Attraction 65 interview
| It doesn?t happen so often that you hear albums made today with music on it that ?talks? to you,and to use Gregg?s words in this interview when he?s talking about the music and the bands that was talking to him in his youth, I must say the same to the record he and the boys of Attraction 65 has done. I listened to it every night on my vacation when I was going to sleep and it would be the perfect end of a really nice day,Gregg Fulkerson-the old AOR rocker from the early 90?s band Blue Tears turned out to be a really nice person too.
|Hi Gregg and thanks for a real strong album with your new band Attraction 65,a mighty fine rock album with something for both the AOR people and the ones who love todays modern rock,when did the album begin to take it?s shape and form?
Gregg Fulkerson: First of all thanks for the compliment...I feel good about it myself... I guess it started to really get off the ground about a year and a half ago.... maybe 2 years ago...I had been on a year long writing binge....Magnus and the band made the deal...and we started recording in my own studio....because it was my studio.. we had time to really hammer out the kinks....recorded songs in different versions...etc.
Could you tell us a little about who the other guys in the band are?
Gregg Fulkerson: Sure...they are all 4 my best friends...literally...and I am very, very lucky to be surrounded by these guys....talk about building confidence...what if you could take your first best friends in the world out on the road...and thats your job....??? Michael was obvious for this group because of our Blue Tears time together... Michael Spears plays bass...remember that name because he is soon going to be an artist himself...he and I co-wrote Storm in my heart a few years ago...his writing is very different from mine...excellent stuff...he also just co-produced Billy Falcon...and also Billys daughter, Rose Falcon. Michael plays everything ...all the instruments... great musician and singer and a childhood friend...known each other since grade school. Hes in Attraction 65 as long as he wants to be...as far as Im concerned... but sooner or later his own thing is going to explode, I have no doubt.
Ludo Baccherini is on the drums...also a great singer...Ludo is from Italy originally... moved to California in his mid-teens...and ended up in my area of the country a few years later.... hes a big part of our sound, I think...his style of drumming really sets the framework for the rest of the band...big backbeat...he played with Mitch Malloy for awhile, and was in a band called Dr. M during his California days...also a great writer... Ludo and I co-wrote Prisoner for the record...
Robert Streets sings backup...almost like another lead vocal on alot of it...along with me.... he also will play alot or most of the acoustic guitar stuff live...he and I go back many years... and have always done music together...Robert always fronted his own band... but weve always talked about how great it would be if we actually were in a band together... and now we are. I even ended up giving him an "assistant producer" credit on the record because he spent so much time with me in the studio...when my ears were just totally fried, he would come in and offer a fresh perspective...offer ideas on changing this or that... telling me when I sounded good...or when I needed to rethink it and try again...had a big impact on the record...check out Swept Away for a really good sampling of what our vocals sound together...thats 2 voices..Im the melody..and he is that sky high one over me... cant wait to do that live...
Paul Zegelien plays guitar and sings backup vocals as well...another long time friend... we had done some acoustic things around town together...talked alot about the Blue Tears days... he had a copy of the Michael Sweet album..and I think thats actually how we kind of hit it off... he asked me if I was the same guy that did that record...and we never stopped talking music after that...solid player and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet...just the kind of person you hope you will be in a band with.
In addition to the band we had a couple of special guests...the only other people on the record other than the band were...Ron Hutchens...he and I wrote Strong together a few years ago...he played some keyboards on two or three tracks...another very close friend... and one of my long time collaboraters.
Carrie Lamb...she is singing those beautiful female vocals on Stand...Strong...Prisoner.... gives it that "choir" effect...she and Robert (Streets) were the "choir"...also a rising star.. .look to hear from her very soon on the music front...
Tom Michaels...played bass on Roll On......he is the bass player for a band called Sonic Flood...Michael was working on the new Billy Falcon record..co-producing that...and he had already finished all the bass parts...we were really crushed for time...I changed the key of the song...recut the guitars...and when I found out Michael was booked with Mr. Falcon, I called Tom...good guy and great bass player.
You wrote and cowrote 4 songs on Stryper singer Michael Sweet?s first solo album in 94,wasn?t one of the songs quite successful?
Gregg Fulkerson: Well, there were a few of them on there that did well....Im not sure if its one that I wrote or co-wrote that youre asking about though...I really enjoyed that experience... Michael is a great guy and a huge talent...my favorite on there was All This and Heaven Too.... he and I wrote that one...I think its the first one we wrote together...would love to work with him again sometime.
Except that,what have you been up to all the years between the Blue Tears album in 90 and the work of this new record?
Gregg Fulkerson: I began a family...wouldnt have been able to do this record if it wasnt for them... my son Carter is a rock star in the making...well, hes 2 1/2...but...he cant leave my guitars alone...and hes a huge "wiggles" fan...those parents out there know what Im talking about... tough call though....either a rock star...or major league pitcher...hard to say yet.
Even though your and Michael?s former band Blue Tears was more of an AOR band,there were some New Jersey rock in there too that has become a bigger part of your music now in Attraction 65,more rootsy so to speak,are you influenced by Springsteen and Bon Jovi?
