Bruce Gaitsch interview part 1

Check the albums of Richard Marx and you will find Bruce Gaitsch. He started his career with Jim Petrik (Survivor), the start of a remarkable career. I started to collect the discography of Bruce Gaitsch on my website and tried to contact Bruce for some questions. The same day I got a reply and started to do an interview.

There are a lot of interesting names in your discography, for example Richard Marx. Can you tell us how you meet?

I met Richard Marx in Chicago playing on sessions for his father Dick Marx who was one of the biggest producers of commercial recordings in Chicago where I grew up. Richard used to sing on the commercials that I played guitar on. One day he came up to me when he was 14 years old and asked if I wanted to try writing songs with him. I said yes. The rest is history. We still work together on occasion….I was 24….I am now 60…you do the math.

I have been looking through the cd’s and your contribution is quite huge. On his first album you played guitar with Joe Walsh on Don’t Mean Nothing. On backing vocals the two bass players of the Eagles (Timothy B Schmit and Randy Meisner). How was it working with a part of the Eagles?

It’s funny that you ask that because I had co-produced an album with Timothy that very year. So I asked him to join us and Richard got in touch with Randy and Joe.  It is always great to work with your idols…I had also by then played on a Glen Frey solo recording and I went on to work with Don Henley on Timothy’s next CD.

On the second album, Repeat Offender, it sounds was more rock. Satisfied, Too Late To Say Goodbye, If You Don’t Want My Love are great examples. Right Here Waiting (number 1 hit) and you wrote Heart On The Line. Great names of session players are on that album (e.g. Prairie Prince, Mike Baird, Mike Landau, JR Robinson…). Can you tell us more about creating this album? How the session players came together?

Fee and Richard were friends before Richard had a deal and Richard was always a fan of the Tubes so that’s how Prairie came into the scene. Landau played on many of Richards recordings. Endless Summer Nights was maybe the first…they still work together and when I am producing I always call Mike he is a true original.

Mike Baird and JR were top session players in LA and so Richard tried them out.  Later on we moved to Jeff Pocaro and Jonathan Moffit….great drummers…all of them..

How was it working with Richard Marx through the years?

Wonderful…it still is always fun and always rewarding musically.

There is one song of Poco I have in mind quite some time: Nothing to Hide. It was written by you and Richard Marx. Was is it a song that didn’t make his album?

No we wrote it for Poco…

The album of Fee Waybill: Don’t Be Scared By His Hands, was almost written by you. You also played with Steve Lukather, on that album: I Know You and Surprise Yourself, where Steve is playing keyboards. Are there some stories you can share about making this album?

Fee did not have a real deal so we decided Richard Fee and I to make a record anyway. Richard and I had a studio together in Studio City CA so we used it and made the record as a group effort. Steve came over and played piano and the guitars and bass on his song in about 15 minutes…he is such a pro.

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Steve Lukather is coming across quite some times through your session days, e.g. the album Amused To Death by Roger Waters you played with Steve on Perfect Sense Part 1 & 2. A very classic album.
What is that story behind that session? How did you meet?

That is a funny story…Pat Leonard and I were also friends in Chicago before moving to LA in 1984…Pat always gets me on his recordings at the last minute…he knows I can come in and get it done quickly.

He and Roger were mixing the record and realized they had forgotten to record acoustic guitars on it…So on my way to the airport to go to Europe I stopped in and did the sessions…I was there by myself…with Pat the engineer and Roger.

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There is an American band that is quite popular in the Netherlands is Venice. You wrote a song: Mary On My Mind. How did you get  in contact with Venice? Was is the story about that song?

There is another song I co-wrote with them…on the Spin Art record.

They were in Nashville and we got together and co-wrote the two songs..they used my guitars from the demo as well. Nice guys.

Ilse de Lange is huge in the Netherlands and she tried to start a career in America. She moved to Nashville to record an album you produced: Clean Up. Can you tell us more about this album and working with Ilse?

I met Ilse in 2002. I was referred to her by my friend Rick Allison from the Lara Fabian sessions I did.

She and I met and wrote 5 songs..she asked me to produce them and I agreed if we could go to LA where I prefer to record. She loved the studio out there Capitol B in Hollywood and the players Vinnie Colauita on drums, Neil Stubehaus on bass, Mike Landau on electric guitar, Greg Phillinganes on keys so much that I got to produce the entire CD..

It was a blast and it cemented our friend ship which is still intact.

I read a story that you were in the Netherlands and you went to a Toto concert with Ilse and you ended up on stage. All session players gathered. How was it to play with Toto?

Yes Ilse, Bart and I went to the concert and stood on the side of the stage to watch but we did not play with them then. Ilse later toured with them and they jammed together a few times.

With your friend Tommy Denander you recorded Counterparts and you also worked on the Radioactive album. On the Counterparts album you wrote: In Loving Memory Of Jeff Pocaro and Carlos Vega….we miss you. Can you tell us how it was, working with Jeff and Carlos?

I never worked with Carlos but Jeff I miss dearly…he was always the right drummer for the gig and if he was alive I would call him for everything I do.

I was pleased listening to  Villa Lobotomies on your solo album Nightingale, I guess it is a nod to Los Lobotomies?

No, it was just a funny name I made up… of Lobotomies….Steve was always a big influence though.

Final question…..The dutch singer Waylon will release his new album in March. Can you tell more about him? The works, the session players (I’ve heard Mike Landau is on it too).

I met Waylon in August of last year. Through Ilse DeLanges manager Paul Brinks…we wrote 5 songs and he asked me to produce. Waylon is an incredible singer, performer and writer…I agreed to produce again if I could do it in LA…this time we were at Capitol B again in Hollywood and Mike Landau was there but this time joining Mike and I on the sessions were CJ Vanston on Keys, Lee Sklar on Bass and Curt Bisquera on drums.   It was the quickest from start to finish of any project I have ever been a part of. I want to work with him forever now…He is such a fine singer that the live vocals he performed while we did the tracks are the final vocals on the CD.  Ilse did the same when we recorded her Clean Up CD.

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