Who’s Dave Hogan?
I am a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter from Bridgeport, Connecticut; a veteran of three critically-acclaimed music groups, Red One, The Great Upsetters and The Rafter Bats. My musical style ranges from acoustic Americana and bluegrass to electric-guitar driven alt. country, to improvisational jam band arrangements. Besides being a solo artist, I’m also the guitarist/frontman for the electric trio, Graylight Campfire.
How you got started in the music scene?
I started playing guitar at age 12. I put it down for a year, but then picked it back up. I guess I wasn’t ready. I started playing in bands in high school and never stopped. A lot of my friends were into cars or sports, but I found that I connected with music at a very young age. Both my parents were really into music. My dad sang in street-corner doo-wop groups, and my mom dug Elvis and the Beatles. There was a radio in just about every room of our house.
What are your music influences?
My early influences were Kiss and Black Sabbath. I credit Ace Frehley with inspiring me to pick up the guitar. I was into the hard rock, NWOBHM (Judas Priest/Iron Maiden, etc.) thing for a while. Then someone turned me on to the Allman Brothers Band, and I really dug in to them, especially what Duane was doing. The next thing I connected with was the whole alt. country movement. Son Volt’s ‘Trace’ really made me see that the kind of stuff I was writing had a bit of an audience out there somewhere. And while I was in The Rafter Bats, we were playing rock with bluegrass instrumentation. Where I’m at now musically takes a little from all these things . I like the high-energy of the hard rock stuff, the improvisation of the Dead and the Allmans, the upbeat feel of bluegrass. Most important to me, though, is the song. A good song will stand. It’s something you can take with you wherever you go in your career.
So tell us more about your new album. Can you give us some details and insights? Any release date, title yet in mind?
Right now I’m working on the new Graylight Campfire album. All three of us (Brian O’Callaghan, bass/vocals and Dennis Jackson, drums/vocals) are composing and contributing. Our vocal harmonies are really going to be a strong point this time around. Some folks like to call us a power-trio, which we are, I guess, but live it sounds like much more than that. Fans at our shows often comment that they can’t believe the fullness of the sound coming from just three guys. And we’re trying to get that feeling down on tape. We’d like to see a release before the end of the year, no working title, yet.
So you are planning to hit the road?
We’re putting together a run to support the record upon release. The recording studio is a blast, but the live show is where we shine. Some of the songs get to open up a bit and may turn into jams, because there’s a little bit of jam-band in what we do, too. Almost all of the songs on the upcoming disc have gotten some roadwork.
Are there any plans for the near future?
After the Graylight record, I plan to do a follow-up to Fun Box, my solo record. I’ve made some new friends in the local scene here, and I’m planning on inviting them to be a part of it. I’m hoping the folks who helped out last time—Scott Camara (dobro), Tim Stone (keys) and Jason P Krug and Kriss Santala (vocals)—will be back on board, also.
What has been the funniest moment you have been or took part while touring?
You know, being in a rock n roll band, you see a lot of different things while you are playing or even waiting to perform. Comparing notes after a show is often very entertaining. We learn to observe, and the things we see and hear can turn into comedy sketches. I think a lot of musicians are actors, too. We all have a role to play.
What’s your method at the time of writing a song?
Sometimes I’ll get a vocal melody in my head and try to work the song out around that, or maybe I’ll have a storyline in mind specifically and sketch out that idea. It’s not always the same. A couple of songs started out as writing exercises or experiments, such as Borrowing Time from ‘All Are Welcome, Some May Stay’ (Graylight’s first record). Some are poems set to music, like Out In The Open from ‘Fun Box’.
Do you feel you are moving on the right direction?
Fun Box got a lot of really positive responses, reviews and airplay. For some reason it did really well in Europe. I’ve got fans in the Netherlands. They seem to enjoy the Americana vibe over there. I’m feeling like people are appreciating some down-to-earth, honest songwriting. I try to put as much of myself into my songs as I can and I think folks can hear and relate to that.
Check out more at: http://www.davehoganmusic.com/