Five Records That Changed My Life, Part 17: Gary Shea

American bassist Gary Shea co-founded Alcatrazz in 1983. Prior to that he made a name for himself with the band New England and briefly played with Vinnie Vincent in Warrior. Alcatrazz is currently recording its fifth full-length studio album which is expected to be released later this year. Roppongi Rocks boss Stefan Nilsson checked in with Gary to hear about the albums that inspired him.

The Beach Boys “Little Deuce Coupe” (1963)

“I was car crazy at this time and had just started taking guitar lessons. I loved all the imagery of sunny Southern California, singing about fast cars, racing, the beach and girls. I was inspired by the line ‘I’m getting bugged drivin’ up and down the same old strip, I gotta find a new place where the kids are hip’. I decided to leave home as soon as I finished high school.”

Stan Getz and João Gilberto “Getz/Gilberto” (1964)

“When this came out on the radio with Astrud Gilberto singing I was mesmerised by the bossa nova groove. I think ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ is one of the sexiest songs ever written. The whole album is incredible and the bass just grooves on and on. Smooth and so romantic.”

The Who “My Generation” (1965)

“When I heard this, it was the heaviest record ever with songs like ‘The Ox’ and ‘My Generation’. I sold my guitar and became a bass player listening to John Entwistle. These guys tore places apart and pioneered the first Marshall amplifiers and round wound bass strings. Got to see them live at Woodstock from about 40 feet away. ‘Live at Leeds’ showcased how great they were. I’d say they were the first heavy metal band.”

The Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour” (1967)

“I really like all their albums but this was the most trippy record ever recorded up to that time. I spent hours and hours listening to all of the orchestration and spacey studio magic on this record. I marvelled at the deep meaning of ‘Blue Jay Way’ later learning that George wrote it about his friends going down the hill on a cigarette run. Haha!”

King Crimson “The Court of the Crimson King” (1969)

“A one-of-a-kind record bringing forth what would become the progressive rock movement. I dug Greg Lake’s voice and old English poetic lyrics. Extended pieces and odd time signatures, etc. Another dreamy record not based on blues or rock and roll. I moved to London to play this kind of music and to find someone with a keyboard called the Mellotron which created the orchestra sounds. I met Greg Lake and had tea with him and the members of the Italian prog band PFM at his house. I found my Mellotron guy, Jimmy Waldo, back in the US and we helped form the group New England. We are still together in Alcatrazz and releasing our new album very soon, complete with Mellotrons.”

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