[Interview] Exclusive interview with Bill Hubauer from Neal Morse Band

Dear readers, in this article we have the pleasure of offering you an interview with multi-instrumentalist, member of the Neal Morse Band and more, Mr. Bill Hubauer.

Hi, how are you?

Bill: Very good, thanks for asking!

You started playing very young, how did your passion for Prog and music in general start?

Bill: There were several factors. Keep in mind this was the late 70’s / early 80’s. Discovering music was all about the radio and word of mouth. At some point everyone finds their own music, but until that time, we are influenced by those around us. I remember my Mom listening to Simon and Garfunkel, Seal’s and Crofts, The Beatles, etc., so this clearly set the template for what I thought vocals should sound like. Another influencer was a neighbor who had discovered Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Center of the Earth from a
PBS broadcast and shared it with me. Ultimately the magic moment was one night when I wondered what this “FM” switch on my stereo was for. I spent the next several years chasing that elusive music driven emotion up and down the radio dial! It was all about the emotion and I felt more when listening to what was just beginning to be called Progressive Rock than anything else.

Over the years you have played in several prog bands and more, and now you are a regular member of the Neal Morse band, how has your sound evolved?

Bill:I spent the first couple of years in NMB just learning and playing all of Neal’s keyboard parts up until we started recording our own music together. It’s pretty safe to say that I’ve been heavily influenced by Neal’s playing. Having said that, I will frequently and deliberately try to do the opposite of what I think Neal would do in order to bring something different to the table. You can’t really escape your influences, but you can definitely try to combine them in different ways to do your own thing. From a technology side, I’ve been using computer based software synths for the past 20 years, but I’ve recently found myself collecting a non-trivial number of analog synthesizers and I expect this to play a big part in up coming recordings.

A live album entitled “An Evening Of Innocence & Danger: Live in Hamburg” is about to be released in July 2023, how would you describe this work?

Bill:It has become fairly predictable that we record a studio album, tour that album in its entirety, then release a live DVD/CD of the tour. I always wonder how many people only watch the DVD and never really just listen to the live audio performances. I’m especially proud of how well this band pulls off our material live and I’m really happy that people will get to really focus on the live musical performance instead of being distracted by the visuals of a DVD.

What memories and anecdotes do you have of that tour and that concert in particular?

Bill:We’ve played Markthalle in Hamburg many times, and it really is one of my favorite places to play. Instead of a flat floor like most rock clubs, it has several tiers that wrap around the sides. It lifts the audience up and somehow it makes you feel closer to them, both intimate and large at the same time — I really love it! The hamburg show was really in that “sweet spot” on the tour, about 3/4 of the way through. We were really tight and comfortable but not too close to the end of the tour that we were feeling sad that it was almost over.

In the album there are also tracks from your last work “Innocence & Danger,” released in 2021, are you planning a new studio album in the near future?

Bill:We have nothing scheduled at the moment, Mike has been busy with the Winery Dogs, and Neal has been working on a new solo album. I’ve been writing a lot of music myself in anticipation of the next project, whether its NMB, We Came From Space, or maybe even a solo project.

The band’s live performances are always very intense and engaging for the audience, do you have any dates planned for this year?

Bill:No tour dates, but we are getting together for a couple of “MorseFest” weekends in August. This year is the 20th anniversary of Neal’s “Testimony” solo album, so we will be performing both Testimony 1 & 2, along with a lot of fun bonus material! We will also be taking MorseFest to Europe for the first time. You can find details at https://www.nealmorse.com

You are a multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer, are you planning a solo release or do you only dedicate yourself to projects with bands?

Bill: I have been writing a lot of material lately and am considering a possible solo release. I have another band “We Came From Space” that released an album earlier this year, so maybe that band will get started on another album…. Or maybe NMB will find some time later in the year to start a new album…. It could go either way at this point!

Given your vast experience in music, what advice would you give to young artists approaching the world of Prog Rock?

Bill:The music industry that I grew up with no longer exists in any form, and since I’m not a full time musician, I have no advise to offer if you want to make a career in music. For me, success in music is playing the kind of music I want to play. My primary income is as a software engineer, which I like very much, but even though I consider myself a part time musician, I truly love all the music I get to do, so I consider that a success!

Music is constantly evolving, how do you see the future of Progressive Rock?

Bill:Every generation since the 70s has had some form of Progressive Rock. If you want to hear the future of Prog Rock, you need to listen to young bands that grew up with their parents record collections! Many of prog bands out there (and I’ll include NMB in this list), aren’t really evolving the genre (we are not “progressing”), we are just trying to write good songs in a particular style that inspired us when we were young. I think it will be the younger bands that will cause the genre to evolve and grow.

I thank Bill for the interview wishing him all the best for the continuation of his artistic career and I also thank InsideOut Music for the constant collaboration with the artists on its roster.

Bill Hubauer |Facebook Page|Twitter|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

The Neal Morse Band |Official Website|Facebook Page|Twitter|YouTube Channel|

InsideOut Music |Official Website|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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