Few artists can claim they wrote a song that defines a decade, with “Fantasy”, Aldo Nova surly wrote one of the defining songs of the 1980s. Aldo is back with his first new music since 1997 and sat down for his first interview in 33 years!
Please press the PLAY icon below for the MisplacedStraws Conversation with Aldo Nova –
On releasing his new record, The Life & Times of Eddie Gage, on April 1, the 40th Anniversary of the release of his legendary debut – The date wasn’t planned. I think I’ve been planning to put this out for, God. I started in 2008. I tried with a bunch of different kinds of record companies and I got the door slammed in my face. Then I just kept working and working on it, then again, doors slammed in my face again to the point where I really got independent. I said, “Well, I’m gonna put this out on my own”, and it was gonna be pushed out in November, and then I just said, “Okay, the magic face should be April 1st”, which is to the day the 40th anniversary of my first album. It’s great. People are gonna hear my new stuff on that day. 1:05
On if it feels like 40 years since he started – Not at all. I keep busy. I’m always doing stuff like now I’m editing my second video. I’m a pretty hands-on guy. When I did my album I did everything but bass and drums. Now, when I was doing this video, “Free Your Mind”, it was like a nightmare. I spent a fortune trying to get a shot, and then when I finally got the footage, there was nothing there. So I managed to cut the video with only 13 tracks, not 13 takes, but 13 tracks I managed to cut that video.. 1:54
On the background of The Life & Times of Eddie Gage – The Eddie Gage record is pretty much autobiographical for me. It deals with light and dark. Eddie Gage is a young, upcoming musician, signed by a record company that basically makes him sign a contract with no lawyer and makes him an instant star, and after that minute it just goes downhill from there. He gets caught up in the vices of everything, and then he finds redemption at the end. In 10 songs, you can basically just get a taste of the fact that it is a rock opera, but the whole album is 25 songs long and lasts 2 hours and 5 minutes long. That’s basically the scenario. It deals with light and dark, and in my point of view. The guy who signs him to the record deal, and his name is Andy Christos, but if you analyze that, Andy for Anti, Christos is Christ in Greek, so that’s anti-Christ. The CEO’s name is M.F. Stophalis, or Mephistopheles, because Eddie, and myself, see record company executives as demons because they’re just there to take as much as they can from you without giving anything back. They’re there to suck the life out of you. 2:46
On why the record took so long to create – From the beginning, I had the title, The Life & Times of Eddie Gage, and I wrote a pack of, I think 8 or 9 songs, which still appear on the final product. I don’t force myself to write, I write from inspiration. I’m not gonna sit down at a piano and try to work out songs. I’ll get it an idea, I’ll work on it, and then, boom, it comes, then I’ll do a demo and send it to the bass player and the drummer. Sometimes I spent four years writing a song, but I didn’t push it, it wasn’t like before. I’ve done the whole writing with the 3 guys in the room and writing 3 songs a day but I never got anything good out of it. Sometimes I wrote stuff in 2008, the next time I wrote it was in 2013, then 2015, and then 2019. Then by the time It was never done. Bob Ludwig who mastered the records, I had him master the record 10 times over because I added a new track. He was always excited, he’s a fan, so it was great. I finished her out and then I said, “I have an idea for a song”, an instrumental called “Les Anges”, and that was recorded November 11 of 2021, which became the last track. The first track, “Burn Like The Sun” was recorded on June 10th, 1989. So the first song I wrote became the final song on the album without even knowing it. 4:32
On whether he gets the same satisfaction writing a hit for another artist – It is for the first year when you make the money after that, they get rich. It’s the reason why in 2008 I stopped writing and working with anybody else. Everybody was getting rich and I stayed poor. From 2008 to even now, I had trouble breaking even, it was really, really tough. It was great because a song like “A New Day Has Come” has become a classic that I wrote for Celine Dion. I had Number 1’s from everybody, like Clay Aiken to Faith Hill, all these people, it’s great. It’s just knowing that you can do things. I’ve never been in a box and I don’t want to be put in a box. I like to be known for different things, but it’s funny because people have always known me as the guy who wrote “Fantasy”, and I accept that. I go, “Well, I’ve written more than “Fantasy”. 6:00
On working with Jon Bon Jovi – I’ve known Jon since 1982. I was working on mixing my first record at the Power Station, in Studio A, with his cousin Tony Bongiovi, who was a whiz. I used to go outside all the time and by the coffee machine there was this young kid, I think I’m seven years older than he is, so I was 24, so I guess he was 17. So I just talked to him and talked to him all the time, and then I say, “Okay, you want to come into the studio?” I played him “Fantasy” for the first time and we became friends over the years. Then when Tony set up the whole session for “Runaway”, he brought in Roy Bittan, Tim Pierce, Hughie McDonald was still playing with him back then, and me. He called me up and I said, “Sure, I’ll do it”, and then we did “Runaway” with Frankie LaRocka on drums. so we did “Runaway” and that was it, there was no Bon Jovi. We kept on tech over the years and work together on a bunch of different projects. In 1989, I started writing a bunch of (material). In 1985, after Twitch, I wasn’t happy with where the record company was trying to control me, so I basically went back to Montreal and I waited out until they let me go. They finally let me go in 1989. During the time from 1985 to 1989, I was still writing and demoing a lot of stuff. In 1989 when I was free, I sent a lot of demos to Jon, and then we started writing together. Then in 1990, he was doing Young Guns, so he call me to his place and he played a song called “Blaze of Glory” on acoustic guitar, which I still have the demo on one of those little cassettes where you press the button. I still have the demo and he wrote that on acoustic and then he said, “I need to demo by Monday morning because the record company has to hear what it sounds like”. So I went home, and I did all the arrangements exactly like it’s on the record. First, he said, “I need you for three weeks in the basement to do the rest of the demos”. So I went downstairs in the basement of his house for three weeks, locked away only with some food like a prisoner, and I did all the demos. Then we flew straight to Los Angeles and we got Kenny Aronoff on drums, Benmont Tench, the best of the best, and we did Young Guns. Then after that, he said, “Well, I’m starting a label”, and we did the record (Blood on the Bricks) together. 8:04
