Shifting Time with David Huff of Giant
Shifting Time with David Huff of Giant
Giant has released their fifth studio magnum opus entitled Shifting Time, launching the next compelling chapter of a brilliant career in music. Now anchored by founding members David Huff and Mike Brignardello, the two are joined by guitarist John Roth (Winger, Starship) and vocalist Kent Hilli (Perfect Plan).
Originally formed in the late ’80s by brothers Dann and David Huff, Giant became well known for their first two landmark albums Last Of The Runaways (A&M Records, 1989), and Time to Burn (Epic, 1991). With the sudden change of musical climate in the early ’90s, Giant disbanded with both Dann and David Huff becoming well respected producers within the industry. The band would eventually work on two more albums – III (2001) and Promise Land (2010), the latter featuring Terry Brock of Strangeways and Seventh Key. And now with the unveiling of Shifting Time, the modern-day Giant is ready to present their exhilarating brand of melodic rock to the world once more!
Highwire Daze recently interviewed founding member David Huff to discuss the past, present, and glorious future of the almighty Giant! Read on…
We’re here with David Huff from Giant. First of all, what made you decide that during a pandemic would be the perfect time to release a brand-new Giant album.
Well, none of us saw the pandemic coming, right? We love challenges. It just happened. In all seriousness. It just happened to be the right time to do a record. And other than the fact that Kent (Hilli from Perfect Plan) lives in Sweden, it wasn’t too much of a problem, because Mike obviously lives in Nashville. and John lives in Memphis, which is three hours from here. It was just a good time to make another record. And the label had approached me about a year before and asked if we’d make a record. And I was always open to it, but Terry Brock was involved in some other stuff and the label had a couple suggestions. They mentioned Kent (Hilli from Perfect Plan). I had seen Kent on a video, he did a remake of (the Giant song) Stay. And I always loved his voice and I was like, man, absolutely for that! So, the pandemic, I don’t know how it affected everybody – but isolation somewhat from reality, in the real world, man, making music – it was, and it is the best gift that was given to us during the pandemic. I can tell you that for sure.
And then John Roth from Winger and Starship. How did he become involved?
John Roth is a badass player too. Great guy! I’ve said this many times – Kent’s a badass singer and even better person and John’s the same way. I can’t remember where I met John. He’s one of those guys that you feel like I’ve known him my whole life. He is a great guitar player. Once I heard him, man! It was no question. If he had the time to spend on us, and he did! And we’ve had a great working relationship with John.
And then, of course, you have Alessandro del Vecchio who’s been helping you out. He’s in like in a million and one bands. What was it like working with him?
Same thing man. I had worked with him before. I think he mixed some things that I worked on. We spoke many, many times on this project. We went into the project, and they asked me and Mike to produce the record and we did. And as we got into it – I affectionately call Alessandro “the Swiss army knife of rock and roll music.” He can do anything and everything -and he quickly helped in the songs. And then I heard some demos, and I was “Oh man, your background vocals! Hey, you want to help out in the background vocals and on keyboards?” And he mixed it. So, Mike and I we’re like “Man we got to give this guy production credit because he’s basically a fifth member of Giant!“
Shifting Time, tell me a little about that title. And is there any overall concept behind it?
It was a collaborative effort from the label and us. It’s more kind like when you get down to it, it’s about evolution of oneself and music. Music is no different, bands, you evolve. A lot of people see Giant as the first two records Last Of The Runaways and Time To Burn. And we love that. We’re proud of those records, but also you evolve, you evolve as people – you evolve as a band. And so, Shifting Time was a great title for us and where we’re moving as the band Giant.
Would you like to tour in support of Shifting Time?
