So you broke probation by not checking in while on tour?
Right. My probation order allowed me to still leave the country, leave the city, go tour, and play and all that. I was just supposed to send in a UA from out of town occasionally, and I didn’t do it.
And you turned yourself in rather than deal with the warrant. They would have come looking for you.
Exactly. It wouldn’t have been comfortable for me to go play anywhere without them being able to easily find me.
You’d have to run off the stage after you finished playing the last note.
[Laughing] Right. And nothing would’ve stopped them from coming to get me onstage while I was playing! I didn’t want to go through all that.
Do you think this was all for the best?
No doubt, man! I’ve got some things in my life that are going really great. I’m in a place called Christ Recovery Center out here in Minnesota. I’m doing really well, grasping on and ascertaining the tools that I need to get out there and be a productive person and great musician that God intended for me to be. I’m going to be here until the beginning of November. I came July first and I will have been here four months by then. I will have met all the requirements and graduated from the program. Mid-November is when the tour and all that stuff starts.
I have a lot of people still in my corner that are waiting for me to graduate so I can go on the road and take care of business. With this new record, there’s a whole lot of buzz going on about the comeback of Eric Gales. I’m here for the long haul. I’ve come to the realization that there were a lot of things that went on in my life, and I’m very fortunate to even still be here. I’m just going to take that and channel all that through playing, and just giving back the best way I know how, and that’s through music, and just doin’ it different.
Being sober is the “in thing” now to me. There are countless other artists out there that are doing the sober thing. There are a lot doin’ it the other way too, but I know it doesn’t work out for me that way. So, I’m very excited about the new album and the way I’m choosing to view it. I just want everybody to know reading this that Eric Gales is very well and alive. Look out for me coming to a city or town near you, starting in November.
It takes a lot of strength and support to overcome drug addiction.
It’s not only me, it’s all the friends I have that are supportive. It’s a “we” thing. It’s a lot of support that I got from my friends, my wife, my family, my daughter, and my assistant. The people that I have working for me, they’re all about checking and making sure that everything is going how it’s supposed to go. We’re looking forward to this new launch and it’s going to be a major one. A lot of anticipation is coming behind when I get out and hit the road. I’m so stoked.
What led you to drugs?
It had nothing to do with the music industry. It was when I got to chillin’ and just being idle. It was when I got off the road and wasn’t doing much of anything, and being intrigued with the street life. That’s what it was. It was me wanting to be a people pleaser and hang out in the street. Hang out with those “partners” that were supposed to be my friends, but they really weren’t.
They were hanging around Eric, and knew he was going‘ to have something [drugs]. Now it’s a whole other avenue. I’ve got people that want to hang around me because of what I’m doing for myself, and how I’m living my life, and want to be around me because of the talent that I have. I had people who wanted to do that before, but I was clouding that in my mind with all kinds of other stuff. I don’t have to do that, and it’s so much clearer now.
I have people like Two Rock looking at me. These are guys that deal with John Mayer, Joe Bonamassa, Robben Ford, and all these other cats. I am so very proud of myself and very thankful to have people like this in my corner. Jimmy Dunlop, St. Blues Guitars—all the way across the board. They’re there because they see something. They believe in me and I believe in myself. When I sit back and listen to this record, I listen to it as though I’m not the one that recorded it. By far, it’s a fast and amazing record.
Your guitar sounds bigger than on your past releases.
I agree. I like everything I put out, but when I can say that each record sounds better than the one before, that must mean I’m continually doing something better. I’m going in the right direction.
What is it about Two Rock amps that you like?
Two Rock brought the whole arsenal, dude! They brought everything they have up to Prairie Sun Studios in Cotati, and I just started plugging in. They’re predominately known for a different sound than I use.
What sound is that?
Like the Dumble sound that John Mayer has on his more recent stuff, Robben Ford—those type of sounds. When he heard me doing what I do, he went back to the drawing board and said, “Dude, I wanna make you an amp, and I want to incorporate more gain.” It still gets clean, too, and that’s exactly what I was looking for. You get the woody tone coming out of the amps, along with a nice crunchy rhythm, and a boost that enhances the solo sounds.
That video [Two Rock shot with Gales
] is semi-instructional, if you ask me. We were just talking and they said, “Can you just play a little bit so we can put this online to show how you feel about this amp?” I said, “Sure.” Even through the mic on the video camera, you can still hear the tone coming through the video. You can hear exactly what I’m talking about at any volume—I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m so content with them.
Your signature amp is a two-channel amp?
Two channels—clean and dirty.
What’s the clean like?
Clean is like a Marshall. Like “Hey Joe.” [Sings the guitar intro to Hendrix’s version of “Hey Joe”
]. It doesn’t have Celestions, but it has a Celestion sound. They make their own Tone Tubby speakers. I haven’t had a chance to take them out on the road because I came here to get myself together.