JOHN TAGLIERI released a wonderful pure AOR CD on January 12th of 1999 and I did one of my longest reviews ever and if you click here you can read that review I did of John's debut solo-CD 'Leap of faith'. This record is filled with great pure AOR in the style of SIGNAL, FREDDY CURCI, MARK FREE and also some calmer moments like RICHARD MARX. So it was time to talk with this new AOR sensation who comes out of the area of New Jersey, the AOR state of the USA! Here's what he has to share with us...
When did you start playing music etc.?
I started playing music when I was 5 years old. My parents decided that I needed a hobby and that I should play music, so they bought me a guitar and sent me for lessons. I took lessons for about 2 years and then I quit because I wasn't really learning what I wanted. I actually stopped playing guitar for about a year and started playing drums, but eventually went back to playing guitar again. I also kept playing drums and learned to play bass guitar, keyboards, piano, trumpet, few other school band instruments, and I started singing. I was always in the choir, the marching band, jazz band and concert band, so I got used to being on stage from a really young age.
Can you tell us about your first
My first recordings, huh?? They were pretty scary as I remember, even though at the time we thought they were good enough to be on radio!! Well, they were in early high school. A bunch of my friends and I would get together at my one friends house
and jam a lot. He had a cheap 4 track recorder, but to us it was great. We made tapes all the time and played them for
everyone we knew! Thank god none of them survived to still be listened to though!!
Tell me about all the bands/projects you
got into before you released your solo-CD 'Leap of Faith'
Well, the first real band I was in was called "American Heartbeat" as a lead guitar player and background vocalist. We were a Bruce Springsteen cover band and also had our own originals. That was around 1985-86. We did well, we played a lot of
shows and at fairs and festivals. It was my first time in a rock band and in that situation in front of big crowds. We stayed
together for about 2 years or so. After that I was in a band called "Sneaks Noise", again as a lead guitar player and
background vocalist. We were a totally original band and played out constantly. We released a self titled album in 1988 which did fairly well. We played all the college circuits and lots of local shows and wound up selling about 16,000 copies. It was also my first real airplay because the album did really well on college radio.
My next project was a unit named "Dr. Max" I was just a hired gun for that tour, playing drums and singing. We toured most of the U.S., doing about 260 shows in the year I was out on the road with them. We played lots of state fairs in front of thousands of people. It was a great experience. After I got off the road, I landed a job as a backing vocalist/percussionist for a band named "Dayzanu". It was a good band, but it didn't last very long though. I was fortunate enough, however, to have wound up playing at the Beacon Theater in New York City and the old Capitol Theater in Passaic with that band. Two awesome venues!
After that I started a band with my friend, John Calendrillo. The band was named "Big Trouble" and was as Top 40 AOR Rock as they come! We had the big hair, ripped jeans and all the stuff that was cool in the early 90's. We got very solid college airplay with the 6 song EP we released and played a lot of shows in the NY/NJ/PA/CT area and packed houses all the time. We even opened for Rick Derringer on the Reebok River Stage in New York City. But we started having personnel problems and wound up breaking up. After that I had kind of had enough of the business and decided to take some time off from the original scene.
I joined a cover band named "King
Tod". We band did all classic 70's, 80's, and 90's type rock
covers and had a pretty good following. We played constantly and
banged away at it for about 3 years or so. At that point we just
started to kind of fade away and the drummer, Tony Marchesani,
and myself joined another area cover band named "Bachelor
Party". This band was really good. We played about 10-12
nights a month and always had a good time. We played to really
good crowds and had a great following. I just left them recently
when my CD started doing well.
Please tell us all about that first solo-CD of
yours (like songs, sales, airplay, musicians, stories)?
Well, about 2 years ago, I was kind of faced with one of those decisions in life, you know, the one about 'where am I going?' I looked at my career and decided that after years of always working with and for other people, playing originals and covers, I decided that it was time to do something for me, musically that is. It was time to see if I had what I always thought I did as far as my talents were concerned. So I talked it over with my wife and we decided to go for it . I started writing songs in spring of 1997 and had written upwards of 150 songs by summer. I went through them over and over until I picked 30 or so to consider for the CD. I started recording in September, 1997, and didn't finish until September 1998. I was on a very tight budget and I was still in "Bachelor Party" and working a day job, so my time was very limited.
I was also doing all of the recording myself. I didn't hire any musicians to play for me. I played every instrument on the disc except for keyboards. The engineer of the sessions, Bill Colletti, played those. I could have hired guys to play everything for me note for note, but that wasn't what it was about. This was a personal project. I didn't want to have any excuses if it didn't turn out the way I planned, so I did it all myself. The only other person on the CD besides Bill is my wife, Michelle. She helped me co-write one of the songs, a pretty love ballad named "One More Tomorrow" and also sang the song with me on the CD. She has a beautiful voice. After I finished the recording, I took it to a new studio and transferred it to 2" tape for mixdown. I went to a place named Platinum Studios. The guys there, Bob Allecca, Michael Brown, and Adam Hornyak did a great job of listening to my music and getting the most out of it. Bob Allecca also mastered it. Then I sent it out for replication.
