Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lady Gaga reinvented by local heavy metal guitar wizard

By Ray Shasho

I finally caught up with the guy who had the fourth most watched music video in the world on You Tube. Eric Calderone’s explosive spin of Lady Gaga’s tune, “Bad Romance” made him an overnight sensation on the popular website. Eric has also added his metal mastery to Kesha's Tik Tok, Take it off, and Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up.
Pop artists add their own simple spin to classic rock songs and usually fail miserably. Eric Calderone took a simple silly popular pop song and made it sound intelligent and extremely cool. Eric is sort of a “Heavy Metal Einstein.”  The music industry should take notice; there is a new generation of artistic rock musicians, and you need to sign them.
Calderone recently graduated from the University of Tampa with a degree in music. He also completed a degree in orchestration for film and television from Berklee College of Music in Boston. He’s also a gifted Illustrator, learning the trade by enrolling in art programs at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota. Eric is 25, and although born in New York, he grew up in Bradenton.
I felt an obligation to write about Eric because he’s a gifted guitarist. And although my column is about classic rockers, I wanted to showcase a unique new rock talent, and wish him the best. Like raising a lighter up high at a rock concert, we need to keep that rock and roll flame burning before it dies out.
Here’s my interview with Eric Calderone after he arrived in Los Angeles yesterday.

You've been quite successful on You Tube with your Heavy Metal spin of Lady Gaga. Why do you like her music?
 “The main reason I like her is the reason I think the video got so much attention. Simply because even though her music is categorized as pop, it has like an aura about it that it could work in another genre, so when I hear her music I always think to myself wow this could totally be a rock tune. And also she's ridiculously talented as a pianist which when I heard her song writing ability, was hooked. She's very catchy and visually unique which is why I think a lot of people like her, including me.” 

If you could walk on stage tomorrow and play lead guitar for any band who would you choose and why?
“Oh wow great question, ha-ha. It would be a triple toss up for me. Sorry that's the best I can narrow it down for you. Ozzy - I have always loved ozzy's music and his albums had a big impact on why I picked up a guitar in the first place. Symphony X - I know not many people know of them but they are one of my favorite bands right now, intense rock and challenging music. And I would love to play with Gaga, her shows are incredible.”  
What bands got you hooked on playing metal? Are there any classic rock bands you like and why? Like Hendrix, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Sabbath, etc.
“Another great question, Metallica was the first one. They were in your face, fast, rugged. I would probably go as far as saying that Metallica is one of the most influential bands on the planet. As far as classic rock bands go, my favorite is Sabbath. They did something when they came out that changed music. They introduced different tunings, new lyrics, and a style that would develop what we know today as heavy metal.”  
So what are your intentions in Los Angeles, what do want to achieve while you’re out there, any connections in the music biz?
“To tell you the truth, I have never been out there and my main reason for going out is to feel it out. Everyone I know that has been there or lives there says it’s the center of the world for music. I just want to go see shows, at different places, and meet a lot of musicians. There's not many musicians in Tampa so I'm really excited to see what Cali has to offer. I personally don't have any contacts in the music biz but as they say in the movies, "I know people who know people," ha-ha” 
What kinds of equipment do you use, guitars, amps etc.?
“I'm very simple when it comes to that. Right now I play Guerilla guitars and play through Line 6 amps. I'm what a lot of musicians call a "simple setup". It's basically guitar + amp = me.” 
Good luck Eric, and keep that flame burning.

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