Behind The Scenes With The Hive Minds
by Lisa Morgan
There has been a lot of press on Derek Jordan Gregg and his band The Hive Minds, and for good reason. The music, both cover tunes and originals, that they have been producing as a two piece, has quickly become a venue and music lover’s favorite. But what has this talented, lovable, Bat Man and Robin duo of alternative roots and rock been up to between bookings? Fans will be ecstatic to learn that they have been in the studio, producing their first full length album. Partnering with seasoned musician and producer, Andrew Allan Bentley (aka “London”) at his Desert Music Productions Studio, they have spent the better part of the last 3 months (approximately 300 hours) documenting the original music that rapidly and expertly flows from the pen and strings of their front man. In the process, they have added a third character, and key member to their band, producer Andrew “London” Bentley himself.
“We’d done some recordings before and just weren’t really happy with it,” shared drummer/percussionist Sean Poe. “Andrew invited us to come over and do a track. The most important thing to us was seeing if we could feel comfortable. We fell in love with the studio. We go in there; we hang out… we don’t have the feeling of being stressed out or rushed. It’s great. When we started laying the tracks, Andrew came up with better bass lines than we could, and we just clicked. We’ve always been a two piece, but didn’t necessarily want to be. We just didn’t want to settle for just anyone.”
“I’ve known Derek since he was 5,” shared London in the accent that is the obvious reason for his trademark nickname. “His dad, Mark, was Best Man at my wedding, so it’s really like a family thing. I invited them to my studio and said, ‘Let’s do one song and see how it goes.’ The experience ended up being great for all of us. Derek was initially going to do the bass lines, but had me do a couple. Both he and Sean really liked what I did, so now I’m their bass player as well as their producer. I love playing bass. Having come from being a guitar player/front man for so many years, playing bass is really speaking to me as a musician. It’s a new direction for me. I actually took bass lessons from Bob Gross, Bobby Nicole’s bass player. I’ve worked with pretty much every bass player in the desert when I had my former band, ‘London Trio’. I know what I like from all the other musicians I’ve listened to over the years. I think in an overall composition aspect. For example, in the song, ‘Fire Water’, I’m following the heartbeat of the kick drum. Then the melody and harmonic progression of the song are so interesting, I worked the bass line to really support them.”
“There were tracks that I knew were going to be favorites, like ‘Fire Water’,” explained Poe. “Then there were some that were good songs, but not heavy hitters. We were kind of worried they’d just be album filler. After we were done recording them we felt that they just weren’t really ‘there’, so we just started over on them. We re-worked them differently than we’d ever done them before, and they turned out awesome. A lot of the tracks, after re-recording them, became our favorite tracks on the album.” London chimed in, “Derek’s song writing is so strong, that there are no real fillers on this album. The feed back from musicians we trust has been outstanding. The album is going to be a real center piece for Derek’s singing and song writing.”
Each member of the band has their favorites on the album. “She’s Like Rain” and “Velvet Flowers” are among the high ranking favorites for Gregg and London. Poe also favors a song titled, “Arson”. But unanimously, they refer to “Fire Water” as a stellar accomplishment wherein they feel they’ve captured the dynamic way in which Gregg delivers this song live. They’ve allowed me to publish the lyrics as an example of the strong writing you will enjoy from Derek Jordan Gregg on this album:
I’ve got a brand new twenty dollar bill and an aching in my heart.
So I’m off to grab some firewater from the local liquor store, to tear myself apart.
I’m much like the lion, cowardly.
I need something stiff to encourage me.
Why is there no confidence to find, from sobriety inside this heart of mine.
I’m not brave but you, you’ve got no skin.
The vessel that encompasses your soul is made of tin.
The blue hue of your eyes have turned to stone.
I’m drowning in your ghost stories and you’re gnawing at my bones.
Oil has become your bitter blood.
Thick and black, I’m coming back, just to drag you through the mud.
And why the hell can you not shed a tear?
The bottles in my hand save yourself dear.
And it goes on…
The rumbling in this dull bass drum can’t overcome the thumping in my chest.
It’s been ten years and maybe more, but I can’t seem to put your soul to rest.
Why the hell could I not make you stay.
In my oblivion, inebriate.
You can enjoy a video of this song on YouTube.com/hiveminds
As Gregg likes to say, “We’re ‘washing dishes’. Basically, we’re playing cover tunes where ever we can get booked to finance this album.” But how does he, the singer/ songwriter feel about this album? “I actually put it on the other day, and it felt like I was listening to one of my favorite albums. It was the first time I wasn’t overwhelmed with anxiety over how people would feel about it, and just realized, ‘Wow. This is big. This is a great album. Pops (Mark Gregg a highly accomplished musician in his own right) even said, ‘I’m gonna be listening to this album a lot this summer… and it’s got nothing to do with you being my son.’”
The release date of the self-titled, freshman album will contain 11 original tracks, with a guest contribution by Mark Gregg, Derek’s father. It will be released in multiple formats, including a limited number of CDs, that will be available on Amazon, iTunes and the band’s website currently under construction. Many seasoned ears by tenured musicians have responded with very positive accolades. But most importantly, this is a project that has all three members of the band feeling a true sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
There is only one regret. Poe shared, “There will be no cow bell on this album, and that makes me sad.” Poe recently acquired a ominous looking, red cow bell named, ‘Bell Diablo’, but promised it would play a part on the next album. As a condolence, Poe offered, “There will be tambourine. I’ve been told, that a more soulful tambourine has never been heard.”
The Hive Minds, now a powerful trio, will be performing this Saturday night at Hamilton’s, one of La Quinta’s favorite restaurants, sports bars and live entertainment venues. Get there early to get a good seat and enjoy their full bar and great menu, including new Cajun entrees featured weekly. The food and music will both provide you with a flavorful night out that you’ll not soon forget. I suggest you do not miss this opportunity, as this is an extremely talented band that we are fortunate to enjoy locally…for now. Hamilton’s is located at 79255 California Hwy 111, La Quinta, in front of the Walmart shopping center. Call (760) 698-8303 for reservations and details.