Sunday, 1 November 2009

Toby Jepson (Gun, Little Angels, Fastway) Interview

Toby Jepson should need no introduction to many rock fans, fronting seminal hard rockers 'The Little Angels' throughout the 90's, embarking on a movie and tv spots and more recently performing as a solo artist and fronting Eddie Clarkes legendary band 'Fastway'.
Toby has recently teamed up with one of 'The Little Angels' contemporary bands, Scottish pop rockers Gun, famed for their albums Gallus and Swagger and of course that hugely successful single 'Word Up' (the Cameo cover which appeared in the movie barbed wire!), on their reformation and come back tour replacing original vocalist Mark Rankin. I was recently given the opportunity to ask Toby a few questions, his replies are below!

Barry - So how have the live dates been going so far?

Toby - Pretty good! The last UK shows were especially great, we have started to stretch our legs outside of Scotland and the reactions have been great. We have played in Spain and Austria this summer and are heading back out to Spain for a full tour in October, as well as 3 sows in Paris, so it has begun to pick up momentum. I Think the memory of GUN to the fans is a great one, and I’m hoping that we can deliver on the promise to them of a new beginning...all I can say is that we are loving being in this band together, and sincerely hope it can go on to bigger things.

Barry - You've been quite busy over the past couple of years with your solo work, touring with Eddie Clarkes Fastway and now touring and recording with Gun. How do you manage it all?

Toby - It’s been very cool actually, when you're enjoying yourself, there is no noticeable effort, just excitement and in my case, a real hunger to get on with the job and make stuff as good as is humanly possible. I am a workaholic, no question but its driven by a want for great experiences and above all, great music. I have to say also that I am a family man and this propels me forward, I want success for my family as well as for myself. I think that when you are creative, the work is a pleasure to do not a chore; sometimes it’s tough to deal with the travel, the sleepless nights but the fact is I have been very privileged to work with some amazing people and have been given a second chance to emerge as a UK Rock singer, and for that I am very grateful and am determined to make it happen one way or another...I mean I’m not digging holes in the rain! and believe me I know what that feels like and appreciate my position all the more because I do.

Never complain, never explain...

Barry - How do the various project compare?

And what different challenges do they bring you as the front man?

Toby - Fastway was a huge challenge for a number of reasons; mostly to do with stepping into Dave Kings shoes. He had an incredibly unique voice and style. I’m not him but I wanted to do justice to the songs that he wrote with Eddie but also bring my own flavour. I’m not an emulator; I have never tried to sing like anyone apart from myself, that is all you can do. The same goes for GUN although the main difference is that we are now developing new music together and so I can imprint myself onto the project from day one.

Barry - You 'cut your teeth' with one of Gun's contemporaries back in the 90's with The Little Angels(whom just happened to be one of my favourite bands at the time!). How does singing for Gun compare with fronting the Little Angels?

Toby - It’s a different job, a different band. Like I said above; the songs have to be respected from a historical perspective but I’m not Mark and I have no desire to try to match his vibe. The Angels were as far at the other end of the spectrum as you can get in this genre! GUN were and are more pop orientated, Joolz and Dan have a rich understanding of popular music and appreciate all forms and often have tried to bring those influences to their music, whereas I think the Angels were more of a traditional rock act that took cues from all the classic bands. Top and tail is that if the music rocks and communicates to the audience then I’m happy!

Barry - How much input are you having in the writing of the new material and what should we be expecting to hear?

Toby - We are writing as a team; Joolz, Dante and myself. It’s really interesting and very productive. We are recording as I type...

Barry - When it comes to deciding the set lists for the live dates, do you have any input or do you leave for the band to work out?

Toby - We all have input. you know which songs work best, it’s pretty easy to be honest.

Barry - Now that you are back in a band unit situation, are you planning any further solo releases to follow up the excellent 'Guitar, Bass and Drums Ep's?

Toby - I will complete the GBandD third EP; in fact it is nearly done, I have around a week of work to complete it. Don’t know about touring, it’s not on my radar yet, but never say never! I am opening for SKIN acoustically in December for the hell of it, so that will be fun!

Barry - Have you now finished working with Fastway, or could we see any future live dates or studio working emerging there too?

Toby - The short answer is; I don’t know! I’d love to work with Eddie again sometime, he is an incredible guitar player. If he called, id certainly consider it, but now I’m committed to GUN, it would have to fit!

Id like to thank Toby for kindly answering my questions on behalf of!


Gun are about to pull the trigger on an emphatic return to live music with a huge UK tour throughout November and December.

The new look band features the original members (Giuliano Gizzi – guitar; and Dante Gizzi – bass) with new drummer Gordon McNeil and new vocalist Toby Jepson – who cut his teeth fronting the 90s hard-rock outfit Little Angels.

Gun’s return takes their sonic blitzkrieg around Europe during the summer and then onto 19 venues spanning the length and breadth of the UK, culminating with a performance at the Hard Rock Hell Festival in December.

The cult Glaswegian band helped shape 90s rock music, releasing three seminal albums in Taking On The World, Gallus, and Swagger. Gun also found UK chart success with anthems such as Better Days, Steal Your Fire, and Word Up – all of which were perfect examples of Gun’s ability to harmonise a strident and powerful rock sound with an affecting and emotive songwriting core.

With their barrel trained at revival, Gun are set to show the UK precisely what made them so important in the 90s, and why, over a decade later, their wirey guitars and towering hooks continue to resonate with as much relevance and poignancy as ever.

08 Nov – Belfast Limelight

12 Nov – Newcastle Academy2

13 Nov – Manchester Academy3

14 Nov – Nottingham Rock City

15 Nov – Sheffield Corporation

17 Nov – Leeds Rios

18 Nov – Leamington Spa Assembly

19 Nov – Cambridge Junction

21 Nov – Gloucester Guildhall

22 Nov – Wrexham Central Station

23 Nov – Bristol Academy2

24 Nov – Southampton Brook

26 Nov – London Islington Academy

27 Nov – Milton Keynes Pitz Club

28 Nov – Brighton Concorde2

29 Nov – Swansea Sin City

1 Dec – Carlisle Brickyard

2 Dec – Glasgow ABC1

4 Dec - HARD ROCK HELL Prestatyn

Gun are currently touring Europe and working on an EP to coincide with the UK tour. A full album is slated for next year.

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