I released it on January 12, 1999. I had
a really good release party and things just took off from there.
Within a few months I had managed to get onto major radio
stations for interviews and airplay and was getting pretty steady
college airplay and doing some interview/performances there as
well. I managed to get the CD into Sam Goody, Tower Records,
Compact Disc World, Borders Books, Amazon.com and a few other
smaller retailers. I was also selling it off of my web site and
doing pretty well. I started to get very good press, both in
print and on the internet, and the CD was picked as CD of the
month on several sites and my web site was picked as web site of
the month from a big local web site in NJ.
My favourite tracks on the CD are the
killer uptempo AOR rockers "Hold me close tonight" and
"Shangri-la", please tell me more about these wonderful
songs and can we expect more of such uptempo songs on a future
release. (I also like all those
AOR ballads on your CD, but I think with some more uptempo songs on a future CD could be even better)
Well, "Shangri-La" is one of those really cool songs you write when you least expect it. I was driving in my car and it just kind of hit me. I always carry a tape recorder with me, so I grabbed it and sang away. As soon as I got home and to my guitar, I
finished writing it in about 10 minutes. I played it a few times and then left it alone. A day or so later I was still humming it, so I knew it was a keeper. It's a great song about just fining that special place in life with someone you love. And talk about total
As far as "Hold Me Close
Tonight" goes, that one was inspired by a slight
disagreement between my wife and I!! I like that song a lot
myself. It's simple but very melodic and fun to play. I have so
many songs just like those two. As far as what will be on my next
release, I can't really say. I'm starting to plan to do another
one now and I have some really killer tunes ready and waiting for
it. Do I have more like those?? Absolutely!! I think I'm going to
make the next album a bit more uptempo as a whole and maybe only
slow it down once or twice.
How do you look back at this CD?
I look back at this CD as a great learning experience for me. I was the sole writer, the producer, assistant engineer, and I
co-produced the mixing of it. It was the first time I was so involved in so many facets of the project. When you are a hired gun, you go in, play your parts, and go home. This was totally different for me and great!! It was also a big test of all of my abilities, both as a musician and as a producer, as I explained before and I couldn't be happier with the results. All the questions I had about my abilities were completely answered and now I just look forward to doing this for a very long time!
Do you have any record label backing you
up on this release?
No I didn't. I actually did the whole thing myself. I financed it with a little help from a friend of mine named Sandy Peter, who invested in the project, but I did all of the promotion, distribution and got all the airplay and such myself. Having been around
for so long, I had enough contacts to get me going. And once the ball was rolling, it seemed to take on a life of it's own and has kept growing ever since. I started my own company named Leap Dog Productions and all the daily stuff like distribution and such goes through there. All the publishing is registered with A.S.C.A.P. and the record was officially released under Leap Dog Records.
I heard you were talking to an European
AOR label, can you tell me more about it?
Not just yet*don't want to let it out too early!! Yes, I am speaking with a European label about at least possibly picking up the CD for at least distribution, if not signing to a deal. Let's cross our fingers and hope!! I'd love to make a name for myself in Europe and sell enough albums to be able to come over and play a whole bunch of shows.
Your music is pure 80s influenced AOR,
which bands/artists influenced you?
I grew up listening to every major rock star there was. My most favorite group ever was Triumph. To this day I am still a huge Rik Emmett fan and still follow his career very closely. I also loved Boston, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Survivor, and was a big Journey fan. There were so many great bands from that time that I can't even remember them all. I saw you just did an
interview with Nelson. They were one of my favorites also. Their "After The Rain" album was one of the best in my opinion.
I hate to
ask you, but about 6 months ago I got your CD and just posted the
review, when you asked me to pull the CD review off the website,
because you were going into a new music direction and didn't want
anything to do with this record, why, tell me more about that
I was afraid you were going to ask me that!! Can I leave now?!?!! Seriously, of all the good things that have happened to me this year, that was my one mistake and my one regret. I met a "manager" who told me she had all of these connections and really could do big things for me. I guess in the excitement of everything that was happening, I was willing to take a chance and see what could be made of it. She wanted to steer me away from Pop/Rock and into Pop/Country.
I look at today's new country as a version of 80's rock*.big vocals, big guitar solos, slick production, lots of harmonies. So I thought about it and decided to give it a go, especially since she was connected in Nashville and could "make things happen". Well, I am now just another statistic*another one who got taken and screwed by a crooked music business professional! She made lots and lots of promises that she had no intention, nor any abilities to keep. After a little while things just seemed wrong, so I started checking into some things she told me and they just didn't make sense. Little by little all the little inconsistencies turned into big inconsistencies and I decided that I made a big mistake.
