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Eurodisco Legends Joy Are Coming to Orange County

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 9, 2015 03:21pm | Post a Comment
Joy Hello


Austrian
Eurodisco
group Joy are scheduled to perform live in Santa Ana on 5 December (Saint Nicholas Eve/Krampusnacht) at the Yost Theater. They will perform hits including “Touch By Touch,” “Hello,” “Japanese Girls,” “Valerie,” “Im In Love,” “Countdown of Love,” and more. Buy tickets now as there are only 1,000 and they’re going fast.



Joy were formed by three friends living in the small town of Bad Aussee: Andy Schweitzer, Manfred Temmel, and Freddy Jaklitsch. After school, the three pursued careers for a few years; Schweitzer as a policeman, Jaklitsch as a history teacher, and Temmel as a DJ at Orion, a disco in Traunreut, Germany. The three formed Joy in 1984 and signed with Viennese label OK Musica, who Michael Scheickl to work with the group. Scheickl had been involved with One Family, an successful Austrian rock band which formed in 1969, and later the duo Mess

Well slice me nice, Eurodisco legend Fancy is coming to Orange County!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 23, 2013 12:56pm | Post a Comment
Fancy, the singer of hits including "Angel Eyes," "Bolero," "China Blue," "Cold as Ice," "Flames of Blue," "Lady of Ice," "Latin Fire," "Slice me Nice" and more is coming to the US for the first time ever in January, 2014. He'll be playing at R3 Social Lounge in Stanton (North Orange County/Little Saigon) on the 17th of that month. The event will be DJed by Ian "DJ BPM" Nguyen and hosted by TQ. Get your tickets by clicking here. For all you Los Angeles Italo-heads who think driving to OC is harder than crossing the Sahara -- it's only about 40 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles to Stanton. It's also served by several OCTA lines so quit making excuses.


For those unfamiliar with Fancy, he’s also written material for other artists, most notably, Grant Miller (who was introduced to Fancy by none other than Divine!), and produced notable Italo-disco hits for artists including Linda Jo Rizzo (formerly of Bobby Orlando's act, The Flirts), and Mozzart. Scoring his friends Siegfried & Roy's stage shows has exposed him to an audience who's nonetheless unaware of his identity but his greatest stuff is his solo work so here's a brief history...

Manfred Alois Segieth (or is it Manfred Aulhausen -- details about Eurodisco performers are often quite hazy) was born on July 7, 1946 in München, Germany. The son of a practically-minded craftsmen, he was enrolled in a Capuchin school where he trained to become a monk. However, a change of plans became necessary after the twelve-year-old heard schlager star Ted Harold’s “Moonlight” and subsequently picked up the guitar.

After high school, Manfred formed a Cliff Richard & the Shadows-influenced band, Mountain Shadows. At the same time, he began shopping around his own compositions which he occasionally recorded under the name "Tess Teiges," beginning in 1971.
 
1983 was the year that KISS took off their make-up, McDonald's introduced the McNugget, and I first started actively listening to music on my own after realizing that all of my classmates were obsessed with some fellow named Michael Jackson with whom I was wholly unfamiliar. If there was a "Year that Italo Broke," then 1983 was probably it too.



In 1983 Manfred adopted the suitably Italian alias, "Manfred Perilano" but more importantly, the nom de discque of "Fancy." After Fancy asked Todd Canedy to write a song for him, he recorded a demo of “Slice Me Nice” which he submitted to composer/producer Anthony Monn, who’d previously achieved world-wide successes with husky-voiced diva, Amanda Lear




Usually collaborating, Segieth and Monn embraced a brand of dance music which, thanks to its elevated sense of melody and songcraft, was as at home in and out of the dance clubs where it was most popular. Though largely unknown outside the dance scene in the Anglosphere, Fancy performed very well commercially and, along with his Eurodisco peers, he undeniably helped prepare the world for similar-sounding English musicians and producers, like Stock, Aitken & Waterman and Eurobeat acts like Dead or Alive, who achieved both club and mainstream success with a similar formula.


