Patrick Gagliardi of Storm Force
Interview by Andrew Daly
For Patrick Gagliardi, the manifestation of small-town dreams turned rock-star reality has been a grind.
Trials and tribulations saw Gagliardi wade through various talent shows and local parties before the burgeoning skin thrasher found himself a member of Surface Tension, a band that many from the scene remember him for to this day.
Pushing forward, when former Brighton Rock gunslinger’s new band, Storm Force, needed a drummer, Gagliardi was earmarked for his reputation as an able timekeeper with a flair for the dramatic, who could bring a unique edge to the character of Storm Force.
For Gagliardi, the role is not one to be taken lightly. To that end, Gagliardi and Storm Force have begun playing shows and working on new music, showing the world that they’re ready to rage once again. In the meantime, Patrick Gagliardi dialed in with ClassicRockHistory.com to dig into his origins in music, joining Storm Force, and more.
As an aspiring musician, what first geared you toward rock music?
I think, like most musicians, The Beatles had a lot to do with it. I was a little young, but my older sister used to listen to The Beatles, and when she would go out, I would sneak into her room. She was the only one to have a record player, and she had some Beatles records, and I would listen to them constantly.
Later on, my two biggest influences were Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Them, along with Kiss, is what got me really turned on to Hard music. I started as a drummer and didn’t move to vocals till I was 17 or 18. I’ve always been a hard rock/metal fan.
Who were some of your earliest influences which helped shape your style?
The main earliest influences were Rob Halford, Paul Stanley, and Dio. I’ve always been a fan of vocalists that can sing great melodies and also have the range to push it to the next level.
What were some of your earliest gigs where you first cut your teeth?
I played my first shows at Battle of the Bands shows and stuff like that. It wasn’t long until I started playing all the local rock clubs like Uncle Sam’s in Niagara Falls. A big thrill was when we graduated to playing clubs like Gas Works in Toronto and some of the bigger clubs in the area. We ended up touring Canada quite extensively, and that led to perfecting our craft. The band that went on tour was garbage compared to the band that came back from tour.
Take me through your years in Surface Tension. How did that gig ultimately prepare you for what was to come?
Surface Tension was really my first major attempt at putting together an original act and releasing demos, and shopping for record deals. I learned a lot about durability and making sure I could sing every night. We would travel across Canada from coast to coast.
It was tough; we would play six nights a week and sometimes add a Saturday matinee show as well. When you’re playing that many shows, you have to treat the voice like a muscle and give it time to rest. Kinda tough, though, when you’re staying up till 4 am every night. Let’s just say I didn’t see a lot of the sun.
Walk me through how you first met Greg Fraser. What were your first impressions?
I actually don’t remember much of our first meeting as I was just a kid, and he was playing in a band with my brother Tom on drums. After he and Tom stopped playing together, that’s when I took up drums. By the time I started singing and playing the clubs, Greg was starting Brighton Rock. I used to go see them, and Greg remembered me.
He came to a few of our shows, too, when I was in a band called XL. We bumped into each other a few times after that and even jammed Rock n Roll by Led Zeppelin at some club somewhere I don’t remember. I admit I was a fan of Brighton Rock and thought Greg was a great player. Gerry was one of the hard rock vocalists I always admired. What a killer screamer. RIP.
What was the sequence of events which led you to join Storm Force?
Greg had been working on songs and had a different lineup that fell through for some reason. He gave me a call one night and asked if I would like to come to sing something to see how it felt. He sent me Ride like hell, and I wrote the first verse/chorus just to see how it went. I showed up to the studio and sang it for him and Brian.
They seemed to really dig what they were hearing, and I thought it sounded great as well. So Greg kept sending me songs, and I kept writing the lyrics and would go in and record them. So we decided to complete an album, and that’s how it came together. We actually didn’t name the band until we got the record deal with Escape Music. It came about in a brainstorming session between us and the label.
The lead singer/lead guitarist relationship has come to define rock music. This said, what makes your partnership with Greg so special?
I think we feel the same about songwriting. We both were inspired by some heavy bands, but we also are big fans of melody. I would say we both agree that if you can play a song on an acoustic and it sounds great because the melody is strong, once you add all the other instruments and studio magic, it will be amazing.
Pretend I’m a fly on the wall. What would the sessions for Age of Fear look like?
A solid team effort. I would walk into the studio, lyrics in hand, and I would start singing through the song of the day. Greg was very involved. I would run through the track a few times to warm up. Always recording, though, in case we got something special. Then we listened back line by line to see what we didn’t like and what we wanted to go even farther on. After that, I’d sing through again with all the notes made to get that polished track.
Greg would pop in and say, “What if we tried this?” and I sang it to see if it worked. Sometimes I would improvise and see if I could lift the song with a lyric or a run. There are a few on the record that really worked out. Once we’re done, sit down, have a few drinks, and listen. We never went back to a song once that night was over, so we made sure it was right before we left.
Darius Szczepaniak produced Storm Force’s debut. He’s got a long resume; how important was he to recording the record?
Darius is incredible. He really believed in the album, and you can tell. Once he sent us the final mixes, we were blown away. Even when the record was sent to NYC for mastering, they didn’t have to do much. He’s an amazing professional and a great guy. It was an honor.
Will we see any Surface Tension or Brighton Rock songs in Storm Force’s setlist?
We finally played our first show in April, and the setlist was a bit of everything. We have other plans in the future, so we’re gonna keep it a surprise, though to what is or isn’t in the set.
Has the band begun work on its next record? What more can you tell us regarding Storm Force’s next move?
Once we get the new song we covered released, we just want to start focusing on the next release. It will be another full album, and it’s about half done as far as the writing. But we still have a lot of things to add and work out. Always a blast creating new music.
What’s next for both you and Storm Force in all lanes?
I think other than a new release, we would like to get out and do some shows. Possibly some festivals in the summer and some club dates as well. I’m busy writing lyrics for the next release. Greg is a machine when it comes to writing, and I have some catching up to do with the lyrics.
Patrick Gagliardi of Storm Force: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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