You don’t have to squint in order to see that music is Greg Hodde’s lifelong passion. He taught himself to play guitar at the age of 13, and he went on to perform as a member of several bands over the years, some of which opened for the likes of heavy hitters Peter Frampton, America and the Doobie Brothers. In 1993, Hodde started his own music shop and school, , and two years later founded his own band, Blue Reign.
Between playing nearly 150 gigs a year and teaching 40 guitar lessons a week, Hodde says he’s probably had about five full weekends off in the last 15 years.
“You don’t get rich, but you enjoy what you’re doing. I wake up every day and I can’t wait to practice. I work hard at what I do,” he says.
Blue Reign, which includes Hodde’s 21-year-old son, Trevor, on drums, seamlessly blends elements of blues, rock, jazz and metal. They play both covers and originals with improvisation as a key element. He considers each gig unique and spends a lot of time tailoring shows to each venue or event, whether it’s a casino, bar or wedding.
Hodde believes the Internet and social media have impacted the band in positive ways. He says the changes to the music industry in the past decade, along with social media tools, have driven many musicians to self-promotion.
“People were stealing music for awhile and corporations controlled everything. Now you can do all your own marketing and eliminate the middleman. The online media, whether it’s Facebook or MySpace, is working for you when you’re not performing,” says Hodde. “Are we making a lot of money? No. But the shows are becoming more and more crowded. To me, that’s what I love, the performing.”
Hodde believes the teaching is all part of the same process of making music. He says some people think music instruction can make an artist “more technical and stiff,” but Hodde says the opposite is true, espousing constant practice as the key to success. Hodde himself takes lessons from Berkelee College of Music professor Joe Stump in order to stay on top of his game. He says teaching keeps him “fresh, young and happy.”
“It’s nice when you see someone that believes in what they’re doing and they believe they can have an impact.”
To listen to Greg Hodde and Blue Reign, or see a schedule of upcoming gigs, visit their MySpace page here.