Gregg Fulkerson: I was brought up in a very small town in Tennessee....Henderson...... great place to grow up...Saturday night looked like "American Grafitti"...if you are familiar with that movie....at the time all I could do was dream about growing up and getting out... sitting on the hoods of cars and watching the traffic go by...listening to "the river" or "born to run" on the radio...of course Springsteen spoke to me.....I loved all kinds of music... as a teenager I was all into Kiss...Van Halen...Queen........I loved the guitar in that stuff...still do.... of course......but Bruce...and Mellancamp...sounded like they were talking to me...or about our lives....when Bon Jovi came out a little later...I had the same feeling about them... their production was different...but the same kind of vibe...I just want to make music that touches people...I want it to get them up off their feet...and I want it to make them reflect on things in their own lives...to make that connection...if that makes sense. Doing that in a way that will reach people in 2003 is the tricky part.... its a different world than when we were growing up....
About your bandname Attraction 65,does it mean anything?
Gregg Fulkerson: Paul came over one day...and just brought that name up out of the blue..... said he passed this sign on the interstate everday....the exit off the interstate to the town we live in...Franklin, Tennessess.....said Attraction 65....I thought it was great...ran it by the rest of the band and alot of friends...and everyone liked it...so we went with it.... around our state there are signs for various "attractions"...could be anything... Im not even sure what that one stands for...could be old town Franklin, as its a historic city....not sure.
How many songs did you write for the new album,are there many leftovers?
Gregg Fulkerson: Im really not sure how many I wrote for this....alot more than we used.... I recorded almost 20 songs....but as it came closer to the end of the record... it became obvious to us which ones fit on this record..and which ones we should hold for the next....there are a couple we really loved that were on the record up to the last minute..but we pulled them off just make the record have that continuous feel... but we will probably pull them out live....im sure of it. One I really love is called "One Step Over the Line"...it rocks...but just didnt quite fit...i think its going to be a bonus track somewhere...or maybe a b side on a cd single...not sure...but its one of my favorites...its about as "new jersey" as you can get...maybe too much so... probably why we left it off the record...cant let those influences show too much!
Are some of them old stuff that has been with you for some time?
Gregg Fulkerson: The only older songs are Strong, Storm in My Heart and Call My Name... .those were three of my favorite songs that I had ever written...and they never saw the light of day...Strong was the very last song I wrote at the end of that "blue tears" period....I took about 5 years and didnt write after that...then came back fresh and wrote this record.
I have always thought that gospel in rockmusic is a great combination but not many has done that,it was a nice surprise when I heard some gospel feeling in the song "Stand",did you have that idea before recording that one?
Gregg Fulkerson: Yeah...this is a song of inspiration...any kind of inspiration you want to make it I guess.....its kind of from one friend to another...to your significant other...or anyone that is in pain...or that has had enough and needs you...the song is basically saying... I know you are tired...and weary...but together we can make it through this. Could be a parent to a child, or even a bigger idea than that..whatever it means to you.. I know what it meant to me, but Id rather let folks make up their own minds... better that way. My father was actually a preacher...and college professor...so I grew up going to church every Sunday and hearing that great music...beautiful melodies... my mother and grandmother used to sing with me when I was a very small child... Id sit between them on the couch...and theyd just go through the old hymnals... thats a pretty solid way to start your musical education. So now..obviously.. I have that sense of melody in the songs...I hope so anyway...
Your vocal performance is awesome on the new album and that voice is so masculine,have you tried to scare away bears with it?
Gregg Fulkerson: Ha....no...not yet....never heard it described quite that way.. .thank you for the compliment though.
The songs "Storm in my heart" and "Swept away" sounds very much like huge soundtrack music to me,if I close my eyes while listening to them it feels like I?m watching a movie,what inspired you to write those 2 rock anthems?
Gregg Fulkerson: Very good question...and I like the "soundtrack" analogy there...Storm in My Heart is a very, very personal song...well, they all are personal...in one way or another... but that one in particular...I dont want to go into details on that, other than to say it was written during the saddest time of my life...I had a great loss...and writing that song was my therapy I think...Michael Spears and I wrote that...and we took our time...months... seriously......I think it really was the lyrics that took the time...Michael had that fantastic bass part too...we wrote that for what would have been Blue Tears second record... during that period......he and I wrote allot together during that period.
Inspiration for Swept Away...thats a tough one though...I dont want to give anyone any preconceived notions about what the song is about really....once again...it COULD mean several different things...lets just say I was feeling my own mortality...
"In another life" is my fave on the album,it?s breathtaking,do you have your own personal fave that you?re extraproud of?
Gregg Fulkerson: You know...its hard to say...I worked so hard on all the ones that ended up on the record...Eden...Train...it depends on what mood Im in to be honest...and as far as picking favs on my own record..that can come off as conceited if were not careful...Im not saying these are fantastic songs...Im saying that I like singing them..playing them...enjoy listening to the way it came together on the record...and what that song actually says...
Is it hard to get the right feeling in the studio when you sing,how many takes does it take before you?re satisfied?
