway, with Gillan I went to 71 countries, and not even close to that with Y&T, more like 20 something. So with him we went to places people don't even tour anymore and hadn't before then either. When we went to the Soviet Union, Gorbachev was still in power, and there were four telephone lines going out, and that was an experience. And the whole reason we did that, Ian was like, "if we can tour the Soviet Union as a band, we can do anything."  So, Ian was very friendly, and it was the most fun thing I've ever done in my life. I have to say, but at the time I was doing it, it seemed like it was breaking my butt. We all look back on it with the fondest memories. But you never have the chance to relax and I have to say I haven't done that ever until this new record. Without thinking about going right out on tour, I can just enjoy this for a minute. 
MSJ:
Johnny, how long have you known Eddie Money and when did you start working with him, and what did some of that work result in?
Johnny Gunn: I've Known Eddie for about 38 years. I was playing in a small club in Berkley, called “the Logranch” where Leonard and I met and I played with Sammy Hagar, Jerry Miller and all these different people. That's where I met Eddie and if his band wouldn't show up for a gig, we got so used to the material we would back him up. Then years later in about 1980, after he had his so called “accident,” Bill Graham was asking him to do another record. The last few hadn't done so well, and that's when we started writing for No Control and I met Michael who was on this latest record as well. Him and I and Eddie is all it was. We started writing some songs which were "No Control," "Drving Me Crazy," "Shakin'" and "Dancing By The Graveyard,"  "Give Me A Reason," all these songs that became the No Control record. And I had my own band the Johnny Gunn band, and we were out playing some gigs, and the song "No Control" Eddie was calling "Angela," and instead of singing “Angela, Angela,” I wanted it to be, “no control.” So my band did a couple of gigs opening for Elvin Bishop, and I video taped one of them and showed it to Eddie of us playing it that way, and he went back to LA to record the record and did it my way. And "Shakin'" was called "Doing The Cha Cha" and we changed it. That album went platinum and brought him back. Since then we remain friends. We play golf together. I do some charity gigs with him, and we've done some other stuf and I most recently played with him in 2011.
MSJ:
How long was this record Not Purple in the making, and how did you come across Steve Roseman and Larry Hart to round out the band?
Leonard Haze: It started out at the Logranch a long time ago and I always liked the way Johnny played with kind of an in your face blues, like Hendrix or Clapton or Peter Green, and I like the way those guys play. And that is why he's good with Eddie, ‘cause he plays that way, and I always loved his voice. So jump ahead to '86 and Johnny was available and we started working with the Johnny Gunn Band, and started writing some stuff together. And finally 33 years later we were talking and I had to apolagize to him for something that happened in Y&T, and wanted to tell him as a friend, as a true friend.  And I said, “why don't we finally get together and do something?” And I said, “let's bring in my friend Matt on bass,” and we did cover tunes and messed around in bars and had a good time. So we went to Matt's and the first thing we wrote was "Trouble."  And, I mean like done in an hour, hour and a half. And were were like "whoa, maybe it's not that good.” And, so we slept on it, and the next day it was still pretty good.  We tried it again, and then got together again and wrote two more songs. Then we started recording some ideas in Johnny's studio because we all had a mess of ideas. And so we started doing that, and then my stereo broke in my car and I was singing stuff I'd never heard before, and found out we all had so  much it was pretty close to being done. So we picked all the best numbers and came up with eleven. But we have a bonus track that we just finished, but we really wanted to get the CD out. because it was a year or a year and a half of doing all that. And if we ever get to one close to this, we'd be happy.
MSJ: What's the music scene currently like in the Bay area including local radio, and does it thrive more these days than in the past, or do you see it faltering?
Johnny Gunn: There is pretty much nothing for local music on the radio anymore.

Leonard Haze: But there is a lot of internet radio with the colleges. It's always been exciting in certain areas like Berkley, which there is nothing like on the planet, but the usual places in the bay area are great. There is still a lot of culture, but we have an easy bay thing.

MSJ: What lies ahead for the band, any touring?
Johnny Gunn: Yes, we want to get out there and do whatever we can, play anywhere and everywhere,. We love this music, we love each other, and we want to get out and do it. And we've already got other songs finished and new ideas that we want to record and we've got projects that we want to do together. And who knows what else.

Leonard Haze: Now the right time is approaching to get some more stuff recorded and ready for the next one, while we sell some CD's and book some gigs and keep it going. We need to get our website in order and set up sales there and we need help in different areas, but we're going to keep going.

Johnny Gunn: Larry Hart came in and fit the bill, and I we have to thank him for that.


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MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find an audio interview of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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