Anthony’s Airwaves – Transmissions from Gerald Gradwohl

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Today, I have a different interview for you guys. If you like Jazz and Hard Rock fused, then you’ll like Gerald Gradwohl! Gerald has played music for a very long time from Austria and started his first band at the age of 11 as a Classical guitarist and went full-on Rock, getting an electric guitar, and the rest was history. Taking lots of inspiration from 80s Rock and Metal and incorporating that into Jazz artists of varying decades, Gerald’s music takes you on a wild ride of fast fretting to easy listening sax to give you an experience you won’t forget! So, let’s hear it from him; I give you Gerald Gradwohl!

Anthony:
Gerald, thanks a lot for doing this interview with us today! How’s this past year been going for you? What have you been doing to pass all this extra time? It looks like you’ve been able to keep busy with your new album, Episode 6!

Gerald:
Thanks for having me on this interview! My original plan was to record the new album in 2021, but as Covid shut everything down, I postponed my plans, finished the unfinished songs I had, and recorded in Summer 2020!

Anthony:
What does Episode 6 mean to you, and what kind of story does it tell?

Gerald:
It’s my 6th official album under my name, and as I love to watch TV/streaming series where you have seasons and episodes, I thought this could be a cool name for the album.

Anthony:
What got you into music? Was there a point in your early life that you thought to yourself, “That’s what I want to do with my life.” or was it a sort of slow progression over time?

Gerald:
I’ve always loved music for as long as I can remember, and I had my first band about 11 years old, so my interest was always there. Two significant situations made it clear: The first was when my Classical teacher(!) – showed me at the age of about 12 the Minor Pentatonic and said, “With this, you can play solos and improvise on anything! “From this moment on, I did not want to do anything else other than improvising, bought an electric guitar, and ultimately lost interest in classical guitar. Secondly, at about 14, I saw an Austrian Hard Rock Band with cool music and long hair on Local TV and knew that this is what I wanted! Later, I changed my musical interests a little and got more interested in Jazz and Funk music.

Gerald Gradwohl Group - Episode 6 Album Teaser by Gerald Gradwohl

Anthony:
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where you’re from, who you and your band are?

Gerald:
I am from Austria/Europe and live about 50 km south of Vienna. I make my living as a guitar teacher at the Joseph Haydn Conservatory Eisenstadt, where you can study guitar and play in several local bands/projects. My Band exists with this structure since 2014 and is my creative tool for composing.

Anthony:
What are some of the inspirations and influences for the band on both the Rock side and Jazz side?

Gerald:
Oh, there are so many!! I give you a few: early days: Sweet, AC/DC, KISS, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Van Halen, Gary Moore (his Rock period), Jeff Beck, and some recent Metal guys like Five Fingers Death Punch or Otep. Many jazzier guys: Stern, Scott Henderson, Frank Gambale, Wayne Krantz, George Benson, Michael Brecker, Bob Berg, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, or other artists like Brent Mason, Amanda Marshall, Shelby Lynne.

Anthony:
Episode 6 is a bit…complex, to say the least; what was it like composing for that album and recording it?

Gerald:
I think that’s been my style for years. I have some ideas, grooves, and melodies that I work on from time to time, and when I have enough material, I record an album. This time I think there is a little bit more composition than jamming because I know my bandmates very well, and I know the sound for them for years. I try to capture their musicality and styles in my tunes.

Gerald Gradwohl - A few bending ideas - YouTube

Anthony:
So, you’re a jazz fusion group, which mixes Hard Rock and Jazz. That said, what were some of your inspirations for this mix?

Gerald:
Deep in my heart, I’m a Rock guy, and I grew up listening to Hard Rock Music, so this will always be a big part of me. I loved all the 80s guitar shredders, but at a certain point, I thought there must be something else than shredding the fretboard up and down, and I found this in Jazz music. I studied Jazz guitar at a Conservatory in Vienna in the late 80s and listened to and transcribed all my heroes. The mixture of the power of Rock and the harmonies of Jazz and Funk keeps it always interesting for me! 


Anthony:
You seem to have quite a history with your music career; you’ve done quite a few collaborations; care to tell us about who you’ve played with and shared the stage with?

Gerald:
Of course! There are/were some well-known musicians I’ve worked with: like Tangerine Dream – I recorded a few records and did some tours with them in the 90s and early 2000s. I played live with Bob Berg, Kirk Covington(Tribal Tech), and Adam Nitti and recorded with these guys. Gary Willis(Tribal Tech) is also on one of my records. I worked with many local Austrian acts, and I am part of the Dancing Stars Orchestra, the live Band of the Austrian TV show “Dancing Stars.”

Anthony:
Well, it’s no secret that COVID has pretty much shut down all live shows; what do you miss about playing live? What are some of your favorite venues to play at?

Gerald:
Oh my god, I miss it all about the live playing!! The good and the bad things!! Mainly, I cannot go to different places, meet other people, and feel the energy of an audience! Favorite Venues: Shepperd’s Bush Empire (London/UK), Tempodrom(Berlin/Germany), Metropol(Vienna). Favorite Places: Puerto Vallarta(Mexico), all the parts we visited when we toured Romania – the Black Sea, for example, or the central city Bucharest.

Anthony:
Influences to your music or not, who are some of your favorite artists and albums?

