THE SHORT VERSION: Winston Apple is a singer - songwriter, recording artist, and performer. He was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2015. He released his 18th album last summer (2019).
THE LONGER VERSION:
An Apple by any other name... Winston's career can be divided in two phases with a subtle name change for artistic purposes serving as the dividing line. Winston's full legal name is Gary Winston Apple and his early recordings (1972 through 1978) listed him as "Gary Apple." Following a lengthy hiatus from music, his songwriting and recording has been done under his middle name - Winston Apple.
Phase One - A musician called "Gary" -
Gary Apple began his musical career while in high school, singing and playing drums in Kansas City area rock bands. He developed an early interest in songwriting, which prompted a switch to keyboards and guitar. He worked his way through college playing in bands. His first single - "You're Not the Only Girl (I'm Out to Get) b/w "The Ballad of Pencil" - was recorded while he was attending college under the group name "Appletree" (a name suggested by the group's booking agent, cleverly derived from the fact that Apple was the leader of a trio). That initial recording expense led to a strong desire for more.
Not long after graduating college, Gary won a rock and roll trivia contest on KUDL-fm in Kansas City. The grand prize was a year's free rent a newly-constructed apartment complex. Gary used the money he saved on rent to rent time in a recording studio and recorded his first album "A Musical Tribute to the Last of the Great Toadstool Madonnas" (1974). Although the album was self-released, with promotion and distribution limited to the Kansas City area, it was well-reviewed by the local paper and received airplay on KUDL-fm.
At the urging of some music loving investors, Gary formed Treehouse Productions and began recording demos of the songs he wrote. Several trips to Nashville netted a few of his songs being picked up by publishers. In August of 1977, Gary made a trip to Nashville to record a four-song demo tape, which include the song "Shoot 'em Up, Cowboy" which led to a recording contract with Monument Records. His album The First One's Free was released in May of 1978. Numerous songs from the album received extensive airplay and "Shoot 'em Up, Cowboy" spent 9 weeks on Record World's singles chart, despite the fact that Monument's distribution deal with Phonogram ended the week after it was released. The album quickly sold out and became unavailable.
While they continued to seek another distribution deal, Monument kept Gary under contract for several more years but failed to obtain another distribution deal. During that time, Gary wrote over 70 new songs and did demo recordings at home and in the studio at Combine Miusic (Monument's publishing company).
After leaving Monument, Gary signed with Mad Dog Records. An album was recorded in LA and KC, but Mad Dog went out of business before the album could be mixed and mastered. At that point, Gary decided it was time to dust off his college degree. He took a position teaching civics and economics at his alma mater and took the aforementioned lengthy hiatus from music.
Not long before retiring from teaching, Gary's hiatus from music yielded to his urge to write songs. The advent of digital recording made a home studio affordable. And Gary, now recording as "Winston Apple" finished the album he recorded for Mad Dog Records and then began to crank out one new album after another. Finding a wonderful distribution partner for independent musicians in CD Baby, Winston has been able to establish himself as (in his words) "An international recording artist of little renown." With eighteen albums to his credit, he is happily engaged in writing the songs for album number 19.