Gregg Fulkerson: I dont mean to be vague, but it varies...there were some that are practically the first time I sang them in the studio...Stand, for example...that song started off completely differently...we actually dropped it from the record at one point..it was rockin from the start... heavy....I dropped it...then one night about 2 in the morning I was sitting outside on the patio... and I just heard it completely differently...walked back into the studio...recorded that acoustic guitar on the beginning and dropped the drums and heavy guitars until later in the song... put up the mic and sang it maybe a couple of times...if you listen to it really closely.. its far from perfect...but it was exactly the "vibe" I wanted...I wasnt "thinking" about it... others I sang off and on through the record...Id think I had the vocal and come in the next day and hate it...so Id just let it go for awhile until I really felt it...if that makes any sense...
How do you look at the Blue Tears album nowadays,do you think it sound dated?
Gregg Fulkerson: Oh I think it sounds very dated but I still like it...there is a very innocent feel to it... fun...I still love Thunder in the Night...Blue Tears...Rockin with the Radio...not sure if its the music or the memories that go with them for me...Im sure well be playing a couple of those on the road along with the new record..
What would you choose between playing in a big arena or at a small club?
Gregg Fulkerson: Well, the arenas hold ALLOT more people...so you reach allot more people...the clubs are more intimate...although there are artists that can pull that off in the arenas as well... .Id like to be able to play arenas and still have that intimacy with the audience... which means Id better get allot of practice in...
If you had the chance and opportunity of writing a song to a favorite artist/band,who would that be?
Gregg Fulkerson: Well now...thats a broad question, but a good one...I love music...and Im also still a big "fan" of the bands I really like...most of my heros write their own songs... how about this...if I had a chance to "collaborate" with one of my favorite artists... it would be Springsteen, but thats practically blasphemy..ha ha...Melissa Etheridge.. love her writing...and man, does she rock...maybe Jon Bon Jovi....Stapp and Tremonti of Creed...those guys are at the top of the rock and roll list now... and they inspire me very much...
What cd?s are spinning in your cd player now?
Gregg Fulkerson: Well, I listen to music in my care mostly...and in my car I have....Coldplay... their latest...Creeds "Weathered"....40 Ft. Ringo...the Foo Fighters....still listening to U2s last studio record, "All That You Cant Leave Behind" as well as "The Joshua Tree".. .that never leaves my car...Bounce and Crush from Bon Jovi...
What things would you miss the most if you should be stranded on a desert island?
Gregg Fulkerson: No contest, my family.
If you got an offer to become a member of a huge rock band,what would you choose between:Bruce Springsteen E.Street Band-Bon Jovi- Def Leppard or 38 Special
Gregg Fulkerson: Well, any of the above...but you know..the audience rarely accepts the "new guy" in the band anyway...so theyd probably boo me off the stage...!
What are your best and worst qualities?
Gregg Fulkerson: I really hate that question...sounds like a job interview...ha ha...just kidding...... do I have any best qualities? Well.....Im obsessive...when it comes to music...I am 24 hours, around the clock...now when Im working..that might be good...but there has to be a balance between music...and life.
What would you do if you haven?t been a musician?
Gregg Fulkerson: Maybe a teacher? My mom and dad both taught...so...seems logical...
Would you like to give me your short opinion on these subjects?
Gregg Fulkerson: Ok..heres my opinion...what is "nu-metal" supposed to be? Metal that doesnt sound like 1985? Im dead serious, I dont get that...the modern bands of today like Creed...Nickelback...Foo Fighters...Evanescence...they are carrying the rock n roll torch today...and thank God they are! Doesnt anyone that is complaining about "nu-metal" remember just a few short years ago..when there were NO bands getting airplay in America...I dont know about anywhere else, because thats where I live... but it was terrible...for me anyway...I remember the first time I saw the video for Creeds "HIGHER"....the volume was down on my TV...it was the middle of the night and I happened to wake up...I sat straight up in bed when that video came on...I said...finally!!!! A rock star on MTV!!! How long has it been?? Then I cranked up the volume and was blown away....now that is an anthem!
-Al Bundy in "Married with children"
Gregg Fulkerson: Ahhh....how did you know to ask me that...been researching old Blue Tears interviews??? I am a huge Al Bundy fan....loved that show so much....taped every episode...watched the reruns...still do.....loved all of them...that is one of the most "realistic" shows on tv...it grossly exaggerates the way things really are...and makes you see them as they really are...did that make any sense to anyone but me?
Cd burning and downloading music via internet
Gregg Fulkerson: I personally dont have a problem with it...
-Do you believe in life after death?
Gregg Fulkerson: Absolutely
What breakfast do you need to make a perfect start of the day?
Gregg Fulkerson: I dont eat breakfast...never have.....I like "breakfast" for dinner....
Thanks for putting up with my little *odd* questions and I?m already looking forward to album no:2!
Gregg Fulkerson: Thanks...I really enjoyed this...very interesting questions...and for the record... as far as I know, you did the first actual "review" of our record...or at least the first one that Ive seen...thanks for the kind words....take care.