As far as accolades for Rock N Roll music go, it doesn’t get much better than legendary Guns & Roses guitarist Slash spinning a copy of your album all around the USA in his tour van, and then actually taking the time to let you know he digs it too. That’s exactly what s happening right now for Melbourne’s riff rocker Dallas Frasca and bands sophomore album ‘Sound Painter’.
After much hullabaloo, build, anticipation, blood, sweat, tears, money, lust and lunacy, ‘Sound Painter’ was released in Australia in 2012 and has taken the band right across the globe including U.K, France, Switzerland, Canada and the U.S.A.
Lead single ‘All My Love’ carved the way, blasting out across Australian radio waves and in 2012 came third in the AAA category of the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) with over 16,000 entries and judged by Ozzy Osbourne, Tori Amos, Janelle Monae, Tom Waits, Basement Jaxx.
Dallas Frasca began to sing at age 18 when she discovered her singing ability at a housewarming party. Frasca’s career began in 2006 when she won Triple J’s ‘Light Your Fuse’ competition from over 500 entries.
Frasca won the 2010 Artist Of The Year at the Musicoz Awards and her album was voted in the top ten best roots releases on JJJ in 2009. She has also stormed the stages at countless major festivals including Big Day Out, Falls Fest, Bluesfest, Pyramid Rock, Festival of the Sun, Queenscliff, Southbound, and major French festival – Blues Passion Cognac.
In 2008, Frasca sang for Australian Rock band Midnight Oil in Sydney, in support of Amnesty International. In early 2009, Frasca was invited to perform as one of seven artists from seven continents of the planet for International Earth Day in Montreal, Canada.
In July 2012, Dallas Frasca was invited by The Tea Party to perform as the opening act for their Brisbane show at the Tivoli Theatre as part of The Tea Party’s Reformation Tour.
Born into a family of classical musicians Ian began playing the violin at the age of four. His live television debut was at age 5 and he began competing in Eisteddfods soon after. Ian began his world travels at age six and wowed audiences as a child star in the U.S.A. and Canada, and in following years in Britain, Europe and Japan. At age 12 he performed with the Vienna Boys Choir in their hometown.
awarded a scholarship to the NSW Conservatorium of Music at age eight, Ian continued his training there for the next ten years.
Today Cooper continues to perform classical concerts and is equally at home playing Jazz concerts. He is a regular guest artist of Jazz trumpeter James Morrison and has also appeared with John Farnham, Tommy Emmanuel, George Benson, Simon Tedeschi, David Helfgott, Neil Sedaka, Barry White, Deni Hines, Marcia Hines, Wendy Matthews, The Angels, Melinda Schneider and Olivia Newton-John.
Ian has released 8 CDs, the latest being Ballads and Bossa Nova, on the La Brava Music label. He has been awarded numerous Australian live performance awards including 2 MO Awards, 2 ACE Awards, 3 Golden Fiddle Awards and a platinum “ARIA” Award for his Olympic Opening Ceremony composition “Tin Symphony”. Ian also composes soundtracks for Discovery Channel and is a keen pilot, and yachtsman.
Danny Marx Young travelled Germany and performed 30 dates in and around 35 days, which fuelled his passion for being a frontman. Upon his return, Young started a rock band where he entertained the local surf scene whilst building a following. he came through to win a national song contest presented by 2DayFM’s Ugly Phil.
Danny played several roles in Australian dramas including All Saints, Home and Away and Breakers. He also did a season of Musical theatre and moonlighted for band Deep Squeeze.
looking to bigger and better things, young established a band called Circlework and Toured the East Coast of Australia. Liaising with the likes of Billy Thorpe and Molly Meldrum, Young received Thorpe’s glowing review that he had a singing style which stood out from other singers in the industry. It was then that Circlework began working with legendary producer Harry Vanda, who is renowned for his work writing and producing hits for a number of groups and solo singers including John Paul Young (Danny’s father), Rose Tattoo, The Angels and AC/DC.
Not enough to hold Young’s full attention he began pursuing other projects before being scouted for a new Australian megaband under Vanda’s Management. Following a break up over artistic differences, Zumanity was born.
Since then, Young has enjoyed a triumphant period of song writing and performances, both with the band and on a solo level. Danny also participated on the soundtrack for Australian film Razzle Dazzle doing a blistering cover of Angry Anderson’s ‘Bound For Glory’.
New Zealand-born piano virtuoso and composer Charmaine Ford has blazed a trail of awards confirming she is indeed one of New Zealand’s most distinguished musicians. She has also released two self-penned jazz albums, showcasing her extraordinary talent.
