Monday, October 14, 2019

DJ Interviews: Destiny Returns

Hey there everyone DJ Dizzy here & I had the pleasure of speaking with Neil Smith of the band Destiny Returns who had a lot to say regarding their career. Enjoy!
How'd you get started in music?
First off, Destiny Returns is basically the collaboration of two musicians, Neil Smith and Jim Gorski who started playing together back in 1976 in Neil's parent's garage in Monrovia, California.  We originally called the band Destiny and over the years worked with various other musicians, but the nucleus was always the two of us.  During this time we played pretty much all of the major nightclubs in Los Angeles (FM Station, Ice House, Gazzari's, the Troubadour), as well as back yard parties and basically any and everywhere.  We even played a Labor Day concert at London Bridge, which consisted of several shows over a few days, the final show was a culmination that drew an audience in excess of of 10,000 before it was eventually stopped by the local Arizona police as having grown too large, which by the way, actually caused a riot.  It was around 1985 that this rendition of the band finally split up and Jim and I went our separate ways (Jim went on to play top 40, and I went to College).  It wasn't until 2017 that we reconnected via Facebook, and one thing led to another when Jim asked if I would write lyrics and sing on a project that he had been working on.  That return collaboration led to the song "Stand Or Fall", and the beginning of "Destiny Returns".  Since then we have re-released much of our old music and written and released numerous new material as well.
Here is some info with regard to each of our paths before our first meeting in 1976:
How did you decide to start music?
Neil- My older brother Tom played music (guitar) and sang in various bands and as a duo playing stuff like Simon and Garfunkel, so being dragged around to their gigs and watching them practice in my parents dining room I decided to take up an instrument, so I started playing drums at about age 6 or 7.  I played drums in marching bands, and such until about age 15, when I switched over to guitar pretty much permanently.  

Jim- My father caught me rolling a Matchbox Car on the keys of our piano at home and it chipped the keys, so he said since I damaged the Piano I would learn to play and respect the instrument.  My father played 16 different instruments and sang opera, thus, I had a high bar to clear.  I was 5 years old at that time and the next ten years I studied classical music, played and competed in recitals.  After that I took private instruction for jazz music and music theory.
Who are your inspirations or influences?
The music that we have been playing all these years is probably what we've actually always liked.  Music from groups like Styx, Journey, Genesis and Yes; basically all the music that was popular in the late 70's and 80's with heavy keyboard influence and melodic rock, pop, and funk type sounds.  Vocally, I've always tried to say something that perhaps may evoke a different meaning within each listener, so they can feel free to interpret using their own individual creative input.  So much of the music scene went more towards Rap and Hip Hop, but we've stuck to our roots, as we continue to play what we like to hear.  Funny, I remember a time when someone called what we were playing Dinosaur Rock.
Where does your inspiration for the music come from?
Probably from what we hear and feel on basically a daily basis.  Much of the time Jim or I will come up with an idea and we bounce it off each other, and low and behold the music just seems to take shape.  From there I generally listen to the music over and over until I get an idea, or motivation there the lyrics just seem to come forward.  Generally the words just come out of me (seemingly from nowhere) and I keep working those lyrics until it says more or less what I want to say.  Often times I'll attempt to invoke the listeners own thought process by the time I've finished.
I guess our aspirations are to be able to make enough money though our music to support ourselves comfortably without having to work our "daytime jobs".  I'm in fabric sales and Jim drives for Uber and Lyft.  Other than that we're both doing what we like in making music and sharing it with anyone who likes to listen.  Jim has a captive audience when he's driving, and often tells me about the remarks people make when they find out that it's us that they've been listening too.  He once told about a passenger that he picked up at the airport in Las Vegas who was listening to one of the songs and proclaimed that he'd heard the song before on the radio back in UK, and that he and his blokes really loved it; only to find out that it was "our" song.  He said "what the heck are you doing driving people around you should be performing in the UK".....
What advice would offer aspiring performers?
Wow, this is really tough.  Now days, the industry has obviously changed so much since we were just starting out in the '70's.  There is access to so much more sophisticated recording equipment and inexpensively so by comparison.  Also, the fact that you can basically self distribute music now is such a cool feature, but I guess the number one thing I would say is just be true to yourself.  There will always be people that like what you're doing and those that don't.  There's always people that will tell you that you're the best thing since sliced bread and those that will say you suck.  So, just keep your head screwed on straight, don't get too high, and don't get too low, and above all enjoy the ride and the journey.  I've had very close friends that have had numerous gold and platinum records and ended up with barely anything to show for it financially, so you need to be a good business man as well....Don't sell that part of the business short.  There are a lot of really, really great musicians out there that don't have a clue about the business end of music.  Pay close attention to this aspect....
How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?
I think at this point we've been working together for so long that we sort of feed off one another as far as writing is concerned.  On a recent radio program we were compared to the Alan Parson's Project, which I think was a huge ego boost for both of us as we both love that type of music, and that type of production.  We've always kind of felt like our songs might be good in movie soundtracks and such because they each tell a story about where we were or are in life at a particular moment in time, or what we've seen.  I've been compared for years vocally to Phil Collins (Genesis), which always struck me funny considering he's from the UK and I'm just a small town Southern California Kid, but it is what it is, and I'm just happy when people don't say I suck.
 Any new gigs or albums in the future?
It's been years since we've done any live shows, but we both used to enjoy the live performance aspect, and we certainly played some really great shows, but having said that it's nice to be able to have a "normal" home life, so at least for this point I think we're both happy just writing and recording.  Should a situation arise that we could do a showcase or so, it would indeed be fun.  So, we'll see, but all in all I think it's just fun to share with people our passion of music, as music is truly a universal language.
In the meantime we seem to keep pumping out new releases, and the last four or five singles and EP's have really gotten some great internet radio play, which we're really happy about.  It's interesting that our music seems to have gotten better traction in the UK, Germany and Australia with only limited play here at home in the US, but I think at this point in time the US market is still so entrenched in the Hip Hop and Rap culture.. We do have a new single already scheduled for release this November entitled "Kiss of Night", and we're already back in the studio working on a couple new ideas, so we'll see what comes out next....

Special thanks to them for this interview & I wish them nothing but luck in their music so until then stay awesome & rock n roll!

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