Jim Del Giudice:
On drums, percussion, and lead and background vocals.
This is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me God, Mom, Dad, Neil - Geddy - Alex, and Dale Earnhardt.
I started playing drums when I was first able to walk. I would steal my mom's wooden spoons and beat the cushion on my dad's recliner until it split open. I loved to sing in the shower. I would actually plan which tunes I would be belting out while washing. The shower show would last as long as we had hot water. My parents thought I was insane.
I grew up listening to and watching the Partridge Family. Keith was so cool, but Lori had it all going on. I also loved the musical episodes of the Brady Bunch and 'til this day, I still have a Marcia Brady fetish. You know, straight blond hair, swollen black-n-blue nose, and a skirt just long enough to cover her situation. I always envisioned myself performing for these two chicks - musically as well. In fact, I found myself engrossed in music almost every minute of every day. My parents thought I was still insane.
I soon found myself growing out of the T.V. music thing and for the only segment of time in my life (I'm pleased to say) was in Musical Purgatory! Yes, I was a boy without a definite style of tuneage to hold on to. I was lost, wandering aimlessly in the rancid pool of musicality (kinda like when I'm singing the high harmony in Listen to the Music!). Then one day at my friend's brother's graduation party I heard something. It was a Fragile sound. Yes, it was YES. The song "Roundabout" captured me. After this amazing song finished I went back and put the needle on the record again. Then again, and again, and again, Sam. I played it until they literally threw me out of the party (True!). I was possessed. YES' Fragile, technically being the second album I owned - Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door was really my first - was a major break through for me musically. I discovered the progressive nature of music.
Then suddenly, another fateful day smiled upon me. I heard the shrilling voice of some demented woman being supported by an ambush of drumming. That's right, RUSH hath stumbled upon me. Since that glorious day of introduction to the power trio from Canada, I have been profoundly effected and affected. I incessantly listened to every Rush album - learning every drum lick and memorizing the incredible lyrics. My parents, yet again, thought I was insane. I remember sitting at the curb in front of my house with fire crackers destroying an old Viking Ship Model that I had built. Man, I had my little boom box blasting while there were little slaves and oars flying all over the place - set to Rush's 2112 Overture. Yeah baby! My neighbors now thought I was insane.
Rush and Yes were truly my musical foundation. In seventh grade I joined a Van Halen cover band called Lost Cause. I was still only drumming without singing a note at this point. The strange but talented guitarist Eddy W. blew up his basement with a bomb he built from his chemistry set, stole his mother's car, crashed it, and had it towed back to his garage with a broken front axle and DENIED the whole thing. Finally he got hooked on drugs and only God knows where he is today. I thought he was insane.
In tenth grade at Commack High School South, I met a phenomenal guitarist named Andy Inkavet. He asked me to join his band, Armed and Ready. He graduated and I was bandless yet again. He is currently the main Veejay dude for MTV Japan. I then made the acquaintance of Mr. Andy Blackett. This music teacher had perhaps the most profound impact an educator could have on my life. He said the same words my Dad had spoken to me for my whole life, "You can sing. YOU CAN SING!!" Andy Blackett finally convinced me and I ended up doing a tri-state tour with him and a small musical and theatrical improv group. What a blast. I thought he was insane.
Then I stumbled upon Starion. Starion was an original progressive pop band made up of Joel Simon (keyboards & vocals), Rolland Pelletier (bass), and yours truly (still no rock-n-roll vocals). We played Commack and parties all over the Island. We got a great deal of attention. Joel went on to Cornell U. and I to Hofstra University. We actually played some gigs and recorded demos while still in college but we soon grew apart. College was another pseudo musical purgatory because I directed most of my creative energy toward performing theatrically. I had done some extra work on films but never any direct character acting. I auditioned for a cable show and got the lead! I was totally blown away. I went on to have main character roles in eight more shows, thus founding the most exciting time of my life. It is hilarious to watch these gems now. Yeeuack! But what a total pissa. I graduated from Hofstra earning a Bachelors Degree in Communications with a minor in psychology. Now I was able to scientifically research and discover if my parents were right in thinking I was insane.
After working in a hospital for six months I realized that I was very unhappy. My father sat me down and asked me what I really wanted out of life. From this single heated conversation with my Dad, I have developed a psychosocial decision making process which I currently use everyday of my life. E-mail me if you want to learn more about it. - and send $99.95 har, har! Now what?? No band. No serious girlfriend. No ties. I decided to go to L.A., to this drum school I had heard so much about. I broke this uncomfortable news to my parents and they said, "GO FOR IT!" So I did. Them parents are some pretty cool cats aren't they?. I auditioned for The Percussion Institute of Technology in Hollywood, California - and got accepted into the top class. I packed and split.
Hollywood was . . . . disgusting. There are too many stories to be told about this place but for the most part I schooled it for the one year intensive study program and lived in the San Fernando Valley for a second year. My experiences were:
- First week: my life was literally threatened by a roommate - we later peacefully made up as my hands tightened around his throat.
