BY: MICHELLE PEREZ-VEGA
It was 2012, and vocalist/guitarist Gary Noon decided put out a call to a close friend about his idea of doing an EP. His friend (who just happens to be Clint Lowery of Sevendust) replied with enthusiastic affirmation.
After getting off the phone with Lowery, Noon began to shake and realize that he made a commitment (let’s get the pun out of the way) to walking down a musical lane with a pretty heavy-duty musical giant.
“I was like,” Noon remembered with a laugh, “Okay, I did it now. Then, what the hell? What do I have to lose?”
Luckily for Noon, he lost nothing. His self-titled EP, which also featured Alter Bridge Drummer Scott Phillips, gave him enough confidence to put out his first full-length album in 2016, Worlds Unknown. This time, Lowery’s bandmate and drummer, Morgan Rose, and Alter Bridge Bassist Brian Marshall contributed their musical talents to the group.
Noon, who co-wrote all of the songs with Lowery, said he was aware that most musicians who wanted to put out a full-length album don’t necessarily have the opportunity to call on such notable friends.
“I knew that if I wanted to do this,” Noon stated, “I wanted to make sure that I had the best guys in the world to work and write with. These guys definitely guaranteed me that I would get to the certain level that I wanted to reach musically.”
Which is not to say that Noon wasn’t nervous starting out.
“The part that scared me was when we started doing the arrangements,” Noon admitted. “Then I was like, ‘whoa, what am I doing here?!’ But as we worked through everything, I got really comfortable with them, like we had been playing together for a long time. Yes, I was scared to death in the beginning, but not so much in the end!”
Noon has been playing guitar since 1989. Interestingly enough, Noon had a desire at one point in his life to pursue a career in ministry, and he went so far as to become a youth pastor. It was his time spent in the church’s orchestra, however, that further whetted his appetite for playing music, and Noon eventually began playing covers of his own on YouTube.
Noon grew up in Maryland, which counts musical legendaries like Frank Zappa, Cass Elliot of the Mama and the Papas, and Benji and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte as its own. Despite the legacy, growing up in Maryland was hard for Noon to realize his musical dreams.
“Baltimore especially has a challenging music scene,” Noon said. “You have a lot of musicians who are out there, trying to make their own way. Being an original band is almost impossible – you still have the venues that are ‘pay to play,’ and it’s hard to get people interested in you. If you play, you are probably in a cover band and only being an original in your own home. People who want to make it in the music industry unfortunately have had to leave Maryland to do so.”
Out of his love for bands like Sevendust and Alter Bridge, Noon decided to form his own cover/tribute band, but could not find musicians willing to commit the necessary time. Through a friend, he eventually met Lowery and their own friendship was born.
“Clint really inspired me to be my own thing,” Noon said of his friend, who also produced the album. “I’m proud to say that what you hear is me. I want to be able to carve my own niche out and not be a copycat, to offer something real and different. I want people to like my music and to think about it, think about what I’m saying.”
Listeners to Noon’s latest have identified with songs like “Heavy Hand” and “The Now,” the latter which is one of Noon’s favorites on Worlds Unknown.
“I tend to view myself as a positive person,” he stated. “I’m also an over-thinker, an over-analytical kind of guy. I have had to learn to give myself a break, and that’s kind of what the song is about. Why worry about things that have happened in the past? You’ve gone through it, it’s never coming back to give you a second chance. The only time that matters is now. Try and learn from the past, but always look forward to the future.”
Looking forward is what Noon has had in mind when contemplating the next venture of his project.
“I work a full-time job,” Noon said. “What I do with Walking With Giants is all self-financed. But, I’m always writing something. When I go into the studio the next time, there will be a lot to choose from.”