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| 5 July 2017 | 1 Reply


By Shane Pinnegar

Gary Cain’s debut album Twangdelic Bluesophunk made it halfway around the world from Kitchener, Canada, to 100% ROCK Castle in Western Australia, and we instantly knew we had to find out more.

From learning AC/DC’s Highway To Hell by ear on his Mum’s acoustic guitar, to playing covers in a residency in Dubai, Cain never shirks a challenge and it shows in his refusal to be pigeon holed on the new record. We threw him a Quick Dozen and he threw down some cool answers for us.     

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material that only diehard fans might pick up on?
This is my first full-length album, and combines a lot of different influences.  I didn’t want to make an album that was trying to fit into one particular genre, so I tried to just let the song-writing happen organically rather than try and fit it into a particular stylistic box.  My rhythm section of Donnie McDougall on drums and Tom Nagy on bass have been playing with me for a few years now, so we’ve definitely got a feel for how to get the best out of each other performance-wise.  As far as hidden nuggets, there is a brief lyrical nod to a ZZ Top song at one point, but I’ll let listeners find that for themselves!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realised you wanted to be a musician?
My Mom played the piano in our house while I was growing up, and showed me how to play some tunes (which was a smart way to keep me out of her hair so she could get stuff done around the house).  I remember that being able to play music seemed to me to be like a magical power and it was really exciting to start to acquire it myself.  But what really got me hooked was hearing Angus Young from AC/DC.  I learned the Highway to Hell album by ear on my Mom’s old nylon-string acoustic. My friend was a drummer so I’d go over to his place, tape a microphone to the  acoustic guitar and plug it into his stereo.  Thinking about it now it must have sounded terrible, but we thought we were rock stars!

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?
Angus Young, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chris Duarte, Danny Gatton, and Eric Gales.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?
There are a ton of people I’d love to play with, but if I had to name one it’d probably be Kenny Aronoff.  His energy on the drums is just insane and I’d love to play off it.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?
I named this album after what I’ve called my style: “Twangadelic Bluesophunk”.  It’s a mix of a number of different styles, sometimes within the same tune.  The one thing I try to do is not play it safe.  I think a lot of players work on not making mistakes, but they miss out on some really amazing things that happen when you improvise and take chances.  So I’d say its blues, with strong rock, funk, and twang influences, played balls-out!

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Live performance for sure.  When it’s really clicking and you get into this state of flow where your mind turns off and it feels like the guitar is playing itself, that’s the greatest feeling in the world.  I also love meeting people who are as into music in general and guitar in particular as I am. 

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?
I think one of the things you need to have as a band that’s almost more important than musical chemistry, is being able to enjoy each other’s company.  When you spend that much time together, you need to be able to crack each other up, and we definitely have some huge laughs on the road. None of us are big drinkers – I like to have a pint or two during a show, Donnie is a Starbucks fiend, and Tom eats nearly his weight in desserts at every gig.  I swear he should be about 600 pounds based on his caloric intake on gigs!

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?
Probably either a stand-up comedian, or hosting a podcast or show where I get to interview many different interesting people. 

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep, or you would like to be able to “do over”?
It’s hard to say what you’d change if you had to go back and do it again, because even the mistakes help you learn and become part of who you are.  That said, I probably would have stayed truer to pursuing my own music earlier on and not gotten side-tracked with playing cover gigs that paid better but were less artistically satisfying. 

10. If you were made ruler of the world, what would your first orders be?
I’d like to think that I’d legalize and regulate all drugs, and start tackling climate change with some urgency.  But in reality, my first order would probably be to elect a new ruler of the world. I lose my car keys about 3 times a day – I don’t think the world needs me trying to run it!

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?
Probably Chris Duarte’s Texas Sugar Strat Magik.  He plays a slow blues on that album called Shiloh that is maybe my favourite song of all time.  The performance is live off the floor and it’s just incredibly powerful.  To be there to see it done in person would have been amazing.  Other than that, maybe a Rick James recording session, ‘cause it sounds like the parties were off the hook!  

12. What, for you, is the meaning of life??

I don’t know that there is any intrinsic meaning in life other than what we put in it ourselves. For me, I just want to spend more time doing the things that bring me joy, and try to do right by other people while I’m at it. So I guess that boils down to ‘have fun, try not to be a dick’.


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Category: Interviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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  1. Tom Nagy says:

    Just to be clear, I usually only have a single dessert per gig. Usually. Unless the desserts are especially good. Or small.

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