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Gary Hoey (far right) works with Edson Robledano and Molly Halpin of Eleven27. Image by: Colleen Locke
November 3, 2017

Rock god Gary Hoey coaches UMass Boston student musicians


  • Boston
2017 RockGodz Hall of Fame inductee gives tips, jams with students

Gary Hoey has shared the stage with members of Queen, The Who, Aerosmith, and KISS, and recorded 20 albums over his 30-year-career. He’s a legit rock god. In fact, he was inducted into the RockGodz Hall of Fame in Hollywood on Thursday.

Hoey is also a teacher, and on Tuesday he shared the stage with the 21 members of UMass Boston’s Pop/Rock Ensemble, playing along and jumping in throughout the hour-long workshop. The larger Pop/Rock Ensemble is broken out into three smaller groups: It’s Over, Eleven27, and One Credit Later.

“When in doubt, leave it out,” Hoey told the members of the group “It’s Over,” after hearing their rendition of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.”

Assistant Professor of Music Josef Hanson invited Hoey to come to campus after hearing an interview on Rhode Island radio. Hoey is an an accomplished film composer and producer, including work with Disney, ESPN, and New Line Cinema. He has also scored five Top-20 Billboard hits, including his famous 1992 cover of "Hocus Pocus," which hit the Top 5.

Hoey had this advice for musicians tackling cover songs: “Find out what’s going to work for you guys. I’m really big on conviction. Sometimes it’s better to just go after what you’re trying to get and figure out the simplest way you can do it and attack it so that you’re really putting conviction on it.”

Hoey offered advice on the performances and some words of wisdom for those looking to break into the music business.

“Treat everybody with respect. It’s a really small business, so if you’re a nice person, it’s really going to help you. Realize that every step of the way is exactly where you need to be. Every time I thought I was ready to make it and I didn’t end up getting that big audition, I look back and think, ‘Aw, I wasn’t ready.’ So keep working your craft. Surround yourself with good people,” Hoey said.