What was your 1st bass and what was the 1st thing
you learnt to play on it?
GREG: 1st bass was a Nashville. Kind of looked like a "Tele"
copy. It was a real piece of crap but who's first instrument isn't?
1st song I learned was "Smoke on the Water"
Strange how years later I'd end up playing with the guy who wrote it!
What was you first ever bands and how did the
early gigs go before you turned Pro - you got any cool stories about
GREG: Wow! 1st ever band was the "Diamonds".. That was after
playing for about 2 months.. We didn't have a singer, but we had a sax
player who played the melodies on sax.. 1st rock band was "Focus".
Of course we didn't know about the other "Focus" of "Hocus
Pocus" fame.. I was in high school and we played some local feasts
and all of a sudden I started to get noticed by the girls! A cool time..
As far as cool stories about early gigs before turning pro? I could
write a book and probably should! I graduated high school early so I
could play in clubs with cover bands on Long Island where there was
an incredible music scene in the late 70's when I started playing out..
Plenty of stories that include my Dad's station wagon, tacos, and girls
that are better left to your imagination!
How did you get your 1st break to the big league
so to speak?
GREG: It was 1983 and I was playing with a band called "Squadran"..
We had a gig at a well known venue in Long Island named "My Father's
Place".. Gene Simmons was looking for a guitarist to replace Ace
and checked out our guitarist.. He liked the way we played together
and put us both in Wendy 'O Williams band.. That was my 1st tour and
my 1st album..
What was it like for you working with such a
major star as Alice Cooper and what were the highlights for you on stage,
in the studio or socialising? Any cool stories to tell?
GREG: Alice is great. I worked with him the better part of 11 years..
He and his whole family are among my favorite people on the planet..
The highlights were many! Just being on stage with him and watching
him own the audience.. Amazing! The countless great times and laughs
playing cards on the bus, and taking the "new guys" to the
cleaners! Doing the movie "Wayne's World" was a blast.. Funny
story I never told before is during the dressing room scene I'm at the
bar and not on the couch with the rest of the band.. Know why? Movie
shoot.. Typical "hurry up and wait".. I'd finally waited for
hours and had to take a crap.. Well while in the bathroom, they called
everyone in for the shoot! When I came in they said.. "uhm.. ok..
You stand at the bar and talk to this blonde".. Oh well!
How was it for you when you worked in Rainbow
- do you have any favourite members from both a musical and social point
of view and for what reasons?
GREG: Man I loved everyone in that band.. Couldn't say that anyone was
my favorite.. I probably hung out more with Doogie, and Chuck Burgi
though.. Ritchie was mostly with Candy on tour.. While recording we'd
hang out quite a bit and while home my wife and I would get together
with Ritchie and Candy quite often but on tour they would pretty much
stay by themselves. Chuck and I had toured before in Blue Oyster Cult
and had our "on tour" vibe together.. Doogie was just always
such a positive and funny guy that he fit right in with us.. The 3 of
us spent a lot of time together..
What highlights mean a lot to you of the Rainbow
time and why? What do you miss most about those days?
GREG: It was the first big tour I'd done for an album I'd played on..
It was a very big production and well received internationally.. I miss
the guys in the band and the camaraderie.. I miss the music, and I'm
very happy to be re-visiting the music again with Over the Rainbow"..
And I miss being 14 years younger!
From all of the Rainbow line-ups which would
you say is your favourite and why?
GREG: Wow.. Loaded question! Gonna plead the 5th on this one!
How did you get involved in becoming part of
'Over The Rainbow' and what are your personal thoughts about the band
GREG: I got involved after hearing some rumors and contacting Joe and
Bobby.. Not long after Joe called and asked me if I'd be into it.. I
of course was excited to be part of it!
Apart from yourself of course, who would you
say is your favourite Rainbow bassist and why?
GREG: I'm quite a bit different from all the other Rainbow bassists
because I don't play with a pick.. They are all obviously great players
but I would say Roger Glover and Bob Daisley stand out to me.. They
both play the bass like a bassist and are very creative with their licks!
What songs by Rainbow mean the most to you and
GREG: Anything from the 70's era reminds me of being a Rock-n-Roll kid
sitting in my basement learning everything on those records wanting
to be a star! The tunes from the 80's era remind me of starting to become
the musician I am and my first experiences tasting what the life is
about. The 90's era obviously I was a part of and it was bittersweet
because being a fan of Rainbow I knew it wouldn't last and I wanted
it to. Historically speaking I knew I'd get about 3 years.. That ended
up being exactly what it was and I was happy to have them..
Since you have worked a lot both live and in
the studio situation with Joe Lynn Turner, does it kinda seem strange
being in 'Over The Rainbow' together as you have both been used to performing
Joe's material with a few Rainbow numbers thrown into the set? Is it
kinda strange sub-consciously and have to think, 'Yeah, its Rainbow
songs and not JLT songs'?
GREG: It could never feel strange playing with Joe.. We've been friends
for 17 years and we always have ridiculous amounts of fun playing together,
hanging together and touring!
Whether it's Rainbow material or JLT material, or cover tunes.. Whenever
I see Joe after the initial greetings it's always "When can we
play together again?" It's always been like that..
What are your favourite albums and tours with
Joe Lynn Turner and why?
GREG: I'd say the 1st album I played on "Nothing's Changed"
.. We really had a great time recording and I loved the material.. The
"Under Cover" Albums and anything we did on 47th St in NYC
was just the best of times! As far as touring, probably I think in 1994
when Karl almost got us arrested TWICE!! It's funny NOW. Wasn't then..
And of course 2007 in Spain and Germany! More fun than words can say!
