Gilbert (MR. BIG, RACER X) recently spoke with Jeb Wright at Classic Rock Revisited. An excerpt is available below:
Jeb: A) Should Racer X have been more popular? B) Why were they not? and C) What were the best parts of playing with that band and what was the most frustrating thing?
Paul: “My ability to predict popular bands is…I’m no good at it. I remember hearing Poison when they first started, and thinking that they would never get anywhere. I’ve listened to Moe Berg and The Pursuit of Happiness about 1000 times more than Bon Jovi. I am, and will probably always be out of sync with the public taste. But, back to Racer X…I think that even Racer X fans didn’t necessary hear what I wanted them to hear. I remember being categorized as Speed Metal at the time. I knew that we played fast and that we were a heavy metal band, but the chords we were using were really from a different place than the typical speed metal stuff.”
“I was really into CHEAP TRICK and TODD RUNDGREN, as well as a lot of classical stuff. And I borrowed as much as I could from them. I could go through the tunes and show you… ‘That’s where I used the chord from ‘Can We Still Be Friends’ by Todd Rundgren.’ Or, ‘That chord progression is from the bridge of ‘If You Want My Love, You Got It’ by Cheap Trick.’ Or, ‘That whole section is from J.C. Bach’s ‘Harpsichord Concerto in A’.’ Sometimes I got the feeling that most people just liked it loud and fast. But growing up a BEATLES fan, I couldn’t help but put some love into the chords. The great thing about the band, was that everyone got it. We all wanted the same thing, and had a great time really working together to go from unknown, to one of the biggest bands in L.A.”
Jeb: In Racer X did you show off too much on the soloing and not pay enough attention to the composing? Not saying I think that…just want to know what you think?
Paul: “I didn’t pay much attention to the lyrics. But in heavy metal, it’s nearly impossible to understand them anyway. It’s more of a vehicle for the singer to sing melodies. I paid a lot of attention to the musical writing, but I was still a bit of a beginner. I had been playing guitar since I was nine, and really put in the hours of practice. And although I loved good songs and melodies, I didn’t have the same amount of experience as a writer. I still think that a lot of the songs were good. And the soloing was appropriate for that style. I wouldn’t solo that much in a CARPENTERS tune, but they weren’t Carpenter’s tunes.”
Go to this location for the complete interview.