When your first major tour includes a make-believe club date performing for surrealist director David Lynch and actor Nicolas Cage, you know your career has taken an unorthodox turn. For unconventional drummer John Macaluso, his appearance with Powermad during Cage’s volatile bar scene in the movie Wild At Heart (1989) couldn’t have been a more appropriate forecast.
Frustrated with only playing rock’s restrictive 2 and 4 around the world as a hired gun in bands like TNT, Macaluso broke away, forming Ark in 1998. Splattering a decade’s worth of pent-up imagination onto their self-titled debut disk, Ark grabbed peers and prog fans. Their 2002 follow-up and final album, Burn The Sun, solidified their ‘no rules’ reputation. Admirers like Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow) likened Ark’s heavy invention to ‘AC/DC playing prog rock.’ Ark also caught the ear of Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy, leading to Macaluso’s placement on singer James LaBrie’s recent solo tour.
“They were the first albums where I was the co-writer,” says Macaluso of his time in Ark. “I wanted to make something where people would say, ‘You can’t do that.’ Then I say, ‘Who says we can’t?’ It was a no-rules band. I think that’s why musicians really dug it.”
Notorious guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen tapped the wild-card player in 1999 for a three-year tour of duty, where Macaluso became the only drummer to ever solo on a Malmsteen album (Alchemy).
Now Macaluso reunites with TNT vocalist Tony Harnell for the drum-driven Starbreaker CD and early fall tour. “Usually drums are recorded first,” says Macaluso. “Here, Tony’s vocals were down already with a click, so I could play off his emotion and accent the phrasing.”
In October, expect the debut CD from Macaluso’s new band, Masterlast, where “Techno/jungle meets double bass.” And Macaluso’s method book, Repercussions, is also readied at the gates. In it, mentor Joe Franco compliments Macaluso’s creativity, while a grinning Nicko McBrain embraces its humor as it also reveals tested tricks of the trade.
For more on John Macaluso go to his website here.