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Faith's Edge: An Exclusive Interview With Ex-STRYPER Bassist TIM GAINES And Guitarist GIANCARLO FLORIDIA Of FAITHSEDGE

By Krishta Abruzzini, Pacific Northwest Writer
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 @ 8:14 AM


"It hasnít been officially said by either myself or the band, but yeah, Iím no longer working with them (STRYPER)."

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Giancarlo Floridia and ex-STRYPER bassist Tim Gaines recently talked with me about their band, FAITHSEDGE. In this exclusive interview, Tim Gaines for the first time confirms his exit with STRYPER and a few of the details that led up to the decision to leave the band he was with for over 30-years.

FAITHSEDGE, which was formed by Floridia in 2011, has had many powerhouse performers. The band presently has Matt Starr-drums (MR. BIG, ACE FREHLEY, DOUG ALDRICH), Tim Gaines-bass (ex-STRYPER), and Alex De Rosso (DOKKEN), and Iím told a very special keyboardist is on board to join very soon. Floridia would only disclose that the keyboardist is someone that he used to have posters of as a boy, and will complete this bandís potent lineup.

While the name indicates that it may be a Christian based band, I am told that the intent is to be mainstream. The songs are melodic, with a hard edge that falls into a more prog rock genre. With such a powerful lineup, the potential is limitless.

A big thank you to Giancarlo and especially to Tim, who felt comfortable to open up about the hushed circumstances surrounding his exit from STRYPER. WIshing the best for this band and looking forward to hearing what FAITHSEDGE will further produce.

KNAC.COM: Hey guys! Tim, Iím not sure whatís okay to talk about as far as STRYPER goes, and what is not, and if youíre uncomfortable about anything, weíll just pass it. How did this FAITHSEDGE get started? I know Giancarlo, you started this about six years ago.

FLORIDIA: I started the project in about 2009, and we got signed in 2011. We put out two records and our producer was Fabrizio Grossi, he was with Steve Vai and STARBREAKER with Tony Harnellís band. I really liked the work he had done on the STARBREAKER record, and I reached out to him. I originally had a 5-song EP I put out with Juan Croucier from RATT, which he produced. Grossi was impressed enough to meet up with me and come up with an idea. He was a bass player. He was doing other things and not really producing melodic rock. Heís got this thing called SUPERSONIC BLUES MACHINE heís doing right now with Kenny Aronoff and Steve Lukather, and Billy Gibbons. Itís a really big list of people. I then moved to work with Alessandro Del Vecchio, he does Frontiers Records and he does HARDLINE. During the time, I knew there was going to be a transition with the bass, and he kept saying, ďWhat about Tim?Ē And I was like, ďWell, weíre friends you know.Ē But I thought it would be great because Iíve known him for so long and it would be like family.

KNAC.COM: But heís not Italian [Laughing]

GAINES: [Laughs] Iím the only German I think in the band.

FLORIDIA: We kind of bring him over though, you know. We teach him our ways.

KNAC.COM: Tim, I donít know if you can talk about this or not. Is there no more STRYPER for you? Is this your new project?

GAINES: Well, Iíve been working with Gian for a year and a half now. Yeah. The STRYPER thing is a touchy subject right now. I canít really elaborate on too much of it. You would probably be the first person that I would say to that I am officially no longer a member of the band. Itís been out there for about a year now that things have been going sour. It hasnít been officially said by either myself or the band, but yeah, Iím no longer working with them.

KNAC.COM: Thatís too bad that it went that way. Giancarlo and I were talking about Christian rock bands and that whole moniker thatís given, and itís a weird kind of social experiment, I think in that itís almost like you have to be nearly a monk, with the expectations that the fans and community place on you.

GAINES: Itís very weird. Very strange.

KNAC.COM: Giancarlo and I were talking about how if MOTLEY CRUE does something, itís celebrated. But God forbid, somebody that plays non-secular music of any kind, then it becomes a great big crime.

