Gary Hughes - The Man and the Music

The Man

Born in Manchester, England on the 5th July 1967, Gary was always musically minded. His musical journey began at the age of nine when he started having 'freelance' lessons with a classical guitar teacher at the Royal Northern College of Music. Over the next couple of years he shot through grades, and ended up with a scholarship at the Royal Northern. This in turn lead to Gary taking the associate course.

In order to raise his profile as a vocalist, Gary went into the studios and recorded some demos onto cassette. One of the songs on the demo, 'Christine', was actually played to Alan Barton of Smokey to see if he was interested in doing the track. He thought that Gary should be recording the material in his own right and consequently a further 5/6 tracks were recorded (these became the first half of the album). These tracks were played to Chrysalis who expressed some interest in the material.

Some more tracks were recorded to complete the album, but Chrysalis had changed their mind and were no longer interested in the album. A showcase gig was arranged in Manchester, and in the end Polygram Oslo decided to sign the album. 'Strength Of Heart' was released in Germay & Norway. There was also tours in Germany & Scandinavia (one of which was as support to Smokey). In addition, Gary's reputation as a singer had grown, and as well as almost having an audition with Def Leppard (after Steve Clark’s demise), Gary was also offered the role of singer for the Mamas Boys.

In the UK, Mark Ashton, Bruce Mee & Peter Sims ran the Rock magazine 'Boulevard'. They were all getting fed up with the lack of support for melodic rock from the mainstream labels. Now & Then Records label was formed. Mark had reviewed the 'Strength Of Heart' album for the magazine Rock Power, and originally tried to re-licence this album for release in the UK. Unfortunately various legal wranglings prevented this from happening. Of course there was still the opportunity of new material. Mark had already heard some tracks ( 'Suspendered Animation', 'Blonde Angel'), and Gary had just been in the studio with his new manager and had recorded some more tracks. Add a couple of 'live' tracks recorded in Germany earlier that year and do a little bit of remixing, and the next album was born.

The album was released as Now & Then's debut (& flagship) release, and a new era dawned. Gary's unique blending of AOR & the more traditional "British" hard rock sound was well received, receiving some really good reviews. Some live dates followed, including an exceptional set at the first Gods music festival ("Gods of AOR" ) at Milton Keynes & Manchester. Included in that set was a preview of the material to come, with the memorable (and soon to become extremely popular) 'Stay With Me' making its appearance in the set.The 'finishing straight' line up of Paul Laine (now in Danger Danger), Gary Hughes, Mark Free, & Jeff Paris was one of the best AOR / melodic rock line-ups ever assembled.

All the time Gary was writing new material, and it wasn't long before news of the next album was appearing in the rock magazines.However the quantity & quality of the material written soon meant that the news was reporting that there would be two, and then three albums. It was during this time that ex-Dare guitarist extrordinaire Vinny Burns got involved in the project, and TEN was born! After 3 very successful studio albums and one live one, "Never Say Goodbye", which marks the band's debut on FRONTIERS RECORDS, Gary went back into the studio and produced a new collection of high class songs which eventually created the new masterpiece "Precious Ones" published in june 1998.

2 more TEN albums were to follow with the latest looking to be the best to date with it's rave reviews and reception throughout the melodic rock world.

Producer, songwriter, singer and player, Gary Hughes is nowadays a complete artist who needs no introduction to the hard rock fans and will mark the british rock history with his talents and songs.

(courtesy of Mario Di Riso at Frontiers Records)     


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