Hanging out in Barcelona on the beach after the show.. Drinking in an
old town square in Madrid..
What's Joe like to work with as a performer and
hang out with on a social basis?
GREG: I think my previous answers addressed that at least socially..
As a performer he's of course the consummate professional entertaining
the audience like a rock god and delivering amazing vocals even when
he has no talking voice.. I don't know how he does it!
Since there have been so many line-ups of Rainbow
who would be in the ultimate lineup of Rainbow and why?
GREG: Too many great lineups to choose from so I am pleading the 5th
on this one too!
What would you say are you most fondest or standout
memories (both good and bad - if you like) of being a member of Blue
Oyster Cult, Dokken, Tommy James and The Shondells and with the artists
Vinnie Moore & Wendy O Williams? What led you become a member of
the outfits and why did you decide to leave and persue other musical
paths and obtions?
GREG: Ok, Blue Oyster Cult.. I loved playing with them and it gave me
another chance to play with Chuck Burgi who I had played with along
side David Rosenthal in "Red Dawn".. I was with them only
one summer in between recording "Stranger in us All" and the
tour... I got along great with everyone and it was a positive experience.
The negative... They neglected to pay me for the last 2 gigs I played
with them.. A lesson kiddies! Dokken I still play with from time to
time.. I was brought into the band by guitarist Jon Levin who I had
played with on Long Island.. "Wild" Mick Brown then brought
me into Ted Nugent's band.. I still play with Tommy James and the Shondells..
I was recommended the guitarist who also subbed on Movin Out on Broadway..
Every band I've been in I've been recommended for by an existing band
member. It's sort of the way the music business works..
How was it for you starring in Waynes World alongside
Alice Cooper and the band and what are your most pleasured moments of
GREG: That whole thing was kinda surreal.. Up till that point every
SNL spin off movie had tanked.. We thought the same would happen but
figured it would be fun to be part of it..
Hey, it was a week's work in LA! My brother was living in LA at the
time and I was looking forward to seeing him. One of the flight attendants
was gettin kinda friendly with me and gave me a bottle of Champagne..
We were put up at the Sheraton Universal.. My room had a nice balcony
and I invited my brother over for champagne! It was cool being there
when Mike Myers came up with the "We're not worthy" quote..
They literally tried half a dozen different ones and that’s the
one that was used and became a quote everyone used.. They were not 5
feet from me when that quote happened..
Where in the world have you enjoyed playing most
and for what reason(s)?
GREG: I enjoy different parts of the world and for all the reasons that
they differ! The food, the people, the landscape, the architecture,
the language, the beer.. My favorites are usually where I am at the
What's your part of the USA like for live music?
GREG: My part of the USA The Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton part of N.E.
Pennsylvania is great for live music in the way that the artists locally
are very much supported and there is a large local scene. When not touring
I'll play locally from time to time with the "Greg Smith Band"
playing old rock tunes handling most of the lead singing duties!
What would you say is your favourite bass that
you own and why?
GREG: Right now my favorite is a 1972 Fender Precision bass.. I have
many Fender basses and my favorite changes from time to time. On tour
with Over the Rainbow my main basses will be my 1972, and a 1982 - 1957
American made re-issue Precision Bass.. This is the 1st year they came
out.. This is the same bass I played with Rainbow on the 1996-1997 tours..
It will be up to our soundman which one becomes the #1..
What are you looking forward to when you go out
touring as 'Over The Rainbow'?
GREG: I am looking forward to playing with these friends and incredibly
talented band members.. I am looking forward to playing the music I
love... And I am looking forward to the beginning of something I hope
will be well received and long lived!
If you could choose certain parts of the world
that you would like 'Over The Rainbow' to tour in, where would they
be and why?
GREG: I would obviously like us to tour and be popular everywhere but
I would like to see countries I've never been to.. Iceland, Singapore,
Hong Kong, Greece, Korea.. New Zealand.... Think I've been pretty much
What are your thoughts to the set list that you
have come up with as a band?
GREG: I think the set is great and it touches on the best of all aspects
of Rainbow.. Of course I'm sure it will evolve as we see what works
best but we've got enough on the back burner to make sure it's gonna
In your opinion, how long can you see 'Over The
Rainbow' lasting and why? Can you see it changing in line-ups from time
to time since there are a number of different people who have played
in Rainbow in the band's existence, just like the band itself did?
GREG: Who can really predict the music business? Especially in this
day and age.. I certainly hope it will last and I know everyone in the
band has that same hope otherwise we wouldn't waste our time.. As far
as it changing line-ups there is no plan nor any thought of that as
this is the band and we all want it to stay that way..
What are your thoughts on 'Over The Rainbow'
going into the studio in time to come although I know it's rather early
in the day to start considering things of that nature?
GREG: Well obviously this is something we all aspire to have happen.
If the fans want it and the interest is there, it will happen..
How would you describe the bass playing of Greg
Smith and what are the greatest compliments you have ever been given?
GREG: Just laying in the pocket and singin’ the best backgrounds
I can! Best compliments are people who know who you are and know what
you've done.. The ones that show up with out of print albums you've
played on to be signed.. those are the best compliments!
What do enjoy to do outside music and what would
be found in your hobbies and interests section of your Resume/CV?
GREG: Working on my house, camping, canoeing, hanging with friends..
What would you say you are most proud of in your
career and on a personal level so far and why?
GREG: Most proud of in my career is probably continuing to work with
great artists. On a personal level I'm most proud of being a Dad to
my wonderful daughter, and being a husband to my amazing wife of 17
If you could say anything to the fans out there
reading what would it be?
GREG: Come out to see Over the Rainbow.. It's gonna be a great band
and a great show!