GILBY CLARKE has unleashed his first new solo music in nearly two decades via Golden Robot Records! Gilby’s new album The Gospel Truth is full of fist-pumping rock ‘n’ roll songs with fat choruses, bluesy licks and trademark solos! It’s Classic rock, a new version of what Gilby likes to do and that’s… LOUD GUITARS! The album features legendary Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx, as well as drumming from John Mellencamp and Chickenfoot sticksman Kenny Aronoff and Stephen Perkins from Jane’s Addiction, Porno For Pyro & Infectious Grooves. The Gospel Truth has already spawned three singles in Rock n’ Roll Is Getting Louder, Tightwad (featuring Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx) and the title track which is a song about the concept of truth today. Gilby talks more about the album with Hi Fi Way.
How are things going in the States?
Well, I’m in California. So yes, we’re still fairly locked down. Things are getting a little bit better, but still affecting our everyday life.
It must be frustrating going into an album release and with limited or no prospect of touring, which is an important part of an album release, must make things a little bit tricky in the short term?
Absolutely, we actually were scheduled to put the record out last year and we held it back because of this. Then it just got to a point where we had to get it out. We don’t want ao record that’s five years old getting out now. But we’ll have our moment to play live and hopefully we’ll still have the same interest.
Congratulations on the album. It’s been a while since you released your last album. Was it just finding the right time to slot it in to get it done?
Well, there’s a couple of answers to that. The number one answer is, I never set out to be a solo artist, so it wasn’t a real priority for me. When it first started, it was kind of all I had. After coming off Guns it really was all I had. So, I put a lot of time into it. I made records every couple years, but then other things came up. There were other projects. I started doing a lot of producing, playing with other artists. The next answer is, I did get to a point where I had the train of thought, why do I need to make a record? The industry had changed. It’s like my live dates were fine. If I want to do some solo shows without having a record, it didn’t affect it. What I learned was that was the wrong answer. I was wrong. I’m an artist. It’s my job to be creative, and when you are writing songs and recording songs with talented musicians, it instils a part of you that’s really important as an artist. Now you can be an artist and be a performer. That’s fine. But for me, I liked that process. I liked the process of writing songs. I liked the challenge of writing songs. So, I had to kind of change my train of thought. I was wrong. You do need to make records. It’s important.
Was this sort of the most sort of satisfied you’ve been creatively doing this solo record in particular?
Well, I mean I was producing a lot, really. It was a lot of production, being hired to be a producer. Sometimes it’s writing, sometimes it’s writing without being credited, that does happen. But it was a lot of things. I played guitar for Heart. I played guitar for the MC5. I played guitar for Nancy Sinatra. We did Kings of Chaos dates, Royal Machines, Camp Freddy before that. I was busy! It’s not like I was doing nothing and just riding my motorcycle around. I was busy! I even was playing solo dates all around the globe. I mean we played in India, Bangladesh, Australia. We played Canada a lot. We played Europe, we played Germany, we played Netherlands. We played everywhere, but I wasn’t making records at that time. I was just playing live shows.
When you make great albums does that get you thinking that you should be making more solo albums?
Yes, it did. It did! Well, it’s not even so much as I should be, it felt good. As we get older, we want to do the things that make us happy in life. Also it is part of it is my job, but I enjoy the process. I enjoy the creative process. One thing about being a solo artist is that I don’t have a set band. I have a band I play live with, but recording I’m a little bit at the mercy of the guys that I like to play with and they’re on tour all the time. So it’s hard getting guys together, but I like that process of sitting in a room, playing with the guys and working on ideas. It’s good for me as an artist.
In terms of creativity did these songs start as you on an acoustic guitar or do you get the guys together to jam out in a room?
It’s a little bit of both. I mean, my process is always been the same. Usually later at night when my Los Angeles Lakers are on TV, I usually stand up and watch the game. Sometimes I have my electric guitar on, my Les Paul. I have a little amp in my room and I’m doodling, or sometimes I’m just playing an acoustic guitar and that’s where I come up with my ideas. I’m watching the game and I’m just doodling and you play something that’s kind of cool and you go, “Ooh, I like that. I love it . Let me record it on my phone and so I don’t forget it.” Then later on, you go through your ideas of, what’s a good idea, what was a bad idea. From there I start that process and then I like to jam. I don’t like to demo. I like to jam with the guys. I get a couple of my buddies come over whether it’s Steve Perkins and Sean McNabb and we just jam. I go, “Hey I got this idea guys, what do you think?” Luckily my friends are good musicians, so they give me really good feedback, but that’s usually how I start my thing. Lyrics are the very last thing.
How was it working with Nikki Sixx on Tightwad?
Well, the great thing about Nikki is number one he’s a friend. He’s a family friend. The wives get along, we go out to dinner together, things like that. Nikki was going to be on the Pawnshop Guitar record, but it just didn’t work out. We were both recording at the same time at a studio. They were making the record with Corabi and I was making Pawnshop Guitars, but somehow it just didn’t work out to get him on that record. So, we were out to dinner one night, I told him what I’m doing and, “Man, you really got to play on this record.” So I sent him the song and he came over and he tracked it. Man, did he nail it. He played a 59 P bass and it sounded so good. He left a little pedal behind for me and it was a great experience.
Do you find that you are tougher on yourself nowadays compared to where you were at the beginning of your career when you consider what is a good song, what’s going to go on the scrap heap?
Yes. I’m tough on myself, especially this time around it was important to me to be better at everything, to be a better singer, to be better lyricist, to be a better guitar player. These things were important. So when I started the process of writing, I didn’t want to be redundant because there was a point during those years where I wasn’t making any solo records where I thought, I’ve made a lot of records. I’ve kind of got everything out of my system. But once again, that was the wrong way of thinking. I can still write about the same things, but I can take a different approach to it without being redundant, repetitive, uninspired. There are ways of doing that, but it’s a challenge. I didn’t want to be cliche. So, when you listen to this record there’s some stories on there. But I’m trying to take a unique approach to it. I’m not, like I said, I’m not using cliches. It’s not, “Oh baby, I love you. You’re the one. There’s no one else for me.” I’m trying to take it a little bit more of an original approach.
Did you find that there was much pressure from fans about when are you going to do an album?
There’s pressure now that I’m doing the publicity for it. I get that question from absolutely everyone, but I got to be honest. I got to be honest, it’s not from fans. I mean fans give you pressure all the time, but it’s different pressures. Everybody has an opinion now and because of social networking, those questions are a little more relevant because they can actually get straight to you from the person. So, everybody’s opinion is important, but the most important opinion is my opinion. It’s what I think. If we do think the same then you got to do your job to fix it, and I did in this instance.
What is the plan from here to keep the album alive?
The reality is this is going to be a year of very, very limited touring. We actually had our first two live shows booked. We went to St. Louis. One is a private show, one is a public show and they’re both limited capacity, but we don’t have anything else in the books. This is just kind of an experiment to see how it goes. We have a streaming event that we’ve actually already recorded, that we just don’t have an announcement date yet of when it’s going to show. I enjoy the streamed events. I know there’s some people that don’t, but I love them. I think it’s a nice way to show yourself in a different way. It’s not so contrived, it’s live, it’s fun. I like the streaming events.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
No, not really. Now that the record has been released this is my priority right now. I really want to do my part to make sure everybody knows that it’s out there. That’s the hardest job, is letting people know that there’s a record out and where to get it at. We’re just going to take it as it comes and see how things are. I mean, we’re all in new territory here.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Purchase The Gospel Truth from Golden Robot Records