Click to watch Greg’s entertaining demos
When and why did you start to play guitar?
I played piano by ear at an early age, because
my mom plays very well, and she showed me a
boogie-woogie pattern and some other things,
and I can lay tracks down on drums, bass and
keys with a minimum of embarrassment. Jimi
Hendrix really affected me at a young age. I
roomed with my brother, who was 14 years
older than me, and he listened to a lot of
Hendrix, Cream and Grand Funk Railroad. The
idea of being a guitar player in a power trio
was cooler than just about anything in comparison. Hendrix, in particular, epitomized guitar
godhood in every way. I used to make cardboard guitars and pretend to play along with
Hendrix using my sister’s sewing machine pedal
as a wah-wah pedal. I did a report on Hendrix
when I was in the third grade. The first record I
ever bought was around that time… it was Jimi
Photo: Sarah Koch
Hendrix’s Smash Hits. I didn’t actually get my
hands on a guitar until I was 12, but from then
on it was all I cared about.
Do you remember your first gig ever?
I played my first gig nine months after I starting playing, in the cafeteria at Christ the
King School, where we played an 8th-grade
graduation party. It was a three-piece band,
and I played a ’ 68 SG through a Peavey
Backstage 30. The setlist consisted of instrumental versions of “Purple Haze,” “Fire,”
“Communication Breakdown,” “Hey Joe”
and “Wild Thing.”
Who are your most important
influences in music?
I consider myself a blues-rock guitarist who
learned a few country and jazz things along the
way. My main influences musically range from
Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Cream, Allman Brothers, Led
Zeppelin then back to Muddy Waters, Albert,
B.B. and Freddy King, T-Bone Walker, Cornell
Dupree, Earl Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore
James to Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Jimmy Bryant,
Roy Buchanan, Albert Lee, Danny Gatton, Brent
Mason, Ray Flacke, The Hellecasters to Charlie
Christian, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green,
George Benson, Barney Kessel, Kenny Burrell
to Frank Zappa, Little Feat, Allan Holdsworth,
Sonny Landreth to the Sacred Steel slide dudes,
Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.
Is there a certain situation, recording or
session you will always remember?
I will always remember recording at Ocean
Way out in L.A. with a big budget, staying at
the Roosevelt, being wined and dined, recording amazing stuff, convinced that we were
making historic music only to have the record
company sit on it and never let it reach the
light of day… a learning experience!
What was the funniest thing that ever
happened to you while playing music?
A girl came on stage once wearing these
shoes with springs on the bottom of them
and she proceeded to bounce with such
ferocity that she almost bludgeoned the bassist with her generous bosoms.
When did you discover that you had a special
talent to teach and to demonstrate gear?