Previous articles about Danny Gillan focused on health issues, writing and showed this talented artist’s tendency to lean towards ‘making idiotically bad decisions’. So, has Danny continued along this path or is he now making idiotically not so bad decisions? Is he taking the advice that he offered in the previous article:
“Don’t be afraid to make changes. If you can identify areas of your life that are causing or triggering the problem, then change them
As Danny, a care worker, discusses openly his other 'hobby' - being a musician and playing in bands, let’s see.
You say you are concentrating more on music these days than writing. What are your specific musical influences?
I grew up listening to a lot of rock and roll and soul, before discovering punk in my teens and then moving onto being a massive blues snob for a few years. I’ll listen to most things with a guitar now, apart from jazz. Too many chords. My personal musical heroes include Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Clash, Jimi Hendrix and my dad.
Most of the bands I played in when I was younger were blues-based – it’s great music for a guitarist to show off, plus you rarely have to learn more than three chords at a time. Coincidentally also why punk is so good.
What inspired / inspires you to write lyrics?
At the time I was far more concerned with the music than I was with lyrics, to be honest. They tended to be functional at best. I was never very good at traditional boy/girl love songs though, so tended to write about people who didn’t like one another much.
What kind of music do you write and play?
I wrote a lot of songs in my twenties. The vast majority of them were terrible, obviously. There are maybe a dozen or so I’m not too ashamed of.
Do you play any instruments besides guitar?
I can pick out chords on a piano if you force me, but guitar has always been the focus.
I live in the Southside of Glasgow, and there has been a major resurgence in live music over the past couple of years here. Acoustic music, which I enjoy playing, has especially has come to the fore, mainly because it’s cheaper and quieter to put on and doesn’t annoy the neighbours as much as thrash metal bands.
Often when people think of acoustic music they have visions of meaningful, slow, frankly depressing stuff that, while often worthy and artistically valid, can be hard to take in anything but smallish doses.
Danny, back to you. What does music give you that writing doesn’t?
Unlike writing, music is all about collaboration, and that’s where the real pleasure lies. Also, it’s much louder than writing, and everyone needs something loud in their life now and then.
What would you be doing as a hobby if you weren’t a writer or musician?
Probably all the things I do now apart from the music and the writing.
Any advice for ‘wanna be’ musicians and rock stars – like you were back as a teenager?
Same as for writers, really. Do it if you love it, get as good at it as you can, and expect never to make a penny.
What do you for a ‘day job’ in between rehearsing and gigging?
I still work in social care, supporting adults with learning disabilities, just no longer in a management role and only part- time.
Any secret skills?
I’m getting pretty good at this Candy Crush thing.
So, Danny Gillan, what have you learned overall from the last 18 months?
… that today is more precious than tomorrow.
Are you going to look after yourself now you stupid, lucky idiot?
Never make a promise you can’t keep.