 
In 1984, Fancy scored a hat trick with the infectious “Chinese Eyes,”  “Get Lost Tonight” and “Slice Me Nice.” All three are absolute masterpieces of tuneful, melodramatic dance fluff that added an undeniable and irresistible Hi-NRG influence to the comparatively relaxed Italo-disco sound epitomized the previous year by Gazebo's “I Like Chopin.” There was also a strong visual element to Fancy, who seemed to shop at the same stores as ABC's Martin Fry but rock loads of make-up in the New Romantic style.


In 1985, Fancy released his first full-length album, Get Your Kicks (1985 Metronome), which included allthe previous year’s singles. He made his first appearance on French TV and performed his first shows in North America, mostly at gay clubs. His sophomore release, Contact (1986 Metronome), spawned “Bolero (Hold Me in Your Arms Again),” which was reportedly number one in Spain for nearly six months. 




That same year, Fancy extensively toured clubs in Germany, Sweden and North America. The video for another single off the album, “Lady of Ice,” featured the (as always) tarted up, shiny-clothed Fancy prancing on a laser grid dance floor in outer space and I challenge anyone reading this to come up with anythingmore '80s. "Lady of Ice" went gold in Scandinavia.

Fancy Get Your Kicks Fancy Contact Fancy Flames of Love

Fancy's third album, Flames of Love (1988 Metronome) featured both Monn/Fancy collaborations as wellas some of Fancy’s first solo compositions and its title track was huge in Poland. He closed out the decade that he seemed so indelibly tied to with All My Loving (1989 Metronome), whose title track was a hit in Europe. Like most of Fancy's Eurodisco peer, for most of the ‘90s he released little-or-no new music,instead mostly repackaging, remixing and revisiting his former glories, often clothed in the trappings of fleetingly popular styles like Eurodance, Hip-House and (more lastingly popular), Trance.
 
  Fancy Forever Magic

Fancy pursued the emerging Eurodance style with releases like Five (1990 Metronome) and with Steve D5 & Grandmaster Tess’s hip-house re-make of his “When Guardian Angels Cry,” called “When Guardian Angels… Rap,” featured on (1991 ZYX Music), which mixed some new material and with old. Attributed to “Fancy and Band,” Blue Planet Zikastar (1995 Koch International) saw Fancy moved into more straightforward pop territory and includes “Saramoti,” a piece Fancy composed for his friends Siegfried and Roy’s show, Master of the Impossible. Colours of Life (1996 G.I.B. Music & Distribution GmbH) and D.I.S.C.O. (1999 Disco Records) followed. In the 2000s, Fancy's musical output slowedconsiderably and his only new material was the release, Voices from Heaven (2004 ZYX Music) and Forever Magic (2008 Happy Vibes).

*****

Do not miss this opportunity to see Fancy live! And if you're an Italo/Euro-disco fan, follow Keep on Music on Facebook as they've thus far brought Fred Ventura, Gazebo, Gina T, Ken Laszlo, Lian Ross, Linda Jo Rizzo, and Tom Hooker & Miki Chieregato (Den Harrow) to Southern California and additionally thrown many other New Wave (in the Asian New Wave/Vietnamese New Wave sense of the term) events that you should stop sleeping on! See you there and...

Italo sensation Den Harrow returns (sort of) for New Wave 80's Memorial Weekend in Huntington Beach

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 7, 2012 12:00pm | Post a Comment
   


Den Harrow
, the Italo disco star famous for such timeless '80s classics as "Bad boy," "Charleston," "Future brain," "Mad desire" is coming to perform for his first time ever in California... sort of. Actually, Den Harrow was an invented character but the sources of the voice and music behind him, Tom Hooker and Miki Chieregato, respectively, are set to perform on Sunday, 27 May 2012 at Avec Nightclub in Huntington Beach’s New Wave 80’s Memorial WeekendDJ BPM from Keep on Music will be DJing. Tickets are $20 and the bottle special is $200 for Martell VSOP.  It'll be hosted by Truc Quynh.




More than an actual person, Den Harrow was a musical project of the aforementioned composer Miki Chieregato, fronted by Milanese model Stefano Zandri with vocals initially provided by several singers before Tom Hooker was brought in -- Chieregato's PR partner, Roberto Turatti, was another integral aspect. Together they enjoyed considerable popularity in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Sweden during the golden years of Italo-disco -- the 1980s. In the UK and US, the practice of hiring a model to lipsynch at shows and in videos was almost unheard of until the exposure of the likes of  C + C Music Factory, Technotronic (from Belgium), Boney M (from West Germany) and most notoriously, Milli Vanilli (also from West Germany). In European pop produced during the golden age of music videos, however, it was a fairly common practice. To be Den Harrow's face, Chieregato and Turatti hired Stefano Zandri and invented a perhaps needlessly but humorously complicated back-story. 

