By Todd Houston
Exclusive to TRRT
Rockford Rocked Interview: You’re originally from Woonsocket, Rhode Island. How did you find your way to Rockford?
Sean Huguenin: Not sure if I found Rockford or Rockford found me. Before here there was Iowa in which came about as a transfer from Rhode Island in the military. I served 23 years in which I retired March of 2013. My venture to Rockford was in part of a good landing place in which I could travel to Deerfield to attend Seminary for my dual Masters, but remain in a cost-efficient community and close to my wife Starr’s (whom passed away from cancer in August of 2015) family. It turned out to be a great landing spot in which I met some phenomenal musicians.
RRI: You recently released the new Huguenin album Where From Here? The lyrics have a positive feel but it also seems like they have a pondering quality to them. Sort of a questioning vibe if you will. Do you consider Huguenin to be a Christian band?
SH: Well as a Christian myself, I have always wanted to use my gift of music to be an influence and inspiration to the world. I wouldn’t classify myself or believe I would be classified as “Christian” because I don’t speak of Jesus in every song. However, what I do, and always swore to do, is to write about realism and truth and through that give a message of hope and encouragement. I feel I have been blessed in life to have accomplished that in about every song I’ve written.
RRI: I must say the musicianship on this release is top notch. Local musicians Russ Kutak (bass) and Colin Edmison (drums) were involved but you also had some friends from out east lend a hand with the guitar duties. You obviously didn’t fly these guys to Rockford to lay down tracks. How did you go about the recording process?
SH: I will just start off by saying that I am so honored and grateful for the outstanding musicianship and professionalism that Colin and Russ brought to the table along with my other friends. Today is a different world of recording. Many musicians including myself have some form of recording equipment and software at home which can really help in the mobility of tracking and working with other musicians. Here in Rockford, I worked with Wolf Home Productions and engineer Larry Williams. I “Dropped boxed” .wav files of all the songs to Jimi Bell (House of Lords & Maxx Explosion) and Gary Schutt (Jeff Scott Soto & Gary Schutt Band). They did the work from their locations and sent me back the files.
RRI: Your voice is amazing! Tell us about some of your musical influences growing up.
SH: Well thank you very much for them kind words. I had many different vocal influences for different reasons, some for power, some for delivery, and some for pitch. I can tell you that my main five influences though were; Geoff Tate of Queensryche, Michael Sweet of Stryper, Miljenko Matijevic of Steelheart, Don Dokken of Dokken and Dennis Deyoung of Styx.
RRI: You have some live shows coming up and are involved in some local benefits. Who are the current members of Huguenin?
SH: Well anyone who saw Huguenin last year will notice that due to other musical obligation with the band, has decided to put together a new lineup for 2016. This year Huguenin is honored to hit the stage and tear it up with Steve Strutsman (drums), original bassist Russ Kutak, Andy Bell (guitars) and Shawn Williams (guitars). This lineup is ready to go and will have our first rehearsal this month is preparation of the March 19 Rock for a Cure show in Pekin with Lillian Axe and others.
RRI: I’m not taking anything away from pop music or any of that but do you think we will ever see the era of the “rock star” again?
SH: It is still out there, but unfortunately not in the mainstream eye or attention. There are so many awesome musicians out there. Melodic rock is not dead, you just need to find where it’s at and support the living crap out of it.
RRI: What’s your favorite song to sing along with at home while cleaning the house?
SH: My favorite is Come Sail Away by Styx. It’s a freakin’ Monsters of Rock concert at Sean’s house when I’m cleaning (laughs).
RRI: Tell us about The Whiskey a Go Go (Famous club in Hollywood California).
SH: Oh man! What can I not say about that? Every musicians dream is to step on that stage and if I never accomplish anything more in my musical life, it will be the achievement of saying I’ve been there, done that and have the shirt and memories forever.
RRI: What is the song that you wish you had written?
SH: Never Let You Go by Steelheart.
RRI: What’s next for Sean Huguenin?
SH: Well, as for myself, I just started a new career job as a hospital Chaplain for Freeport Memorial Hospital and excited about that new chapter in my life, but that is not meaning that Huguenin doesn’t have a future. This year will be a venture for sure with lots of promises. I will take my time over this year writing the songs, but I promise everyone that if you thought and love the Where From Here release, you haven’t seen the best of Huguenin yet! Just saying.