Fans don’t usually think of the guy behind the 1976 hits “Dream Weaver” and “Love is Alive” as a hippie. But Gary Wright, one of the artists on this year’s Hippiefest tour, says he had his moments as part of the swinging London scene of the mid- and late-60s.
“Well, you know, I used to kind of dress up when I was in England,” says the New Jersey-born Wright, 68, who was part of the band Spooky Tooth and played on George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” album before going solo in earnest in 1974. “I used to dress up in the kind of vogue mode of the day — pirate boots, fur coats and stuff like that.
“So being hippie isn’t a foreign thing to me, really.”
Though he’s faded from the charts since his mid-70s zenith, Wright remains active and, in fact, is working harder than ever these days. He’s been part of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band during the past couple of years, and in 2010 he released a new album, “Connected,” that features guest appearances by Starr and guitarists Joe Walsh and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan fame.
Wright’s also a grandfather, which inspired the new song “Kirra Layne.”
“I wrote that when she was three months old, just to memorialize my relationship with her,” Wright says. “I’d rather write songs like that. I’m a happy human being, and I like to laugh and look at the good side of life. We can look down the sewer if we choose, but I like to smell the flowers.”
Hippiefest 2011, with Gary Wright, Dave Mason, Mark Farner, Rick Derringer and Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals, plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $10-$36.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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