Interview With Former BRIGHTON ROCK, HELIX Guitarist Available
September 13, 2006, 16 years ago
The following report is courtesy of Sleaze Roxx:
Greg Fraser is best known for his guitar work with Canadian hard rockers BRIGHTON ROCK, who enjoyed success with singles such as 'Can't Wait For The Night' and 'We Came To Rock' in the 80s. After spending time on the road as a sideman with HELIX, Greg realized it was time to satisfy his creative urges, and with that Fraze Gang (www.frazegang.com) was born. As both guitarist and singer, Greg recently released the debut FRAZE GANG album and talked to Sleaze Roxx about his musical career and new band.
Sleaze Roxx: You just released an album with your new band Fraze Gang, how did this project come together?
Fraser: "Being the founder and chief songwriter for Brighton Rock I was always writing songs for the next CD to be released. Every time we had lots of free time, I was in writing mode. When the band broke up the writing mode did not stop, especially with more free time than I ever had in the previous 10 years. The creativity never dulled, and I kept writing without an outlet. I started to audition different singers to sing my stuff but it didn't work because they couldn't feel my stuff like I could. So I decided to take a stab at it to see the songs through with the thought that another singer would later come in and redo the vocals. So I got Skreebs from Brighton Rock and local drum legend Phil Epp to help out with the project and record 3 songs. When we heard the finished product we thought, "Wait a minute, maybe we have something here!" So we recorded 9 more songs and Fraze Gang was born!"
Sleaze Roxx: Does that mean the Fraze Gang CD is a collection of songs you have written since the Brighton Rock break up?
Fraser: "Not so much songs but maybe some riffs. The main riff from Blow Me Away is a riff I had when I was writing with Triumph after Brighton Rock broke up. I would have to say 75% of the Fraze Gang CD was written 6 months prior to the start of recording."
Sleaze Roxx: I've always wondered, do bands like Brighton Rock that make a name for themselves primarily in their home country generate a healthy living, or does one have to crack other markets as well?
Fraser: "When you start cracking other markets like the USA or Europe you basically break even because all the money is sunk back into the machine to keep it going to help establish yourself. Brighton Rock made a lot of money and a very healthy living in Canada which helped keep us going for 10 years. But you can't keep going back to the well because it will dry up. You have to branch out into other areas or people get tired of you. So we would try never to play the same city twice in the same year to keep our fans coming back."
Sleaze Roxx: What was the rock scene like in Canada when you were starting out and how does it compare to now?
Fraser: "When I started back in the early '80s the live scene was kicking because you could play 6 nights a week. That was the people's main source of entertainment. There were no computers or home video games and nobody was renting movies yet because nobody had video players (Wow am I ever sounding old!). If you wanted excitement you went out to get it. Now everybody sits home. There were some killer Canadian bands I saw when I was in my late teens that should have made it but never got a shot. The music was more exiting and fun which is what FRAZE GANG is trying to bring back. That feel good attitude. Too much of today's rock music is a downer, with people singing about how much life sucks. If I pay money for some entertainment I want to walk away feeling good!"
Sleaze Roxx: You mentioned writing with TRIUMPH, tell us about that.
Fraser: "After Brighton broke up Rik Emmett left Triumph. Gil (Moore - drums/vocals) and Mike (Levine - bass) were still going to continue and put out a new CD with Gil doing all the singing. They were looking for songs and asked our singer if I had anything. I gave Gil a call and he invited me to his studio to jam with them and try writing together. I think at the time they were looking for more radio friendly type songs and my stuff was a little too hard sounding. Nothing I had was considered a hit, although they liked a lot of my riffs, especially the one that would eventually become the lead off track on the Fraze Gang CD Blow Me Away. It was great writing with these legends who are so humble and down to earth. After that I joined Helix for almost 4 years as a sideman and had a great time with those guys. After awhile I felt like I was treading water just being a hired gun and knew I had to start my own thing which eventually became Fraze Gang."
Sleaze Roxx: What was the mood like with the guys in Triumph regarding the breakup with Rik Emmett?
Fraser: "The mood with Triumph when I was writing with them, as far as I could see, was a positive mood. At the time there was definitely bad blood between them and I kept my nose out of it because it was none of my business. I think (and this is a guess) they were tired of arguing with each other when it came time to writing and whose song would make the cut or not. Being in a band is all about compromise. And sometimes you get to the point where you don't want to compromise anymore. It's like painting a picture and someone tells you that you should use blue paint instead of red paint. So to keep harmony you switch to blue paint, but deep down you wish you would have kept it red. After a while you get tired of the constant conflict and you move on to keep your sanity. It's too bad because Triumph wrote some really great songs that will go down in Canadian history and if they ever do get back together I'll be front row!"
Sleaze Roxx: Did you have the chance to write with Helix, or does Brian Vollmer do everything himself?
Fraser: "When I joined Helix it was during the It's A Business Doing Pleasure Tour. Although my picture is on the CD and credited as a player I actually joined after the CD was already recorded. Brian did not use any Helix members on that CD. It does have some really cool songs on it though. It was just assumed that Mark Ribler, who co-wrote the CD and played all the guitars, would be doing the same for the next CD. So Brian and I never got a chance to really sit down and write together. I wish we could have because he has a great voice and it was a lot of fun playing with those guys."
To read the entire interview head to this location.