A very cool Article in Tagblatt
(the main Swiss Newspaper)
Click on the picture to go to the online article. An English version of the text is below the picture
Phil Gates brings the Blues via Super Bowl and Hollywood to Eastern Switzerland
In the US, Phil Gates already worked with blues greats like Stevie Ray Vaughn or Buddy Guy. For two years the guitarist and singer lives in Urnäsch. On Friday evening, he performs at Splügen Festival in the Old Town.
Chicago, New York, Los Angeles: Until two years ago, Phil Gates lived mainly in cities of millions. And now: Urnäsch, 2200 inhabitants. The 56-year-old musician came to Switzerland for love. During a visit to Europe, he met his wife – a singer. In 2016 he moved to eastern Switzerland.
He traded life in Hollywood – Gates lived only two blocks from the legendary Sunset Boulevard – to the Appenzellerland. Nevertheless, the guitarist and singer did not experience a culture shock. He says:
“My view has changed. Before, I had the Pacific and the Hollywood sign, now the Alpstein. I like it in both places. »
In his homeland, Gates was established in the blues scene. He produced albums, played as a studio musician for other artists, taught guitar and recording technique and had live performances. In Switzerland, he started at zero. He has kept his job as a guitarist in the studio thanks to the internet; Gates can be heard on albums produced 10’000 kilometers away. “Artists give me songs, I perform a guitar part, and send it back,” he says. Right next to the Espenmoos he has set up a recording studio, in front of it is a Subaru with Ausserrhoder number – he has settled in automatically.
The Musical Spice Rack
What he misses here is the exchange with other musicians. In the US, Gates championed other artists. For example, as the founder and president of the Los Angeles Blues Society or as musical director of the Jimi Hendrix Foundation. «In these clubs, musicians met for exchanges and jam sessions. Some of them got a job as a studio musician or a live performance. »
Such a network what Phil is looking for in Switzerland. He would like to play concerts more often and help Swiss musicians to find their sound.
“But I do not want to do that as a “Big Guy” from Los Angeles, but as a colleague who brings a different perspective and different experiences here and there.”
When Gates talks about his music, he needs the image of a spice rack. Traditional blues, electric Chicago blues, soul, funk, jazz and classical music – these genres have accompanied him on his way. This path began in Chicago: The mother played classical music on the piano, the father jazz on the trumpet, the brother drums and guitar.
First in the Air Force
Gates’ path led first to the US Air Force – where he earned a place in competitions in the US music formation U.S. Air Force Tops In Blue. On this tour he had an appearance in 1985 in the halftime show of the Super Bowl – during the finals of the U.S. NFL Football League sits an audience of millions in front of the TV.
After a world tour with the Tops In Blue, the injury came: Gates had developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – because of a wrist injury, he was not allowed to play the guitar for two years. “But I really wanted to stay connected to the music. Thanks to my electronics knowledge from the aerospace industry, I started working as a sound engineer. »
As a sound engineer, he mixed live performances of blues greats like Stevie Ray Vaughn or Buddy Guy. Gates learned and found his own style. Although he focused on blues, his albums also include funk songs, soulful numbers, or even a salsa song.
At the moment he is working on his tenth album – it should be funky, with elements of blues and soul. There it is again, the spice rack with different styles. These will also be heard tonight, starting at 8.30pm, at Pic-o-Pello Square. Gates brings the blues this time not to Chicago, New York or Los Angeles, but in the St. Gallen Old Town where Phil Gates plays his mix of Blues, Funk and Soul.
Chicago born Recording Artist Phil Gates is an award winning American Funk, Blues and Rhythm & Blues artist now available for the 2019 booking season.
Phil’s current CD – “The Twelve Rhythms” has guest artists such as Eric Gales, Kenny Neal and Rob Mullins. It has been received to major approval! This release combines Funk, Soul, Blues, Blues Rock, Rhythm & Blues, and Jazz in a combination that is clearly a step above.
Phil has performed with, recorded, opened for, or shared the stage with great artists such as John Mayall, Tower of Power, Tommy Castro, Janiva Magness, Kenny Neal, Eric Gales, Booker T, Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Urs Wiesendanger, and many others.
Born in Chicago Ill, Phil began playing musical instruments at the age of seven. Phil has played venues from small clubs, to the halftime show of the NFL Super Bowl. As well as touring under his own name in the U.S. and Europe.
Phil also worked as a front of house sound engineer with some of Blues and Jazz’s greatest performers including Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert King, Dizzie Gillespie, Wynton & Branford Marsalis, Kevin Eubanks, Eartha Kitt, Dianne Reeves, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and many others.