Gerald:

I mentioned some of them before, but I try again:

Van Halen: I, II, Women, and Children First, Gary Moore – Corridors Of Power, Mike Stern – Upside Downside, Brecker Brothers – Straphangin, Gary Willis – Bent, Jeff Beck – Wired, Scott Henderson – Spears, Dr. Hee – Nomad, Tribal Tech – Face First, Pat Metheny Group – Still Life (Talking), Michael Brecker – Don’t Try This At Home, Chick Corea – Elektric, The Band – 1st AlbumLight Years, Toto – Isolation, Frank Gambale – A Present For The Future, John Scofield – Überjam KrantzCarlock, Lefebvre Bonnie Raid – Slipstream, Allan Holdsworth – Metal Fatigue Michael Landau Group – Live. To name a few.



Anthony:
Here’s one we ask everyone, do you collect any physical forms of music like records, CDs, tapes, cassettes, or are you all digital?

Gerald:
I do not collect, but I have many CDs and still over 500 cassettes (and even two tape decks)!!!! This year, I bought a vinyl player and started to listen to vinyl again, which I did in my youth! But I have to admit that I mostly listen to music in the car where I have everything digitally.

Hornsong | Gerald Gradwohl Group
Image Credit: Joe Vigerl

Anthony:
Here’s one of my new favorite questions to ask musicians, what kind of equipment do you work with? Do you play the same instruments live that you use to record, or are they separate?

Gerald:

That’s an excellent question! The Recording gear differs a little bit from the live gear.
Guitarwise, not so much – this time, I used in the studio these guitars: A Fender American Stratocaster from 1993, which is also my main live guitar for everything! If I am not sure what to choose – I take this one! Furthermore, a Fender Custom Shop Strat from 2016, a Yamaha Pacifica USA 1, a Gibson 335 that I bought recently, and a pink Hamer Chaparral from the late 80s.

Live, I mostly take one main Guitar – a Stratocaster Style guitar like my Fender or A Suhr Classic S, and a spare guitar if something happens. I wouldn’t say I like to change guitars in a set too much – it’s always tricky soundwise with different guitars.

But when I have a studio job, I take more guitars with me like a Strat, Telecaster, A Gibson Les Paul, Gibson 33, two Acoustics, and so on.

When recording Episode 6, I used two Amp Heads: a Friedman Runt 50 or a Suhr Badger 35 running into either a 4×12 Marshall Cab from the eighties or a 1X12 Cab with A Celestion G12 H speaker. I had some pedals before the amp depending on what I wanted to use: A Moogerfooger, Roger Mayer Voodoo vibe 1, Boss AW3, Xotic XW1, Line 6 HX Stomp, But I connected just the pedal(s) that I needed for the song. Like Delay/Reverb, the rest of the effects, like Delay/Reverb, I added in the mix.

Live its a little different:
Currently, I use: Xotic XW1-Xotic RC Booster-Okko Diablo-MI Audio Tubezone – Line 6 HX Effects or Helix Amp: Friedman Runt 50 – I run it in 4 cable method) – into a Bluguitar Twincab 2×12 Cab.

But sometimes (for small jobs), I use the Helix directly into the mixing desk or into a clean amp. Sometimes, I use a Bluguitar Amp1 with a 1×12 cab and a Line 6 HX Stomp, and a TC Nova repeater Delay or a Strymon Timeline. Sometimes, a DV Mark Micro 50 + DV Mark cabs for the small jobs.

Anthony:
Let’s give you an easy one now, where can our readers find your music?

Gerald:
It’s available on every platform like Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, Bandcamp, etc. The new album is available here:  http://brokensilence.de/lnk/episode6/ You can always check my website www.gradwohl.at for all info like this!

Gerald Gradwohl - YouTube

Anthony:
So, to me, Jazz music seems polarizing for most people; you either like it or don’t. Do you feel incorporating the Hard Rock element into Jazz music can help somewhat blur that line and win over some people?

Gerald:
No, that’s not my purpose. I combine Rock and Jazz because I like both worlds, and I make music that I would love to hear, and that’s a mixture of different styles! I do this fusion because I feel it that way and not sell more records. In this case, I would have to play other stuff!! Haha!

Anthony:
Besides music, do you have any other passions that may or may not inspire your music?

Gerald:
Yes! Martial Arts! I am a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and a brown belt in kickboxing! Martial Arts and fighting can be compared to music, especially improvised music. You have to do your homework/drills, basics, and so on, but you always have to react to others in the moment, which is a very improvisational thing in my mind. So, sports were always vital for me, I also like Soccer and Skiing!

Anthony:
What are your plans once COVID calms down?

Gerald:
Going to a restaurant and enjoying social life! And I hope to bring my band on tour, which is already difficult when there is no pandemic and almost impossible nowadays. We play a few streaming gigs at the moment and I hope this changes into real gigs in Fall or at least 2022 – but I am afraid that every musician will be on tour next year! So, the clubs will be overbooked – we will see.

Anthony:
Gerald, thanks again for doing this with us today! Is there anything else you’d like to add that we may have missed or didn’t cover here today?

Gerald:
Thanks a lot – I am very thankful for your questions! Maybe one thing: although my music is available on the streaming platforms, please buy CDs or vinyl or at least downloads- that is the only thing that helps an artist cover the expenses and maybe release other music in the future! AND if you have the opportunity to see the bands/artists like – please go there! You never know what happens next and how many possibilities you will have in the future!

Gerald Gradwohl Group | d'Zuckerfabrik

Interested in learning more about the music of Gerald Gradwohl? Check out the link below:

Dig this? Check out the full archives of A.M. Radio, by Anthony Montalbano, here: https://vinylwritermusic.com/a-m-radio-archives/

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3 thoughts on “Anthony’s Airwaves – Transmissions from Gerald Gradwohl

  1. Thanks for the nice interview Anthony!! I have a small correction: I wrote that I used a Hamer Special on the record but this was a mistake! It was my pink Hamer Chaparral!! 😉

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