Ho! Ho! Hoey – Gary Hoey Returns To the NJ Area With His 2023 Holiday Shows
The 2023 holiday season is rapidly approaching which means Gary Hoey will be back in our area spreading his unique brand of holiday joy. Gary and Jim Monaghan got together on “All Mixed Up” to chat about this year’s Ho! Ho! Hoey tour and more.
JIM MONAGHAN – It’s 105.5 WDHA here on a Sunday morning with the one and only Gary Hoey. It’s that time of year. Ho ho ho. Welcome back to WDHA, my friend.
GARY HOEY – Oh, thank you so much, bro. To having me back. And you guys are literally one of my favorite stations in the world. I have to say that right out of the gate.
JM – I’ll pay you later.
GH – Yeah, send me the check in the mail, will you?
JM – We’ve had a long history of playing your music here at WDHA. The Ho! Ho! Hoey tour gets underway this coming Friday in Pennsylvania, and there’s a handful of dates in our area. When did you actually start rehearsing for this, Gary?
GH – Well, I mean, I started rehearsing myself about a month ago. I started working on the songs, just sitting at home going through stuff. And then we’ve had a few band rehearsals over the last couple of weeks. We had one yesterday with the band and doesn’t take us too many rehearsals to get ready. Everybody’s such pros. Everyone shows up knowing what they got to do. So we usually do like three or four rehearsals and we’re ready to go.
JM – I know a lot of artists when they record Christmas albums, they have to do it in the summertime in order to get it ready for the holiday season. And they’ll decorate the studio with Christmas lights and what have you. Do you do the same thing when you rehearse?
GH – Same exact thing. When I recorded it, it was in July. I put up the lights and I cranked the AC to try to cool it down. And yeah, I showed up at rehearsal with my Santa hat yesterday. We had the lights going and everybody, the band was kind of laughing, but I’m like, I got to get in the mood.
JM – Well, the weather down here is getting us in the mood because it was in the mid 20s this week and I’m not ready for that. I’m telling you.
GH – I’m not ready either. This morning it was 19 degrees here in New Hampshire. I feel you.
JM – The Ho! Ho! Hoey Tour, as we said, kicks off Friday in PennsyLvania, then gets into Elmsford, New York, not too far away, on Saturday the 25th, Sunday the 26th at Daryl’s House. I’m so glad he opened that up again up in Pawling, New York, and then in Manhattan on Wednesday the 29th at the Cutting Room. What kind of surprises do you have for us this year?
GH – Well, this year it’s good because we’re getting out. We’re doing a lot of the songs we’ve been doing throughout the tours, but I always like to add something new. I always like to freshen it up a little bit. So this year we do have the new single, “The Nutcracker, Suite (Sugar Plum Fairy)” that I recorded. So we have a new single out, and I’m adding some songs in the set that I haven’t done before. I’ve never done “My Favorite Things,” which is a beautiful song. For some reason, in all the Christmas tours, I’ve never played that one live. So we always dig through some of the songs because we only get to play about 22 songs, so I have to pull out some of them. And I’m excited, too, this year that my son, Ian, he’s 22 years old, he’s become quite a guitar player. He’s coming out and playing with me for some of the shows, not every show, but he’ll be out for the beginning of the tour. He’s going to be playing live with me.
JM – And who are the other members of the band with you this time?
GH – This year I have a new band. My original rhythm section is retired off the road. They took a break and I have a great couple of. I call them young kids because they’re Berklee graduates. I have a girl drummer who’s amazing, Leah Bluestein, she’s a Berkeley graduate and she’s just a monster musician. And Mike Dutko on bass. These both are just top notch musicians, but they’re young kids. When I look at them, I’m like, they’re in their 20s.
JM – When I was a little kid, Gary, one of my favorite things that my family did at the holiday time was drive around and look at other people’s decorations. And I asked my younger daughter a little earlier today, growing up, when you were a little kid, what was your favorite thing to do at holiday time? And for her, it was breakfast Christmas morning. Because my wife always makes something special for you. As a kid, what was a big, cool thing that the Hoey family did that you really liked?