*****


According to their fictional history, Zandri’s name was Manuel Stefano Carry and he was born in Boston to an architect father. His family moved to Italy when Carry was a toddler and then, at just seven-years-old, Carry learned to play guitar and piano. His parents divorced and Manuel, his brother and sister stayed with their mother. They only spoke Italian in the home so, despite his birthplace, English presented him with some difficulty in school. Although he’d always dreamt of pursuing a career in show business, in high school, “Carry” additionally started practicing bodybuilding, break dancing and judo (as seen in the video for “Mad Desire”). Then he met Turrati, who was DJ-ing at the club, American Disaster. Turatti and his friend, Miki Chieregato gave Manuel a new stage name, "Den Harrow," meant to suggest denaro, the Italian word for money. Den Harrow then took extensive vocal lessons and recorded his first two songs, “To Meet Me” and “A Taste of Love” on Hole Records.










The voice behind the first two singles was provided by Chuck Rolando, a singer and songwriter at Durium. The singles were moderately successful in some European markets but due to Rolando’s contractual obligations, his partnership with the project ended, necessitating their recruiting a new voice.



For “Mad Desire,” released on Gong Records, Silvio “Silver” Pozzoli provided the vocals and the single was a massive success, selling over a million copies. Pozzoli’s voice was adequate but heavily-accented so the producers sought out American expat singer, Tom Hooker.
 
Tom Hooker


Thomas Beecher Hooker was a Greenwich, Connecticut native who’d moved to Europe when he was less than a year old. After living in Switzerland, in 1980 he moved to Italy where’d he’d released music with various labels first at Harmony with 1980’s “Flip over” followed by a three year stint at Full Time. After recording “Give it to me” for Sensation Records, he moved to Merak Music and released the Italo ode to football, “Real men” in 1984.




In 1985, Chieregato and Turatti bought out Hooker’s contract. Their first collaboration was 1985’s “Cry (urban remix)” b/w “Don’t forget (to buy this record)” which was simply attributed to T.H. and released on Baby Records subsidiary, For Sale (and later re-recorded and released by Den Harrow).





Chieregato, Turatti and Hooker all then moved to Baby Records, most significant for being home to Italo superstar, Gazebo hit-maker Albert One. Hooker sang vocals on Den Harrow’s next single, “Future brain,” also in 1985.




For consistency’s sake, Hooker re-recorded “Mad desire” for Den Harrow’s debut album, Overpower (1985-Baby Records).




It was a big hit in Switzerland and Sweden and spawned two more hit singles, “Bad boy” and “Charleston.”






The album, single and Den Harrow won several awards, at Festivalbar, Vota La Cove and Bravo’s Silver Ottos


In 1986, Hooker’s proper (as in attributed to Tom Hooker, not Den Harrow) debut full-length, the Claudio Donato-produced Only One, was released on Heaven Records, which also included the title track single.



That same year, using yet another alias, Lou Sern, Hooker released the cuckoo clock-sampling “Swiss boy” on Esquire which was, funnily enough, released as a “split single” with Den Harrow’s “Charleston.” Back at Baby he released “Looking for love” and “Help me” as well as the schmaltz ballad “Highway to freedom” with Maruizio Vandelli and Dario Farina under the handle, “Fahrenheit 104.”




Back recording for Den Harrow, the next single, “Catch the fox,” showed up on the full-length follow-up, Day by day (1987-Baby Records).


Den Harrow Day By Day


It was proved to be another solid collection of melodic synthpop. It produced another single, “Don’t break my heart,” which became their biggest success to date.




The album too was an even bigger success than its predecessor, reaching number one in Germany and the Top Five in Italy, Spain, Greece and Benelux. It also went gold in France, platinum in Canada, and earned a Golden Otto. Behind the scenes of the success there was some discord. Hooker had wanted to record the single under his own name but Freddy Naggiar, the head of Baby Records was reluctant to tamper with the Den Harrow cash cow. Although Hooker continued writing lyrics for Den Harrow, he stopped providing the vocals. Meanwhile, as himself, he released the single “Atlantis.”




