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erik neuteboom View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Gerard 1998: interview + live shots
    Posted: June 19 2006 at 17:30

                                     GERARD INTERVIEW

 
                                        

In the early Nineties I discovered the Japanese progrock during a Progrock Meeting by the Dutch progrock paper SI Magazine. One of the reviewers from that magazine played the CD Empty Lie, Empty Dream and I was blown away because of the spectacular keyboard work sounded like a Japanese answer to Keith Emerson, Eddie Jobson and Rick Wakeman! But the harder-edged guitar play, the good Japanese vocals and the propulsive and dynamic rhythm-section were also worth listening, what a splendid, ultra-bombastic prog! The compositions contained lots of frequently shifting moods and the many soli were great, I was determined to get this Japanese in my collection! A few years later I succeeded in the largest Dutch record store Fame but I had to pay at about 35 bugs, a hell lot of money but I have never regret it. In the late Nineties I got the possibility to interview Gerard during their short European tour for .. SI Magazine, a progrock dream came true! Along with their manager Numero Ueno (the #1 Japanese proghead) I talked with the band, mainly with keyboard player Toshio Egawa because he was the only who spoke a bit English...

 

Toshio, listening to your keyboard play I have the idea that you are classically trianed very well?

 

Toshio Egawa:

“My mother was a piano teacher, she taught me how to play piano but in fact I am a self-taught piano player. I listened to rock music, learned to play by ear, imitated my heroes or bought their partitures. Although I love Beethoven and Chopin, at the age of 15 I got interested in rock music. On school in Kyoto I started to join rock bands, my first serious group was Rumble featuring Ikkou Nakajima who would later found Pageant and join me in the progrock band Fromage in the Eighties. After one year in Sheherazade I joined the legendary Japanese band Novela where I met Terutsugu Hirayama who later founded Teru’s Symphonia. Novela was a very popular band that made many albums but I wanted to start my own formation because Terutsugu wrote almost all the compositions as a guitar player. So I founded Gerard with guitar player Yukihiro Fujimura, our first two albums Gerard and Empty Lied, Empty Dream are still very acclaimed. After we decided to disband the first line-up Gerard, Yukihiro formed his own band Vienna and they made several albums. In the late Eighties I joined the hardrock band Eartshaker and early Nineties I made a reunion album with Sheherazade and I participated in the Queen tribute CD Bohemian Symphonic Project. Then I re-founded Gerard with a new drummer and bass player and singer Robert G. Suchy.”

 

 

Who are your keyboard heroes?

 

Toshio:

“First Rick Wakeman but later mainly Keith Emerson, he plays so fast with his right hand! Another hero is of course Eddie Jobson because UK is my favorite band.”

 

And what about Jon Lord who toured with Deep Purple in the early Seventies in Japan?

 

Toshio:

“I love Jon his Hammond organ play but Deep Purple is too heavy for me and Jon is too much focussed on playing on the Hammond. I prefer a more varied keyboard sound.”

 

Where is the band name Gerard derived from?

 

Toshio:

“In Tokyo we had a popular fashion shop named Gerard Fashion, their name seemed a perfect one for my new band. Above that they sold t-shirts with the name Gerard, a cheap opportunity to get t-shirts with our band name!”

 

How did the Canadian singer Robert G. Suchy come into the band and why he left so soon?

 

Toshio:

“We did a lot of auditions for a singer, then a mutual friend introduced Robert and I immediately felt in love with his distinctive voice! He had only played the blues but his voice matched perfectly with the sound of Gerard.Unfortunately his was too busy with his work to join Gerard on our European tour so he only played on our CD Meridian.”

 

 


 

On the CD’s The Pendulum and Meridian you have mixed new songs and new versions of tracks from the first two albums. What was the reason?

 

Toshio:

“The new Gerard line-up is different form the early line-up and we wanted to introduce some compositions of the early work to our fans so they could compare.”

 

What about the sales of the Gerard albums?

 

Toshio:

“Our first, eponymous album sold worldwide at about 10.000 copies, the other sales alternate between 3000 and 3500 copies but I hope that after this interview the sales will increase ..!”

 

The new line-up doesn’t feature a guitar player, what is the reason?

 

Toshio:

“Finding a balance between guitars and keyboards is always difficult. In my opinion the

sound of the guitar is too loud along my keyboards and my bass player is already quite noisy ... !”

 

What keyboards do you use on stage?

 

I mainly use the Korg Trinity synthesizer and the digital Hammond/Suzuki XB-2 organ, this combined with a genuine Leslie box. At home I use a Korg Grand piano, I have an endorsement with Korg: I can use use their equipment and they use myname for advertising, like Keith Emerson, my hero, does with Korg too, full circle!”

