It’s just so right-with-the-universe that Gary Hoey’s 20th album, Dust & Bones [Mascot Label Group], is an exuberant fusion of blues and rock. After all, this accomplished and diverse guitarist has explored several styles in his career—hard rock, rock, surf, and prog, to name a few—and he came home to the blues with 2013’s Deja Blues.
Now, Hoey has forged his deep blues and rock roots into a fiery, organic, and thrilling mix that should delight and astound lovers of the guitar and guitar music.
“Looking back from my first album in 1992, it sure seems like I’m musically schizophrenic,” says Hoey. “But I truly believed in every style I played. I still do. I wanted to master everything—or at least try to—and every lick from every style I’ve absorbed informs everything I do today. And I love that, because all of that diversity helps me come up with riffs, licks, and melodies that are perhaps deeper and more unique than if I had stayed exclusively with one style.”
One thing that always stays consistent, however, is Hoey’s impassioned command of the guitar. He’s one of those guitarists who can attack his instrument with feral intensity, and then play something very soft and almost achingly beautiful. This ability to devise phrasing, technique, and tone in the service of feeling the music has not gone unnoticed.
In 1987, the Boston-born guitarist caught the ear of Ozzy Osbourne—no slouch at picking great guitar players—and almost ended up in his band. (The gig ultimately went to Zakk Wylde.) But Ozzy thought enough of Hoey to implore him to move where the action was—Los Angeles. The relocation paid off big time in 1992, when Hoey scored a major-label record deal with Reprise for his band, Heavy Bones. Sadly, the group was dropped in 1993, but Hoey’s determination won the day. He convinced the label to let him record a low-budget instrumental-guitar album, Animal Instinct, and his version of Focus’ “Hocus Pocus” brought Hoey chart success and a successful solo career. Since then, the gigs and accolades have never stopped. Here are some highlights…
• He scored the soundtrack to Endless Summer II (1994).
• He recorded “Miserlou ’97” with surf-guitar icon Dick Dale in 1997.
• He has provided music for several film and television companies, including Walt Disney, New Line Cinema, and ESPN.
• He scored the music to the awesome roller-coaster ride California Screaming at Disney’s California Adventure.
• He produced metal legend Lita Ford’s Living Like a Runaway album.
• He is a frequent coach and musical director at Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp.
• In 2015, he celebrated the 20th anniversary of his holiday CDs and tours under the Ho! Ho! Hoey banner. (Hallmark musical greeting cards feature two of his Ho! Ho! Hoey songs.)
• He recently completed filming an instructional blues-guitar video for TrueFire online guitar lessons.
“I love playing guitar, and, these days, it takes a creative and administrative commitment to keep a career evolving and growing,” says Hoey. “I’ve learned how to make records, how to manage social-networking campaigns, how to put a tour together, how to sell merchandise, and everything about how to survive in the music business as it exists right now. But it’s all worth it when I hang out with the audience at my shows and talk about music. The human interaction is critical, and having that relationship with my fans is what keeps me writing music and practicing like a demon. I never want to let those people down.”
“It’s great to hear Gary sing and play the blues with his trademark intensity, feel and authenticity. And the guitar tones! “Dust & Bones is a great sounding Blues/Rock album that’s both vintage and modern at the same time.” Joe Satriani
“I had the pleasure of singing a duet with the great Mr Gary Hoey, on the beautiful ballad called “Coming Home.” It’s got some awesome guitar playing in it” Lita Ford
Gary Hoey’s awesome command of styles, tones, and techniques drives so many different moods on Dust & Bones that you’ll feel as if he transports you across the musical universe and beyond.
Buckle up! Michael Molenda, Editor in Chief, Guitar Player magazine