- I was nearly run down/drive by - twice by street gangs.
- I witnessed a holdup in a 7-Eleven and the cops threw me face first down to the ground and held me.
- Got thrown out of bed at 5:00 am during 6.5ver earthquake
- Learned how to body paint
- Met some interesting women, such as a female guitarist, a model, an actress, a bald chick, a lass with a bird tattoo on her breast ...
- Hugged Stevie Wonder
- Bought boots with Bruce
- Met every star you can think of
- Had a six month audition for a band on the Geffen label, got down to the last three drummers - no dice. Their tour was canceled after 3 months anyway.
After seeing the movie The Commitments, I finally decided to try singing rock-n-roll in public. If this twisted Joe Cocker lookin' dude could do it so could I. And it was then that I got the idea for a unique acoustic duo/trio with a drummer as the lead singer. I loved the song Big Bad Bill, re-recorded by Van Halen on Diver Down, (It is an old time bluesy jazz tune) and I begged my two roommates to perform it with me for a class at Musician's Institute. They did. It was a smash, man. It was the birth of the acoustic trio. I called us the Lounge Lizards (Available on VHS). In a time when Extreme and Warrant were still big (pre-Pearl Jam) this acoustic thing was fresh baby! ... and slightly askew. Being that those fellas were not into an acoustic thing, I then drummed freelance all over L.A. with a bunch of people and moved back to New York three days before the Rodney King riot occurred. I spoke to my roommates on the phone while they took turns standing guard with a golf club to protect our rented house.
After returning back to N.Y. and to some degree of normalcy, I decided to have my right ear examined by a specialist. I had been having trouble all along - actually I had several procedures done to repair a ruptured ear drum. Pretty ironic - ear drum, drummer .. See the connection? No? O.K. Now, after living in Hollywood - weighing less than 150 pounds - eating literally one or two meals a day for months, the last thing on my mind was seeing an expensive doctor. Hence, my ear drum eroded away completely while I was in the city of angels. So February 1993, I received an ear drum transplant (Tympanoplasty) from some dead dude donor who used to live in - you guessed it - California!! What were the odds? Later that year my surgical team went in through the same incision and replaced the Incus bone in my inner ear.
While dealing with the ear business, I was playing with a classic rock band called Dobbs Ferry. This project soon sank and I, after auditioning many guitarists, started working with the Dobbs Ferry player named Todd Saal on this idea for an acoustic project. He is one of the nicest dudes I have ever met. After serious rehearsal we finally hit the restaurant and bar circuit - as you guessed it - X-Session!!! ... a unique duo doing the acoustic thing slightly askew. Contrary to the traditional drummer/singer setup which you see today, I, at that time, stood upright as the lead singer/percussionist. And then it happened.
One fateful Saturday after noon, I was sitting, eating pistachio nuts and I received a call from Ralph at OmniPop Talent, a booking agency. He reported that a hot versatile rock band's drummer had just slipped on the ice and hurt his back and thus could not play a big-time gig in Connecticut - in four hours! After speaking with their keyboard player, Mike and the bassist, Eddie, on the phone I decided to pack my gear and play the out-of-state gig. Little did they know I had not played on a full drum set in eight months! Eddie gave me a crash course on the material as we drove up to the black-tie affair. He thought I was insane. This gig with The Late Show was magical. I soon got the full-time gig and we played all over the place. I loved that band!!! Simultaneously, I was building momentum with X-Session.
I soon recruited Mr. Edward Profet, Jr., the robotically precise bass player, the harmonic vocalist extraordinaire, the encyclopedia of music to and fro .. to join my neat little acoustic duo - trio. Badda bing, Badda bang, Badda boom!! - harmonies and a full, cool acoustic sound! Soon after The Late Show, and it's short lived satellite Boomerang broke up, the additional vocal presence of a new guitarist, Matt Schilling, completed the destined three part harmony of X-Session. Wow. What a feeling being part of a delicious blend of vocabulation. The unique acoustic trio took off!! And then it happened...
"I gotta quit, fellas." Matt reported. Wow, we had to replace Matt. How hard can it be to find a great acoustic guitar player who can sing three part harmonies and lead?
A: Not too hard, Long Island is packed with musicians
B: Not too hard, we are a working band with lots o' gigs
C: Almost F-ing impossible
Did you say C? You win a prize!
Ed and I auditioned and auditioned players. I ran ads, searched high and low. We posted signs at Five Towns College, Queens College Music Dept., Hofstra Music Dept., every music store from Port Jeff to Valley Stream. No luck. Then it happened.
Mr. Pat Montefusco's presence was made at a pseudo - Late Show, Beatles jam. That boy could play the formica off of an acoustic ax. He filled in for one show with X-Session and then it happened. I begged him to join. He did. And now, he thinks that I am insane.
acoustic rock, slightly askew . . .
If you also think Jim's insane, drop him an and let him know.