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Up Close with Heath Forbes

(Interviewed on April 13, 2005)

Genre:  Americana/ Country/ Roots Rock

Home:  New Orleans, Monroe, Shreveport, La. I cant stay in one place too long
Instruments: Guitar, Harmonica, Trumpet, Little bit of the Keys
Favorite Get Away: I love London, England, but the quickest getaway for me is anytime im just in my boat on the river somewhere.
Favorite TV show: Seinfeld (about the only TV series ill watch, even if it is re-runs that ive already seen)
Recent Movies you've liked: Life Aquatic, Finding Neverland, Old School

PC: When did you begin your music career? 

HF: Started picking around at age 11

PC: Who are your main musical influences? 

HF: In no order; The Doors, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Cinderella, Better than Ezra, Cross Canadian Ragweed

PC: Where can someone get a copy of your CD? 

HF: I'm currently working on some new material in the studio, but you can download some of my old stuff off my website for free! New stuff should be out this summer.

PC:  If you had to pick a couple of songs you have written or recorded that you are most proud of, what would they be and why? 

HF: Well, if i play a song in front of people, I'm proud of it. Ive written a lot of songs that no one will ever hear. They just didn't have it. Im not the type of songwriter that can just sit and make up a fictional song or story. Everything that people will hear from me comes from some experience in my life. I can tell you the reason for everything ive written. There are some songwriters that can spit songs out like a machine. I can't. I have to have something come over me. I might write 3 songs in a month or I might not write 1 song in 6 months. Something has just got to click it on. Ive tried making up songs, and they sounded made-up. I hate when you can tell a song is so fake sounding that you can predict the next lyric. But, back to the question. 2 of my more recent songs kinda stand out for me. "New Orleans" is just about the way i live my life when im in that town, and
how there are certain times when i have to leave if I don't want to be found upside down somewhere. Its got that Johnny Cash vibe. "No One Knows" is a more sappy type song. Its about being in a situation with someone, but your heart belonging to someone else. Almost everyone has
had a situation like this. I just tried to make my song dig a little deeper lyrically and musically than just the same ole cliched love song. Its got the Better than Ezra vibe working for it. I think it can be a great song. Both of these will be on the new CD.

PC: Do you have a preference when it comes to playing, whether it's acoustic or electric? 

HF: I Make my bread and butter with my acoustic, but there's nothing like standing up and having my les Paul hang down almost to my knees. Did that come out right??

PC: If you could open for or perform with anyone who would that be and why? 

HF: Lets assume they have to be living. And this is one of those just fun daydreaming type situations. Id have the line-up like this: Heath Forbes, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Better Than Ezra, Then close it with Cinderella (again, yes the 80's band). Id go first so I could just hang out afterward and watch these guys. Wed have Alt. Country hit them with the first 2 shots, then some southern alternative rock, then close it out with some 80's blues rock. If I ever get super stardom, I will make this happen. Its all in fun.

PC: If not for music, what would you be doing as an career? 

HF: Id be a football coach

PC: Where is your favorite place to play? 

HF: Anywhere with fun girls and cold pops. I like the House of Blues.

PC: What CD would be found in your CD player right now? 

HF: Mix CD consisting of Whiskeytown, Cross Canadian, The Shins, John Denver, Ingram Hill, and BTE.


Music

Heath Forbes Music

 Look For Heath's New CD Coming Soon!

Bio

Ask Heath what his favorite kind of music is and he probably won’t be able to answer you. Ask him what genre to put is own music in and he probably still won’t be able to answer you. That’s because there is no right or wrong answer. He likes literally everything. As far as his own music goes, some call it alternative, some call it country, and some just like it. Heath says, “As long as people get into what I play, you can classify it however you want to.”

Heath was raised in Sterlington, Louisiana, a small town right outside of Monroe. He grew up in a musical family having an older brother and two younger sisters, all of which sings. His dad also was an established piano player, so there was always music in the house. One of his first big musical influences came when he heard Cinderella’s Bad Seamstress Blues. “When I heard Tom Keifer pull that slide up the neck of an acoustic guitar I was hooked. The fact that he could play slide with an acoustic guitar, play harmonica, sing, and then switch the slide to an electric guitar amazed me. It was the coolest thing and I started playing guitar the next day.”

After graduating high school, Heath attended The University of Louisiana (Monroe) on a football scholarship. He continued to play guitar, though few knew about it. “There were some older guys on the team that talked about playing guitar in their rooms at night. No one knew that I could play. I went to one of the rooms one night and grabbed one of the guitars. One of the guys told me to f**k up his guitar, then I started playing. The next day at practice, all the coaches were telling me they wanted me to come play guitar for them. Word traveled fast.” Heath put together a band in college that consisted of a couple other football players. They played cover tunes and hit the local bars and the occasional fraternity/sorority parties. After graduation, Heath continued to play in bands for fun and work, never really thinking about doing anything too serious with his music. “I was just having a good time, doing the 8-5 work thing and playing the occasional show. I didn’t think of much else. But the thing was that so many people kept telling me that I could do so much more with music. After a while, I started believing them and started writing more.” That brought Heath and his band at the time “Chelsea Smile” to pack it up and move to New Orleans in search of musical mojo. “We were getting all these shows playing with straight-up metal bands. We would open shows with this light alternative, almost country sound and think that these metal band fans were gonna lynch us. But they didn’t, they actually got into it.” The band, which was just a trio, then went into the studio under the Atrium Records label and recorded a few songs. This was Heath’s first time to ever record in the studio. The results were a very raw and rough mix, but the sound was there. After a while in New Orleans, Heath decided that is was time to move into a new direction. “I loved living in New Orleans. We had an apartment right off St Charles Ave. and the atmosphere was awesome, but it wasn’t the place for me at that time. I will say that I wrote the best songs I had written up to that point while I was there.”

After leaving New Orleans, a new opportunity came into play, The Colgate Country Showdown. This is a national talent search that auditions over 100,000 people a year. Heath had never been involved with a straight country situation. After auditioning and making into the Monroe area show, Heath won the first round. “I didn’t know if what to expect, so I just went out like myself, not trying to be a cowboy or anything, I just played as if I was opening for a metal band in New Orleans. I played Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash and I guess it got the judges attention.” Heath went on to win the Louisiana/Mississippi State title and eventually to the semi-final round in Atlanta, Ga. He made it from 100,000 people to the final 13 in the country. That was motivation for Heath. “I realized that I have something that a lot of people out there want to hear, Im gonna keep on plugging and trying to make it.”

Heath continues to write and play music. He hopes that he will be in the right place at the right time and that the next big break will take place. Over the past few years Heath has played with some great up and coming acts as well as some well seasoned veterans. Some of these include: Dexter Freebish, Will Hoge, The Working Title, TJ McFarland, Peter Dawson, Wayne Toups, and many others. You can find Heath playing bars, festivals, colleges, and anywhere else that will let him set up. “My goal is to establish a great following, whether its regional or national. I just want that loyalty like some many of my favorite bands have. Bands like Better than Ezra have such great fan loyalty. I want that. Whether it’s a fan base of 10 or 10 million, Just to have people that love what you do so much.. That’s what keeps you going. It keeps you reaching for more.” If you get a chance, Listen to Heath.


For More Information on Heath Forbes visit his web site at www.heathforbes.com


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