Gary Hughes – Ten interview

Ten featuring Gary Hughes are back with a new album called ‘Stormwarning’ out now on Frontiers.

Ten

1. What are you currently up to?

Live wise, we are willing to do anything and everything to tour this album.

We are already talking to promoters , both European and Japanese, about dates which should hopefully materialise later this year.

Product wise I plan to record a double concept album later this year. Once again I hope to involve several vocalists on the project.

It is an original storyline and one I hope to see performed at some point if possible.

I am also scheduling up to write an album for an unknown female singer I’ve discovered with an incredibly strong voice. Watch this space.

I have also been approached in connection with writing a new Bob Catley album although this is very much up in the air at the moment with his Magnum commitments. I have to be honest and say that until the end of last year I had no desire to write anything else for Bob. Three albums is enough for some people. But I was approached by Frontiers Records and Bob’s management team with a potential deal so we‘ll see if something emerges.

If everything goes according to plan there will also be another Ten album completed before the end of the year. Hopefully to capitalise on any ground made by Stormwarning.

2. Could you take us through the songs on the new album?

I still write the same way in essence.

I write in an ongoing fashion and so there is real beginning point to writing the songs for an album. The material for Stormwarning has been ready for around two years.

We began recording 22 songs and whittled it down to a final 10.

We have the bulk of another album almost ready to go in fact.

As far as the songs on Stormwarning are concerned they are each a story in their own right.

Each has a concept and as I have already spent days writing the lyrics for them I feel the lyrics themselves will tell their own tale in their own voice 😉

3. Why have Ten been away for so long and how did you select the new members of the band like guitarist Neal Fisher?

Neil Fraser had worked with Paul Hodson in the past and was recommended to me as the best all round guitarist that Paul had ever worked with. Vinny Burns and Chris Francis are big shoes to fill but he does this with ease. Featuring a blend of technical ability and blues. He has quickly made his mark on Ten’s sound.

Mark Sumner is the new Bass player in Ten. Mark worked on John Halliwell’s solo project Ensign. He has a very strong voice in his own right and therefore adds greatly to the backing vocals in Ten alongside Paul Hodson and John.

He is an extremely technical and competent Bass Player. Previously on Ten albums lots of the Bass has been programmed, with Shelly and Steve McKenna never having really featured on any Ten albums other that samples. Mark Sumner joining Ten ensures that this will never again be the case.

Mark Zonder took care of the drums on this album. He is a remarkable musician. We didn’t have a permanent drummer in Ten. We had a live drummer session member only.

Dennis Ward suggested Mark Zonder as a drummer he had worked with in the past and he recommended him initially to Frontiers. When we first approached Mark he wasn’t familiar with Ten’s music.

He did amazingly well. In fact by the time the drums were finished he phoned me to tell me he was very sad that there were no more tracks to record. I wouldn’t hesitate to use Mark again for the next album in the event that Ten just use session drummers for live.

4. Are there many, if any, unreleased Ten songs that could be added to any re-issue series of the earlier Ten albums? Are there any plans to re-issue the earlier albums which are quite hard to find?

That’s a question for Frontiers records. They are usually quite bright when it comes to business sense and therefore I would imagine that they will re-licence the old albums from us again when that time comes.

In the meantime the older albums are still readily available.

5. Why do you think Ten managed to keep going and have a decent following throughout the 90’s (especially in Japan) when many other melodic rock bands fell by the wayside?

I think because we were true to our musical roots even though rock had almost become a cult genre at that time. Cobain and Co almost ruined rock for all of us in the 90’s. We are grateful to our true fans for pulling us through that period of time.

6. What have been the live highlights for you and why?

Playing ‘Rock am Ring’ in Germany to 140,000 people. Speak for itself. Totally exhilarating.

7. How easy/hard is it to get a decent run of live dates together? Any bands you’d love to go out on tour with and why?

Whitesnake for the exposure and for the opportunity to play to a wider audience who might be conducive to Ten. It’s harder nowadays to tour. Bands are reliant on their labels kicking in tour support to finance these ventures. We’ll manage some live dates though this year even if we have to finance them ourselves.

8. Any plans for another solo album to follow-up the excellent ‘Veritas’ anytime soon? Covers albums have been popular with many bands and artists recently would you be tempted to do one at all?

A follow up to Veritas is definitely on the cards.

Covers aren’t my scene unfortunately. I’d need to have gone through a severe song writing drought to even consider an album of covers. I totally get that some and artists who’s writing might be, should we say, less prolific, might benefit from these types of albums.

9. In the age of downloads and declining CD sales has the internet helped you get your music out there or has it in some ways hindered it by websites offering free downloads etc

I am very sceptical about downloads. There are still too many illegal downloads for my liking.

Illegal downloads don’t affect bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica because their sales are so large that pirate downloads cant hurt them. Smaller bands such as our selves are dependant on every hard copy sold to provide our budget for the next recording.

Until something is developed to stop pirate downloads the internet will be killing not helping the music industry for bands like us.

10. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from music?
I follow my beloved Manchester United avidly.

And I spend the rest of my free time being the best Dad I can be to my two children Scott and Hayley.

Anything else to add and a message for your fans…

To the fans – Thank you for your unbelievable support over the years. It seems to know no limits. I hope you enjoy the album an I sincerely hope to see you all at a live venue near you in the not to distant future.

All the very best,
Gary Hughes

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