Amoeblog

Italo-Disco star Fred Ventura is Coming to SoCal on Memorial Day Weekend 2013

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 8, 2013 01:33am | Post a Comment

26 May, 2013 Italo-Disco star Fred Ventura is coming to Orange County. He and fellow Italo performer Ken Laszlo will descend upon Avec Nightclub in Huntington Beach. The event will be hosted by TQ and DJed by DJ BPMTickets are $20 in advance(from Bleu Nightclub in Westminster) or $25 at the door. 

Fred Ventura was born Federico Di Bonaventura in MilanItaly on 16 July, 1962. He became interested in music when he was twelve. In 1978 or ‘79, Ventura joined An Incoherent Psyche on drums. In 1980 he joined another band, Le Jour Prochain. In 1981 he formed State of Art with bassist Stefano Tirone and guitarist Stefano Mazzola, both formerly of Der Blaue Reiter. The band proved to be short-lived although in February 1982 they recorded a song “Venice” which sounds a bit like the offspring of Joy Division and Chic (or in other words, a bit like A Certain Ratio).
 

State of Art




"Venice" was included on a compilation titled Gathered that was released by Italian magazine, Rockerilla. "Venice," along with several other studio and live recordings were compiled and released as Dancefloor Statements 1981-82 (2012-Spittle). In 2009, a new line-up formed, re-recorded several old tunes and a new one which they released as At Work (2012-Killed By Disco Records). Less than a year after their debut performance, Ventura left the band to embark on a solo career.

Armed with a Roland Juno-60 synthesizer and an Oberheim DX drum machine (both then new to the market) Ventura pursued a dancier direction inspired by Hi-NRG pioneers Bobby O and Patrick Cowley, Neue Deutsche Welle act D.A.F., French singer Étienne Daho, disco producer Giorgio Moroder, and electro acts like Kraftwerk, The Human League, and New Order.





Ventura’s new direction brought him into contact with Roberto Turatti from DiscoMagic in 1983. Along with composer Miki Chieregato, the three formed Flexx and released the epic “Love Theme From Flexxy-Ball (You'll Never Change No More)” and “Theme from Deep.”



Inspired by Austrian singer Falco’s recent success with “Der Kommissar,” Ventura released his solo debut, the German (and English) language “Zeit” b/w “Hollywood Party,” in 1984. Ventura's final collaboration with Chieregato and Turatti was 1985’s “The Years (Go By)” b/w “Streets (All Right).” After that, Chieregato and Turatti began formulating and focusing their energy on their Den Harrow project, which didn’t involve Ventura.

Ventura moved to Time Records, brought there by Giuliano Crivellente of the established Italo production duo Mauro Farina and Giuliano Crivellente. Ventura has been open about finding his creativity stifled by Farina and Crivellente’s perceived commercialism although he did score several hits during his relationship with them.






In 1986, he released “Leave Me Alone” and “Wind of Change.” In 1987 he released “Imagine (You'll Never Change Your Mind)” and “Night And Day” b/w “Jour Aprés Jour.” In 1988 he Fred Ventura East & Westreleased “Lost in Paris” and “Heartbeat” b/w “Housebeat.” Finally, in 1989 he released his solo full-length, East & West (1989-Time Records) which included most of his previous singles for Time as well as new singles “It’s My Time,” and “One Day” as well as album tracks “Never Too Late,” “No More Lies,” and “Late Night Train.”

After the 1980s ended, most Italo veterans attempted to soldier on by jumping on the commercial (and often grating) Eurodance/Euro-NRG bandwagon, Ventura began producing House music. He collaborated with various musicians under a variety of names including Active, Grey Area, Red Mecca, Visions Factory, Beat 4 Life, Love Nation, Vibrazioni Productions, Bedroom Rockers, and Electrique. He also went on to work as a label manager at Evolution Records, Free Zone Records, and Milano 2000 Records. More recently he’s contributed vocals to several Clone Records acts, including I-f, Alden Tyrell, and Jupiter Black.




I believe that the Memorial Day weekend concert will be both Ventura’s and Laszlo’s first performances in California. Both will be performing several of their hits (including, in Ventura’s case, his Time-era singles “Love Theme From Flexxy-Ball (You'll Never Change No More),” “Wind of Change,” and “The Years (Go By),” as well as new single, “Don’t Stop.”

See you there!
 

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Your Tuesday night planned... Echo Park or Little Saigon -- what's it going to be?!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 11, 2012 07:43pm | Post a Comment
So I'm slated to DJ at the Short Stop in Echo Park on 15 May, 2012 (this coming Tuesday unless you're pulling this from the archives). I'll be splitting the music slanging chores with Joe Skyward (Sky Cries Mary, The Posies, Sunny Day Real Estate, Jean Jacket Shotgun), Jimmy James and Greene Candy Machine




Of my comrades I only know Joe but I don't even know what kind of music he's planning on DJing. As for me, he only told me "No techno!" so I'll ignore anything '80s Detroit just to be safe. I do plan on focusing on the '80s, however -- chiefly Baggy, Bass, Bounce, Electro, Eurodisco, Freestyle, Garage, Italo, Spacesynth, SynthpopVietnamese New Wave -- that sort of thing. 

