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Eric Montoya and Jareth Grealish ( Hit N Run)

posted 8 Feb 2017, 14:03 by Paul Woodward

Hit N Run hit the burgeoning melodic rock scene in the early ‘90’s but also fell afoul of the onset of grunge so their debut album never got released at the time! Fast forward to 2016 and their debut album finally hit’s the shelves and I thought now was the right time to quiz Jareth Grealish and Eric Montoya about the bands past and future!

Hey guys, I suppose the obvious question is how come the album has been released now so many years after it was written?

Jareth: No quick way to answer this one. There are a lot of reasons it’s taken this long. For starters, the band originally broke up in 1995 without ever landing a record deal. So at the time we split up we had a demo, another 5-song EP that we had released on cassette independently, and some “lost tracks” that we never completed in the studio.

After the break-up, we kind of all went our separate ways and pursued things predominantly outside of music for a decade or more. We did stay in touch though, and actually got together for a jam/writing session around 2003. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep that momentum going and never got the band back off the ground.

Eric: Then, in 2009 we launched a MySpace page with some of our songs loaded in the music player and several small record labels approached us about putting out an album. It really got us motivated, so we went back into the studio and finished up those “lost tracks,” which became “King of the Fools,” “Piece of the Action,” and “Wild and Crazy Days.” With a little remixing and remastering of our other recordings, we had the 9 tracks that became our debut album.

Jareth: After the recordings were finally finished, there were some other delays due to disagreements within the ranks and negotiations with different labels that stalled things for a few more years. Eventually, it all worked out, and we released the album digitally in 2015 and then signed with Lions Pride Music out of Denmark in 2016 for the physical CD release in Europe.

Hit N Run were part of a burgeoning melodic rock scene in the early 90’s, what was that like?

Jareth: There was such an excitement to everything when we first hit the scene. It truly seemed like “making it” was possible. Philly bands like Britney Fox, Heaven’s Edge and Tangier had gotten signed. You had Trixter, Tyketto, and Skid Row from New Jersey…and we operated very close to those music scenes.

Eric: There was also a growing original music scene in our home town, Scranton PA at the time, which was awesome to see take shape in a scene typically dominated by cover bands.

When the music industry changed dramatically and Grunge and Alt Rock became king how did this affect Hit N Run? And what was it like been a melodic rock band at that time?

Jareth: It was incredibly disorienting for us because it happened so rapidly. In ‘91, when Eric came aboard as our lead singer, melodic hard rock was utterly dominant. Warrant was huge. Skid Row was huge. Slaughter was about to release their second album. We thought we were going to ride that wave to rock stardom. Yeah, we were aware of the Seattle bands, but we really didn’t think they had anything to do with us. Their scene, their genre seemed so different from what we were doing.

Eric: Yeah, by 1992, we knew something was changing. The only hard rock songs getting airplay were power ballads. MTV’s Headbangers Ball had become overrun by thrash bands and “alternative” bands like Sound Garden and Alice-In-Chains. The winds of change were upon us.

Jareth: I think maybe the worst part of it was that it had suddenly become cool to ridicule “hair bands.” At least in the US it did. It was like a switch got flipped and suddenly the millions of people that had been fans were now poking fun at bands like us, even though 6 months earlier they were rocking out to Warrant’s Cherry Pie.

Eric: It was pretty discouraging, but we kept going. Even into ’93-’94, we were still doing really well in our home club scene in Pennsylvania.

Did you adapt the band’s sound in order to stay relevant like many other bands did at the time?

Jareth: For a long time we resisted, but late in ‘94, after a brief hiatus. We regrouped without Mark, our second guitarist, and started writing new music. Thinking back, I feel like we had become very uncertain of ourselves because of all the changes in the music scene. We tried being heavier, bluesier, adding in more “unplugged” elements, but nothing seemed to really click for us. I think we were just working against ourselves—not being true to the music we loved creating and doing what came naturally. It just wore us down, and we eventually called it a day sometime in early ‘95.

When the band split in 1995 did any of you carry on in music? Anything we should check out?

Eric: I’ve done some voiceover work for some radio commercials and I’ve done a lot of session work with other artists, including Grammy award winner Christopher Cross and guitarist B. Christopher. (http://www.bchristopherband.com) I also recorded a solo album in the mid- 2000's that was a departure from my hard rock roots. In my opinion, the project went south. A bit of Google sleuthing and you may eventually come across it, that’s all I’ll say about it (laughs).

Jareth: I’ve had a few false starts here and there over the years, but nothing that resulted in any new recordings. However, I have been actively involved in guiding my daughter Bren’s developing music career. She’s an amazingly talented singer/songwriter. My brother Beckett, our drummer, has a new project in the works that’s in a heavier vein than HitnRun. Mark released a brilliant Christmas album several years ago, “The Sutorka Clause,” that’s available on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sutorka-clause-this-christmas/id482693648). Be sure to check that out. Dan isn’t active in music, but runs a successful lawncare company and has a wonderful family.

Reflecting on the album, which songs do you feel most proud of and why?

Eric: I love “King of the Fools.” It really depicts the journey of bluesy rock and hook-oriented song writing that this band has always embraced. I just think it all came together in that tune.

Jareth: I’m a big fan of “Piece of the Action.” I love the main riff and I think the song truly captures how dynamic we can be within the context of one tune. I’ll also always have a place in my heart for “Forever.” Even though we wrote it before Eric was in the band, his performance on that tune really took it to another level.

With the band reforming with the two of you (Eric Montoya – vocals, and Jareth Grealish – guitar) being the only original members in this line-up, is there a possibility that live shows could happen?

Jareth: That is definitely part of the plan. Our goal is to recruit new members before we go back into the studio, and we definitely want to perform live again as well. We’re hoping to land some choice opening slots in our area, maybe get on the bill at some rock festivals. We would love to one day get over to Europe to tour a bit.

I know you are working on a brand new album together. Can you tell us anything about it? What can fans expect style wise?

Jareth: The new songs are still taking shape, but I can assure you that it’s going to rock, and it’s very much going to sound like HitnRun. Eric’s voice, my approach to guitar, and our songwriting together were integral to the band’s sound back then. Fortunately, that creative partnership is still very much intact and evident in the new music. I think you’ll hear some more maturity in the lyrics, a bit more experimentation in the arrangements, and perhaps some unexpected influences shining through here and there. But we will remain true to what we created together back in 1991.

Eric: From my standpoint, I think I have become a stronger vocalist. Time and experience will do that. We have both been through so much since the first album that some tunes will be a bit heavier, without losing our first album’s roots. Subject matter will, of course, reflect our lives and the world around us.

Is there anything else you would like to add or say to readers and fans?

Jareth: I just want to thank each and every person that has given our music a chance and supported us by purchasing the album and streaming it. It really stirred something in Eric and I—to realize that there are people all over the world that truly love this type of music and were willing to take a chance on this unknown band from Pennsylvania. Please continue to spread the word about HitnRun and follow us on Facebook and Spotify, so we can keep you informed about our progress on the new record and whatever else we have developing.

Eric: HitnRun listeners worldwide have proven to me that this is in fact a strange, strange world. Doors once closed can indeed be opened again. If you believe in what you’re doing, people will always respond...though sometimes not in the timeframe that you had hoped. I can’t thank our fans enough for proving to me that rock truly is forever. And that we weren’t wasting our time all those years ago.

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