FAQs

On this page, I will happily answer any questions that people may have for me.  And they don’t just have to be music related, they can be questions about my personal life, other interests, whatever. 

Below are some questions that I have recently received from various folks.  If you have a question you would like to ask me, please send it to muzikman84@hotmail.com and I will add it to this page!

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Whoah, that’s a tough one.  I’ve been fortunate enough to see many great shows over the years.  It’s tough to narrow it down to just one.  But I think I would have to say “The Big Rewind Tour” in 1998.  I saw this at the Bank Boston Pavilion.  Check this out….Howard Jones, The Human League and Culture Club.  What a lineup.  Another great one was seeing my childhood idols ABC in Montreal in 2006.  After the show I got to meet and get my photo taken with Martin Fry and David Palmer.  I left that show floating about 6 feet off the ground.  I also saw The Human League again (with opening act Men Without Hats) in Boston during the Fall of last year.  Fun, fun show.  Lastly, I also got to see Depeche Mode in Toronto, way back in 1993.  That was during their “Songs of Faith and Devotion” tour.  The opening act was The The.

What was the first album you ever owned?

“Business as Usual” by Men At Work.  I was given this on vinyl as a Christmas present, back when I was about 10.  Those were the days!

When did you start writing songs?

I was a late bloomer.  I didn’t even attempt writing songs until I was 20 going on 21.  I recorded a ton of demos in my primitive home studio throughout most of my 20s.  I released my first album when I was 27, in 1999.

Do you have one particular song that you are especially proud of?

Songwriters always have the same answer to this question.  “They’re all like my children….I can’t just pick one!”.  But, if I had to pick one (or even a few), I would have to say “We Have The Dancefloor To Ourselves”, “Super 8”, “Every Friday Night”, and “A Sting of Mint”.  On my upcoming album, I have two songs that I am also very proud of:  “Falling In Love” and “All My Mistakes”.

Is Gary Flanagan your real name?

After all these years, I am absolutely astonished how often I still get asked this question.  YES!!!!  Why wouldn’t it be my real name?  Does it really sound that fictional to you?  🙂

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

Well, I must say up front that music is NOT my career (although I would like it to be).  Most musicians will tell you they do not make a living from music.  Many of them have day jobs.  Myself included.  BUT, to answer the question, if I weren’t pursuing music as a career, it would definitely be photography, or filmmaking.  I was into both of those things long before I was into music.  I get great satisfaction from all of these pursuits.  Actually making a living from them would be a dream come true.

Some of your songs are in French.  Is French your first language?

No, not at all.  French is very much my second language.  I learned to speak it in my mid-twenties.  However, my grandmother was French-Canadian, and I was born and raised in the only officially bilingual province in Canada, so I am very familiar with it.  I also majored in French in University, and I taught it when I worked as a supply teacher.  I love French, and would definitely love to improve my ability to speak this language over the coming years.

Who would you like to collaborate with musically?

The first two acts who spring to mind for this question are Giorgio Moroder and Vince Clarke.  I admire both of these men a great deal.  I’d be honored to work with either of them.

What is your favorite synthesizer?

I have to say the Korg Poly 800 and the Mini Korg 700.  These are also the two first real synths that I ever owned, and I still love them after all these years.  I am still amazed by some of the sounds I can get out of the Mini Korg 700 (especially when you remember that it was considered an entry level synth when it was released in the mid 70s).  Lots of people put down the Poly 800 saying it was a piece of crap, but I completely disagree.  Yeah, compared to todays digital technology, it’s pretty laughable, but I love its simplistic charm.  It’s never let me down.  These days the main synth I use is a module…the Roland JV 1010.  It is a remarkable workhorse.  The quality is amazing.

Do you follow modern music?  Do you like any new bands?

Honestly, I don’t follow recent music that much.  A lot of it simply does not catch my interest.  Most of the time, if someone recommends a new band to me, and I check out their stuff, 90% of the time I find it totally forgettable.  There’s certainly still a lot of talent out there, but, well, many bands today just don’t seem to have any style, and don’t really have anything to say.  I just think the musical climate today is such that originality and “artiness” are not valued.  I think that’s why I keep going back to a lot of the 80s stuff that I love.  Bands at that time were actually unique (sometimes even downright weird) and that was not an issue.  It was valued.  I miss that.  Plus, I miss good pop songs.  You know, songs that actually had choruses that you could sing along to.  The only genre that seems to be doing that today is dance, and although I really respect dance, it does not interest me as it did in my 20s.

When is your next show?  When will you be playing in my town?  How come you don’t play live anymore? Etc……

I get this question a lot.  Overall, I’ve lost pretty much most of my interest in playing live.  There are a million and one reasons for this, but the biggest one is that it just wasn’t fun anymore (for me).  It also seemed that for every great show I did, where the audience “got” me and loved what I was doing, there would be 3 shows where the crowd hated me and almost started throwing stuff at me.  There’s only so much of that someone can take, even the most thick-skinned person.  Plus, I have had a lot of health issues over the past few years, and these made it difficult for me to play live.  I am not the most active or fittest person in the world, and my shows require EXCESSIVE amounts of energy.  It was getting harder and harder for me to muster this much energy.  I would certainly not say that I would never do another show ever again, but at this point the situation would have to be right.  I would have to have a good gut feeling about the show, and it would have to be in the right location with the right people.

It’s funny too…I also found there was a huge divergence in the amount of respect I got at live shows.  Either folks would shower me with loving vibes, smiles and “thumbs up”, or I would get absolutely no respect and practically hostile vibes from both the promoter and the audience.  Again, it was unfortunate, but the former became less and less common and the latter was more often than not the norm.  I also found that music festivals were the absolute worst.  I grew to hate them.  I played a number of fests, and I never had a positive experience at any of them.

Anyway, to all the people who showed me love and support and hugs and smiles at the good shows, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I know who you are.

What interests do you have outside of music?

I adore photography.  It’s also been a life-long dream of mine to one day make a movie.  I love writing too.  I’d love to write a book someday.  I am also a flea-market addict.  I love browsing through second-hand junk.  You will often find me in a Salvation Army, a Goodwill or a Value Village.  I also love travel, languages, and food.

Onstage you seem to have this larger-than-life, extroverted, cartoonish personality.  Are you like that in real life?

Oh god no.  Rest assured that the character I became on stage was just that, a character.  The whole thing was an act.  I am nothing like that in real life.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am very shy, quiet and very much a loner.  I guess I come from a long line of performers who become very different personalities once they step on stage.  David Byrne once said that he felt a great need to “shove himself” onto a stage.  I totally get what he meant.  I still find it funny that people expect me to be that way when I’m not on stage.

Any favorite TV shows?  Movies?

These days I really don’t have any shows that I follow religiously.  People are constantly telling me about shows that they love on HBO, or stuff that they devour passionately on Netflix.  That’s just not my thing.  I can’t tell you the last time I was that into any show.  I do find myself watching stuff on TLC, and my wife Janelle and I often watch the Food Network.  I still love SNL, and get a bit irked when folks use that same old tired critique that “it just hasn’t been the same since________________died”.  In my opinion it’s still hilarious.  My all-time favorite sitcoms are “Three’s Company”, “Are You Being Served?” and “WKRP in Cincinnati”.  My all-time favorite movie is “The Road Warrior”.

What can we expect on your new album?

It will be very “classic rock”.  Lots of organ and guitar.  I wanted to do something that was a love letter to all those great 3 minute pop songs from the 60s and 70s that I grew up on.  I wanted to do a collection of songs that was very catchy, spirited and retro.  I think it features some of my best tracks!

 

Leave A Comment