Journey to the top

Rudy
Rudy Norman
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Local musicians headed to world stage in Switzerland, Hard Rock Café

Glenn Thomas and Craig Jeans (Top, L-R) are joining chart toppers Greg Bishop and Rex Scott (bottom, L-R) of the band X-Sinner in Switzerland and Toronto next month and May.

Nearly all the lights in the venue have gone dark, except those illuminating the stage where earth-shattering guitar solos and heart pounding drum rhythms have been radiating for the past couple of hours.

It’s the mid-90s and Glenn Thomas and Craig Jeans are with their current band, playing another small venue in another small town, for a crowd of people who just want to have a good time.

It’s a feeling that’s shared with the die-hard musicians on the stage, who are up there purely for the love of what they’re doing, and the dream that one day they’ll be heard far beyond the four walls of the small tavern they now find themselves in.

Glenn Thomas grew up in South Brook, and currently lives in Springdale. Craig Jeans is a native of Grand Falls-Windsor. The two connected back in the days of jean jackets and backwards baseball hats, when a love and talent for music found them in the same band touring the province full-time.

“Craig and I have played too many shows together to count,” said Thomas. “We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly – and most of the time it was the last two.”

Since then, the duo have remained close friends over the years, now that their full-time touring days have ended, and new day jobs and families have taken over from their carefree days of youth.

“Life goes on, and we’ve both moved on to new things, new jobs, and new responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean the music has to stop completely – in fact we don’t want it to stop, we want it to keep going as long as its in us to get out.”

That’s why Thomas and Jeans haven’t stopped their passions, and still allow music to be a major part of their lives today.

Craig is now part of a new band, Papa String, who has played shows all over the province, including a couple years ago at the Exploits Salmon Festival where they were one of the opening acts for Blue Rodeo.

Glenn has his own recording studio in Springdale, ITuneAudio, (www.ituneaudio.com) where he’s produced tracks for local musicians as well as national artists from Ontario and other parts of Canada, along with International bands from Nashville, California and Malaysia. He’s also worked with a musical partner in Atlanta, Georgia, and pitched songs to top industry artists, and for feature films. One of their recent songs at Christmas got noticed by former American Idol contestant, Kellie Pickler, who promoted the song on her official Facebook page.

“We’ve both been around, and have certainly had some great experiences,” explained Thomas. “But it’s always fun to get back together again for old-time sake, and work on a project together and see what comes out of it.”

It’s one of those projects, says Thomas that has propelled the duo into a new height for their musical careers and now will see them off to join other musicians for concerts in the likes of Switzerland, the Hard Rock Café in Toronto, and talks of shows at the House of Blues in the United States.

It all started with a song, written by Thomas, that he had been working on for a while, perfecting to his satisfaction.

“I had written this song, called Love I.V.,” he recalls. “It was a hard-rock song, and I recorded it in my studio just to get it out and on a recording.” When the music for the track was finished, Glenn decided he would set out and look for a vocalist – something he was used to by now, over his years of recording original songs.

“I’ve worked with a lot of singers, and some have been great, others not so great,” he said. “This time, I didn’t want just anyone – I wanted this song to be what I knew it could be, so I needed a singer that could match up to those expectations.”

For Thomas, that person was Rex Scott.

Scott is the lead singer of the hard-rock band X-Sinner, based out of Southern California. X-Sinner has a career that spans over 20 years; releasing seven albums, with eight top 10 singles. Scott and guitarist Greg Bishop are the core members of the group, and they still tour throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

For Glenn, he considers himself a fan.

“I used to listen to X-Sinner all the time – they were one of the early inspirations for me, for sure.”

When Love I.V. was finally ready, Glenn reached out to Rex Scott online, and asked the front man to consider putting vocals on his new track.

“I got the typical blow off, as expected,” he said. “But after some email interaction with him he agreed to take a listen.”

Scott was beyond impressed with what he heard, and came back and agreed to put the vocals on the track.

“It was great – I sent him the finished product and he came back asking if I had anymore,” Glenn recalls.

Thomas and Scott kept interacting and soon became friends – sharing their love of music, and long histories in the industry.

The pair eventually released an album called “The GX Project” – named for Glenn, and Scott’s band X-Sinner. The album was a critical success in the United States, and got airplay on radio stations all over. While all that was going on, though, Scott was still working on his main project – X-Sinner, and preparing for upcoming concert dates all over the globe.

Those dates included concerts in Switzerland, Toronto, and parts of the USA. For the dates, though, Scott and Bishop knew they’d need to be joined by a couple other musicians to make up a full set.

“Rex asked me if I’d be interested in joining him and Greg on the road to play Bass,” said Thomas. “Then he said they needed a drummer as well, and wondered if I knew anyone. Of course, only one name came to mind.”

Thomas called his old buddy Craig Jeans and pitched the idea of doing some headlining dates. Jeans was on board as well, and now the pair is headed to Elements of Rock in Switzerland in March and the Hard Rock Café in Toronto in May.

The newly paired foursome of a X-Sinner/Newfoundland Boys mix will be playing songs from X-Sinner’s long roster, including tracks from their latest album “World Covered in Blood.” They’ll also be playing some of the songs that had their beginnings at Glenn Thomas’ studio from “The GX Project,” including “Love I.V.,” the song that started it all.

“It’s thrilling when you think about it,” concluded Thomas. “To be on a world stage, playing your own music, with someone you started out with early on … sometimes when it sinks in, all I can think is … wow”

editor@thenorwester.ca 

Organizations: American Idol, House of Blues

Geographic location: California, Southern California, Switzerland Springdale United States South Brook Toronto Grand Falls-Windsor Canada Ontario Nashville Malaysia Atlanta, Georgia Europe

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