Interview with: JOHN TAGLIERI

JohnTaglieri.jpg (3378 bytes)


Hi John ! First of all Congrats to the A2 Records deal ! Must be great to finally have a label behind you How did you get in contact with Rupert & The boys ? (the A2 staff)

Thanks! It is really nice to finally have a label behind me. I've worked pretty hard this year and it's nice to see it paying off. When I started to heavily promote the album in December 1999, I worked really hard at getting solid promotion for the album. I spent what felt like 24 hours a day on the internet contacting everyone I could find and asking for reviews and
interviews.I managed to get enough press and attract enough attention to myself and the album that a few labels that I had contacted had invited me to send in press kits for consideration.Rupert at A2 was one of them.We spoke on the phone on several occasions and traded many emails,and of everyone I had spoken to or had correspondence with, I was very pleased with how A2 presented themselves and how they proposed to handle my CD and it's release.


"Leap Of Faith" is a very personal CD for me and I wanted to make sure that if I did manage to sign with some one, it would be a label who understood the importance of the CD to me and didn't just treat it like any other release. A2 have made me feel like this album is very important to them. We agreed on waiting until after they were able to see me perform at the Ultrasound 2000, and we all had a chance to meet in person, before we'd make any final
decisions. They were very pleased with my performance and after a great dinner at the Hard Rock Café in Vegas, we came to an agreement that we were all very pleased with. It also helped that Rupert and Richard at A2 are both truly nice guys to hang out with and to work with. They've been busting their asses promoting the release, getting great press in Europe and radio airplay in several countries. We've already received some advance orders on it. They are more then doing what I hoped, and I really feel good things are going to
come out of it! (I'm supposed to say all this nice stuff about them…they said if I don't, they won't release the album!!!!!) I'm kidding!! They've been great!

When can we expect your album to be released and are there any changes from
your independent CD ?


The official release date for the album is going to be 7/17/00 in Europe and then sometime in August in the US. We are still settling with the distributor on the exact US release date. As far as changes to the album, we've added 16 new bonus tracks and a naked picture of  Margaret Thatcher to the insert!!! Seriously, no there won't be any changes to the music at all. It's the exact same CD that I've been promoting independently. There will be some changes to
the artwork, adding the A2 logos and some new credits and thank you's and such, but nothing major. I just got a sponsorship from Ovation Guitars, so we added that information to the CD as well. I'm very excited about the relationship with Ovation, and I hope that it's one that I can stay with for a long time.I love their guitars and have always played them!

Tell us about "Leap of Faith"   What does this album mean for you? a dream that finally came true ..or.. ??? I guess that you had to work hard to get this far and You're playing all the instruments on the album yourself, You wrote all the songs and you produced it! How come ? Big Ego :-) or don't you trust anyone else ? Gotta admit you're doin one helluva job ..it sounds great !

Well, the album is the most personal thing I've ever done in my life. I'm 32 years old and have been playing music for 27 of those 32 years. I started playing guitar when I was 5 years old.My dreams and ambitions have always been to get a record deal and record my own music. The problem was that I never felt that my songwriting was up to a level that I could be proud of. I always worked hard at it, and still do, but I just never felt the time or the songs were right. So, I learned to play several instruments, and that insured that I always had a gig. I've toured the entire US as a drummer/vocalist, been a lead singer, lead guitarist, bass player, keyboard player, percussionist…just about everything you could imagine.

But I was always at the mercy of someone else. I was always a sideman, or part of a group who I had to answer to. When I did write songs, they never sounded quite like what was in my head because when the band, or whoever I was involved in at the time, got done with them, there were always changes made that I may have thought weren't needed. Well, about 2 ½ years ago, I came to that point in life where I was questioning whether or not I was meant to be a musician. Why was I doing it. I wasn't very happy with the direction of my career, which
was basically nowhere. I thought about it for a long time, and after speaking to my wife and a few close friends about it, I decided to write, record, & produce my own album.