I had to sue her to get out of the
contract. I wound up losing a little money, but worse, I lost
precious time and momentum that my CD had gained. You see, to
screw around the way she did, she had made me change my name
because Taglieri "wasn't sellable". It was really
because I had too much attention and she had to make me anonymous
so she could get away with it easier. Her name is Cynthia Martin
and I hope you print it so that other's don't get suckered in by
her the way I did.
Your manager promised you everything,
but you got nothing, how do you feel about this and what have you
learned from it?
What did I learn? Well, for starters, unless you really check into someone's background or know them, don't let them handle your career. Look for a manager with a reputable firm, and one who will understand what YOUR music is about and where
YOU want to go*.not where they think you should be. And if they aren't as enthusiastic about it as you, they aren't the right person. I never want anyone to go through what I did. I am still dealing with the legal ends of it now. I started this year with a
vision of what I wanted this CD to mean to me and others and what it stood for, and I let someone cloud that vision and almost take it away from me. I may never be a big star, but if I'm making my music, my way, I'll be happy with my career and my musical life. Don't let anyone tell you what your music should sound like. Only you know what it should be.
As I always say, "Follow your heart
and don't let anybody tell you what to do", why didn't you
continue to be an AOR
performer, was the money and the promises for fame enough to forget about this music style?
I never forgot about the musical style. I still write what I write. I guess I was just thinking it was a quicker way to the top, not realizing at first what I was giving up to get there. Things like my self respect and dignity and why I started this whole album in
the first place. Thank God it's over, but I have to say honestly, it's almost a good thing it happened. It was a good lesson
learned and now I take that with me from here on and hope I am a bit wiser for it.
Well, that was the past and now we can
look to the future because what are the plans for the coming
months? Have you
written any new AOR songs and if so please tell me all about them? Can we expect a new album?
Well the future, huh? I am just putting the finishing touches on putting my band together and am in rehearsals, getting ready to go on tour. I am speaking with several booking agents and hope to have a tour booked by spring. I am really hoping to be able to generate enough interest so I can come to Europe and do a string of shows, and maybe summer festivals. The guys in the band are all total pros and can play like crazy! I'm also working on some solid distribution for the CD. I've been dealing with 2 smaller distributors in Europe, one in England and one in Belgium, and am working to solidify a deal that will give me national distribution in the U.S. through all of the major on line CD stores like CDNow, Amazon, CD Universe, etc.
I don't know if I'm going to put it into
actual record stores just yet until I see how well it does on the
net. If the last few weeks have been any example, I think it's
going to do well. I am also talking with some press and PR people
to come up with a game plan for lots of promotion. I've been
writing like crazy again and am writing probably the best songs
of my life. And almost very one of them is solid AOR. I also have
some killer power ballads that I think you'll like too! Right now
I want to get the band ready to go out on the road, but I am also
thinking ahead and planning my next CD. If all goes well, by next
summer, if not, then by fall the latest.
So, basically you are now totally back
and playing pure AOR, I really hope you now will stay in this
style forever, because
it is the best music there is, don't you agree?
Yes I would have to agree. I listen to everything*from Bach to Metallica, and everything in between. But the one style that
always get me going and singing along is the AOR rock. Poison, Warrant, Winger, Bon Jovi, and all the bands from the 80's that made it all so fun, they are my roots and I write my songs from the heart*..and that's the kind of music that stays with you
for a long time.
Thanks for answering the questions,
finally, anything to add yourself...
Well, I want to thank everyone who stops by my web site, which is always under construction to make it better, all who have bought my CD, "Leap Of Faith" and requested that it be played on radio, all who email me and tell me that one of the songs
made them happy or sad or made them dance or whatever, because if my music can touch someone, than it's done more than I ever hoped it would do. I want to thank all the press and web sites that give independent musicians like me a chance to show our stuff, and I'd like to thank you, Gabor, for your great support and for a second chance*.and especially for not saying " I told you so!!"
Also, I want to tell every musician who is in the same position as me to be careful as to who you trust to handle important parts of your career. Remember, this career is your life and blood, not someone else's hobby or toy for them to play with and screw up on you. I play music because it's all I ever wanted, and as long as you stay on the path you believe in, you'll be a success. Thanks again for the interview, and Keep The Faith!!!
Well, with these well-spoken words of John I can only urgerly tell you to get his wonderful CD 'Leap of faith' soon. Next year may be the year of JOHN TAGLIERI in Europe, who knows! In the meantime, do check out his site at: http://www.LeapDogMusic.com
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