Rock drummer Jo Ruocco remembers her time performing with Chuck Berry Continue reading Jo Ruocco Recalls Playing With Chuck Berry In New York
The Cavern is this fantastic music venue in Raynes Park, South West London. Here you will find some of the best, rock, funk, soul, jazz, rhythm and blues players on the London jam circuit. These guys are slick and entertaining, and the vibe is totally unpretentious – you’ll feel right at home. On Thursdays it’s open mic, so start polishing up your chops and get … Continue reading A Night At The Cavern
You sure know how to hit those skins. So when did you start out as a drummer? I started when I was four years old. A tender age! I had a passion for the beat. I grew up in a house where my mother brought music home from all over the world, so I was quite fortunate. And to top it off, my mother’s cousin … Continue reading Interview With Joanne Ruocco
Sometimes, a choice of entertainment can lead to strange places. I saw an advert for a reading of Shakespeare’s sonnets for his 400th – we didn’t know in which language it would be, but as the venue was one of our favourites, the UfA Fabrik, we couldn’t resist the moment. The UfA is the original film studio in Berlin and stands in stark contrast to … Continue reading Amazing Berlin Nights
The Ring Cycle, (full name ‘the Ring of the Nibelungen,’) finished its Gateshead run last week. Sixteen hours of drama spread over four nights, two long intervals each night – about a day of your life. I have no idea what decent seats cost, but as the whole shebang demands a massive orchestra, a team of top singers in their prime, chorus, vast stage settings … Continue reading Wagner – The Ring Cycle
Many will know Elektra, the superheroine of films, comics, and computer games. Forget her! I’m thinking of the original Elektra, of Greek mythology fame. She was the daughter of Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra and thus a princess of Argos. She and her brother Orestes, plotted the murder of their mother, believing Clytemnestra murdered her husband. Elektra has fascinated the theatre. She was used as the … Continue reading Elektra!
So long, David Continue reading Bowie Bows Out
I was tidying up when I found a Gibson USA guitar pick, of the type I used to play my bass guitar with back in the day. I always carried a pick in my rear trouser pocket wherever I went. Here was the familiar black, hard plastic with gold lettering. A small flat triangle with two equally rounded corners and one less so. It took … Continue reading The London Gigs of Sam Mitchell
We never had the internet. Music was our language back in the day, just as the internet is common currency for young people today. Music was a sounding board, a common ground but it was more than this: music was a beautiful field of fantasy. My mate Michael had a vast collection of LP records kept in beer crates on his bedroom floor. The crates … Continue reading FANTASIA – Music Is Theatre Is Art.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH CHIC
The best things about playing in CHIC include getting to make music with some of the finest musicians I’ve ever known, including the band we’ve had for the past five years, and getting the opportunity to share in the happiness of the audience. I’ve also gotten to see a lot of really amazing places that I’d likely never have seen otherwise.
WHAT DO YOU FIND THE MOST CHALLENGING?
The rigors of travel, which are at an all-time high these days.
WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH CHIC/NILES? AND HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?
I started working with Nile in March of 1988. I had been interviewing for about two years for a number of different jobs with a company called “New England Digital” that made a proprietary computer music instrument called the Synclavier. They never did hire me, but when Nile Rodgers called them (being a user of their instrument) asking about a qualified programmer who could play keyboards, they kindly recommended me and that was it, I was in.
IF YOU WEREN’T WORKING WITH CHIC, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
When I started with Nile, I was teaching at a small college and going back to grad school to get a master’s degree. I hope to get back to teaching someday. I’m very keen to work with young people.
CHIC ARE ALWAYS A JOY TO WATCH, WHAT’S THE SECRET?
A tireless dedication to delivering the best possible show every night. There’s a lot of trust and love on the stage, and it seems to translate to the audience, based on the things they say to me. One cannot underestimate the value of the amazing repertoire we’ve given to play as a major contributing factor to making all this possible.
RUMOUR HAS IT CHIC ARE WORKING ON BRINGING OUT AN ALBUM IN COLLABORATION WITH DAFT PUNK? IS THIS TRUE?
I can’t talk about projects in progress.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TECHNIQUE?
Adequate, but not great. I do a lot of things pretty well, but maybe none of them “great”. The players in CHIC are all far more accomplished than I. My abilities are spread across a number of different disciplines in my job, so my playing technique sometimes doesn’t get the attention it might otherwise deserve. I’m lucky in that music has always come pretty easily to me.
YOU ALWAYS LOOK SO HAPPY AND UPBEAT ON STAGE! WHY IS THAT?
Because I find the privilege of playing this music and sharing in the audience’s happiness to be quite overwhelming. Playing this music in CHIC is a pretty amazing thing, and I try to let that wash over me as much as possible while we’re doing it.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
I’d try to tap less into anger and more into the love that I feel. There are a few other things specific to my relationships that I wish I’d done better.
IF YOU HADN’T BEEN BORN IN THIS CENTURY, WHEN AND WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE LIVED?
I’m happy to be here now. I don’t think in terms of “what if” very much. That said, getting to hear Art Tatum, Beethoven, and Chopin play would’ve been very nice.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE ARTISTS/MUSICIANS AND WHY? Continue reading “Interview With Richard Hilton, Musical Arranger/Keyboardist With Chic”