GH – My mom had so many traditions just growing up, she was so big into, like, I would come in the house and we’d be all playing in the snow, and she’d be playing the Elvis records and the Bing Crosby albums would be going. I could just remember the vinyl record playing and the Christmas music always playing in the house. And my mom would, you know, my hands would be freezing and she’d say, gary, put your gloves on the radiator and don’t warm up your hands too quick because you can’t get too much heat on them too fast. You got to thaw them out a little bit. And then she would make me some hot cocoa. And I remember we had a fireplace, so my mom would put a log on the fire and she’d get me some hot cocoa. And I just remember sitting by the fire drinking my hot cocoa, watching my mom decorate the tree. And she wouldn’t let me help because she was so obsessed with every bulb being the way it had to be. So when I started going on tour and talking about my mother not letting me help one year, she’s like, I’m going to let you put a red bulb on the tree. Ten minutes later, she moves it.
JM – Favorite Christmas song to play?
GH – You know, for me on the tour, one of my favorites, because the crowd goes crazy, is when I go, is “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” That just gets me going, and the crowd reaction. But one that I really love, that my mom used to really love was the old classic that goes, you know, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Beautiful melody.
JM – My favorite version of that song is Frank Sinatra’s.
GH – Oh, he does an incredible version. Definitely one of my favorites for sure.
JM – And I think if I had to pick an all time favorite Christmas song, and I don’t think there could be two different songs each end of the spectrum. One would be Nat King Cole’s timeless recording of the Mel Torme song, and then the other would be “The Chipmunk Song” by Alvin, Simon and Theodore. And I think you could find two songs at opposite ends of the spectrum.
GH – I was going to say that shows how crazy you are.
JM – In addition to the Ho! Ho! Hoey Tour, there are two things coming in 2024. One is the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, which is in February in Los Angeles. I’ve got to get to one of these things one of these years, Gary, because they sound like a lot of fun.
GH – Oh, it’s so much fun. You have to come out. I have to be your counselor, though, if you come out. We have Nancy Wilson coming out this time, the DeLeo brothers from Stone Temple Pilots. We have Chris Slade from AC/DC. It’s just a four day experience. That is unbelievable because we have all levels of musicians, from beginners, intermediate, advanced. Doesn’t matter how well you play. It’s all about helping people out. And then they get to jam on stage at, like, the Whiskey a Go Go or something on the weekend night, we get them out on stage, and I’m going to tell you, I’ve made friends at Rock Camp that I’ve stayed in touch with for ten years that have become like my blood brothers and sisters, because there’s a bond that happens with music that when you play music together, it just creates a really cool bond. So you should definitely come check it out.
JM – And then the other is the Rock Legends Cruise that comes out of Miami a little bit later on in February the 22nd through the 26th. In fact, I think one of my friends is playing with Duane Betts’s band, John Ginty, who’s a keyboard player extraordinaire from here in Morristown. I’m pretty sure he’s in Duane’s band.
GH – Well, I’ll have to go say hi because I know Duane. I’ve become friends with him. He’s a great guy. And, yeah, what a lineup. Sammy Hagar, Brett Michaels, Rick Springfield Canned Heat, Billy Gibbons. I mean, it’s going to be one of the best cruises I think we’ve had. And I host an all star jam on Saturday night where I get a lot of the celebrities to come down, and we do this jam, and it’s one of the most popular shows of the ship where they just see everybody interact. And in the past cruises, I had Sebastian Bach on stage with Robbie Krieger from the Doors. I mean, would you ever see that again?
JM – The Ho! Ho! Hoey Tour kicks off this Friday right after Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania and then Elmsford, New York on the 25th. Darryl’s House in Pawling on Sun 26th, and then Wednesday, the 29th at the cutting room in Manhattan. Gary, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. All the details on everything. Gary Hoey related online at garyhoey.com and have a great holiday season. Thanks for your time this morning here on DHA.
GH – You, too, my friend. Always a pleasure to hang out with you. I appreciate you having me on. Thank you.