I began drumming at the age of 13 and joined my first "band" about a year later. In junior high school I was always featured in school band performances and this continued into high school. My first big performance in front of a decent size audience was a high school concert at the age of 16, with my second band, playing the music of Rush, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Nazareth, etc. Also while in high school I was chosen to play with members of the Toronto Symphony and got to study Timpani with David Kent. During my last year of high school I began studying with Paul DeLong who I had seen performing live with David Bendeth at the Gasworks. After graudating high school I auditioned for a top-40 band called Selection and went on the road all across Ontario for about nine months until deciding to go to school for recording engineering.
This new school (Trebas) had just opened and operated out of McClear Place recording studio (now defunct). I completed one year of studies, then went to work as an assistant engineer at a small recording studio in Toronto's north end (Triton Sound). After hours I was able to experiment in the studio and I spent a great deal of time honing my skills. I also ended up playing drums on many sessions at the studio.
While working at the studio, I got to meet many great musicians and artists. One of these artists was David Gibson who would soon get a record deal with A&M Records. I helped David put a band together and we performed in various clubs in Toronto and shot some videos which appeared on Much Music. After a couple years of that, David began performing to tracks live so there was no need for the band anymore. I was lucky to get a call from Paul DeLong who had started performing and recording with Kim Mitchell. I started working as Paul's drum tech and went on the road with the band for about six months. One of the opening bands for that tour was Lee Aaron who had Barry Connors on drums. Barry and I became friends and near the end of that tour he introduced me to his former band Coney Hatch who were looking for a drummer. I also got to perform with Kim Mitchell on the Juno Awards that year because Paul DeLong was busy touring with another band at the time.
At this point in time Coney Hatch had parted ways with their original singer Carl Dixon and were looking for a replacement. I recommended my friend Kevin LaBrie and we all began rehearsing and writing music. After about four or five months in rehearsal, we started playing clubs in Ontario in the hopes of convincing the record company to let us release a new recording. The management and record company didn't feel that Kevin's voice was right for the band, so we got Phil Naro on board and tried for another few months to no avail. Out of work again, I went on the road with Glass Tiger as Michael Hanson's drum tech for a few months.
Back home after the Glass Tiger tour, I would play on sessions whenever they came my way, played tons of weddings and festivals, worked on original music, and even worked various part-time jobs to get by. I was doing a lot of co-writing with Phil Naro, and Phil had been working on music with Jim Huff. Jim heard and liked some of the demos that Phil and I had done, so I ended up getting involved with programming drums for their demos. A few months later they ended up getting a record contract with A&M Records. The band called itself The Works, and I ended up playing and programming the drums for their record, which we recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida with Tom Allom producing.
After doing the record with The Works in Miami, I ended up finding out about another band that was looking for a drummer in Toronto from my friend Simon Brierly, who was playing guitar with Andy Curran. The band was FM, which I was a huge fan of, and had seen numerous times live. I also owned most of their records. I joined FM and we did a bunch of gigs over the course of a year and a half in the hopes of working on a new recording, but it never came to pass. Cameron Hawkins ended up producing a record for Martin Shaw which I programmed all the drums for.
Around this time, Phil Naro had been writing music with a bunch of artists in the U.S. who were affiliated with his management company. One of these artists was Alex Masi. I ended up co-writing some songs with Phil and Alex and this lead to going down to Los Angeles to record demos of the songs. Shortly after completing the recordings, Phil and I flew back home to Toronto and then drove back down to Los Angeles with all my drums in order to rehearse and showcase the band for record companies. We played one show at The Avalon in Hollywood. I thought we sounded great, but no record companies were interested (I think we were courting Chameleon Records). Phil and I headed back to Toronto a few weeks later.
Back in Toronto, I found out that Alfie Zappacosta was looking for a drummer. I auditioned and got the gig and we toured eastern Canada for a few weeks. When that gig came to an end, I was back playing weddings, working on music, and working various part-time jobs to survive. I then decided it was time to look into another way of making a living that didn't require playing music I didn't love. I decided to study computer programming. I took entrance exams at York University, the University of Toronto, and Seneca College in Toronto and was accepted at all of them. I decided to attend Seneca College, since they were the only school with classes teaching C++ at the time.
While attending college, I ended up working a lot with Over the Garden Wall, a Genesis tribute band that had a huge following and lots of gigs. That was a lot of fun, since I knew that music like the back of my hand. We even recorded a track for a compilation record.
After graduating from Seneca, I worked for a seemingly endless series of companies in Toronto as a software developer, but eventually found myself back in Los Angeles working for Toyota and then Universal Music Group. Since that time I've been consulting for several clients and have continued to perform and record music on my own terms. Shortly after settling back in Los Angeles, Alex Masi and I would perform weekly at Canter's Deli which lead to the release of Pastrami Standards. You can find links to a bunch of music I have recorded on my selected discography page.
Some bands and artists I've worked with include: The Trio of Stridence, Freddie Curci, Alex Masi, The Brothers Dimm, Looks Like Rain, Janeen Leah, Over the Garden Wall, Andy Curran, Warren Toll, FM, Eugene Smith, Zappacosta, The Works, Adrian Davison, David Gibson, and Coney Hatch. I'm currently recording and performing with Jazz Martyrs.
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Contact: info (at) paulmarangoni.com.