Band Member of the Month: Greg Wing!
Experience: Over five decades
What he does when not playing with Landau: Professor of music/trumpet at Morehead State University
Hobbies: Spending time with family
Other famous musical collaborators:
Buddy Rich Big Band, Tom Jones, Paul Anka, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr.
Most memorable Landau Gig:
First show at the Clay Center in Charleston, WV in 2011
What’s your favorite part of playing with Landau?
The music and arrangements are always extremely well written. It’s also been a joy watching Landau captivate his audience.
You were a regular musician on the Las Vegas strip for many years; what’s the craziest thing you ever saw there? Or, does what happens in Vegas stay in Vegas?
I was extremely fortunate the 21 years I lived there. *Laughs* It’s probably best to say (and for those who have visited that town know) that folks often become very uninhibited when away from their hometowns where no one knows them. The craziest thing really would have to be coming home from the midnight show at 1:45 a.m. and seeing Sunset Park all lit up with a softball league game going on. It’s a 24 hour town for sure!
You toured with Tom Jones for many years; what’s your favorite memory of working with the Welshman?
I traveled exclusively with Tom as his Lead Trumpet player from 1983 – 1988. He took me around the world twice. Tom is a real gentleman. What a performer and very strong vocalist!
Probably the funniest memory of playing with Tom was when one of the ladies sitting in the front row got his attention with a towel or pair of panties. When Tom leaned over to greet her from the stage, she grabbed him behind the neck and planted a very long kiss. The woman’s husband was sitting right next to her and when the kiss was over, the husband said “That’s okay, Tommy! You pump up the tires and I’ll ride the bike.” The show literally stopped for a couple of minutes as Tom and everyone was belly laughing.
Landau’s vocals are often compared to Frank Sinatra. Since you’ve performed with both, how would you compare them both as vocalists and people?
Mr. Sinatra had a powerful voice and was an incredible stylist! He also had a great ear and could often identify wrong notes in the score as well as where (what instrument) the incorrect note was coming from. When I was playing with him at Caesar’s Palace in the summer of 1982, we did not have much interaction with him off stage. His security people ensured his safety and privacy. Our job was to play at the highest caliber each and every show.
Landau has a wide spectrum of vocal capabilities from stylizing “Sinatra” tunes to R & B and Motown. What I enjoy most about being with Landau & Jennifer is their concern for others. He is quite the showman and LOVES to sing! I truly believe that Landau displays a genuine appreciation for the opportunity he has been given.
Which is more personally gratifying: Your performing career or the work you do as a music educator on the faculty at Morehead State?
While I was a student in school, all I wanted to do was to perform in Las Vegas with the “stars”. Along the way, I had teachers inspire me and motivate me to go for that dream. If it wasn’t for their nurturing, I probably would not have pursued it. As a Professor of Music/trumpet at Morehead State, I now have an obligation to inspire and motivate my students to pursue their dreams. I tell my students stories of how I was asked to be the Lead Trumpet player at Caesar’s Palace after getting off the road with the Buddy Rich Band, breaking into the Las Vegas music scene, how I learned to network and most importantly, “let my trumpet playing do all the talking for me!” The satisfaction of teaching and watching others mature and grow is so much more personally gratifying. I have the best of both worlds though. In order to inspire and teach, I must remain active in the music business to be that role model for my students to emulate.
You recently received a major award, toot your own horn (pun intended!) and tell us about it.
The past three years at Morehead State University have been amazing. I was just promoted to Full Professor of Music, effective July 1st. This past May, I was informed that I have been selected to the Morehead State University Alumni Hall of Fame. According to the letter I received, “this award is the most prestigious award conferred by the Alumni Association and is presented only to our most outstanding graduates.”
In 2010-2011, I was awarded the “Distinguished Teacher of the Year” and also won the “Educator of the Year” award from the Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
What advice would you offer to young musicians who look up to Landau and his band members?
Never give up on your dreams. It is very important to understand that achieving anything worthwhile requires zealous passion and work ethic!