FRAZE GANG is a new hardrock act from Canada consisting of two ex-members of Brighton Rock (Greg Fraser & Stevie Skreebs). They've recently released their self titled debut CD that simply reeks of 80's rock and melodies. We had a chat with GREG FRASER (vocals/guitar) about the music, the sound, the past, the present, and the future.
U - Would it be completely out of order to suggest that this could have been a new Brighton Rock CD?
Fraze: I think maybe 2 or 3 songs could have been in the Brighton Rock style but overall I think is a departure because Fraze Gang took more of a blues approach to writing and BR always had more of a metal approach. But being that there are 2 of us from BR in the band, I can see the similarities.
U - How come you decided to record this under the Fraze Gang moniker in the first place?
Fraze: After being in nothing but bands since I was 15 years old, I finally decided to write exactly the way that I wanted to write instead of catering to other peoples opinion of how a song should sound. I finally had enough courage to put myself out there. I always wanted to do a solo record and record stuff that has no boundaries. With BR we were kind of restricted in that, if we wavered too much from our style of music our fan base would be all over us. With this cd I wrote it without any style in mind. I just let things flow. Who cares if people like me. I'm having such a blast playing these songs that if you want to come along for the ride, you're more than welcome. If not, "Sucks to be you!" I'm not going to change for anybody, everagain. As for the name, everybody that knows me have always called me Fraze which is short for Fraser. I just added the Gang at the end and it worked. So there you have it!
U - So, how come you haven't gone 'Nu-Metal' or the Nickelback sound? This is very much a traditional 80's sounding album.
Fraze: I guess 80's music is what still gets my rocks off. I like fun music! A lot of today's music is all about anger. I've got enough anger inside me that I don't need to add fuel to the fire. I need music that put's me in a good mood. That's what FRAZE GANG is all about. Having a great time. There's room for everybody. Why would I want to sound like anybody else.
U - You don't ever feel like you... simply 'have to' try and blend in with modern and current music?
Fraze: Music styles are changing so fast now that by the time you do blend in, you get lost in the shuffle. You sound like everyone else. Melodic Rock has now become alternative to today's society. We like that! We like going against the grain. We will never try to fit in, because we know, that there will always be a fan base for our style of music. We will always stick to our guns no matter what.
U - Do you find it important to have good melodies rather than being "heavy"?
Fraze: I think it is extremely important to have a strong melody. A great melody is something that will last and be remembered. A great melody can stand on it's own without music behind it. But you also can't beat a kick ass heavy riff either! I remember the first time I heard "Enter Sandman" by Metallica on the radio. It stopped me in my tracks. The feeling of power coming out of those speakers was just astounding. Judas Priest still floor me every time I see them, and the same with AC/DC. With FRAZE GANG, we try to find an equal balance with melodies and being heavy sounding. We try to cover all the bases instead of being stuck with one sound.
U - After being kept somewhat in the 'background' with Brighton Rock (pictured left on the cover of "Love Machine" CD, 1991), the new situation must be quite a change for you, now that you're lead guitarist AND singer, frontman, difficult or just fun?
Fraze: It's a huge change. Playing guitar and singing at the same time is not easy for me. And I've never fronted a band before. So this is a big challenge for me. And it's a challenge I'm willing to take because I'm having such a blast doing it. Playing with these guys is like we're jamming at a house party. And I don't want that feeling to end. Skreebs has also starting singing live with us and just might sing a song or two on the next Fraze Gang record. Phil can sing also and I asked him why he doesn't want to sing lead on a song and told me, "Because it cut's in to my drinkin!"
U - Would you say that Fraze Gang is mostly a studio project or will you be touring as well?
Fraze: We would love to tour but have to wait and see what country wants it the most so we can at least break even. We've been doing this long enough to know that touring without a game plan and money behind you, will suck every time. We just want to make enough money to make another cd. In the mean time we will play around Niagara Falls to keep our chops up and to party with our fans!
Urban - According to your latest band picture, one could be thought to believe that you've replaced the pix of Stevie Skreebs with the 'dad' from 'Full House'. Any chance he could hook me up with the Olsen twins? :-)
Fraze: Well Skreebs has a pretty impressive black book of names! And of all the people I know, Stevie probably could hook you up! He's got an in with a lot of people and I wouldn't be surprised if he pulled it off!
U - Brighton Rock did release a live CD at Z Records a couple of years ago. Weren't there supposed to be a new studio album as well? What happened with all that?
Fraze: The funds weren't there for a studio album. So we left. It's as simple as that. We would love to do a new BR album if someone is willing to back it. The home studio thing is not good enough for us. If we do it, it's got to be done right or we're not interested.
U - I'd say that Gerald McGhee (Brighton Rock) is more of a high-pitched, barbwire singer (if that makes sense?). Where do you fit in and could you name a couple of your influences and heroes.
Fraze: Gerry is definitely a screamer! He has the most powerful voice to ever come out of Canada and I don't care what anybody says. On the other hand I don't have near the power of Gerry but it seems to work with Fraze Gang because it's a different band. If I would have sang a song on a BR cd it would have seemed really out of place. But with Fraze Gang I don't have to worry about fitting in because we are not about "fitting in." We're about playing from the heart and doing the best with what you got! And for vocal hero's, I would say "David Coverdale" and "Ronnie James Dio" are my top two singers. If you go to our website www.frazegang.com you will see a big list of each members influences and lots of fun stuff! Early Elton John was also a huge influence to me vocally and whenever I hear early Elton on the radio I can't help but sing along. Steve Perry from Journey is also astounding. I could go on and on...
U - Tell us about your favourite Brighton Rock moment?
Fraze: Playing in front of 20,000 people at a very famous arena in Toronto, Canada that every legendary Rock Star has played at called "Maple Leaf Gardens." We were touring with Triumph at the time and playing there was extra special because it was our dream as kids to play there. We seen all our favorite bands there and to stand on the same stage and even get an encore was killer! That whole tour was a blast, playing in front of these huge crowds night after night and getting accepted into the big leagues was extremely motivating. From that point on there was no stopping us! (Picture: Fraze in his full eighties' glory, "Take A Deep Breath", 1989)
U - And your worst moment?
Fraze: Probably breaking a string during a guitar solo in front of 15,000 people. My whole guitar went out of tune and I couldn't continue until I switched guitars. You could hear a pin drop! And everyone is watching you fumble. But I still came back and kicked their ass!
U - Thanks for everything, if there's anything you'd like to say, add, or promote, please do:
Fraze: Looking for a good time? Check out ...
Interview by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,