Harrow’s next single, “Born to love” again won at Festivalbar in 1987 and appeared, in a dance version, on his album Lies (1988-Baby Records).




For the vocals, Turatti and Chieregeto employed the services of an English singer with a much higher register, Anthony James. Zandri, although he never sang, wasn’t even particularly adept at lipsynching and with another undeniable vocal shift, the true nature of Zandri’s role became one of the worst kept secrets in music – for those who cared. The album and singles “My time” and “You have a way” were less successful but nonetheless appeared in European commercials for Adidas and Coca-Cola.


 

The same year, 1988, Chieregato and Hooker recorded Hooker’s proper sophomore release, Bad reputation (1988-Baby Records), which included the singles “Feeling okay” and “No more Heaven.” Not surprisingly, the voice sounded more like the voice of Den Harrow than Den Harrow himself had on his album.








After the release of “Holiday night” and “Take me back” in 1989, Zandri decided to strike out on his own, ending his relationship with Turatti, Chieregato and Baby Records. After several years of considerably less commercial success, Zandri moved to California to take part in Aaron Spelling’s mostly-forgotten Baywatch-inspired soap opera, Sunset Beach.  


After Hooker’s 1990 single, “Living in the sunshine” he and Chieregato also ended their collaboration. 1992 was Baby’s last year (they reappeared, reorganized as Baby Records International in 1994) and Hooker’s Fighting for our love (1992-Baby Records), was recorded without Chieregato. The same year, as “TH & The Funk Guitar,” Hooker released “Sex-o-phone & funk guitar” on Pop In Baby. Hooker went on to work with other musicians, releasing music as Elastic Band, Cool Jack and Defect. After a final solo single, “Runaway,” released in 1994 by ZYX there was a long period of silence. That year Hooker moved to the US to start a family and changed his name to Thomas Barbèy (taking his mother's maiden name) so that his wife's name wouldn't be "Mrs. Hooker."







Then, in 2011, Hooker and Chieregato joined forces as Tomik Productions and released their first collaborations in about twenty years, “Change your mind,” which was released on Flashback Records and "No elevation."






And as I said in the introduction, they're finally coming to California. I'll be there but if you can't, you can watch it live streaming here!
*****

Gina T is coming to LA!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 6, 2010 10:00am | Post a Comment

Gina T

Eurodisco star Gina T is performing Friday, November 12th at the Club 740 in Downtown, Los Angeles in a concert sponsored by Keep On Music (KOM), an organization committed to preserving and spotlighting Italo/Eurodisco -- often aka Vietnamese New Wave.

Gina T is a gold and platinum singer as well as songwriter for other artists. She was born Gina Tielman on October 24, in Bussum, Noord-Holland, Netherlands to Indonesian parents. Music runs in her family; a grandfather, an uncle and her father, Ponthon, were members at various times of The Tielman Brothers, an amazing Indorock band.

 

Her mother, Joyce, was also a famous singer and her brother Nino (aka Mr. Double T) was involved in T'N'T Partyzone, Die Kranken Schwestern and Culture Beat.

Continue reading...

Keep on Music New Wave and '80s Reunion Party - The Vietnamese New Wave Revival

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 9, 2010 07:19pm | Post a Comment



Last November, Keep on Music threw a New Wave + ‘80s Reunion at Bleu in Westminster. This isn’t new wave in the sense that a lot of people use the term, but rather a mix of Italo, Eurodisco and other ‘80s dance music that notably found considerable popularity with Asian-Americans in the 1980s. I was only turned onto the scene four years ago, by Ngoc Nguyen, who is a Vietnamese New Wave super fan (especially of Sandra).

Flash forward to the present and near future: March 27th. On that day, Keep On Music’s having a second New Wave + ‘80s Reunion at the Can Asian Entertainment Bar in Garden Grove. Unlike last time, I won’t miss this one and neither should you! Luckily for us newbs and the uninitiated, some key figures of the new wave scene graciously agreed to sit down with me and answer some questions about the Asian/Vietnamese new wave scene for Eric's Blog