Greg Fox
Greg Fox, Photo: Katharina Poblotzki

Greg Fox (US)

The output of Greg Fox during the past decade is ‘mind-boggling’ in its range, states Hank Shteamer in his long-read portrait of the New York based musicians for the Monheim Papers. Fox not only cultivates a free-form electroacoustic duo with fellow drummer Kid Millions, he is also part of the ‘epic instrumental doom-prog band Ex Eye; trance-inducing minimalist jams with Zs; exploratory psychedelia with Guardian Alien; heady electronica under the GDFX banner; and even a brief but fruitful return to Liturgy for 2015's challenging The Ark Work has to be mentioned. And that's only a partial list.

At the Monheim Triennale 2022, he’ll perform in three other contexts: solo, possibly on a MIDI-equipped drum kit that transforms him into a one-man synth-and-percussion orchestra; with futuristic, jazz-adjacent improv group Quadrinity; and, maybe most surprisingly, in a reverent Black Sabbath cover band that unites Fox with avant-garde fellow travellers like singer Angel Deradoorian and guitarist Mick Barr. All these projects make use of his spellbinding chops, combining a metal drummer’s speed, power, and double-kick-pedal command with a startling fluidity derived from his in-depth study of advanced hand technique. But in Fox’s musical world, virtuosity is never an end in and of itself.

In his conversation with writer Hank Shteamer, Fox carries out the high importance of the master-musician Milford Graves on him while searching for his own particular music journey. ‘I was meeting Milford, and we were talking about slowing down, giving space to the playing, thinking about communication. It's not like I didn't have any experience improvising; I did. But it changed all of it completely for me. It began to take me out of an idea of constantly determining whether every note that I play is cool or not. Being with what's happening in the moment and trusting it. Just trying to focus on being honest and not really trying to be — to some degree, maybe it's impossible to escape fully — but trying not to be impressive. Or trying not to worry about being impressive.’

As a result this period represented a major junction in Fox's creative life, the moment when he left behind not just what he knew, but the musical context that others knew him for. ‘I took the risk, and jumped off the cliff, and found out that there was something on the other side of that,’ Fox says. ‘I just was trying to find myself, trying to find my real voice, trying to find situations that felt good.’ The truth is that Greg Fox was probably never destined to be a one-band or one-genre drummer.

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