GAINES: I hear ya. Iíve gotten bashed for playing with other groups that werenít Christian, by the Christian community anyway. And I think even the other guys in STRYPER would agree, we never wanted to have the Christian name in a sense put on the band. We were always a rock band that happened to be made up of Christians. Thereís this whole industry built around Christian music in a sense thatís like separate from everybody else. Often times the music is mediocre. Itís something I never really wanted to be a part of. I just wanted to be in a real rock band.

KNAC.COM: FAITHSEDGE, denotes that it could be a Christian rock band, is it directed toward that? And thatís not to say that you canít be a good rock band, being a Christian rock band.

FLORIDIA: Honestly, itís like a prog, metal rock, melodic, all sorts of things. A lot of people ask me, ďIs it based on this or that?Ē We have a song called, "This War", and when I first worked with Tim, I said, ďHey, is this song okay with you?Ē Because some of the lyrics would definitely not be in any sort of Christian band. And thereís dark subject matter on some of the songs. Itís not focused toward anything religious. I think that the best way to look at it is that it is a band that youíll get more out of lyrically than your typical rock stuff. I think everything is positive. I write about experiences, overcoming. Things like that. Kind of look at BON JOVI. When you look at Jonís lyrics, and he says things like, ďGodĒ, or ďAngelĒ, but itís not to the point where it is labeled as that. I want to keep it to a point where you know thereís some spiritual stuff going on there, but not to the point where I want to be a ministry band. Thatís a very heavy position to be in. Thatís something I choose to keep in my personal life or my family. Itís a personal thing to me. Christian bands are a different genre. Thatís not what weíre doing.

KNAC.COM: Tim, I know you got attacked by the Christian community for your personal life, and I wonít go into any details into that, but does it shake your faith at all? I mean when you have that kind of judgment coming down on you, is it tough for you?

GAINES: Yeah. Youíre put under a microscope in a sense. Because I was in a band that spoke out so much as far as the Christian thing, I was automatically put under a microscope to look a certain way and be some kind of example, which no one can live up to. People fit into this mold. People that go to church, they dress the same. Listen to music a certain way. And itís just kind of a weird subculture. People in church should be out hanging out with everybody. They pretty much stick to themselves and become this weird little group of people that canít relate to anybody. When somebody in the church has a problem, and it suddenly becomes known, one of those little things, whatever it might be, in my case I ended up getting a divorce. Which is taboo as far as Christianity, I guess. But all hell broke loose. Nobody bothered to look into why I got a divorce. It was 20-years of a bad marriage, but nobody bothers to look into the abuse and all the stuff that went along with it. They just see me getting a divorce and getting remarried and come to their conclusions. So whatever. People will be the way that they are. Thereís nothing I can do about it. Iím not the only guy in STRYPER to have gotten a divorce. Everybody in the band is married to divorced people. And Iím the bad guy, but everybody else has done it too, so? Whatever. Live in glass houses and everything will be exposed at some point or another.

KNAC.COM: Thereís a great joke regarding the mormon community. Itís something like, ĎHow do you get another mormon to stop drinking? Add another mormon.í

GAINES: [Laughs]

FLORIDIA: Religion is tough. Hereís the thing, when I met Tim when I was 20, I was a kid. I was going through a brutal, brutal time with the music business, trying to get established, showcasing my music and something bad happened to me. Really bad in the business and destroyed my family, and I was down and out. Tim came to one of my shows. Iíd go hang out. Itís that attitude that Tim had back then that helped me. He really took a step above to be a friend. He didnít go, ĎOkay, Iím in STRYPER, weíre a Christian band and we donít get involved with people who arenít.í He went out of his way to do something nice for me. To come to my gigs. To me, with somebody that wasnít into that type of thing at the time, it was inspiring. Thatís how I know Tim. Heís inspirational, he survived a lot. He survived the whole downfall of the grunge scene and pulled himself back up. Thereís so many things in this past year that Iíve heard that was negative, it boggles my mind because heís such a good person. Heís easy to work with. Heís a great guy. I can go on a list of good things about him, but whatever happened, happened. Heís always going to be Tim. I know the real Tim. We all make mistakes. I make mistakes. Tim knows about it, he forgives me and we move on. Thatís what I feel a brotherhood should be in any band.

