Having picked up a guitar for the first time aged 12, from then on music remained a staple of Gideon’s Army front-man Rob Bray’s life. Creating and releasing songs inspired by Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Kings of Leon among others, the band have spent the last few years touring around New York and New Jersey, taking in shows in San Diego, LA and Boston along the way. Now, with the release of their new album King Of The League, the band are busier than ever and Rob kindly agreed to this interview to chat tour plans, dream shows and ultimate ambitions.
PW: Please introduce yourself.
Rob Bray: I'm Rob Bray, front-man for rock band Gideon's Army.
PW: How would you sum up the band and your music in a couple of sentences?
RB: We are a southern infused rock 'n' roll band from New York City. We bring a lot of musical variety to the table too. We have a bunch of fans who say "I hate rock 'n' roll but I love you guys." We're music makers.
PW: When did you first realize you wanted to be part of the music industry?
RB: In my early 20’s I realized that nothing brought joy to my spirit or meaning to my life than playing an instrument, singing, and composing music.
PW: Which bands and artists did you grow up listening to and how did they influence you? Have such influences changed over the years?
RB: Elvis, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, the Black Crowes, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, STP, Kings of Leon, were my favorite artists growing up and huge influences on my music and desire to make music
a huge part of my life. My listening has gotten way more expansive since my youth but I still consider those artists my biggest influences.
PW: Is there a band or artist out there you might say you're similar to?
RB: The Black Crowes or Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
PW: Tell me about "Roll On." Is there a story behind it?
RB: “Roll On” is about knowing you're different and owning your weirdness and rolling with it.
PW: The track is taken from your latest release King Of The League. How would you sum it up in a few sentences?
RB: King Of The League is an explosion of vital energy. It's a snapshot of the last few years of my life. There's a ton of great sounds on there and disparate song-writing themes as well. It's an album I listen to all the time.
PW: How easy/hard do you find the song-writing process and who/what most inspires you?
RB: It takes years and years of diligent practice and attention to reach the point where the songs that live inside of you are able to find their expression. It's simultaneously extremely difficult and otherworldly easy.
PW: Which song, in your opinion, is the greatest ever written and why?
RB: Wow, there are a few that I would mention but Elton John's “I Guess Why They Call It the Blues” jumped into my head so I'll go with that.
PW: If you could play one venue anywhere in the world, which would it be and why?
RB: Madison Square Garden in New York City. I grew up in New Jersey and New York and that's the most historic and exciting venue in my home area. I'd flip if we got that call.
PW: If you could share a stage with three other bands or artists, who can be living or dead, who would they be and why?
RB: Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, and Bruce Springsteen. Their music is almost religious in its ability to stir your soul.
PW: What are your touring/performance plans for the rest of the year?
RB: We're definitely planning a national tour and hopefully a few international stops as well.
PW: What are your thoughts on social media and do you agree that it's necessary for bands and artists today? How has it helped you establish yourselves?
RB: It's helped us tremendously. Many of our most devoted followers discovered us on social media. And I've bonded with many of them over similar tastes in music and other interests.
PW: What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
RB: Well next up we're playing an end of summer festival at Revolution Bar and Music Hall in Amityville, New York on September 25th. Then some more regional dates on the east coast. We'll then head out across the country and beyond and then get back into the studio to record the follow up.
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition as a band and whose career would you most like to emulate and why?
RB: I'd like to have longevity, a substantial catalogue of awesome music, and the ability to play shows as often as I want. I'd love to still be rocking out arenas at 70 like The Rolling Stones.
Check out the video for "Roll On" below and for more information on Gideon's Army, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Instagram. The album King Of The League is available now on itunes.