Interview: Greg Loiacono Talks Solo Album, Mother Hips & Bear Music Fest
One of the first bands ever covered on JamBase was The Mother Hips. For nearly two decades we’ve been following the career of the Northern California rockers and this past year has been one of the more interesting ones in the group’s history. The Hips are still breaking new ground and trying new things. A couple of the new things coming from The Mother Hips camp is a headlining appearance at the inaugural Bear Music Fest and the first-ever full-length album from one of the group’s principal members, Greg Loiacono.
We recently spoke with Loiacono about his and the group’s appearance at Bear Music Fest, an interesting new event that will be held at Lair Of The Bear in Pinecrest, California September 9 – 11, as well as the state of The Mother Hips following Tim Bluhm’s major injury, Greg’s Songs From a Golden Dream LP and more.
JamBase: After all these years why now for a solo album?
Greg Loiacono: Well, technically this is my first full-length album. I released the Purgatory EP in 2003 under my own name. These were home recordings. Some done myself and some with Paul Hoaglin. And the, in 2006, I put out an album called Listen to My Shapes under the band name Sensations.
The material on Songs From a Golden Dream comes from different periods of my writing. Some of the songs are about ten years old. Others are brand new. I finally had a collection of songs that I really believed in and seemed to go very well together, even considering the span of time between some of them.
JamBase: Were the other members of the band supportive in this endeavor?
Greg Loiacono: I think we all do a good job supporting each other in all ways as much as possible.
JamBase: Did your busy schedule make it difficult to find time to record the LP?
Greg Loiacono: It was a bit challenging. There are lots of pieces to juggle between The Hips, other music stuff and family life. I would have loved to have taken out two months of time and completed the album from top to tail. The way it went, it took me a little over a year. And I consider that speedy, these days.
JamBase: Were the songs written specifically for the solo record?
Greg Loiacono: Yes. I had been collecting them over the years for this specific purpose. There may have been one or two that I brought to the Hips but were met with lukewarm reception…so I went back to the drawing board and instead of writing them for the band, I wrote them for myself. Every song on this record is special to me.
JamBase: What’s the biggest difference fans will notice from your solo work compared to your career with The Hips?
Greg Loiacono: I will let the fans/listeners decide that. It’s hard for me to have that perspective.
JamBase: Who will be in your band for the series of solo shows you have planned?
Greg Loiacono: Scott Thunes and Todd Roper were the rhythm section for Dream. They will be performing at most of the shows. John Hofer will be playing drums on a few dates with me down in Southern California. I am hoping to have a pedal steel player for all of the shows. It looks like Barry Sless will be playing steel with us at the Terrapin Crossroads’ Grate Room show on October 21.
JamBase: What do you have in store for your own set at Bear Music Fest?
Greg Loiacono: I am told that we will be performing at a “creekside” location on Sunday at noon and that is an amazingly beautiful setting. It will be an acoustic set with songs from the new record and others. Scott Thunes on bass and myself on guitar. Who knows? We may get some special guests to help us out…
JamBase: What can Mother Hips fans expect from the full band performances at BMF?
Greg Loiacono: Two, exciting, excellent rock shows for sure that will make you feel lots of different things.
JamBase: Is Tim back at full-strength after his severe injury? Did his injury lead to any changes to the live show?
Greg Loiacono: Tim is doing well. He is healing up nicely and is an amazing inspiration. It has not been an easy year for my good friend but he has made the best of it.
JamBase: The Hips recently covered a full Rolling Stones album. Was the full album cover a one-time thing or something you gentlemen would be interested in exploring again?
Greg Loiacono: I would definitely be interested in exploring that again. What a fun night! and having the two virtuosos, Scheila Gonzalez and Jason Crosby sit-in made it very special for me.
All-inclusive passes for the Bear Music Fest are available via the festival’s website. Head here for a chance to win an Adult Pass shared cabin. Greg Loiacono’s Songs From A Golden Dream will be released on September 23 with pre-orders available on September 9.