Charmaine has played the piano professionally since her mid teens and has been composing since the age of six. At age 19, she was awarded a Travel Grant Scholarship from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) to study in London. There, Charmaine spent three months learning from two of England’s top jazz educators, Nikki Iles and Pete Churchill, while also taking lessons from one of the world’s leading classical pianists, (the late) Professor Yonty Soloman.
Ford has performed and toured extensively throughout Australasia and has appeared on New Zealand National Television several times including ‘Dancing with the Stars’. She has been invited to play at many of New Zealand’s international jazz festivals, as well as performing in concert with ‘The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’. In addition to her staggering list of achievements, Charmaine appears on numerous recordings covering a wide variety of genres.
Since moving from New Zealand to Sydney in 2008, Ford has rapidly become in demand as a performer, educator and session musician. “Nothing could have prepared me for this young pianist’s spell-binding virtuosity” BAY OF PLENTY TIMES, NZ
Mark Diggins talks to Joseph Calderazzo
Mark: This year is 10 years for the ’Whole Lotta Love’ show, it’s a long time, how does it feel to have made it this far?
JC: It’s really good. We actually started twelve years ago in a tiny little room in Kings Cross; I used to run an acoustic music night there every Tuesday night. It was a room that held probably 80-100 people, and it was in the back of a bar. It was for original artists, who would come in and do their songs, I had some great artists come through, John Butler and Pete Murray played there, and all these great people, before they became famous. I had this idea of getting about sixteen artists together all on the one night, just for fun, and I thought of getting them all to do a Beatles song, in their own way, and that would glue it all together. So, we did that, and it was a really successful night, and good fun. We ended up doing a couple of Zeppelin shows, totally unplugged, with a couple of violins, a viola and a couple of cellos and it was really cool, and that’s sort of how it started. It started more as a Zeppelin unplugged vibe, and then we took it to The Basement, which is still a small venue, but we were able to go electric, and since going in to the theatres, we’ve been able to bring in multimedia and more musicians, more percussion, more strings sometimes, keyboards, so it’s been able to grow really well. I never thought it would end up in the theatres, and lasting ten years!
Mark: It is an amazing show, and of course Zeppelin is an amazing band, that people still love. Is there any pressure to do something a bit different for the anniversary year?
JC: No, we’re not really doing anything different; we’ve got three new songs, which is good. We don’t really change the repertoire that much, because it’s so good to start with. We have a couple of new singers, but only because the others were unavailable, both out of Melbourne, one is a girl called Dallas Fresca, who’s quite the rock chick, and she’s just finished touring Europe, so I’m looking forward to seeing her in action. The other is a guy, called Jimmy Couples, who was a contestant on the reality show,”” The Voice”, and he’s a real rocker too, he’s right in to Zeppelin! He will be great, and so I’m excited about that too.
Mark: Is Dallas taking over from Natasha?
JC: No, Natasha will still be there, she’s really good.
Mark: As artistic director, what are your main duties, and how have they evolved over the years?
JC: I guess, as creative director, it’s essentially up to me to choose the singers, choose the musicians, the songs and marry up the singers to those songs, and then get the set list in order so it becomes a musical journey. I also look at the lighting and how the multimedia is going to work as well. It’s pretty much the whole thing really. It’s changed in that the bigger it gets, the more people are involved, more crew and all that sort of stuff. I’m still doing things like booking flights, hotel rooms and transport.
Mark: So, you get to do all the glamorous stuff as well?!!
JC: Yeah, that’s it!! Actually we have a book keeper this year, so, I’m just feeding her the information, and she’s been doing the bookings, but yeah, the publicity stuff is taken care of by my business partner, Martin, so I don’t have to concern myself too much with that, as that’s quite a big job as well. You have to get the word out, and people come up to me and say you should have advertised, and I’m like, man, we just spent a fortune on advertising!! So, not everybody sees it, and I don’t know how you get that right! That’s a whole other animal!!
Mark: Yeah, I think the world would be a different place if we all knew how to do that! Do you know if any of the members of Led Zeppelin are aware of the show, and if so, have you had any feedback?
JC: I don’t know, and there are probably millions of Zeppelin tribute bands in the world! Some of them do the whole “copy” thing and are probably really good and tour constantly, but as for the band I’m sure they are aware of that, but as to being physically aware of mine, I don’t really know. There’s a good chance Jason Bonham might, because he was going to tour here last September, but it fell through, and that was our run too. I don’t think it really matters to me whether they know or not, but I suppose it would be nice if they saw it and said this is really good! It would be a great testimonial. We are doing our own thing; we are sort of moving away from the Led Zeppelin thing, and doing a cross between Led Zeppelin and the Plant/Page from the early nineties.
Mark: I think that’s the appeal, and that’s what makes it stand out from the crowd. Last time I looked there were about 2-300 cover bands in the States alone, but there’s no one doing this sort of show, as far as I can see.
