Keyboardist Gregg Fox is the creator of the Renaissance Rock Orchestra, a progressive, symphonic metal show that regularly features acclaimed rock luminaries. Get to know more about our TALENT SCOUT Artist of the Week.
NAME: Gregg Fox
HOMETOWN: Seattle, Washington. Currently living in Las Vegas, NV.
MUSICAL TRAINING: I was born into an extremely musical family. My mom was the church organist and my dad was the choir director, so I was deeply exposed to music as a young child and I was singing in front of the church from the age of five, which was when I also began piano lessons. I had 12 years of classical training on piano and I also began playing violin in Elementary School. I continued playing violin and piano throughout college and majored in music at community college and Seattle Pacific University, concentrating on performance.
FIRST GIGS: My first gig in my hometown of Seattle was on a small party boat motoring around the Puget Sound. As I was playing the solo on “From The Beginning” by ELP we hit a huge wave and the drum kit fell over. I was cradling my Arp Odyssey in my arm like a newborn baby to keep it from falling off my Arp String Ensemble, but I kept playing! I then started a very popular NW band called Ictus and we toured the country with a massive sound and light show.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: My first rock and roll records moved quickly from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Beatles into Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. However, my classical training soon drew me to Jethro Tull, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes. Early Elton John and Steely Dan will always be some of my favorite “go to” stuff, but The music of Yes is definitely my biggest influence and really changed my life musically. Queen, too. When my college roommate played Queen II for me I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing. It really blew my mind!
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: These days I’m listening to some unbelievably groundbreaking progressive metal artists. John Bergs’ The Paralydium Project & Vanden Plas have really been capturing my attention. The new solo record War Of The Worlds, Pt. 1 by Symphony X guitarist and composer Michael James Romeo is another of my new favorites.
MY BIG BREAK: My "big break" was really when I moved to Vegas. Almost immediately. I played piano on “The Climb” for Miley Cyrus at the Academy Of Country Music Awards show which was broadcast to over 30 million homes. The best part of moving to Vegas was that I was welcomed right away into its group of legendary classic rockers and started doing shows and recording with many musicians that I had known and admired much of my life. I got to re-record the classic Vanilla Fudge hit “Keep Me Hangin On” with legendary drummer Carmine Appice and Quiet Riot/Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino. And I performed several times with AC/DC drummer Chris Slade (who was also in Manfred Mann) on the classic release of “Blinded By The Light."
LATEST PROJECTS: Although I’ve been touring extensively around the country for the last 10 years and have also been playing in many rock shows and casinos in Las Vegas, my main project and my passion has been my own project, the Renaissance Rock Orchestra. RRO is a legacy rock super group symphonic rock show. Our last record In Times of Olde includes performances by 27 well known rock artists, including guitar masters Bumblefoot (GNR), George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob) and Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake, TSO, Cher) and two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees - guitarist Howard Leese (Heart, Paul Rodgers), and drummer Alan White (Yes). I compose all the pieces and my music combines elements of classic rock, progressive metal and symphonic influences.
FAVORITE KEYBOARDS AND WHY? My favorite keyboard is the little old spinet upright at my mom's house. It knows my fingers so well! However, the Korg Kronos is my keyboard of choice due its nine sound engines that will create any type of sonic styling I need, and also because of its huge variety of high quality string and piano sample libraries. I’ve been playing Korg synths for years and I know their programming structures well. I still always have to have a Hammond on stage, though. There’s nothing that will create the tonal excitement of a spinning Leslie speaker!
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? I'm currently developing partnerships and alliances to take Renaissance Rock Orchestra out on a major tour so I’m spending a lot of time arranging the perfect patches for live performance and completing the string arrangements for these live shows. I’ve also been writing and recording the next RRO record which should be out in early 2019.
ADVICE TO THE NEXT GENERATION: Follow the musical passion of your soul, and create your own sound and style, far from the masses and the trends. Write continually and express your spirit from your life experiences, which will change as you grow in musical ability and in your trips around the sun. And remember, you can never practice too much!
For more information visit http://www.renaissancerockorchestra.com