Growing up in London to the sound of his parents falling apart, loudly, Adrian Gurvitz turned to his brother Paul’s guitar for solace, eventually forming The Gun with his older sibling. He would later find work with Buddy Miles and Ginger Baker in the Baker Gurvitz Army before finding success penning pop classics like, erm, ‘Classic’. Now happily married with four children, he still writes, produces and talks here with TotalMusic-Online about his past and his future.
Total Music: Tell us about working with your brother Paul in The Gun?
"It was great to play with my big brother, there was five years between us [and] that sometimes made it hard, 20 year olds don't hang with a 15 year olds but we did pretty good. I kind of forced him to play bass in some ways because I was so good at soloing. Years later he would become a great R&B writer and producer."
Adrian’s next project, Three Man Army, with Spooky Tooth drummer Mike Kelly and brother Paul was actually a solo album in everything but name, leading to his working with Buddy Miles and meeting a positive who’s who of all time greats.
"It was really cool, to come to America and play to 50,000 people every night and tour with huge bands like Three Dog Night , Deep Purple, Billy Preston and walk in the same footsteps as Jimi Hendrix. I was hanging out with Stevie Wonder in the studio while I was recording in the Record Plant with Buddy, jamming with Johnny Winter at the Whiskey A-Go-Go - it was 1972 and life was really good. I was living on Sunset Strip with my own limo and a Corvette Stingray that Buddy had given me for writing a song on his record and I met Ginger Baker [around that time]."
Total Music: Do you feel Three Man Army should have got the sort of recognition Cream did?
"Cream was a better band, all round. I was still trying to grow as a musician, Cream were awesome and Eric in those days was the best guitar player around, with the exception of Jimi Hendrix who was from another planet."
Total Music: Tell us about the Baker Gurvitz Army years
"It was exciting in the beginning to work with Ginger, it was a dream for me at the time playing with the best rock drummer in the world, but the songs I wanted to do didn’t really fit with what Ginger wanted to play. I thought it would be a stepping stone but it ended up costing me more than it produced. The whole super group vibe was cool but it was a mess really, a lot of fun but frustrating. I think the first record was the best, as soon as we brought in a singer I lost my feel and the title of the last record said it all, Hearts On Fire. We all needed to move on”
And move on he did, entering a period where he turned his back on the power trios of his past to learn the art of song-writing, working with Mickie Most, penning pop hit ‘Classic’ and concentrating on softer rock. Nowadays he produces, and still writes songs - working with artists like John Waite, Steve Perry, REO Speedwagon, Jason Sheff (Chicago), Meredith Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Paul Young, Terry Reed, David Cassidy and Sarah Brightman. All in all he is a very contented man, but does he ever look back and wonder what if?
"It’s been 40 years since I started playing as a pro musician [and] it seems like a minute ago. I wish in some ways I could go back and relive it all again and do some things differently but everything we are today is because of where we came from. I really can’t complain at all, I have a beautiful home in LA, four great kids with my beloved wife Elaine who keeps me sane, my studio looks over the pool and everyday I’m in there trying to reinvent myself. I try to keep very busy, rocking on till the end in the rock and roll graveyard they call Los Angeles."
Thanks to Howard Smith for his help with this feature (and indeed the impetus to do it in the first place), find out more about Adrian at