JC: Yeah, I think it is different and quite unique.
Mark: Let’s talk about Led Zeppelin for a bit, as that’s what draws most people in! What is it that makes their music so timeless, do you think?
JC: I really don’t know. I think it’s very powerful and very passionate. I think any music that is passionate is going to stand the test of time, look at the classical stuff, Mozart and Bach, that’s all powerful and passionate music. Maybe that’s what it is, I mean I don’t know, it’s definitely all from the heart, Zeppelin music was never contrived, it’s so honest, I think that’s what it is, something that people do relate to. It’s your heart and soul where music hits.
Mark: I think you’re right, and I think for me it’s the fact they never seemed to follow any fashion, and were never afraid to incorporate many different styles in to their music. You could never accuse them of just being a hard rock band!
JC: Yes, that’s something I find appealing about their music as well. It means when you are doing a concert, there are a lot of things you can do within that concert to make it interesting. I have seen some tribute bands, and they just do the hard rock stuff. And I get really bored with that, and I feel they have missed the point of what Zeppelin’s about! There’s all the orchestral sort of stuff, the mandolins, and once you put all that together, it’s pretty exciting.
Mark: One of the hard questions I was going to ask you was if you were going to recommend a Led Zeppelin album, as an introduction to them, what would it be for you?
JC: Maybe” IV” would be the best one to introduce people to them; I’m not saying that’s my favourite album, but that’s the answer to your question. But, I think that one because it’s got most of their “hits” on it.
Mark: I don’t know if you saw recently, but Robert Plant was a bit cryptic when he was interviewed recently, about the Capricorns? He was asked as always, if there was any chance of a reunion, and he sort of vaguely alluded to the fact that he might be open to something along those lines, but you’d better ask the Capricorns.
JC: I think they will do a tour, I heard that they were auditioning singers as well, and Miles Kennedy auditioned, he didn’t get the gig, but, I read somewhere he said it was one of the greatest experiences of his life! I think they’re probably doing what they do because they have always been brilliant at marketing and stirring up interest, they always do it in a very cool way! If you read their books, they had great ideas, like Stairway to Heaven, was never released as a single, despite the fact it was played on American radio a million times, and the record company insisted on it! And Led Zeppelin IV, they didn’t want their name written anywhere on the album, and the record company said you can’t release it without your name on it, but they did and these things worked really well! So, who knows, it might be that sort of vibe!
Mark: Could well be! I’d certainly pay to see it! As a musician, what inspires you, there must be easier day jobs!?
JC: Absolutely! I don’t know, it’s just a decision I made years ago, that’s what I wanted to do and that’s what I stuck with. It’s hard, but it’s rewarding, if you go for easy the rewards aren’t as good, and you’re not doing what you are passionate about. It’s definitely not all glamour or fun, there are some real down sides to it, and it can be a really hard life. But, I wouldn’t change it, I love it, and I’m happy.
Mark: Who do you think have been your most enduring influences over time? Who’s the one artist that has stuck with you over the years?
JC: I don’t think there is just one, it’s a combination, I do different styles in what I do, and so it’s a combination of them that I have picked up over the years. I do quite a bit of jazz as well, I do a few jazz gigs, and I really enjoy that and that’s like a whole different language almost. I really like doing acoustic gigs as well; I do a few with Natasha Stewart as well, we do some great stuff when we get together. I do different things, and that keeps me evolving, if I had to do the same thing all the time, I don’t think I’d be doing it. I would get bored, that’s why I like the Zeppelin show, as it’s once a year, actually it’s been eighteen months since we last did it, and we only go out and do five or six shows, so every time we do it, I get really excited about it, and it’s a real highlight for me. I think variety is the answer!
Mark: You mentioned before, Led Zeppelin IV, wasn’t your favourite album, so I guess it’s time to ask, if you could have been a fly on the wall when they were recording any album, what would it have been for you?
JC: That’s a good question! It would have to be something early; I’d say Zeppelin I, the first album. The recording techniques would have been pretty basic, and it would have been great to see how Jimmy Page worked as well, as he produced all that stuff. That’s not to say that’s my favourite album either, but that’s the fly on the wall answer!
Mark: We’ll save that question for next time!! Finally, the question we ask everyone, what is the meaning of life?
JC: Did you want the short answer, or the more in depth answer?!! Be good to one another, and love each other, there’s a good short answer! I’ll go with love one another.
Mark: That’s great, mate, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I loved the show when you came over to Perth; but I know how hard it is to get here: good luck with the shows.
By Mark Diggins April 2013 www.therockpit.net/2013/INTERVIEW%20Joseph%20Calderazzo%20Whole%20Lotta%20Love.php