Gerry McGhee Interview
"Young, Wild And Free" marks the debut album of Canada's hard rock quintet "Brighton Rock." The group has been together for three years, and in that time created quite a name for themselves.
We spoke with lead singer Gerry McGhee.
Q. What is going on in Canada? So much talent is coming out of Toronto.
A. With Toronto, nobody is actually from Toronto. None of us live in Toronto. Nobody in 'Honeymoon Suite' is from Toronto. Nobody in 'Rush' is from Toronto. Toronto is the center where all the record companies are based, all the agents are based, and all the management is based. So, you somehow get rooted into there. So, when they mention Toronto, people know Toronto. They don't know many places in Canada, but they'll know Toronto. As far as it breeding new stuff, people from all over the country just move there.
Q. Gerry, you were born in Scotland. How did you get from Scotland to Canada?
A. Oh, my parents just thought it was a more opportune country for the family at the time, so they packed everybody up, and we moved to Canada when I was about 5. I've been back a few times since. Hopefully I'll go back with Brighton Rock soon.
Q. What were the group members doing before "Brighton Rock"?
A. We were all in different bands, playing around the Ontario, Toronto circuit; and Quebec as well.
Q. Anybody have a record deal with another band?
Q. "Brighton Rock" released an E.P. in 1985. Where does a "new" band come up with the thousands of dollars it takes to do that?
A. What we did is, at the time we were doing demos for the record company. When we put the band together, we went into the basement for six months, and just wrote originals. During that time we got on an FM station's "Homegrown'' album. And that generated interest from WEA. So they were doing demos with us while we put the band together and started doing the circuit. We said. 'We're doing 50% cover, 50% original, and we want to get something out that the people can buy because you can hold their attention a bit longer. So we just asked their permission, 'cause they'd paid for the demos, to take the demos and put them on vinyl, package it and ship it out. And that's what we did.' Between money with the band playing and management, we got the whole package together. We got it distributed through some record chains and it ended up getting picked up in seven countries, it even went to No. 3 on the Import Chart in England. That gave the record company incentive to sign us.
Q Some groups do not want to be tagged with the "heavy metal" label. Are you comfortable with that label?
A. It doesn't matter to us. We just feel that if you think Metallica is heavy metal, then we're not. If you think the Scorpions are heavy metal, then I guess we are. We don't tag ourselves, but people always have to categorize everything. If they want to categorize the band as a hard rock band, that's fine. You want to call us 'pop,' sure, we don't care. Titles don't mean much to us. We've never really set a limit and said, 'We're a metal band, we gotta do this.' We do whatever we put together and hopefully, if it's good enough, we make it a "Brighton Rock" song.
Q. How d you get so smart, so young. How do you know as much as you know about the music industry?
A. From playing in bars, we've come through all the stages where we've learned a little bit everywhere. We've been very fortunate to work with good people. As far as the record company, they've been great to us. The management, we got top management. So we've got people who have done this route before. As far as us as individuals, when there's a half a million dollars going through the band account, you got to keep a tab on it. You have to hire accountants, hire lawyers because no matter what got us started or why we do this for a living, it is a business, and you have to treat it like a business. If you let it get out of hand, it doesn't matter how many records you sell. When you're 25 you may be working in a steel factory. You have to make sure everything is going the right way. We hire accountants and lawyers and people we've entrusted who make money if we make money, and don't make money if we don't make money.
Q. When did it hit you that business sense was the key to success?
A. We got sick of playing on the level we were at. The parties were great. The chicks were great. The booze was great. But, it gets to a point where you're saying, 'Hey, how come I'm doing this same thing and I'm not doing my stuff yet?' I think it's the want to do your own material. You say, 'Look, instead of partyin' tonight, we gotta write. We gotta sit down and write.' It's treating it as a job as far as the band is concerned You have to work at it.
Official Website: BrightonRock.ca
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