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Jeff Cannata - founder of cult 80's AOR band Arc Angel, has produced some great solo CD's and has a new CD out now 'Tamorak'.

1. What are you currently up to?

With the new CD" Tamorok" out, there has been positive responses and questions like "What took so long for the new one". Well, I'm back in the studio daily writing trying to get a head start on the next one.

2.Arc Angel are seen as one of the classic, if sadly underated, bands of the melodic rock scene in the 80's. How did the band come about and why do you think the band never made that final big leap into mega-sales?

With a handful of demos written by Michael Soldan and myself, I was approached by David Wolff, who later became my manager, brought the material into Lennie Petze at Portrait/CBS. I was signed to the label and put together the project with the help of several area musicians.

It was never a band per se. When the record came out, it started to make some noise in Europe , at the same time David Wolff discovered and managed Cindi Lauper, who as you know had 5 #1 hits. So the ArcAngel was put on the back burner, so I had asked for a release........Following were the Cannata solo records.

3.How do you approach your songwriting and where do your ideas come from?

From a melodic angle, I will sit for a while with my synth , fooling with some chords and sounds, till something takes shape. Lyrically, once I have melodies , the words come that just seem to fit the notes.

4.Have any of your songs ever been covered by other artists and if so,which ones?

Wanted: Dead or Alive (ArcAngel CD) was covered by a Canadian band, April Wine.

5.What are your views on the current state of rock music? With the widespread use of the Internet have you found it easier to gain exposure? Can you still get radio play in the US?

I find a lot of "commercial stuff" sounds the same. The original pioneers of the different genres had a distinct sound. Certainly the internet has created internationl possibilities that once needed major label push for that exposure. Airplay is still very difficult in the major markets. College radio is much more open.

6.If you could put together a 'dream' line-up for a band, who would would you have in it and why?

Peter Gabriel, lead vocal Greg Lake, bass/vocal, Robert Fripp,guitar, Keith Emerson, keyboards, Jeff Cannata, drums/vocal. Why?............Why not !

7.How difficult is it to get gigs? The package tours of bands seem to do well in the US (Poison, REO/Styx, etc.) - would you ever consider touring on one of these? Or do you prefer to remain studio based nowadays?

When a painter creates a portrait,still life or any other piece of work in his studio and then puts that piece of art on display at a gallery for the public to see........I always wondered why he doesn't go on "the road" and "paint" in front of a live audience ??

I'm sure they would like it !

8.What music have you been listening to recently and are there any new artists you think may have a bright future?

I usually listen to the PBS stations over here, mostly classical stuff, for contrast of when I have heavier guitar driven bands at mystudio for an extended period. Although, I did come across Porcupine Tree, a prog band just signed to Lava/Atlantic........I like them.

9.Who would you like to work with in the future?

Peter Gabriel / Steven Spielberg / Mutt Lange

10. Message for your fans...

Give peace a chance......I know that's borrowed from a great man, isn't everything ?

Interview © 2002 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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