Interview with Gary Dranow and the Manic Emotions
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My mom was driving me somewhere when I was twelve and Cream’s (Eric Clapton) Crossroads came on the radio, as soon as it was over I knew this was something I had to pursue. I immediately had her take me to Ernie Balls Guitars on Ventura Blvd. and walked out with my first Fender Stratocaster b(still have it today). I retired from business at 50. If it wasn’t for my music I would probably still be coaching Ski Racing and competing, which I retired from in 2010 to pursue my music career.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not doing Music, which is only three hours out of my days, I go on six-mile hikes with my wife and three Golden Doodles. We never miss a day regardless of the cold temperatures, snow, rain, you name it we never miss a day.
How long has your band been around?
Gary Dranow and The Manic Emotions has had two iterations, first in Los Angeles for 10 years starting in the mid-eighties featuring Jerry Manfredi on bass, Jethro Defries on drums Tommy Mars (Frank Zappa Band) on Keyboards and now in Park City Utah featuring Sherm Tate on Bass and Vocals and the incomparable Bob Smith on drums.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
We are currently based out of Park City, UT. The mountain life fills me with so much inspiration due to its beauty and serenity that I am able to focus on and explore many musical ideas. My partner Chris Zoupa, Melbourne Australia, and I have completed writing our second album Never Give Up and are now working on the Demos for an Album release in the Fall/Winter of 2023.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
The name of the band was an obvious choice for me. Being a Bi-polar 1 with mania Gary Dranow and The Manic Emotions really spoke to me.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
In Los Angeles we played at many wonderful venues, my favorite was Rusty’s at The Pier, we played many sold out shows there. It was great fun and we typically had a line out the door.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
We have several venues here in Park City, The Cabin on Main Street and The Spur on Main street. Our favorite venue in Salt Lake City is The Ice Haus, great crowd and wonderful staff. I am hoping within a year we will be playing Eccles Theater in Salt Lake and O.P. Rockwell’s in Park City. Shortly after those milestones, I want to go on a tour of the Western eleven states.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Joe Bonamassa, without a doubt!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Never give up on your dream, practice diligently and get yourself out there even if you feel intimidated. If you are true to yourself the fans will love you.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Never doubt yourself, follow your dreams and NEVER sale your ‘60’s Fender guitars 😊
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
There’s three actually, “Destiny Road,” which was written from a dream I had around 1996 and everything in the dream and song came to pass, my mental beacon. “(Made It) Another Day” which was a very personal tale of what my life was like as a undiagnosed Bi-polar 1 with Mania and finally, “Mellow Drama,” which I wrote in the third person of what it was like being in a close
personal relationship with me until I ultimately got managed by my Psychiatrist Dr. Kalm.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Ah so many! “All Along The Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix, “Manic Depression” again by Hendrix. “Crossroads” by Eric Clapton and “Cream,” the song that started me playing guitar the first time I heard it on the radio in 1967. My own songs “Destiny Road” is exciting to play and pull off live, “Kisses,” just a great song, just ask me and then there is “Something About You,” a wonderful love song I wrote for my wife before I met her.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I am actually writing all of my next album with Chris Zoupa in Melbourne, Australia. He is a master musician with an incredible ear. I come up with a musical idea on my guitar and record it then send it to him. He notes the original Idea then the magic happens. He takes the bones of what I got and turns it into a clean and musically correct form. We work together on the sections until we have the whole form worked out: intro, verses, choruses and usually a bridge. Then I work on my own writing lyrics that are inspired from what we’ve got arranged in Guitar Pro, avery versatile software program. Then we get together and further suss out the lyrics until we have a finished song ready for the fully arranged and instrumented demo. That’s when we bring it to the band for work up. Next we take into the studio and hopefully end up with a finished product.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
That love is the driving force in the universe. That mental illness can be treated and transformed into an inspiration for countless songs and lyrical content.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Since I am the band leader and pay the bills, everyone knows their role so we rarely if ever have disagreements with our current lineup. We feed off of each other’s strengths and make a formidable trio.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Right now, I am working with several Marketing and mentoring companies and coaches with the singular goal of growing a local and national following. The objective is to one day start touring regionally. I’m really diving deep into the business side of music…
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Through my StreeTeam which they can opt in here https://listen.garydranowandthemanicemotions.com/join or joining my newsletter here https://garydranow.myclickfunnels.com/fans-opt-in You can also find us on Spotify, Instagram, and Facebook