Aldo Nova on touring with Blue Öyster Cult, covering Coney Hatch, and the new Subject…Aldo Nova

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DECEMBER 23, 1983

By Steve Newton

“It was supposed to be a post-nuclear holocaust type thing,” says Aldo Nova, referring to the initial concept idea for his latest album, Subject…Aldo Nova. Over the phone from Shreveport, Louisiana last week, Nova (his real name’s Caporuscio) outlined the proposed plan for his mini-epic.

“It started out where you fell into a dream state–that’s why everything on the album is slow at the beginning–and then raced to another world where there were these nuclear monks called subjects, like that guy on the back cover with the glowing blue face. He told you how to the powers that be had a nuclear war that turned into Armageddon, and took you back to see what it was like before, back to 1983 in New York City at Broadway and 42nd Street–‘Monkey On Your Back’.

“He took you to different places like Africa, and to ‘War Suite’, an actual war. And then ‘Paradise’ at the end where everything is calm and settled down. The theme came from The Road Warrior–it begins at the end and ends at the beginning.”

But Nova changed Subject at the last minute, and scrapped his idea of a concept LP for fear of it losing out on commercial appeal.

“I had to can it,” he admits, “because I figured that critics were gonna slag me to death. So I just went safe and did it half and half–half my way and half so the radio would play it if it was too weird for them.”

Nova’s catering to the tastes of radio programmers is understandable. Obviously he’d like the new record to follow in the footsteps of his self-titled debut, which received heavy airplay last year via two hit singles, “Fantasy” and “Ball and Chain”.

But this is not to say that Subject is a reproduction of last year’s effort. Aldo certainly doesn’t think so.

“My voice is a hundred times better than it was last year,” he claims. “It’s not as wimpy as it was. And there seems to be a certain intensity on the album that wasn’t there on the last one. I mean, my blood and guts are in the grooves.”

Even if his approach to making the LP was less than courageous, the music on Subject is certainly gutsy enough–brimming with forceful, streetwise lyrics and go-for-broke guitar freakouts. One of the tunes which best exemplifies this is Nova’s version of the Coney Hatch song “Hey Operator”.

“I’ve wanted to produce Coney Hatch for years, ” explains Nova, “because I think they’ve always been badly produced. I saw them live and thought they were great, and they did this song ‘Hey Operator’, which sounded horrible on the album.

“So as a joke I said to Val Azolli–who’s my executive producer, and also runs SRO record, which Coney Hatch is signed to–‘Let me do this song “Hey Operator” and I’ll show you what I would make Coney Hatch sound like.’ So I put it on the album, and now it’s one of my favourite songs to play.”

There’s a good chance Nova will be playing “Hey Operator” when he opens for Blue Öyster Cult at the Coliseum this Tuesday (December 27), along with such other hard-edged tunes as “Monkey On Your Back” (his latest single) and the fiery “Cry Baby Cry”. His biggest hit yet, “Fantasy”, will likely make an obligatory appearance as well.

Although he’s also toured with such big-name rock acts as Black Sabbath and Rainbow, Aldo Nova has spent most of his time on the road with Blue Öyster Cult, the same band he played the Coliseum with last summer. He even wrote the music for the first single from their new album, The Revolution By Night.

“No, ‘Take Me Away’ is a song about extraterrestrials,” corrects Aldo when asked if it’s concerned with suicide. “Originally that song was an outtake from my first album. They copied it note-for-note from my demo.

“I gave it to Eric [Bloom, the Cult’s lead singer] when they were looking for songs for the new album ’cause I thought it fit them really well. It sounded like a Blue Öyster Cult song. And he came up with the lyric ‘take me away’. It’s more of a Close Encounters of the Third Kind type thing, ’cause me and Eric–if they ever come down with the saucers–we’re the first ones in line [laughs]. We’re gone.”

And just what are Bloom and the other Cult members like to hang around with? Are they as rowdy as their image suggests?