KNAC.COM: Thatís human.

FLORIDIA: Yes. Exactly. Tim is awesome, heís always going to be awesome. So to hear things anything besides that about him, is just a load of garbage.

KNAC.COM: It sounds like itís a great positive move all the way around.

FLORIDIA: Yes.

KNAC.COM: Tell me a little about the other players. You have Matt Starr.

FLORIDIA: Yes. Matt is our drummer. I met him in the same city I met Tim at the time. Fullerton. I was doing a cover band at the time, and someone said Matt was sitting in. He was ACE FREHLEYís drummer at the time. Our other drummer was more of a studio drummer. It was time for a change with the album. Me and Matt were playing a show and it just happened. Just the way he plays drums. He really understands songwriting. Vocals, formatting. I like prog, but sometimes the drumming you have to understand the song, and Matt does that great. Mattís going to be on the new album. Heís playing with MR. BIG right now in Brazil and Japan. He played on their new album. Heís a great guy. Just like Tim and our guitar player Alex. We have a keyboard change coming up that I canít announce yet. Iíll figure out the details by the end of the year. Itís one of my favorite songwriters in one of my favorite bands from back in the 80ís, early 90ís and it is a big band.

KNAC.COM: Can we guess?

FLORIDIA: If it is, people are going to be going, ĎWow!í

KNAC.COM: So, you have a new album out now? Are you in the studio?

FLORIDIA: Pre-production. Itíll be out next year. Probably by October of next year. I just want to make sure all the songs are up to the level of the last album. This year has been kind of a tough year for good albums coming out. So I want to focus on quality of songwriting, instead of producing harder, more production, how loud can you master it, how much more can we push the digital end of it. I really want to get back to what good melodic rock once was. Good songwriting. Good band chemistry. Good drive. Everything thatís missing. Instead of just pushing it.

GAINES: We might have to use cassette tapes to get that. [laughing]

FLORIDIA: A four-track. [laughs]

KNAC.COM: Are you guys all part of the songwriting process?

FLORIDIA: Weíre gonna try. [laughing]

GAINES: Weíre going to get together soon to write some songs.

FLORIDIA: Itís going to be great.

KNAC.COM: And the new keyboard player, whoís name is?

FLORIDIA: If I say one thing, itíll give it away. All I can say is when I was 11, I went to the mall and got a poster and put it in my backpack and came home and put it on my wall. He was my top pick of any keyboard player, because Iím such a fan of that band. Thatís all I can say.

GAINES: JOURNEY [laughs]

KNAC.COM: Rhymes with trolley?

FLORIDIA: No, no. [laughing]

KNAC.COM: Do you guys have any tour plans?

FLORIDIA: Me and Tim are talking about it.

GAINES: It would be Japan or Europe.

FLORIDIA: Definitely. One of the labels are out of Italy and the other is in Japan.

KNAC.COM: And, itís unfortunate for us here in the states, but rock, metal, prog is all very much alive in those countries. The support seems to last forever there, unlike us fickle Americans.

GAINES: Oh yeah.

FLORIDIA: Well, the stores are gone. I remember going into the music stores and thatís how I found my bands and once people bought the albums, then the label had more money to put them on tour, set them up with videos, promotions, now with that gone, itís difficult. Or almost impossible. Iím pretty lucky, considering.

KNAC.COM: Definitely. Looking forward to hearing from you guys.

FLORIDIA: Yeah. Just expect a really kickass record. Again, weíre going to really focus on prioritizing songwriting, as Iím feeling right now in the business, Iím not too inspired lately. I used to look forward to new records, and I just want to put out an album thatís going to get people excited.

KNAC.COM: I think you have all the key players. And youíre right. I havenít heard a lot of good albums so far this year. A lot of them are dropping this time of year.

FLORIDIA: Very rough year. As a writer, you look around you. And you ask, ĎWhatís working right now, whatís not working?í I just want to focus the energy on writing a good album and having a good time recording it with the guys. Just having a good time. Kicking ass. Good energy. And since we all get along so well, I think itís going to show in the end product.

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