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A Dirty Dozen with JEFFREY DONOVAN from THE GUITAR & WHISKEY CLUB – January 2023

| 25 January 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Founded in 2016, Los Angeles rockers THE GUITAR & WHISKEY CLUB (aka GWC), is the brainchild of guitarist / songwriter Jeffrey Donovan. GWC began its life as a cover band – occasionally throwing in an original song for good measure. By 2019 the band was well on their way and was performing more and more original material, gaining some notoriety by taking home the Award for Best Rock Band (Ventura County Music Awards) and making the Hot 100 Live Unsigned Bands list (Music Connection magazine). When the lockdown was lifted in late 2021 the band hit the ground running and started gigging again, as well as continuing to record new material. Donovan brought on his good friend and guitarist Frankie Yanno as the new bass player and completed the new lineup with the addition of drummer David Carbajal. THE GUITAR & WHISKEY CLUB brings their own brand of triple distilled classic hard rock to the party. Enjoy the highly discernable flavor of The Guitar & Whiskey Club.” We get Jeffrey to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

The first work of this lineup, GWC’s EP release is the result of the bands desire to create music we love – and that they hope others will love as well. It certainly represents the desire to crank it up after living through 2020 and 2021! Interesting facts that might not be apparent immediately from listening to the EP?  Well, the lead singer, Marc Prudeaux, wrote the lyrics for a couple songs – and “Does Your Dog Bite” is a song with an interesting twist and is best described by the question: Is your dog your best friend or is your best friend a dog? And answered by: “Either way, this song is for you!”. The song expresses the cheeky duality of dog and man quite well. And, while GWC was not directly trying to engage the K9 community, all fans are welcome. In addition, concerning the lyrics I wrote (“I Know” & “Rebel Fire”) – are  based on personal experience. For that reason there are lyrics that definitely refer to those involved… basically though, what you hear is what you get… but thanks for the idea and definitely look for this when we release the full album that GWC has already begun recording.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Well, I have been playing music since I was 6 years old. My parents are originally to blame for getting me into music (a note of thanks to them both here). I had been filling in with them on drums, but, when I was 13, I heard Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times” and that guitar solo hit me like a ton of bricks. It was at that point I knew what instrument I wanted to play. so I  focused solely on guitar.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Jimmy Page was absolutely my first real musical hero. Throughout the years there have been many players who have influenced me considerably, most notably Michael Schenker and George Lynch.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

David Bowie. Because of the fact that I love his songwriting and stylings.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

Most of my time is spent in my studio at home because I love music. In addition to The Guitar & Whiskey Club I also create music in collaboration with other others under my own name. But, if you are asking about anything I create apart from music, then I would have to say that I have had the fortune to do many things in my spare time: I wrote a virtual reality application that went on interactive display at the Guggenheim museum, I have written a book on the subject of computers, I’ve brewed beer professionally, I can fix your railroad grade pocket watch and I surfed & skateboarded for a long time (go Wes Humston!). At this point in my life, music gets almost all of my attention.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

One of our reviewers said it best when they said the music of GWC was “modern day classic rock”. I could not have said that better myself. On the other hand, there will always be the odd reviewer you don’t agree with. I would have to say that reviewers’ opinions thus far have all been fair and appreciated (even though I might not always agree with them)… there is the issue of the band name – we have been called everything from “The Gun & Whiskey Club” to “TG&WC”. Not sure how that happens, but that is always interesting.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Interesting question. I put out the call to meet and the rest happens organically. Getting along well with your band is amazing.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Getting to meet George Lynch was definitely a highlight, but starstruck is not a word that has any meaning to me.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Being able to be creative within the flexible structure of music. There is simply no better mind expansion and body relaxation source on the planet. My dream job would be to own a small venue called The Guitar & Whiskey Club. GWC would be the house band. More than a dream, this is actually the daydream that led to the band name.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Why do I like explorers so much? Because the tone is so great and they hang perfectly on me. I feel like they are a natural extension of my body. Regarding the question I am tired of answering… How did the pandemic affect you? I think we are all ready to forget the word “pandemic.”

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

When I was younger I had the opportunity to join not one, but two bands that eventually got signed – I probably should not have turned them down. Hindsight is 20/20.

12. 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?

UFO’s Obsession. The guitar playing is so brilliant and highly regarded. Definitely one of Michael Schenkers’ best works. This record is meaningful to me because I still listen to it at least once every week and my world would be closer to silent without it for sure!





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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