Vince DiCola interview
| Vince Di Cola is a composer who?s music many people have heard but not as many are familiar with his name,his credits goes to soundtracks like Rocky IV,Transformers and Staying Alive.
He has performed and written songs with Glenn Hughes,Stan Bush,Frank Stallone and Bobby Kimball to mention a few. Vince has also recorded about 10 albums as a solo artist (including the band projects Thread,Storming Heaven and Pity the Rich).
His fingers has made his style unique and if someone asks me who?s my favorite keyboardplayer,my answer will be Vince Di Cola! ......and here he is:
|I noticed that you have written music for a new movie called Sci-Fighter,is the music
reminiscent of your earlier works and will there be a soundtrack available to purchase?
Vince: My friend and fellow composer Kenny Meriedeth pulled me into that project.
Were both very happy with our score to that movie (no word yet on the
movies release), and I think our score certainly has some elements of some
of my other movie score material, especially TRANSFORMERS. The highlights
from "Sci-Fighter" actually make up most of my new solo release entitled
"Falling Off a Clef" (available at www.tdrsmusic.com).
Is the music all instrumental or are there any tracks with vocals?
Vince: ?Sci-Fighter" featured a couple of vocal tracks I was involved with but I
chose not to include them on my new CD because I didnt feel they fit in
with the rest of the material stylistically.
I have counted Sci-Fighter as the 4th Soundtrack you have done,the others are ?Staying
Alive? (83),?Rocky IV? (85) and ?Transformers? (86),is it all or I have forgotten about
Vince: I was co-writer on a song in a John Travolta movie called "Perfect". The
song was called "By Design" and it featured Jose Feliciano and Diane Schuur.
The track was produced by one of my favorites, Dave Grusin. (For the
record, I did not score "Staying Alive". I had 7 songs in the movie as a
co-writer, but Johnny Mandel was actually listed as the movies composer.)
Is ?Rocky IV? the most successful Soundtrack of the ones you?ve been involved in?
You always return to the music of the Transformers movie with ?Til all are one? (97) that
features a disc of the TF music score and ?Artistic Transformations? (2001) which is a piano rendition of the TF music score,is it your favorite piece of work?
Vince: I will always be grateful for the opportunity to contribute music to the
original TRANSFORMERS movie and I hope to be considered for the new live
action movie that is currently slated for release in 2006. I am certainly
proud of my work on TRANSFORMERS, but I am equally proud of some of the
ROCKY IV material, like "War" and "Training Montage". As far as a piece of
work that best defines what Im about as a composer and artist, I think I
would have to list the THREAD CD as my personal favorite
You worked with Sylvester Stallone on the movies ?Staying Alive? which he directed and
?Rocky IV? plus you also produced his brother Frank?s album from 84,would you accept
to do the music to a new sequel if he asked you?
Vince: Yes, if all the details could be worked out to everyones satisfaction.
A DiCola/Casey Young album was available to purchase on Artful Balance records
on the sleeve of one of your releases a while back but I never read about it being released,what happened???
Vince: That project never made it past the planning stages before the label folded.
The news of that particular release was listed incorrectly by the label.
Do you still have any contact with Frank Stallone,Stan Bush and Steve Walsh?
Vince: I do speak with Stan from time to time, and in recent years Steve Walsh has
generously granted me permission to use 2 of the tracks we wrote and
recorded together a long time ago. "Only Time Will Tell" appears on my 2000
solo compilation entitled "In-VINCE-ible!" (www.tdrsmusic.com), and "Suffer
the Children" appears on a charity compilation called "Talkin To Angels"
I have read in another interview that you are influenced by Keith Emerson but what
other influences do you have?
Vince: Kit Watkins (from the original HAPPY THE MAN), YES, Peter Gabriel, certain
movie composers such as Jerry Goldsmith, Thomas Newman and more recently,
John Powell (Bourne Identity and its sequel)
What do you like to listen to today?
Vince: I still love the old ELP and YES material (the "Yes Symphonic" DVD is one of
the finest prog collections ever released in my opinion), but I also have
really grown to love some of the music of NINE INCH NAILS, Sting (though not
so much his recent releases), Peter Gabriel and the movie composers listed
above. Ive also gained a deep appreciation for some of the great jazz
performers. My favorite at the moment is Scott Kinsey, who used to play
with a group called Tribal Tech. I happen to believe that Scott Kinsey and
the guitar player from Tribal Tech, Scott Henderson, are 2 of the greatest
soloists living today. Every chance I get, I go out and here these guys
play at a local club, and I am consistently entertained and humbled by the
talent of these individuals and their fellow musicians.
I have heard a demo of 3 tracks of which Steve Walsh of Kansas sings on,?Only time
Will tell? that ended up on ?In-Vince-ible?,a new version of the Streets track ?Broken
Glass? and an amazing progrock anthem called ?Suffer the children?,why did you choose
to do the Streets song and why aren?t ?Suffer the children? on of your albums?
Vince: As I mentioned above, "Suffer the Children" has appeared on a recent CD.
