Shane Rockpit talks with Joseph Calderazzo
about Whole Lotta Love
Calderazzo is the creator of the WHOLE LOTTA LOVE Led Zeppelin tribute show, now in it’s eighth year in Australia and about to visit Perth for the first time. The two and a half hour show features a variety of singers such as Dave Gleeson (The Screaming Jets), Steve Balbi (Noiseworks), Ngaiire and Zyke to recreate the eclectic back catalogue of arguably rock’s most consistently stunning band.
SR – Thanks for talking to The Rockpit! Firstly, what is it about Led Zeppelin that made you want to create an act in tribute of them?
JC – I love the fact that they write powerful songs with meaningful lyrics. I’m also attracted to the variety of influences that shape their music.
SR – How closely do you present the band onstage – both musically and visually?
JC – Some of the tracks are quite close musically, however we don’t do the visual thing. We just present ourselves as we are, we’re not trying to be them, we’re just playing their songs.
SR – You have an amazing group of artists involved – Dave from The Screaming Jets, Steve from Noiseworks, Swanee joins in over East, plus people from Blue King Brown, Ooh La La and more. With such diverse backgrounds, were there any hurdles in getting everyone to gel stylistically during rehearsals?
JC – The reason we have so many artists from diverse backgrounds is so that they bring their own style to the table. This gives the show a twist that the audience is not expecting and lots of memorable moments that can only be delivered from artists that have their own style and sound. Hence this array of beautiful people.
SR – The show is into its eighth year on the East Coast, do you keep things fresh by introducing new songs each year or is the setlist locked in?
JC – Yes we do have a floating roster of songs which keeps the whole thing interesting, also the fact that we only do it once a year certainly keeps it fresh.
SR – On that note, how do you narrow down such a stunning canon of work into just 20 songs?
JC – It’s the big question, it’s all about what to leave out, and there are enough great songs to do 3 nights with no repeats. I try to make sure that all the facets of their music are represented, i.e. rock, blues, folk, country, middle-eastern, and we use lots of acoustic guitars, lots of tunings, plus mandolin and strings. So I guess the set list is formed around those elements to present a well rounded representation of what Led Zeppelin were about.
SR – What do you think Zep would be doing now if John Bonham were still alive?
JC – Touring and recording, there’s such an interest from the younger generations in [Led Zeppelin], they influenced three decades of rock bands in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s.
SR – With such a stellar cast of musicians, I’m sure the backstage jams are fantastic – have you considered making some original music with some of these guys?
JC – Most of us have had or do have original projects, as for collaboration with the team, I’ve thought about it but that’s as far as it’s gone so far.
SR – Do you think there is potential for ‘tribute’ acts to release their own recordings
JC – I think there is a market for a good live recording especially with some of the interpretations that we do.
SR – It seems every new generation of kids goes through a rite of passage with bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Cure and The Doors – why do you think their music is so enduring and still relevant?
JC – Much of the music of the 70’s was written with no commercial goal in mind, it was written to satisfy the calling of the writer so it’s real and heart-felt. Music like this will usually appeal to all generations because it touches the place it’s written from which is the soul.
SR – Is playing in a tribute band a better financial prospect than slogging away in an original band?
JC – At the end of the day it’s all about selling tickets so it doesn’t really make any difference.
SR – Which Led Zeppelin song would you most like to have had a hand in creating?
JC – ‘ In My Time Of Dying’ – which they didn’t write anyway, it’s a traditional gospel song.
SR – Have you ever heard Dread Zeppelin – the Led Zeppelin tribute band with an Elvis singer done in a reggae style?
JC – Yes…
SR – If you had to create another mash up of Zeppelin, who would it be combined with?
JC – Jazz/Latin, swings and bossanovas
SR – Where’s the best place for fans to find out all the latest news from Whole Lotta Love?
JC – http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Whole-Lotta-Love-Led-Zeppelin-Celebration/146556392048902
SR – Finally, what for you is the Meaning of life?
JC – To be the best person you can possibly be and to be abundant in all areas.
SR – Thanks for taking the time to talk to The Rockpit– looking forward to seeing the gig when you get to Perth!
JC – Thank you