Absolutely! Two things, one – we’re in negotiations to work on filming a live show with the label and depending on the pandemic, how it’s going, obviously, here in the US, we feel a little bit more hope. It seems like the peak is about done, so cross your fingers that that’s true. And it’s hard to plan something right this second because I’ve been working a lot of records that these guys are touring arenas and stadiums and therr shows are so iffy. They do a tour and then they cancel it. We’re waiting just a little bit and see where this pandemic goes. And yes, we would love to tour. Absolutely.
When you look back on those first two Giant albums, Last Of The Runaways, and Time To Burn. What do you think of them now, in retrospect? I think at least one of them was re-released on Rock Candy Records.
Yeah, I saw that. I don’t know how it did. But yeah, those were some magical times in the US. Rock and roll was a very healthy diet on the main pop charts, in the Billboard charts – and it was very magical, exciting time. We toured a ton. We made the first one over in Europe.
And things changed a little bit in that rock and roll landscape with great bands, like Pearl Jam and Nirvana. But those times when we made those records, it was really nice because we got to spend an enormous amount of time making records. And that’s just such a valuable thing that that we’ve lost – that ability to spend that much time on a record. So, you had to evolve. We had to figure out ways to make great records, even without all that extended amount of time. But man, those memories are great. I mean, phenomenal memories, making those records and touring and just being a part of that industry.
Your brother Dann is no longer an active member in the band. What was the best and worst part about working with your brother in Giant and your previous band White Heart?
Dann and I are best friends. We have worked together. Literally, we have been making records playing for different people and artists since high school. And we have worked together on countless records every week ever since high school. It’s the best thing in the world. I’m sad that he can’t devote the time to be in the band Giant, but he supports it 1000 percent. He’s been involved in both of the last two records and he loves it. If I didn’t have him to work every single week on different things, I would be incredibly depressed. But so that being said, he loves Giant. He loves the band how it sounds. He’s very, very pro thumbs up.
One of your brother’s credits was working with Michael Jackson. Did he tell you what it was like working with the one and only Michael Jackson?
The funny thing is in our family, we don’t talk about music a ton, which is very probably odd for anybody else to expect. Our father was in music – a world class string arranger who worked with Celine Dion, Amy Grant, Michael Crawford, Luther Vandross. So in our family, it was a great dynamic growing up. Our parents, we don’t have our father anymore, but my mom is still living. They were avid readers. So, music was one part of our lives. It was an important part, but it’s one part. We were more about talking about philosophies, you know, families, kids. That kind of stuff, books and just world events when we get together. So getting back to that. No, he never talked about. Really, I don’t remember any conversations. We all work with some pretty big artists. And that being said, we don’t diss artist.
One artist I believe you both work together on was Taylor Swift. What was that experience like working with Taylor Swift?
Awesome. Consummate professional, beautiful energy. She has talent coming out of her ears, and you just gotta love somebody that is so nose to the grindstone, blinders on, and just goes about business. And but a kind person too – a very, very kind, giving person.
Now are you currently involved with any other bands or projects outside of GIANT?
I’m in a band called Skills. There’s going to be an album coming out (in May). It’s on Frontiers with a couple of band mates Billy Sheehan and Brad Gillis! We just shot some videos here in Nashville, believe it or not. We shot some music videos and it is really fun. It was a fun project to be involved in.
What do you hope that 2022 brings for you and for Giant?
We have been really overwhelmed with the positive support from this record, the fans, I got to be honest. It was so long ago. I just didn’t know if we still had fans – and I have to eat those words, because the fans and the press have been so kind and very supportive, and it really means a lot. So, in 2022, I hope we get to play some shows. I don’t know if you know this – Dann and I and Mike played a benefit for a buddy who lost his home in Nashville, due to a fire. It was 2017 I think. One of his favorite bands was Giant. So, we ended up playing three songs at the benefit to help them raise some money, and we had a gas! It was a lot of fun – and it was almost like riding bikes. When you get back on! I was like, wow! We really miss this. So hopefully we can do some shows. That’s our goal.
Shifting Time by Giant is now available via Frontiers Music Srl!
(Interview by Ken Morton)