On playing with current Bon Jovi guitarist Phil X – When I met Phil, he’s from a town called Mississaugua here in Ontario. I call it a guy named Arnold Lanni who was with a band called Frozen Ghost, I said, “I need some musicians”.He said, “I’ll set something up for you”. So I flew to Toronto in the studio in Mississaugua, in walks three musicians, Phil X, Tim Harrington, and Howie Bertolo, and they all look like Gods, they had hair down to here. They stand next to each other, one on bass, one on guitar, one on keyboards, and I said, “Okay, let’s play something”, and we all played, we did two more songs, and I said, “Well, you got the gig”. We had a blast with them, I just let them run loose, with all my bands I let them get crazy. We had a blast. 11:17
On his second new release, Reloaded 2.0 – When Covid hit, one day with my wife, I said, “Well, why don’t we do something for Covid?” I sat there and I was just going on a camera, I didn’t shave, nothing, I looked scruffy, and I did “Paradise”. After “Paradise”, we put it on YouTube, and I got a lot of views. A lot of the said, believe it or not, because I’ve been absent a very long time said, “Wow, he’s still alive. I can’t believe he’s still alive”. So then I started doing more and more. Reloaded is actually those sessions, just remixed. Why they sound turbocharged is that I kept true to the original formula, but I just stripped them down to nothing, bass, drums, and guitars, I got the best players, it just rocks. On top of that, with 2.0 I came up with a great concept for my fans, I figure out why not do something that’s not difficult for me to do, but it would be fun for them? There’s three discs, one disc is the song, the second disc, which is the no vocal songs. There’s no lead vocal, so you can karaoke to it and on the third disc there’s no lead guitars on, so you can play along to it, so it’s a lot of fun. 13:00
On fans rediscovering his songs with Reloaded 2.0 – Some of the songs I didn’t even like back then, but just playing them now and recording them, like Under the Gun”, was a great shock. On “Under the Gun”, as I was playing all the instruments, I was like, “Whoah, there are some great parts”. I did “Modern World” which was great, “Blood on the Bricks” really cooked. They’re all like, “Wow, this is fun”. I really had a good time. When I did the first 2.0 in 2018, it was just wrong. I just went too far away from where I was going. But at least it gave me this taste and the fire to start doing music again because for a while I was kind of dormant. So when I did the Covid things, I really almost finished Eddie Gage, but the Covid things were just fun, it was just off-the-cuff, put on YouTube for the fans. It was a lot of fun doing that. 15:04
On the possibility of touring – Oh yeah, I’ve got a whole band. I’ve got Jack Frost on guitar, I’ve got Dario Seixas on bass, I’ve got Ange E. Curcio on drums from Montreal, my whole band is together. I’ve got a killer band. If you see the “Free Your Mind” video, we just smoke. I’m just dying to go there in a play. Thirty-three years in the basement is a long time, I’m dying to get out. 16:26
On when the full Eddie Gage record will be out – 2022 is gonna be a busy year for me. April first, I’m putting out the sample of The Life & Times of Eddie Gage, a 10-song ep, it lasts 55 minutes, so it’s a pretty long ep. April 19, I’m putting out Reloaded 2.0. I also regained the master’s to probably one of my best albums called Nova’s Dream, I don’t know if you’re aware of that…The guy came one day and I got a letter from the record company and I said, “Okay, well, the record never really sold, this is probably his bill”. I opened the envelope and the guy said, “Well, listen, I think that you’re the musician, you should own the music”. So he gave me the masters. Just like that, even though I had a $54,000 unrecouped thing. I’ve never heard of anything like that, I was like, “God, give me a gift”. So I’m putting out Nova’s Dream and then I’ll put out Eddie Gage. I’ll let them absorb all of this stuff first. Eddie Gage, to listen to an album for two hours and five minutes, although you can absorb it a few songs at a time, if you really wanna have a great time, I listen to it for 2 hours, it’s really a trip. 17:18
On the songs from Eddie Gage standing on their own – If you hear the whole rock opera it’s 25 songs, one better than the other. There’s no filler. Like they say, “No filler, all thriller”. I worked a long time. What I liked about the ten-song sampler, is that it does give you the impression that it is a rock opera, there’s nothing standard about it. There’s a ballad, the ballad has all these weird changes. There’s a song called “King of Deceit”, which is like a real theatrical song, “Psycho Ward is an instrumental, it’s insane. There are heavy rock songs, “Burn Like The Sun”. There’s a complete classical, big opus called “Les Anges”, just a great sampler, a lot of hard work. Did you read the liner notes? They’re the best liner notes I’ve ever read. I wanted to make an album like when I was a kid when you used to have the LP and you open it up and I knew every credit and everybody. For me to have Bob Ludwig on my record, he did “Fantasy”. When I was a kid. I read Bob Ludwig in the liner notes, I can tell you who mastered the Yes record who did this, who did that, and that was half the fun of buying the album. No one writes liner notes, so I figured since my whole album is like, I took all my influences from the past and then I brought them into the future, but I wanted to keep past so I made liner notes, they’re so detailed. Even every little piece of gear that we used on the album. 19:24
So happy To see you on stage….
Hope i can see you play. I look forward to see you on stage…
I want to know where and when I can see you??