I needed to answer all the questions I had about my abilities and fate…whether or not music was my fate. I did it completely alone, except for 2 songs that were co-written. One with my wife and one with my engineer, which were both on the spot, during the sessions songs that just kind of happened! I didn't want anyone to blame if this all went wrong and blew up in my face. Plus, all my life, I've told people about all these instruments I can play, so it was kind of a "put up or shut up" time for me also. I wanted the songs to get to tape exactly as they were in my head, and no one was going to be able to do that but me. Not for ability reasons…lots
of player could have gone to tape with the parts.  But for reasons inside me about what I needed to do for me. What I had to prove to myself. And I have to say that I am totally pleased with the outcome. When it was finished, I left it alone for a few weeks to get away from it. I wanted to come back and be able to listen to it with fresh ears and really judge it the right way. When I did finally listen to the whole CD, I was very, very happy with what I heard and what I had accomplished. It exceeded every expectation and goal that I had for the project and myself. I set them pretty low, so they were easy to beat!!  LOL!!! No, for real, I have to honestly say that I couldn't be happier with how it all came out.


taglieri1.jpg (5652 bytes) "Leap of Faith.. is the most personal thing I´ve ever done in my life"

I thought that you could tell us a little bit what these songs mean for you/or the story behind the song(they are also my faves on the album)

Sure…fire away…although I have to tell you, the stories won't all be very glamorous!

The titletrack "Leap of faith"

Well, I actually wrote this song in the shower! I was just relaxing and taking a nice long shower when the chorus just popped into my head! I had already made the decision to do the CD, so I guess it sparked from that. I yelled to my wife and asked her to bring my tape recorder into the bathroom…I have a small tape recorder that I carry everywhere in case I get an inspiration. Anyway, she brought it in, hit record and left it next to the shower. Well, 15 minutes later, and over a lot of water noise, I had the song! I got out of the shower, grabbed my guitar and wrote the music in about 5 minutes! It was already in my head, and it just flowed out nicely!

"Shangri-la"

This is one of those "I have no idea where it came from" songs! There wasn't a specific event that I can say sparked this one. I know I was thinking about my wife at the time, so that was probably it. I was driving in my car on the way home from somewhere and the verse started playing in my head. The first lines just came out of nowhere. I grabbed my tape player out of my bag and started singing. I think I sang about 4 versions of the song in the car! When
I got home I grabbed my guitar and wrote the music fairly quickly. I then left the song alone for a few days, but still found myself humming the chorus, so I knew it was a keeper.

"First night"

This song is actually about my parents! Very simple. They have been married almost 50 years now, and that amazes me. It was in my head for some reason and while noodling around on the guitar with a capo one day, I started playing what eventually became First Night. It actually took me about 2-3 weeks to finish the song because I couldn't find the right lyrics to say what
I wanted to say.

"Hold me close tonight"

This one is actually kind of funny. I get in trouble all the time for telling the story to this one. But, it is simply the result of a little, shall we say, difference of opinion between my wife and I one night! We had a disagreement and later that evening I wrote the song! My wife yells at me for telling people that our fight inspired a song, but, that's what happened!!

"Need to hear"

This is one of only two songs on the album that wasn't written specifically for the album. I wrote the song about 11 years ago and had never had the chance to use it. When I was getting ready to do the album, I found the song in an old songbook of mine, played it and thought, hmmm this could work. I updated it a little bit to make it fit better with the newer stuff, demoed it out, and liked what I heard. I don't even remember why I wrote this song, but the story is pretty self explanatory.

How would You describe the style/sound on your album and why should AOR/Melodic hardrock fans buy it ? besides the fact that it´s a great album :-)

Hmmm, that's a good question. Knowing my background and the bands I listened to growing up and now, there's no way that I could escape having the AOR/Melodic Rock influences on my album and all over my music! What you'll get on my album is a melding of everything I've ever listened to. ..Journey, Triumph, Survivor, Bon Jovi, etc…and it's a lot of fun to listen to! The one criticism of this album that I have and that some reviewers have had is that there are too many ballads on the album. Looking back at it now, I'd have to agree. Not that the album puts you to sleep or anything, but I could have added a couple of upbeat songs to really wake the album up. The next one is going to be much more in your face!

What about the years before your solo-album ? You started out in a band called "American Heartbeat" in the mid-80´s ?

Well, American Heartbeat was my first "real" band. We played out consistently and had a good following. We played a few bigger shows and it gave me a good taste of what I thought I wanted to do. I was a lead guitarist and background vocalist in that band and it was a lot of fun! After that band ended, I went on to join a band named "Sneaks Noise". We were a really good band. We played constantly and had a huge following in the local area. Our first and only
album did very well. We played some colleges and had a really good time. There was always a friction between myself and the lead singer of the group as to which way we thought the direction should be.