“They’re not as wild as you’d think,” considers Aldo “I mean, I went out with the guys in Cheap Trick, and we used to get gassed every night. These guys are pretty quiet  in comparison.”

Blue Öyster Cult quiet? Anyone who’s heard the band live would have trouble understanding that one.

And Nova himself has proven anything but subdued–particularly in his remarks to the music press. I pointed out to him that in the British rock magazine Sounds he is quoted as saying that Ritchie Blackmore is “a bad guitar player”. Not a cool thing to say, considering Blackmore is one of the most revered heavy-metal axemen alive today.

No,” defends Nova, “I think Blackmore is a good guitar player. I just did 25 dates with him with Rainbow. I don’t really like his new album, but he’s a really nice guy. All those horror stories that you hear about Blackmore, there’s not one of them that’s true.”

So what about the quote in Sounds?

“I was misquoted,” he puts forth, “because I never criticize anybody else–that’s one thing I don’t do is criticize other groups or other players.”

I ask him about another quote wherein he claims “I don’t like heavy metal”.

“That’s another misquote,” Aldo says. “I’m constantly misquoted by the press. I don’t like heavy metal as in Iron Maiden–that brainless, unmelodic stuff–I like melodic heavy metal. The stuff I play is a cross between heavy metal and pop music.”

An Aldo Nova concert is an Aldo Nova concert. He is always center stage and the spotlight rarely strays from his overblown rock posturings. Knowing this, one might wonder if his band members, always in the background, ever start to feel neglected or jealous.

“Well no,” responds Aldo, “because they’re a touring band. They each get to shine on stage. As far as playing on the record, each one of them played on one track; the guitar player played a solo on ‘Armageddon’, the drummer plays on almost all the tracks, and the bass player plays on ‘Hey Operator’. So we’re really happy; we get along really well.

“The guitar player went to audition for Kiss today, for some reason–I don’t know why. God knows why he’d want to go audition for Kiss. I don’t think they could sell a record to save their lives.

“So they all want to branch out and do their own stuff. And I’ll encourage them to do it. If they have their own material I’ll help them push it. But with me, it’s like my own thing. So I can’t help it.”

 

To hear the audio of my 1983 interview with Aldo Nova subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can eavesdrop on over 275 of my uncut, one-on-one conversations with:

John Bush of Anthrax, 1993
Steven Adler from Guns N’ Roses, 2011
Mick Ronson, 1989
Tom Morello, 2011
Jakob Dylan of the Wallflowers, 1993
Colin Hay of Men at Work, 1983
Mark Kelly of Marillion, 1986
Luther Allison, 1995
Lee Rocker from the Stray Cats, 2007
J. Geils from the J. Geils Band, 2006
Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, 1997
Jason Newsted of Newsted (and Metallica), 2013
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Brian Blush of the Refreshments, 1997
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Craig Northey of Strippers Union, 2021
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Joe Jackson, 2003
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David Lee Roth, 2003
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John Popper of Blues Traveler, 1991
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 2012
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1993
Ellen McIlwaine, 2001
Derek Trucks of Tedeschi Trucks, 2012
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Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses, 1992
Scott Ian of Anthrax, 2012
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Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, 1985
David “Honeyboy” Edwards, 2003
Rudolf Schenker of Scorpions, 1992
Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, 2001
Jeff Keith of Tesla, 1988
Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton of Arc Angels, 1992
Marc Bonilla, 1992
Mike Smith of Sandbox (and Trailer Park Boys), 1996
Dewey Bunnell of America, 1983
Robert Randolph of the Family Band, 2003
Keith Strickland of the B-52s, 2008
David Johansen of the New York Dolls, 2005
Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon, 2003
Todd Kerns, 2016
Bill Payne of Little Feat, 2002
Robbin Crosby of Ratt, 1989
Tommy Shannon of SRV & Double Trouble, 1998
Alejandro Escovedo, 1997
Billy Duffy of the Cult, 1989
Dave Martone, 2020
Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, 2006
Joss Stone, 2012
Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest, 2005
Jack Blades of Night Ranger, 1984
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Colin James, 1995
Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown, 1998
Tom Cochrane of Red Rider, 1983
Ed Roland of Collective Soul, 1995
Taj Mahal, 2001
Tom Wilson of Junkhouse, 1995
Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, 2003
David Lindley, 2002
Marty Friedman of Megadeth, 1991
John Hiatt, 2010
Nancy Wilson of Heart, 2006
Jeff Golub, 1989
Moe Berg of the Pursuit of Happiness, 1990
Todd Rundgren, 2006
Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, 2001
Steve Earle, 1987
Gabby Gaborno of the Cadillac Tramps, 1991
Terry Bozzio, 2003
Roger Glover, 1985
Matthew Sweet, 1995
Jim McCarty of the Yardbirds, 2003
Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars, 2001
John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, 1995
Steve Hackett from Genesis, 1993
Grace Potter, 2008
Buddy Guy, 1993
Steve Lynch of Autograph, 1985
Don Wilson of the Ventures, 1997
Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, 1998
Trevor Rabin of Yes, 1984
Albert Lee, 1986
Yngwie Malmsteen, 1985
Robert Cray, 1996
Tony Carey, 1984
Ian Hunter, 1988
Kate Bush, 1985
Jeff Healey, 1988
Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, 1993
Colin Linden, 1993
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 1995
Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, 1986
Elliot Easton from the Cars, 1996
Wayne Kramer from the MC5, 2004
Bob Rock, 1992
Nick Gilder, 1985
Roy Buchanan, 1988
Klaus Meine of Scorpions, 1988
Jason Bonham, 1989
Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, 1991
Joey Spampinato of NRBQ, 1985
Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, 2003
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash, 2003
Steve Kilbey of the Church, 1990
Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde, 1990
Dan McCafferty of Nazareth, 1984
Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam, 2007
Jimmy Barnes from Cold Chisel, 1986
Steve Stevens of Atomic Playboys, 1989
Billy Idol, 1984
Stuart Adamson of Big Country, 1993
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, 1992
Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, 1998
John Bell of Widespread Panic, 1992
Robben Ford, 1993
Barry Hay of Golden Earring, 1984
Jason Isbell, 2007
Joe Satriani, 1990
Brad Delp of Boston, 1988
John Sykes of Blue Murder, 1989
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, 1998
Alice Cooper, 1986
Lars Ulrich of Metallica, 1985
Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon, 1992
Myles Goodwyn of April Wine, 2001
John Mellencamp, 1999
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999
Kenny Aronoff, 1999
Jon Bon Jovi, 1986
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1992
Little Steven, 1987
Stevie Salas, 1990
J.J. Cale, 2009
Joe Bonamassa, 2011
John Petrucci of Dream Theater, 2010
Alex Van Halen, 1995
Eric Johnson, 2001
Stu Hamm, 1991
Gene Simmons of Kiss, 1992
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
David Lee Roth, 1994
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
John Mayall of the Bluesbreakers, 1988
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1996
Geoff Tate of Queensryche, 1991
James Hetfield of Metallica, 1986
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1990
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Andy McCoy and Sam Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks, 1984
Steve Morse, 1991
Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1991
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, 1994
Mick Ronson, 1988
Geddy Lee of Rush, 2002
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Vince Neil of Motley Crue, 1991
Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Joan Jett, 1992
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, 1988
Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, 1989
Rob Halford of Judas Priest, 1984
Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, 1999
Paul Rodgers, 1997
R.L. Burnside, 1999
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, 1983
Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Donald “Duck” Dunn, 1985
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Mike Fraser, 2014
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
David Gogo, 1991
Booker T. Jones, 2016
Link Wray, 1997
James Reyne from Australian Crawl, 1988
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, 1983
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Greg Lake of ELP, 1992
Robert Plant, 1993
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
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Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Roy Buchanan, 1986
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Ann Wilson of Heart, 1985
J.J. Cale, 1990
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Chris Cornell, 2008
Long John Baldry, 1985
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
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Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Greg Allman, 1998
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…with hundreds more to come

 

 

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