*****




If you don't go because your typical Tuesdays are too packed with choice you should probably go see
SISU in Santa Ana at the Constellation. They're quite possibly the best band in LA currently -- especially if you like Blonde Redhead, Broadcast, Midnight MoviesRuth Hohmann & Erbe-Chor or perhaps early Pink Floyd

So you're spoiled for choice, really. LA or OC, which is it going to be?


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!
*****

Shangri-La Sundays Presents Tim & Eric's Awesome Set

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 24, 2011 02:12pm | Post a Comment


Time
: Sunday, March 6 at 7:00pm - March 7 at 12:30am. Make sure to mark that on your calendar and in your mobile phones and tricorders.


Location: R Bar LA 3331 8th St - WILSHIRE CENTERKOREATOWN.

CLICK HERE to see the Facebook event page and confirm that you're attending... then invite all of your friends.

*****

Free! 무료! Miễn phí! Бесплатно! Gratis! Kostenlos! 免費!

*****

Tim (DJ 2Tone) and Eric (DJ Poptone) DJing Asian/Vietnamese new wave, electro, eurodisco, freestyle, hi-NRG, Italo-disco, spacesynth and more. If you like '80s, beats, keytars, fun, synthetic fabrics, breaking, computers, booty-shaking, lasers, hairspray and drum machines you'll want to be there. 

"As always cocktail drinks served by are lovely and amazing Bartender Angela" -Tim

Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force



Ago

Albert One


Bad Boys Blue


Bobby Orlando


C.C. Catch


Company B


David Lyme


Den Harrow


Digital Emotion


F.R. David


Fancy


Freestyle Project


Fun Fun


Gazebo


George Lamond


Hashim


Gina T



 Jocelyn Enriquez


 Jonzun Crew


Joy



Kay Franzes


Ken Laszlo


Koto


Lil Suzy


Lime


Lisa Lisa & the Cult Jam


Lisette Melendez


M.C. Shy-D


Magazine 60


Magic Mike


Mantronix


Modern Talking


Nice & Wild


Nocera


Noel


Nolan Thomas


Pajama Party


Sabrina


Safire


Sandra


Savage


Seduction


Sequal


Shannon


Silent Circle


Stevie B


Sun La Shan


Sweet Sensation


TKA


The Cover Girls


The World Class Wreckin' Cru


Trans X


2 Hype Brothers And A Dog


Waterfront Home


Wish Key

also Angelina, Anthony, Arabian Prince, Avenue, B.O.S.E., Bad Boy Joe, Banana Band, Bass Dominator, Bass Junkie, Bazooka, Binary Ghost, Boys From The Bottom, Breakdown, Buffy, Cellophane, Charly Danone, Cheryl Hardy, Christal, Collage, Connie, Corina, Cosmic Touch, Cyber People, Cybotron, Cynthia, Daize, Danny Keith, De Johnny's, Debbie Deb, Dynamix II, Egyptian Lover, Energize, Eric, Exposé, Fake, Fantasy Life, Fascination, Felix, Frankie J, Freestyle, Funkatronic, Gigolo Tony, Hipnosis, Hot Cold, Impackt, Internal Affairs, Jaya, Jazaq, Jenny Burton, Jim Player, Josette, Judy Torres, Kelly Brown, Kidd Money, Klaas Bijland, L.A. Dream Team, Laserdance, Lian Ross, Linear, Lisa, Liscyn, Lonestarr, M.C. A.D.E., M:G DJ Spanish Fly, Maggotron Crushing Crew, Man Parrish, Mandarine, Marcus Gil, Megatrons, mindXpander, Mozzart, Nadia Cassini, Nayobe, Newcleus, Night Society, One Voice, Paul Sharada, Planet Patrol, Pluton & the Humanoids, Polaris, Protonic Storm, Proxyon, Purple Flash Orchestra, Quadrant Six, Reggie Griffin & Technofunk, Ringo, Rochelle, Rockell, Rodney Stepp, Rofo, Rygar, Sandee, Sarah Jean, Scala , Shah, Sorcery, Spanish F.L.Y., Squash Gang, Starr's Computer Band, Strafe, Strava Ganza, System Band, The Egyptian Lover, The Fast, The Future, The Mixtress, The New York Models, The S Factor, Timmy T, Tolga, Trinere, Tury Q, 12 Inches of Micmac, Twilight 22, Victoria Angeles, Vocoderion, Will to Power, Young & Restless, Yukihiro Takanawa and more!!!

Hope to see you then and there! 


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.

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