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Interview of Great Guns
By Estella Pan, CountryInterviewsOnline
(more articles from this author)
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Estella recently spoke with Tracy Stefans, lead singer of the group Great Guns. (Note: Tracy does lead vocals and plays rhythm guitar. Other members of Great Guns are: Tim Liebelt on drums; Andy Boucher on keyboard; Randy Reed on lead guitar; Dave Brees on bass; Chris Davis with additional percussion; Duane Goetzke on rhythm/acoustic guitar.)

[Country Interviews Online] How did your band form?

Tracy Stefans We formed about four and a half years ago. There were some guys originally in another band, but the lead guy moved to Nashville. So, I hooked up with the guys who didnít move.

[Country Interviews Online] How did you come up with the group name Great Guns?

Tracy Stefans It was a name that was tossed around with people. And, my wife thought of it.

[Country Interviews Online] Who are some of your musical influences?

Tracy Stefans As a band: Toby Keith, Blackhawk, Tim McGraw, and Montgomery Gentry. Weíre basically playing the ďnew countryĒ thatís out there, as well as some of our original stuff. Some of my own musical influences are Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, and believe it or not, Rick Springfield.

[Country Interviews Online] Speaking of Toby Keith, I hear youíre quite the fanatic! What is it about Toby that you admire?

Tracy Stefans Oh yeah, big time! I have been his fan since he started. Itís his style, his songs, the way he comes across Ė Iím going to do my thing, whether they like it or not Ė that type of thing. To me, heís capable of being where Garth and Tim McGraw are at.

[Country Interviews Online] When you first got started, how did you promote your band, get gigs, and all that?

Tracy Stefans Well, our radio station up here is really supportive of us. But, I did it myself Ė just went out and got photos made, banners, flyers, tour schedules. I went and got gigs myself by talking to people. We donít have an agent, so all the management stuff is handled by me.

[Country Interviews Online] Now, when youíre doing cover songs, do you just listen to a song on a CD and play what you hear?

Tracy Stefans Yeah. Three of the guys can listen to any song and tell you exactly what key itís in. I, personally, canít do that yet. If someone tells me the key to the song, I can figure out the chords to the song, but I have to know the key itís in first.

[Country Interviews Online] Are you all going to stay a band, or are any of you planning to go solo?

Tracy Stefans That all really depends, because all the guys in the band have regular daytime jobs. Most of them also have families to support. Unless something good really came along, itís a little tough for the whole group to go for the ride. It would be every personís individual decision on what theyíd want to do.

[Country Interviews Online] You mention day jobs. What does everyone do?

Tracy Stefans Timís a plant manager for a company, Dave works for the VA school here in Milwaukee and Duane is a distributor. Randy is a psychiatric technician Ė he evaluates people. Chris works for SBC-Ameritech Ė heís some kind of computer whiz for them. Then, thereís Andy who is a music teacher. And, myself, Iím normally a designer Ė I design anything from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to hydraulic systems, brake systems, mining equipment.

[Country Interviews Online] So, if I ever have anything break on me, I should just call you up, and you can fix it!

Tracy Stefans Either that or Iíll design something new to make it work!

[Country Interviews Online] What is your favorite part about what you do?

Tracy Stefans Interacting with the fans.

[Country Interviews Online] What is the most valuable piece of advice youíve received, in terms of singing and performing?

Tracy Stefans Never forget where you came from. If you forget where you came from, people will forget who you are, because they wonít want to be around you.

[Country Interviews Online] Do you have advice for aspiring artists?

Tracy Stefans Never give up on what you want to do. Even if people tell you itís a foolish idea, keep up with it. I was shot down so many times at the beginning, but I kept going because I really wanted to, and itís paying off now.

[Country Interviews Online] If you were not the lead singer of Great Guns, what would you be doing?

Tracy Stefans Iíd probably be a professional bowler.

[Country Interviews Online] What would you NOT want to be doing?

Tracy Stefans Thereís two things Ė being a salesman and working in a factory. Iíve done it once, and I donít want to do it again!

[Country Interviews Online] Do you have any funny or strange fan stories youíd like to share?

Tracy Stefans The funniest would have to be at this show, there was a lady in a very short, low cut dress. She came up in front of us on the dance floor and was flashing every part of her body at us. I kept singing and tried not to screw up, because I was laughing so hard. That would have to be the most interesting thing thatís happened so far. Fortunately, weíve not had anything blow up on us, never had anything collapse on stage, never fell off the stageÖIím knocking on wood right now!

[Country Interviews Online] What is your ultimate goal as a country artist, either individually or as a group?

Tracy Stefans To become a national touring act, whether that be me individually or our band as a whole. Actually, I had two goals with this band, and after August, I will have completed both of them.

[Country Interviews Online] And, they would be?

Tracy Stefans To open for two of my musical influences, Toby Keith and Blackhawk. Also, for myself, another thing I would like to do is go on tour with Toby Keith! That would be too awesome!

[Country Interviews Online] Reader Bobby would like to know: What is the single most important thing your band has done career-wise so far?

Tracy Stefans Starting to come out with our own music. Weíve also opened for a lot of ďbigĒ artists: Blackhawk, keith urban, Emerson Drive, Reba, Brooks and Dunn, Joe Diffie, The Oakridge Boys, Billy Ray Cyrus, Mark Wills, The Wilkinsons. We [opened] for Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts on August 22, 2002.

[Country Interviews Online] Sounds like youíre on a roll!

Tracy Stefans Well, it was really hard, because here [Wisconsin], we canít do the bar circuit. Country fans go out to hear great music and line dance, NOT to get drunk. Well, the bars arenít making any money, so theyíre closing up. Thatís unfortunate, but I can understand it Ė who wants to see line dancers falling on the floor, because theyíre too drunk to dance?

[Country Interviews Online] Well, thatís real encouraging to know that country fans arenít out there to get drunk!

Tracy Stefans Right! Thatís one thing Iím a real stickler about as far as the band is concerned Ė no drunkenness on stage! You canít possibly perform your best out there if youíre intoxicated.

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