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Rocking The Mojo with The Gary Moon Band

Rocking The Mojo with The Gary Moon Band

Gary Moon is best known for his iconic performances in both Night Ranger and Three Dog Knight, lending his powerhouse vocals to these very well-known collectives.  And now the omnipresent singer has presented The Gary Moon Band into the world!  A local performance will include direct support to the legendary Vince Neil at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills on November 30thHighwire Daze recently interviewed Mr. Moon to discuss his vibrant and dedicated career in music…

What are you looking forward to the most about your upcoming show opening for Vince Neil at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills?
I’m looking forward to playing such a great venue. A lot of groups go through there, and it’s a privilege to play there with Vince.  I’m looking forward to letting everyone hear my material and get on with the tour.

What could one expect from a live show from The Gary Moon Band?
There’s gonna be a little history in there, some songs that I’ve done from my solo records and with Night Ranger, maybe some Three Dog Night songs and some new material. I’m looking forward to getting my songs out there.

How close are you to writing and recording all new solo material?
I’ve been working on about a half dozen songs these past few months, and I’m looking forward to getting together with Eric (Ragno, keyboards) to help arrange them. This band is GREAT and I’d love to have them play these songs on the record, and I’m hoping to do that after we do a little touring.

Select any two Gary Moon solo songs and what inspired the lyrics.
Music Box is a great song that I had written a LONG time ago, it actually was a song that got Night Ranger signed for Feeding Off The Mojo.  Don Grierson heard that song in one of our rehearsals and said that is the song that’s gonna take us to the top.  That, and of course the Feeding off the Mojo song, which ended up being the title track, was about the mojo that we all have that we feed off of every day and keeps us inspired.  I’m pretty proud of those songs.

One of my favorite songs to this day is Thousand Bridges.  It was right after 9/11, I had lost a couple friends in the tower and the next day I started writing material because I was so bummed out.  It’s therapy for me to write anything down – I don’t care if it’s a song, or a poem…I just write down my feelings.  Everybody should learn how to do that – they’ll live longer.  Thousand Bridges is about the bridges in life that we all have to cross.  Everybody has that disappointment, and you have to stand up and move forward – that’s a bridge.  Sometimes you have to cut some lines behind you, but you get through that first, second, or third or even up to 1000 bridges, and find out you have another thousand bridges you’re going to have to cross – and that’s good!  It keeps you strong, and moving forward, and it won’t let you down so that’s good.  That kind of inspiration is very medicinal for me.

What was your favorite Three Dog Night song to perform and why?
One is probably my favorite, as that’s the one I auditioned for – I knew the song so well and I killed it.  My band plays that live, and we’ll be playing it at the Canyon Club. And Celebrate, which was another great song that I sang with the band. But those are two of my favorites.

How did you become involved with Night Ranger?
Short answer – I was asked by a friend at one of these sound stage rehearsal places, that there was a band looking for a singer/bass player to sing some blues, and I said sure man!  So I went in, I didn’t know it was Night Ranger, I didn’t know Brad or Kelly, I didn’t know the songs and I just faked it, and the next day they called me down to the management company for a meeting, and they asked me to become an equal partner. And that’s how it happened – fast!

What do you think of the Feeding Off The Mojo album by Night Ranger in retrospect?
Well for me, it’s probably some of the best material I’ve ever written, and Kelly and Brad really pulled out all the stops on making them still “Night Ranger” – the sound, the guitar playing, the voices.  We were a power trio with that record, and every song on there is so different that I think Brad and Kelly both did the kind of performing that they haven’t been able to do for a long time.  So that’s what I’m proud of.

Do you still keep in touch with any of the members of Three Dog Night or Night Ranger?
With Three Dog Night, Danny Hutton is the only member from that era that’s still alive – they’ve all passed on but him.  We we’re really close, he always came out with his family in his own bus.  As far as Night Ranger, Brad & I have been talking and I’m supposed to go up there next week – he’s been sending me guitar licks, and I’ve been working on some melodies and I’m gonna fly up there.  The last record we did together, Brad’s Alligator record, came together that way – in just within a week we had the songs done.  And my band performs some of the songs from that album live as well.  Brad and I are still brothers, and we’re all friendly with each other.

Who are the members of your current band and how did they become involved?
I’ve known Eric Ragno for a few years now – he’s our keyboard player and musical director. He put a band together for a show I played at the Melodic Rock Fest 4 in Chicago a few years back. We regrouped in February when I was invited to perform at Melodic Rock Fest 5, and Eric brought in Andy Hewett on bass. This guy is a powerhouse! Eric and Andy have been integral to what we’ve been doing right now. Our latest additions are Cameron Brett on drums, and Jeff Zugale on guitar.  Those guys are playing all of those insane Night Ranger guitar and drum parts – I love it!

Are you involved in any other bands or projects outside of your solo endeavor?
No, I’ve severed all ties and I’m 100% into this project with the band.  They really set me on fire when I first heard them play my songs.  The only thing I’m doing is helping Brad with his solo record, but that’s just flying to and from San Francisco from LA.  We’ll be done with that within a month.

What’s up next for The Gary Moon Band?
I’m hoping a lot of shows!  We’ve been out there showing ourselves around and proving ourselves – we’ve been playing festivals across the country, and some SoCal gigs like this one coming up with Vince Neil. I really wanna get out there.  I’d play out there 5-6 nights a week!  I’m hoping to get on a tour real soon.

Any final words of wisdom?
Stay true to yourself.  It sounds cliché, but don’t let anything steer you away from what you believe in.  I’ve had a lot of these songs eat me inside – you gotta get them out there.  They’ve never gone sour on me. They’ve held up over time.  Now I’ve got the time.  Just stay true to yourself.

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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