Someday I hope to include that piece on a solo release (but only with
Steves blessings of course). As far as "Broken Glass" is concerned, Steve
originally brought that song to me as something hed like to see updated,
and I think everyone was happy with the results. The original plan was for
Steve and I and my good friend and fellow THREAD collaborator Doane Perry to
do a band project, which was to include the 3 tracks we cut. However, just
as we finished up those 3 tracks Steve got the call to rejoin KANSAS and no
one can fault him for taking that opportunity.
You played on the first Hughes Turner Project album but the style of a Hammond organ
based sound is quite different from what we?re used to hear from you,how come you got
Vince: Glenn had worked with my good friend Bobby Kimball and Bobby recommended me.
I enjoyed working on both Glenns solo CD "Building the Machine" and the
first HTP release. One of the things that attracted me to those projects
was getting a chance to let my hair down a little and have some fun on the
B3, an instrument which has always held a special place in my heart.
You weren?t a part of the writing process of that album except for the credits of being a cowriter of the track ?On the ledge?,did you have any more ideas that didn?t made it on
the HTP album?
Vince: Glenn had come over for an afternoon to do some writing and we did come up
with one or two other ideas together. I think Glenn and Joe made wise
choices in the material that ended up on their CD.
Mark Boals sang on the demo of the full version of ?Hands of kindness? but only an excerpt
made it to the Thread album,I think the full version is excellent,why was it shortened on the
Vince: Good question. In fact, Doane Perry and I have talked about this subject
fairly extensively. The best explanation I can offer is that Ive always
felt a bit unsettled about the long version. Ive always thought I can
improve on the actual composition from a musical standpoint (I have no
problem with the lyrics). We didnt want to include 2 long tracks on our
first CD, so we made the decision to present an abbreviated version of
"Hands of Kindness". I hope that the long version (or a more fully-realized
version of THAT version) will make its appearance on a future release.
You have recorded a lotta solo albums but only have been a part of 2 bands,Thread and
Storming Heaven,can we count the new project Pity the rich as a band?
Vince: Yes, I think that would be valid. Its really difficult in this day and age
to keep a band of working musicians together in one project for an extended
period of time. We certainly hope to do more PITY THE RICH CDs, but then
we had hopes to do more STORMING HEAVEN and THREAD CDs as well when we
first started those projects.
When will Pity the rich album see the day of light?
Vince: Its available as a download purchase only at the moment (again, at
wwwtdrsmusic.com), but we hope to make it into an actual CD sometime in
The 42 minute long suite ?Focus? (now?s the time) with PTR is more experimental and Jazz rock influenced than any of your earlier works,almost like a mix between Mahavishnu Orchestra and Pink Floyd ? it sure takes some time to seep in,is this the new sound of Di Cola
we?re about to hear?
Vince: I dont necessarily see it as a "new Vince sound", but rather another color
to add to the stylistic palettes of myself and the other band members. Yes,
we readily acknowledge that the new suite takes a few listens to grasp
everything thats going on, and I think thats mostly due to the
improvisational approach we took in creating it. The fact that this music
IS so different from anything else Ive ever done is precisely what I love
about it. It may be considered as a bit darker and less melodic by some who
are familiar with my other work, but thats OK. Its a musical journey
were all glad we took, and I hope we get an opportunity to do so again.
It?s an impressive line up of AOR songs you have written through the years such as ?Dare? with Stan Bush,?Hearts on fire? with John Cafferty,?Far from over? , ?Runnin?? and more with Frank Stallone,?Only time will tell? with Steve Walsh, just to name
a few,do you have any more similar stuff hidden in your closet?
Vince: Yes, I do in fact have a lot of material that has never been previously
released. Ive been quite blessed to have worked with some great singers
and Ive written and demod quite a few songs with these talented folks here
in my studio that I may decide to release one day. Admittedly, some of
these songs may sound a bit dated now considering the time when they were
originally conceived, but its all good music that Im proud of even to this
Which song do you get most royalties from?
Vince: That would probably be a tie between "War" and "Training Montage" from ROCKY
You have worked with many amazing singers like Steve Walsh,Ellis Hall,Rick Livingstone,
Jason Scheff,Stan Bush and many others but is there any singer that you would like to write
a song for that you still haven?t?
Vince: Chick Negron (THREE DOG NIGHT), Jon Anderson (YES), Peter Gabriel, Don
Henley and Sting... Just to name a few! Ive also worked quite a few
times now with Bobby Kimball (TOTO) who has also become a good friend.
Bobby and I are currently discussing some nice opportunities to collaborate
in 2005. His singing continues to amaze me.
I remember when I saw the movie ?Boogie nights?,I heard the song ?The touch? (also featured on Transformers) by Stan Bush,that was pretty cool ? did you know about that?
Vince: I called Stan when I got home from
seeing the movie and I was shocked to discover that Stan had never been
properly informed about the use of his song in that movie! He was obviously
quite happy to learn about an opportunity of that nature where he would make
some extra money on a song he had done all those years ago.
Thanks to Ove Gustafsson for some facts and info,he?s the biggest fan of Di Cola I know.
Did you know that?
The name "Minus the Bear" comes from an in-joke among the band members, referring to the 70´s television program, B. J. and the Bear. "A friend of the band had gone on a date,” explains singer-guitarist Jake Snider, "and one of us asked him afterwards how the date went. Our friend said, ´You know that TV show from the ´70s B.J. and The Bear? It was like that... minus The Bear.´ That’s the straight truth."