Phil’s musical style is a combination of the early high energy Buddy Guy, mixed with Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Funk, New Orleans styles. Phil has was featured weekly10 months per year for five years on Hornblower Cruises “Friday Night Blues Dinner Cruise. ”
Phil Gates also won the “Beale Street Blues Kings” Competition in Memphis, TN and competed in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge (IBC). He has been a judge the IBC twice, as well as the Guitar Center “King of the Blues” competitions in Hollywood, CA. Phil has performed at great venues such as the Monterey Blues Festival, Santa Clarita Blues Festival, Topanga Canyon Blues Festival, Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival, Blues Nights Gossau (Three years) and The Rock und Blues Festival in Gams, Switzerland.
Also great venues like Club KUGL, Falcone Sounds, B.B. King’s, Cozy’s, Biscuits and Blues San Francisco, Highway 99 Seattle, WA, The Coach House, CA,
The Twelve Rhythms
The “Twelve Rhythms” record contains twelve original songs with styles from the Motown and Staxx era with Soul, R&B, Blues, and Jazz. It’s a collection of songs and genres Phil has always wanted to have on a record. Plus a chance for Phil to let loose on guitar! 🙂
Take a look at these press quotes about Phil from some of the best Blues Magazines and Blues Societies in America and the world:
“… Sweetly gritty vocals, blistering guitar with blues expression, distinction, and great stage presence. I predict a bright future for this young charismatic bluesman.” Dorothy Hill, Blues Source & President, The Golden Gate Blues Society
“I was there to especially see Phil Gates and he did not disappoint! His set was dazzling with solid vocals and he peeled off one powerful guitar solo after another. His strong performance was widely popular and had the audience calling for more.” Blues Source & President, The Golden Gate Blues Society
“The guitar consistently sounds classy, rehearsed, and a bit laid back. Gates does not avoid unwarranted bursts of fire cracker guitar playing… danceable and enjoyable. ”
Tim Holeck Blues Revue Magazine
““Highlights of my two days of running from club to club … included the explosive sets by the Phil Gates Band.” Art Tipaldi, BluesWax
“Phil Gates is an impressive presence… The crowd rewarded him with a much deserved standing ovation.” Pete Sardon, Southland Blues
“He’s a sharp guitar man with a keen sense of the music he plays — blues with a modern hue and a lot of attitude. Gates uses all his musical weapons to good effect, including a guitar that swings and stings, and vocals that reach deep for grit. … A fresh and original take on the blues.” Jim White, Blue Notes Blog
“Phil Gates writes ‘em from the heart and plays ‘em from the soul, and he’s handled a bluesman’s greatest challenge–satisfying crowds hungry for some of the best in contemporary blues.
“He hit’s the right notes, engages the right iconography and slyly brings a long overdue pop element to the blues that will keep it alive and lively for future generations. Fun stuff that’s really hard to resist. Check it out. This guitar man is the perfect, contemporary gateway drug to get you hooked on the blues. Nice stuff that really gets its point across in fine style.” Chris Spector, Midwest Record
“Addicted To The Blues is a masterful slice of modern blues by an artist who has the total package. Phil Gates is an excellent songwriter who views traditional themes in a modern manner. His guitar work is outstanding (he also plays bass, keyboards, and drums), as is his singing.” Graham Clarke, Blues Bytes
“Phil is a wonderful, soulful guitar player who understands his way around the fretboard as well as a multitude of other instruments. He grooves ya’, he moves ya’; Phil Gates is a big time artist who deserves a listen.” Steve “Fly” Klein, Chicago Blues News
“Phil Gates captures the heart that runs through the USA and so do his songs. He devours his music in the studio with intense growls, putting boogie to the blues.” John Shelton Ivany, JSITop21.com “Gates is a fantastic guitarist, imbuing everything he plays with funk and sincerity.”
John Shelton Ivany, JSITop21.com
“His gentle smoky/husky vocals are well suited to the musical honey that he produces; as it pours languorously and warmly out from the speakers, it clings and lingers upon the ears and mind like the memory of a warm summer Sunday afternoon. There are intricate and tightly woven funky guitar passages that unobtrusively feed into the listeners’ subconscious like a slow morphine drip. The sublime understated slidework that Phil effortlessly constructs creeps up upon you with the stealth like movement of a stalking tiger.” Brian Harmon, Blues Art Journal, Austria
Phil Gates is truly refreshing and a new spirit and a voice that promotes some of the largest U.S. traditional values. These and such valuables can be found in the history of American cultural creativity. Phil Gates is a real break; a new spirit and voice of the greatest American Values (Blues), and Phil with his knowledge, skills and indisputable talent maintain historic or, if you will, traditional values alive.”