We never had fights or anything, just disagreements, but after a while we all decided to go our
separate ways with me leaving the group. The group didn't last too long after that for other reasons, but we're all still good friends and they just emailed me to tell me that they are getting the band back together to do some gigs and recording! I'm glad for them!  After that I landed a gig in a band named Dr. Max. It was an original/cover band. We went out on tour and I
played for 11months and saw most of the US. It was a great time. We played at
state fairs and festivals in front of 10,000-20,000 people, depending on the fair. I think the biggest crowd we did was at the Iowa State Fair and it was something like 30,000 people. It was great! We opened and played on bills with a lot of the older legends like Chuck Berry, Mitch Ryder and The Temptations. And it taught me a lot about what it's like to travel and live
on the road and out of a suitcase.

When I got home, I landed a gig with a band named "Dazanu" (pronounced Day's A New) as a percussionist and vocalist. It was a cool gig, but the band was having problems when I joined them, so I had a feeling it wasn't going to last long. I did get to play the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ and the Beacon Theater in NYC with them, so it proved to be worth my time! After that, a friend introduced me to a guy named John Calendrillo. We started a band named Big Trouble. This was a great band! We were as 80's AOR/Melodic Rock as a band could get. We played all over the local area and did a small regional tour. We release a 6 song EP that did
great on college radio and we opened for Prophet, T.T. Quick, and a few other bigger names. John and I had a vision of where we wanted the band to go, and we were on our way. Unfortunately for us, it was 1991 and Kurt Cobain and grunge came out and killed our momentum! We decided to just bow out and move on.

He and I are still very good friends and he just played he just played guitar with me on the tour I just completed. He'll also be playing guitar on my next album and we're writing some songs together for it. At that point, I had had enough of the original scene and joined a few cover bands to keep my show and my chops together. King Todd and Bachelor Party were the bands I was in and they were both great cover bands. Both had great followings and played
all over and all the time. I averaged about 150 shows a year with both bands over a six year period. The only person who was with me through it all was my drummer Tony Marchesani. He and I have been through a lot together. He's one hell of a drummer and he'll actually be playing some of the tracks on my next album! I think you'll all be pretty impressed when you hear this guy play! I was pretty happy with it all. Easy work, good crowds, no hassles. Then, I got the itch and started writing and, well, the rest is history!


JOHN TAGLIERI - Leap of Faith


You´re a "Jersey" boy so I guess that you´re influenced by The Boss & Bon Jovi ? What about other influences ?

I listened to Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Glenn Burtnik, Journey, Triumph, Rush, Huey Lewis, Poison, Henry Lee Summer, Ratt, Twisted Sister, Richard Marx, man, the list could go on forever! I am and always will be a person who listens to everything!

What do you listen to nowadays ? Like ,what´s the last CD that you bought ? and what do you think about the whole music scene in USA? Be honest : Europe & Japan is the best place for your kinda music... or ???

Nowadays, I've been listening to Rik Emmett's solo stuff a lot, Matchbox 20 (one of the few good new bands), and tons of different stuff. It depends on what I'm doing. I listen to a lot of new music and while I'm on the net, I'm always playing independent stuff to check out the new bands. I love that aspect of the net…that you can listen to people you'd never otherwise hear of. The last CD I've bought is Rik Emmett…Live at Berklee! It's Rik's live solo album and I was at the show when he recorded it. He put all the people's names who attended on the CD, so it's cool getting it and seeing my name on there!

The Us music scene is weird. The radio scene is crappy. The same 15 songs over and over, and Brittany, the lip sync queen, way too much. It all seems to be comprised of the Back Street Boys vs. N'Sync & Spears vs. Aguilera, with all the other junior wannabe bands trying to break into that mix. It's boring. I have to always ask which band is playing when they come on, because they all sound so much alike. There are very few stations playing good Rock
anymore. If it is a rock station, they're playing Limp Biscuit, Hole, and bands like that. You can't find a good station that's playing AOR unless you catch a "back to the 80's" show on a Saturday night. Europe and Japan have a much more thriving market for AOR and is definitely the place for me to market and try to sell and make a name for myself. I ran a radio campaign
earlier this year and couldn't get any airplay in the NY/NJ area. Every program director said that they loved the CD, but "it wasn't in the format", so they couldn't play it, even though they wanted to. Meanwhile I'm getting pretty good airplay in Europe right now, and more interest each week. I'm not really in the Japan scene yet, but we will be looking at it soon. I've also
heard that South America is a great place for AOR, so maybe we'll look into that market also.

You played the Ultrasound 2000 in Las Vegas with a bunch of other melodic Hardrock bands/artists. How did that go? 