 

 

 

On your first, eponymous Gerard album I am sure to hear a Mellotron, what about this observation?

 

Toshio:

“Indeed, in those days I played on a Mellotron but unfortunately it went out of order. Nowadays I play on the Vintage Keys, a sound module that contains lots of great and interesting vintage keyboard sounds.”

 

During the concert you played some songs on a keyboard that looked like a guitar. What was that for an instrument?

 

Toshio:

“That instrument is a Key-tar, made by Yamaha. I can handle my Hammond/Suzuki and Korg Trinity with it, that’s called ‘midi-controlled’. It looks very spectacular, in fact it’s two instruments in one!”

 

What can we expect from Gerard in the forthcoming years?

 

Toshio:

“Tomorrow we finish our European tour in the French town Marseille, the French progrock label Musea will record it for a live CD release. And our new album Meridian has just been released, we hope it will please our fans.”

 


 

 

                              Interview and live pictures by Erik Neuteboom

 

 

 

 

 

 



Edited by Tony R - August 04 2006 at 12:24
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micky View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 20 2006 at 18:27
Clap bravo Erik... great interview!  I haven't  got anything from them yet.. other than that album I ordered last week.  I am looking SO forward to hearing it and hearing them.


btw.... nice mustache hahahha Wink


Edited by micky - June 20 2006 at 18:28
I find your lack of Bassoon disturbing.....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2006 at 10:20
Thanks, Micky Thumbs Up ! Let me know your opinion about Gerard, I am very curious!
 
By the way, an aunty wearing strong spectacles discovered after 10 years that I have that moustache you noticed (I am wearing it almost 20 years) .... Confused ..LOL !
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 02 2006 at 16:30
Originally posted by erik neuteboom erik neuteboom wrote:

Thanks, Micky Thumbs Up ! Let me know your opinion about Gerard, I am very curious!
 




hahah.... you want to know what I think....


OH MY GOD.....

just got from from a trip and checked the mail and it was with my latest shipment...  needless to say Erik... I've been home long enough to hear Toccata 4 times straight... and in the process of being blown away by Epilogo. 


edit - thanks for the recommend... this album is going to have a long residence in and right next to my CD player.  Now listen to Gerard's Banco cover....


OH MY GOD.....

hahaha.  Thanks again. Excellent album and will I sure get a 5 star review after I've had some time to digest and compare....





Edited by micky - July 02 2006 at 16:33
I find your lack of Bassoon disturbing.....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 12 2006 at 15:52
Great interview. Gerard rules.
I want them to tour in Europe. Now.

ps: erik> you seem to have made a mistake with the live photos paths (they start with "Mijn documenten/").
    
    

Edited by guillaumeh - July 17 2006 at 01:30
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 13:07
Photos now fixed. Great work,again,Erik!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 14:03
Thanks, Tony R(ush), I am sure many Japanese prog fans will be delighted about these pictures Thumbs Up !
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 19:41
Originally posted by erik neuteboom erik neuteboom wrote:

Thanks, Tony R(ush), I am sure many Japanese prog fans will be delighted about these pictures Thumbs Up !


thanks Tony.. you are a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day LOL  Great interviewe again Erik! Clap
I find your lack of Bassoon disturbing.....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2006 at 20:24
Great interview Erik, very well done, and very interesting to read. 

"Mastodon sucks giant monkey balls."
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2006 at 05:27
Thanks Thumbs Up !
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2006 at 09:53
Great live pictures!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2006 at 11:00
Thanks again, I have made these pictures with Kodak 1600ASA (on my Pentax ME Super with 28-210mm zoom lens), I don't like using flash light because it looks less warm and the contrast is less refined.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2006 at 08:02
And it may annoy the musicians too.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2006 at 05:33

GERARD !!!Hug

I own their first two albums and ruins of glass fortress,and to me its better than any ELP Thumbs Up
 
 
I read the review couples of weeks back but i waited to see pics to post.
A very interesting reviews and really nice pics.
We can see maestro Toshio Egawa on the keyboards(my favorite keyboardist along with Vicenci brothers),i read somewhere that Japanese keyboard driven bands were mostly inspired by the Italian school(there is a tribute album  to Italian masters by Gerard and Ars nova) .They really deserve more attention they have.
Ars longa , vita brevis
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2006 at 06:44
I was delighted to see Toshio Egawa on the 25th Anniversary DVD (+ CD) from Novela, see my review on this site!
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