Q. Let’s get to know Anthony Charles. Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
A. I am a human trying to navigate this dimension with a light heart. Hopefully we all can live, laugh, love, and learn together.
That’s an interesting look on life. But then again, there’s a lot that our readers might find interesting about you. Let’s go a little more in depth.
How did you first get into music?
Growing up, there was always a musical presence in my house. It wasn’t until I was thirteen when I saw a special on MTV that showed how to play riffs from some very well-known popular songs. I remember hearing these riffs and being amazed that someone could create something so powerful.
I agree. Hearing powerful guitar riffs and solos are incredible to listen to. I feel they contribute more to the impact of the song.
So tell me, what was the first instrument you played?
Originally, my mom bought my first guitar when I was still small enough to fit inside the case, but the interest didn't bloom until I was a pre-teen.
So how when did you finally start playing?
After seeing the MTV special, I couldn't wait to pick up a guitar. I begged for my mom for one for months, but she didn’t want to get her hopes up. She told me if I wanted it bad enough, I had to save up for it. So I did. I saved all of my pennies until I had enough to purchase my first guitar. I truly fell that massively long waiting period made the moment so much better. I played that guitar until my fingers bled.
I think at one point or another every kid or teenager has wanted to be a rock star. So tell us, who were some of your musical inspirations?
I’d have to say 311 was a huge influence on me, because of how their songs had a lot of groove and funky elements in a rock context. Other than 311, I’d say Pantera, Sevendust, and Jimi Hendrix. All of them really made a statement with their art and demonstrated how incredibly talented they were and what could be done on the guitar.
I remember listening to a lot of their songs growing up as well. They’ve inspired a lot of guitarists over the years. Now as I understand, you were a guitarist for a band. Tell us a little about that.
I’ve been in a few bands. Usually I’ve met people socially which leads to everyone jamming in a room together. From there it tends to grow into a serious project if the chemistry is right.
Did your band release any albums?
Technically no, but I did release an album under the name “Gnosis”. The album is called “Awakening.” It’s a concept record about the subjective experience of realizing a spiritual self.
Take me back to your first gig. What was it like? Where was it?
My first gig was a middle school talent show. I was in a band that I joined after having a guitar for three months. It seemed like a very unlikely goal, and I probably wasn’t really ready, but it turned out okay. I ended up getting twenty-five dollars as prize money for winning and I used it to buy my first CD.
Every musician has their favorite moment or favorite gig they played. Tell me about your favorite gig.
I think my favorite gig was at The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie, NY. The standard practice at the time was to play a series of smaller clubs until you drew enough of a crowd to play the big stage at The Chance. My mom told me that path was not the one I would take. I ended up making a press kit, shaking some hands, and skipping the entire process of playing smaller clubs. It was also my mom’s birthday. Ever since then, we recall that experience as a paradigm shifting moment. The lesson learned was, there isn’t just one road. We can create our own path in life if we work hard and get out there.
Now all good things come to an end. Tell me what happened to the band and if you guys ever get together to jam anymore.
Personally I never felt like I was able to get all the pieces together with band members. We were always missing a bass player, or a singer, or the right drummer. After a number of years it gets to feel like swimming upstream. You could have songs, live gear, T-shirts, CDs, and a beautiful website, but without a complete lineup you’re not playing any shows. You’ll be stuck in perpetual rehearsals. I’m still friendly with most of the people, if not all of them, but you lose touch with some people over the years.
What have you been up to since your days with the band?
Since music, I wanted to find a form of expression that wasn’t dependent on others with great gear and music chops. I wanted to find something that I had more control over. So, in college I studied acting. I’ve been able to do a lot more projects in acting than I ever have in music, but at heart I still consider myself a musician. I do post production work with music and have also kept a foothold in music by producing other artists and bands.
Where can our readers find you and your albums?
You could find “Awakening” by Gnosis on iTunes, CDbaby.com, and Amazon.