Interview by: Robert Cavuoto
Pictures Sourced from Walking With Giants Facebook Page
Some musicians get to meet their idols or even share a bill with them. Singer and guitarist Gary Noon actually recorded a catalog of music alongside members of his two favorite bands; Alter Bridge and Sevendust. Walking With Giants [WWG] is intrinsically and irrefutably the musical identity of Gary Noon, but his song ideas, vision, and guitar prowess attracted studio collaborators including Sevendust’s Clint Lowery on guitar, Morgan Rose on drums, and Brian Marshall of Alter Bridge/Creed on bass. The full-length debut CD called Worlds Unknown is due out January 15, 2016. A new voice for hard rock emerges as a result. The CD can be Purchased Here.
I caught up with Gary to discuss the CD and how he enlisted the help of his idols to make it come to fruition.
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me the story behind the creation of the CD, how it went from being a tribute CD to Alter Bridge and Sevendust to getting the members of each of the bands involved?
Gary Noon: The Walking With Giants story began in December 2012. I wanted to start a cover band that would focus on Alter Bridge and Sevendust songs only. There were so many 80’s and 90’s bands out there that I wanted to pay respect to my two favorite bands and what their music means to me. I wasn’t able to make the cover band happen, so I decided to do something I had promised Clint Lowery back in 2009 that I would make my own CD. Clint and I had maintained contact over the years, and since then, I had the privilege of being introduced to Scott “Flip” Phillips [drummer for Alter Bridge], Brian Marshall, and Morgan Rose through a mutual friend and we’ve all kept in touch. When Clint agreed to produce and co-write the first EP, I got up the courage to ask Flip to play drums and he agreed. On the second EP, we invited Brian to join the studio team, and for this full-length CD, Clint recruited Morgan as Flip wasn’t available at the time. Two EPs and an upcoming debut full length CD later and here we are.
Robert: Tell me about how you met Clint Lowery and his eagerness to work on the CD?
Gary Noon: Clint and I were introduced backstage at a Sevendust show through a mutual friend in 2009. During Sevendust’s Cold Day Memory touring cycle we met again and I showed Clint some of my tunes in Garageband. Turned out, we had a lot of similar interests and influences growing up, so we kept in touch, I started taking SKYPE guitar lessons from Clint in late 2011. When I asked him to help me write and record an EP, he didn’t hesitate. I was completely surprised.
Robert: I don’t have the benefit of the liner notes; did everyone collaborate on the writing of the songs?
Gary Noon: Clint and I co-wrote the songs, and each track has a different combination of Clint and I bringing guitars, melody, vocals to completion. Brian and Morgan added their perspectives when tracking their parts.
Robert: Tell me how these two bands inspired you as a songwriter?
Gary Noon: Alter Bridge has been my favorite band since its inception and I was a major Creed fan as well. Mark Tremonti has a way of writing songs that you can’t get out of your head. The music is great and the lyrics are emotional as I can easily relate to them. Each Alter Bridge CD gets better and better, and Myles Kennedy is everything I aspire to be in a frontman, a lofty goal [laughing]. Sevendust has a similar affect on me, but it’s important to note that their music inspires me with very strong feelings, more than any other band. Their lyrics are cinematic like on songs: “Nobody Wants It” and “Black Out The Sun”. The lyric “one minute left in hell, and everyone is running scared,” I could visualize what that might mean. Their music makes me feel empowered. Every time I hear the song “Shine,” it totally gives me drive and energy. It’s probably my favorite tune of theirs.
Robert: Does your band’s name reflect the importance of what these two bands mean to you as an artist?
Gary Noon: Yes, it does. WWG is Gary Noon. I’m an artist who wants to write and play music that gives me the same feel that Sevendust and Alter Bridge’s songs do. Having the privilege of working with my musical idols-turned-friends is what the name WWG embodies. I look up to these guys, and now I am writing and playing with them in the studio. It’s humbling, frightening, and incredibly exciting. They elevate my musicianship and songwriting – Clint especially.
Robert: How long did it take to complete this CD from beginning to end?
Gary Noon: We started writing in February 2015, tracked all but three songs in April over seven days, and finished tracking the last three in August over a weekend.
Robert: How do you define your music and how do you want it to be classified?
Gary Noon: I’d define WWG’s music as “relatable and encouraging.” I write a lot about what I’m thinking about, worrying about, what I want in life and any solutions I can come up with for my own problems. I think everyone has those things on their mind at one time or another. Classification-wise, I’d say it’s definitely a rock.
Robert: Who do you hope this CD speaks to and what do you want them to take away from it?
Gary Noon: Sometimes, fans can think that a band or artist is pushing a specific message or agenda, but I’m not so sure it’s true. Maybe it’s just what the artist is thinking about and the listener is adding their own personal experiences to it. I hope the CD speaks to anyone who’ll listen to it and my goal is for listeners to take away from it what they will.
Robert: Any favorite or memorable song on the CD?
Gary Noon: My favorite moment on the CD is the chorus for “Solid Ground.” It represents what I want to be able to say in my personal life, and I think managed to put that feeling into the lyrics and my vocals.
Robert: I like how you have an instrumental track at the beginning and end of the CD – “Worlds Unknown Part 1 and 2”, tell me about its creation.
Gary Noon: Glad you like that! I was inspired by the bookends that Breaking Benjamin created on their new album, Dark Before Dawn. It felt like the guys were conveying how you might feel at the start of a deep, personal journey, and then what that journey has led to. I told Clint I wanted to do something that would hint at the melody and vibe of second track “Broken Truth”, and finish up with reminding the listener of the tenth track “Solid Ground” did for them. Clint came up with the core melody and piano lines, and I added in the guitar parts. I think it came out nicely.