That was an awesome time!! Dave Tedder did a great job of putting the event together and running it with only a few minor hiccups. It helped that all of the bands were very helpful and accommodating to Dave's & the events needs and everyone pretty much checked their ego's at the door and came there to have a good time. I talked to a lot of people and made some cool new friends while I was there.  It's funny because everyone at the facility was looking
at all these long haired rock & rollers and you could tell they were thinking bad things were going to happen. But nothing bad did at all. No one got falling down drunk, no one threw up in the pool, there were no fights, it was a very nice weekend of hanging out with each other. All the performances were great, and I was thankful that mine was so well attendedand well received, considering that it was at 10:30 on Sunday morning.  I am really looking forward to next year's event because now that I know a bunch of the bands, it'll be like seeing old friends. I've been keeping in touch with a few of the bands and it's really cool.

Everybody that I talk to (that was at the Ultrasound) tells me that Taglieri did a great show & that he´s one helluva nice guy ! Hey ! I thought that rock´n´roll was all about getting drunk, being rude and getting into fights ??? Guess you´ll have to work on your bad-boy image a lot :-)

They're all lying…I was a mean nasty bastard! I'm sorry!! Was I supposed to get into a fight?? Dave Tedder didn't tell me we could or I would have!! I did take all the toiletries from my hotel room…does that count?? Well, I had my wife with me, so I had to be good! If I was alone…I probably would have been the one who started all the trouble! Seriously, I'm totally nuts when it comes to my throat and until my performance, I was on my best behavior so that I could sing well. After I played, I was drinking lie a fish for the rest of the weekend!

Well,I almost forgot...one of the songs on the album The ballad "One more tomorrow" is co-written by your Wife "Michelle". She also sings it together with you (really good) does she have a music history ?

No she doesn't. She thinks she has a bad voice and she's actually a very shy person when it comes to being in front of people. She co-wrote the song with me and I had to practically beg her to come into the studio to sing it with me. I had to put her down the hall in a separate ISO booth to get her to sing. She would do it in front of me or Bill,  my engineer. She did a great
job and people always compliment her voice, but she still thinks she can't sing! I've had people buy the CD just for that song!! For her performance!! And she'll always busy my chops for that, saying that when she wins her Grammy and I don't not to feel bad…she'll remember to thank me on stage!

What about Your future plans ???

Well, I figure I should have 3 houses, several limos and a private jet by years end and I'll have to build a special room on my main house for all of the awards I'll be getting!  (Yeah Right!!!)

I am really getting excited about the release of the album on A2, which is only 15 days away.  Depending on how that goes and how it sells, I'll decide on what touring plans I make for the rest of the year. I'm planning on going back into the studio in September to start recording the next album. I have no working title yet. I am finishing up the songs with John Calendrillo and
we're going to have some killer stuff. I have some really cool people who have already said yes to playing on the album with me and some more that I'm talking to about it. If all goes well, it will be a stronger album than "Leap" in a  few ways.

I have a bigger budget this time , so I'll definitely have better production, and I won't be playing all the parts myself, so there will be a bit more flavor to the album. So far I have John Calendrillo playing guitar, Dewey Ribustelli (Joe Lynn Turner, Departure) playing drums
on a  few tracks, Dave Baldwin (Departure, Tradia) singing some backgrounds with me, Brian DeSantis, a good friend of mine and a great bass player, playing some bass, as well as Carlos Rodriguez, another friend who replaced me in Bachelor Party when I left the band. The rest of the potential players will be kept a secret until I confirm them.

If you got anything you wanna say : Please do !

Anything?!?! I can say anything I want?!?! That's dangerous! Well, I want to thank you Urban for taking the time to do this interview with me. It's been a fun one! I appreciate you taking the time and the web space for me! I want to thank A2 Records for all they done for me and for believing in me and my dreams and visions, and for understanding that I'm not totally nuts…well…ok sort of! I want to thank the almost 10,000 people who've stopped by my
website this year and made it a place that they like to visit, my webmaster for making it such a cool place! Everyone who visits should email Brian and tell him if you like the site…he likes that!! And make sure you email me too and tell me anything you want…musical or not! I always answer every email I get personally. It's one of the fun things I get to do in life! Thanks to all
who've bought the album this year. It means a lot to me that you took the time to buy my little time capsule. Please stop by the website at http://www.leapdogmusic.com/  and I'll talk to you all soon!

Keep the Faith!!!!!!!!
John


Originally published in CATCHY HOOKS / 2000 / 1000 THANX TO JOHN /A2 RECORDS /