It's one thing to start a tribute band to two of your favorite musical influences, but how many musicians get to actually fill out that band with actual members of the bands you're paying homage to? Well that's just what happened to Gary Noon who hooked up with Morgan Rose and Clint Lowery of Sevendust, and Alter Bridge bassist Brian Marshall to form Walking With Giants, culminating in the band's debut album Worlds Unknown. The Right To Rock chatted with Gary to get the low down...
Where did the name Walking with Giants come from?
The Walking With Giants name defines what the project is. Walking With Giants is Gary Noon, and I have the privilege of making music with my idols, who became my friends and collaborators. So, even though they’re are still ‘Giants’ to me musically I’m also a colleague.
How would you best describe the sound of your band?
Walking With Giants has distinctive Rock sound featuring hard guitar riffs, uplifting choruses and thoughtful lyrics. Sometimes intense, sometimes somber, but mostly upbeat.
How did you get hooked up with Clint Lowery and Morgan Rose (Sevendust)?
I was introduced to Clint and Morgan through a mutual friend. I originally met Clint and Morgan in late 2008. Clint and I seemed to have a lot in common musically, so we kept in touch ever since. I got to know Morgan and the other guys in Sevendust over the past several years.
And how did Brian Marshall (Alter Bridge) get into the picture?
I was introduced to Brian’s Bass Tech - Ian Keith - through the same mutual friend that introduced me to Clint. We first met during the Full Circle touring cycle in 2009, and through Brian, I was introduced to Flip (he worked with me on the first two EPs).
I assume you're a fan of both bands?
Hell Yes! In my opinion, Alter Bridge and Sevendust are the two best bands walking the Earth today.
How does the writing process work in Walking with Giants?
Since Walking With Giants is primarily me, I usually come up with the initial ideas for each song. Clint and I would trade ideas back and forth using ProTools, and we’d share those with Brian and Morgan. We’d arrive at the studio with a basic arrangement, and the four of us would finalize those arrangements in the Live Room. We’d write vocals during the guitar/bass tracking phase. The process gets more defined each time.
Do you write most of the music on your own, or did you collaborate much with the other musicians in the band?
Walking With Giants’ material is co-written with myself, Gary Noon, and Clint Lowery. Once we get into the studio, Brian and Morgan add their perspective to the Bass and Drum parts and we end up with the complete package.
Why did you release the two EPs before issuing your full-length debut?
To test the waters? The original EP was intended to be a one-time occurrence, but I enjoyed the experience so much, I soon wanted to do another, which is how One By One came about. Worlds Unknown was originally going to be an EP as well, but after the initial 7 tracks were finished, I got inspired to write more, so it became a full-length.
When putting the record together, was it intentional to start and finish the album with an instrumental?
Nope. We originally completed the first group of tracks in April and in June, I decided to continue the process. I got inspired to do instrumental bookends after hearing Breaking Benjamin’s new album, Dark Before Dawn. I kept listening to that record and telling myself I should push myself to do more - so, I did.
I really dig the song Broken Truth, can you tell us how that song came together for you?
Thanks! After the initial group of tracks were completed, I pushed myself to write full arrangements for each new track - it had always been challenging for me in the past. I managed to deliver on the challenge, vocal ideas and all. Clint and the guys really liked the new stuff, and the songs came together quickly. I was really pleased how it turned out. I had written the intro as a guitar solo, but Clint came up with this amazing idea to play it with tapped harmonics - it made the intro sound soo much cooler.
Do you have a favorite song on the record, or one that came together, better than you expected?
Solid Ground is my favorite track. I feel like it was the culmination of two years of struggling to become a songwriter, and I think it’s the strongest track on the record.
Do you plan on touring, and if so, do you have a band in place or will you try to schedule around the musicians that played on the album?
Walking With Giants is primarily a studio project. If I decide to go live, I’ll be hiring a new group of guys to join me. It would be an honor to play live with Clint, Brian and Morgan, but I have a lot of dues to pay and experience to gain before I attempt that. =)
Good luck with the new CD, and we hope to see you in Texas!