Mladen Loncar, Sound Guardian, Croatia
“…over the years (he) has developed a very tasty style with a slightly lazy, grainy vocal style and a deft guitar style that constantly swings and shows considerable imagination.”
Ron Weinstock jazz-blues.com
“Phil offers swift jazz-influenced solos, sizzling slide work, and funky touches. Sings tunefully with a little sandpaper flavor. His main challenge is not to overdo tunes, songwriting or solos just because his arsenal is so large.”
Cathi Bloomington wfhbmusic.blogspot.com
Releasing a live performance CD can be a risky venture. Phil Gates and his band made no mistake in committing to a live album here. They’ve got it together, and they dish it out. Having worked as a sound engineer, record producer and session guitarist, in addition to heading up his own band, Gates has the expertise to make this live performance work.
“The test by fire for any blues musician is before an audience, holding nothing back while reaching to produce a cathartic experience. When the performance is recorded, however, it must hold up to repeated listenings. Los Angeles singer, songwriter and guitar dynamo Phil Gates more than withstands the scrutiny with his devastating live set before a riveted crowd.
Phil Gates is a unique singing, writing and instrumental voice in the blues, his outsized talent dwarfing the accomplishments of lesser lights. Exemplifying every virtue of traditional and contemporary blues, he has broken out with a modern masterpiece.”
Dave Rubin, KBA recipient in Journalism
Phil is an accomplished session guitarist, performing on such projects as the Philip Bailey CD “Life & Love,” with artists Kellie Blaise, Billy Shields, Maurice White, Zac Harmon, Preston Glass, L.A. Stlyz and Seabron. His session work playing guitar has included many tracks with artists such as Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, Melba Moore, Freddie Jackson, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Deniece Williams, Jody Watley, Howard Hewett, Teddy Pendergrass, Brian McKnight, Ruben Studdard, The Stylistics and Maurice White.
As a producer, Phil co-produced the award winning blues record “The Blues According to Zacariah” with Zac Harmon, and recently has been a co-producer on an album project with Little Richard for Charles Connor. Phil also produced “Too Much Car For the Road” by Toni Dodd, “Urban Legacy” by Julia Jordan, daughter of renowned guitarist Stanley Jordan, who also performed on the CD. Phil has also scored an AFI film “My Normal Life.”
Phil’s albums – “This Side OF Me,” “Should I?,” “Addicted To The Blues,” “In The Mean Time”, “Live At The Hermosa Saloon” and “The Twelve Rhythms” are all available on iTunes and digital retail outlets worldwide.
Phil has three full endorsements with Ernie Ball/MusicMan Guitars, Evertune Bridges, and Ultimate Support music stands.
Official Site: www.philgates.com
Owner, DCT Productions (Music and Audio Production)
Musician Blues/Blues Rock/R&B Guitarist and Singer
Music Producer, Recording Engineer
Producer/Artist of CD: Phil Gates “The Twelve Rhythms”
Co-Producer of CD: “Charles Connor The Beginning of Rock and Roll”
Producer/Artist of CD: Phil Gates “Phil Gates Live at The Hermosa Saloon”
Producer of CD: Toni Dodd “Too Much Car For The Road”
Producer/Artist of CD: Phil Gates “In The Mean Time…”
Producer/Artist of CD: Phil Gates “Addicted To The Blues”
Producer/Artist of CD: Phil Gates “Should I?”
Producer/Artist of CD: Phil Gates “This Side of Me”
Producer/Artist of CD: Phil Gates “Party Time”
Co-Producer of CD: Zac Harmon “The Blues According To Zacariah”
Producer of CD: Julia Jordan “Urban Legacy”
Composer/Producer of film score: “Phil Gates: Music from the film “My
Producer/Artist of Loop CD “Pop Rock Guitar Toolbox” for M-Audio Pro
Sessions Sample Library
Performer/Guitarist NFL Superbowl Halftime Show
Author of the book: “Recording The Guitar” for Mel Bay Publishing
Voting member of NARAS (the Grammys)
Member Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI)
Master Instructor Digital Recording, USC
Blues Partner of the Blues Foundation
Founder- Los Angeles Blues Society
Prior Board of Directors Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society
Member SoCal Blues Society
Member Bluesaholics Blues Group
Seminar Instructor “Digital Recording for Musicians” at
TAXI, NARAS, Fender, and ASCAP
Veteran United States Air Force