McGhee is a former Military Policeman in the United States Marine Corp who got to play and perform while overseas, which in turn, helped jump-start his music career once he left the service. He’s thus far recorded and released two records: “The Gates of Hell” (available at CDBaby.com) and “The Upper Room” (at Reverbnation.com). McGhee has shared the stage with such notable names as Archie Bell and the Drells, Grammy-nominated High Desert blues-man, guitarist Ray Brooks; Shirley Caesar, and the Gospel Music Workshop of America (West Coast).
“My band is made up of recording industry musicians that have worked and toured with some of America’s top entertainers,” says McGhee, a multi-instrumentalist who plays keyboards, bass, and sings on his music, blending elements of jazz, gospel, blues and soul. “I do believe that there will always be room for your gift, no matter the age,” asserts McGhee, who calls Victorviille, Calif. home and continues to instruct in martial arts at Victor Valley College in the SoCal High Desert. “I would like to take my music into the schools that need it most. Music shaped my thinking and I believe that (like this country boy) it will help to shape the minds of our youth.”
IndiePulse had the opportunity to conduct this interview.
When did you first get the itch to play/perform music?
As a young lad growing up as a farmer in Georgia… I was introduced to a horn called the Mellophone that looked like a French Horn but with three keys… My way to relax was by playing music… My legs were too skinny to play basketball and I was afraid to play football so I joined the marching band… I loved to wear the marching Band uniforms and seeing everyone dressed alike. It fascinated me… The Marching Tigers in Blue and Gold with a gold tassel on the hat… I was too loud with the horn so my band teacher switched me out to the Tuba or Sousaphone as we called it… I became very good and could site read anything that was put before me…
From the beginning, who are the musicians that influenced not only your songwriting, but the instruments you chose to learn how to play?
I was influenced by Joe Tex, Eddie Floyd, Fontella Bass, John Phillip Sousa was my main influence with the military style… As far as who influences me, I was trained Classically and the teaching has a heavy influence of the way that I write… I chose the Bass because the band that I decided to join needed a bassist, so a friend swapped me a Fender Telecaster for a clutch plate and the rest is history… I love Victor Wooten, Vernadine White, Louis Johnson, James Jamerson, and Donald Duck Dunn…. I would be hard to pick between Abraham Laboriel, and Jaco Pastourius….
Describe the experience of playing music at the same time you were serving in the U.S. Marine Corps? How did that situation come to be?
I started playing with my very first group at Marine Corp Recruit Depot Parris Island, where I was a cop (M.P.) by day and Bass Player by night…. Having just returned from Vietnam, I needed something to settle me down… SSgt Carlton Payne Jr. invited me to play bass for his group Second Creation… I was so nervous that when we won the Battle of the Bands Columbia South Carolina, I had no idea of the quality of musicianship that accepted me into their mist after having only played Electric Bass guitar for 6 months… The band was composed of local musicians and Marines from The Marine Corp Band Parris Island… From that period forward I would look for a band at every base that I was transferred to… If there wasn’t one I would start one… We would be paid a couple hundred dollars to entertain the troops at the base clubs overseas and out in the local communities here in the states… I ended up playing, The East Coast, West Coast and Japan during my 20-year career.
Your band is called Bruce McGhee and 2ekond Kreation, which is kind of different. What’s the origin of the group’s name?
The name “2ekond Kreation” came from the bible 2 Corinthians 5:17…. The strangest thing happened a couple of years back… Carlton Payne Jr. finally contacted me after nearly 30 years of not seeing each other… I was telling him about my current band, and he said that the name of our old band was “second creation”…. I was floored…. I had no Idea that we were called that…. This band has been designed and put together by divine intervention…
Let’s discuss the subject matter of some of your songs – that is, can you name some of your most compelling songs, and what they are about?
I have a catalog of nearly 150 songs that I have written and composed… On my first album “The Gates of hell” CDBaby.com I composed a song called Dear Lord that is being sung by Don Taylor former bassist for a seventies group Slave and Sun… That Song was written as my late wife Lola was dying from Lupus. I used to play it for her. I still can’t play and sing the song without being overcome with emotion…. The song is filled with pain and a message to God to keep me… The next Project “The Upper Room” @reverbnation.com has a piece that I wrote called “If I told You”… It reflects my classical training… Danny Thomas of Confunkshun called the song entrancing and well written… My next project is called “Holy Ghost Phunky”, “GytSum”. and ” I love to Praise Him”… All three songs are a hit with the listeners.
Being based up in the Southern California High Desert, as you are, how hard is it to find regular paying gigs for your band?
The desert is a funny place… There are lots of venues but nothing or nowhere is suitable for my band and my Genre of music. We are currently looking for a venue that can support our sound… Financially we haven’t pursued any bookings… We need two more weeks and we will be in high demand.
Speaking of gigs, 2ekond Kreation recently performed at Woodystock 4 Rock & Blues Festival. how did that turn out?
I loved that concert. It ranks up there with my favorite gigs… The band loved it and Hope that John will see it fit to have us back….
What are some of your personal hobbies, besides music?
I love Gardening, and writing, I practice Traditional Tae-Kwan-Do daily, I’ve been doing it since 1969….I also Love Auto racing… And football.
What’s next on the horizon for Bruce McGhee and 2ekond Kreation, recording-wise?
I would like to complete the project then maybe do a regional Tour as we are focused on the Grammy’s.
How can people stay in touch with your band’s latest news – social media, website, etc.?
We can be reached on Facebook, or you can email me at email@example.com,
“Impossible is a large word used by small men that accepts things the way that they are rather than use the power that they have to change them” – Moon Dae-Sung