Artist Insight: Gary Husband

We caught up with acclaimed British pianist and drummer Gary Husband ahead of his gig here on Friday 02 March….

Can you tell us a bit about your earliest memory?
I was blessed. Utterly blessed. I remember nothing but warmth and love from my devoted parents. That and the sound of music in the house on a more or less constant basis. I remember being in theatres. My mum was performing almost right up until she went into labour with me, and after I was born I spent a lot of time in dressing rooms of theatres. The theatre is definitely in my blood.

Are you from a musical family? How did you get into playing drums and piano?
I am son of an amazing musician and equally amazing human being. We lost him before he even entered his 50th year. And with my mum, the most amazing dancer, (later singer, but always a dancer in her heart) I grew up with enormous support. Unparalleled support. The house was full of music and I remember a seemingly constant social circle of visiting musical colleagues of my dad’s and theatrical people. Piano came early – around the time literally that I could reach it according to my parents. Classical piano followed on my dad’s insistence, but after a few years of this, rebellion towards the whole classical establishment got the better of me and I started playing drums. The drums represented power, freedom and real liberation. And I loudly embraced them.

Your new release reimagines the music of John McLauglin, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Shakti, could you tell us a bit about what inspired this?
I’d done, as early as 2000 a reimagining of the music of my (now late) brother colleague (guitarist) Allan Holdsworth for release. It was very warmly embraced, not least by Allan himself, which was the ultimate accolade for me. This new release reveals an almost identical approach only this time dealing with the music of John. My endeavour was to create again, on existing musical creations already extraordinary, and knowing them both as significantly and intimately as I do and have done as people, and from what both of those opened up in me as a musician, I wanted to give something back. To do it I simply followed a very intuitive instruction – a kind of code or method that had made itself very clear to me. It specified that in order to make the most meaningful tributes to two of the most special people in my musical life, and to two inscrutable geniuses, they had to be intensely creative and personal ones. So regularly the context, treatment and expansion of the material is literally transformed, yet still, I hope, reflecting and maintaining the integrity of their music. That, in present day analysis, I feel is achieved on both these releases.

What advice would you give to a young musician?
I would reflect everything I believed and what served me. To be open, to study all the developments and advances made by the great game changers in music, and everything possible that may be relevant to what you want to do. But to acknowledge it as much reject it. The future belongs to the young musicians. But they have to come with credentials. They almost have to come having done more work now than any of us has ever had to do in the past. Right now we have a celebration of the “whizz kid”. Those who feel the high adrenaline fix is suddenly now everything, to the exclusion of everything else. That’s not music making, and it certainly isn’t advancing our art form. We need the young cultivating some real individual creative thought and imagination within themselves. No matter how separating an experience this may feel for them. We need some mavericks and rebels. Back to the drawing board in many respects. There’s no bigger teacher than history. And you have to be aware of it to meaningfully, relevantly  and meaningfully expand on it, or counter it, or even reject it. But you need to come with credentials.

What music are you listening to at the moment?
I wish for this not to sound arrogant but I’m listening right now to the next music to come up in me, and for it to take a form I’m comfortable with and one I’m confident about standing behind and acting upon. I’ve done nothing but listen all my life so far, and I will never stop listening. The benefit and enrichment I’ve always had through doing that is unlimited, and I’ll continue always to listen, to young and old. But right now , I’m tuning in to the little voice inside. It’s that kind of necessary period for me at this moment.

Don’t miss Gary this Friday 02 March, book your tickets here

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