Virgil Donati Releases ”In This Life”
“Many drummers come to mind who”ve had a hand in raising the bar – leading by example with faster chops, innovative use of the instrument, more complex rhythms, more creative phrasing, and in general, inspiring a new generation of drummers. But few have turned as many heads as Virgil Donati.” – Stick It Magazine
Legendary drum virtuoso Virgil Donati’s new album “In This Life” was independently released July 23, 2013.
Over a year in the making, the much anticipated solo record is destined to set the bar for explorations in rhythm. The album was produced, written and arranged by Donati, and mixed by Alex Argento. Virgil’s drumming has arguably been at the leading edge for at least a decade, and as this record displays, his compositional and orchestration skills are also coming to the fore. Says Donati: “After all these years of playing, I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface!”
Virgil has always had a propensity towards a contrarian approach to music and to life. Never one to seek approval or security, he has maintained an introspective, independent mind, transcending traditional boundaries, always alert of the possibilities beyond the norm. The 10 tracks on this album are affirmation of these principles, and along the way, features some of the brightest young musicians bursting onto the scene from all corners of the globe – including Marco Sfogli, Alex Argento, Dennis Hamm, Doug Shreeve, Brett Garsed, Irwin Thomas, Alex Machacek, Paul Sherman, Anthony Crawford, Tom Kennedy, Jeff Babko, Rafael Moreira, Simon Hosford, Evan Marien, Artyom Manukyan, and Ruslan Sirota.
“We”ve found our feet in the new millennium… I”m amazed by the virtuosity displayed by so many of the younger players out there now. I”m always on the lookout for new talent, and I take pride in featuring some of them on this recording” enthuses Donati.
The album’s artwork – created by renowned Danish architect Lars Steffensen – also bears relevance to Virgil’s own creative approach and the music contained inside.
“The basic tools are pencil, rubber and index finger combined with a mild digital coloring of the cover image. These tools allow me to frame something organic or/and mechanical, with indications of use and wear. And the sketch-like expressions implies layers of the drafting process, something that is never quite finished, containing potentials for further development. Hopefully sources for wonder and investigation” says Steffensen. “Many of these issues are, for me, relevant to Virgil’s ‘In This Life’. The evident drive and musical surplus, combined with the compositional complexity of rhythm, melody and harmony, is to me subject for constant inspiring investigation. I love these refined things that, only apparently, can be overviewed, understood, grasped…”
“In This Life” Tracklisting:
1. Rhythm Zero
3. In This Life
4. Red Air
5. Paradise Lost
6. The Fall Of Dreams
9. Voice Of Reason
10. The Empire
Virgil was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. From the time he could barely utter a word, he keenly observed the regular band rehearsals his father held in the house. Virgil’s interest in music and instinct for rhythm had been apparent to his parents for some time. They began considering a musical path for him, and one month prior to turning 3, he found himself sitting behind his first real drumset.
Joining his first rock band and signing with his first major label at age 15 was surely the right choice for the young drummer. The band was called ‘Taste’. This was to give Virgil his early experiences in the studio, with three releases by the band. The relentless touring also allowed him to cultivate and improve his skills where it counts – on stage.
At the age of 16, Virgil turned pro to enable him to tour and focus on music, and has since devoted his whole life and soul to his art. The motivation has been his endless and restless pursuit to express himself through his playing.
At age 19, Virgil traveled to the U.S. to further study drumming, and also took classes in composition and arranging. Returning to Australia at age 21 his career was alight. He was in demand playing many genres of music, including jazz, rock, pop, theatre and studio work. He also worked with many visiting artists, including jazz pianist George Cables, vocalist Mark Murphy, Branford Marsalis and Kenny Kirkland, Melissa Etheridge.
His next taste of commercial success came in the early 90’s with Southern Sons. The band reached double platinum with their debut album. At the same time, throughout the mid 80’s and 90’s, Virgil’s interest in progressive music was exploited with several bands he initiated, most notably Loose Change, and later, On The Virg.
In 1996 Virgil uprooted and relocated in the U.S.A., in an attempt to expand onto the world stage. It has since proved to be a very rewarding and productive time. Recording and touring with the likes of Planet X, Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth, CAB, Scott Henderson, Steve Walsh, Tribal Tech, Frank Gambale, Tony MacAlpine, Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian, Mark Boals, Michel Polnareff, Dave Stewart, Kiko Loureiro, and many others, he continues to push the limits of the instrument to astonishing new levels.
A free download of one of the tracks from the record, “Red Air” is available at: http://t.opsp.in/j1IG7
“In This Life: is available for purchase and download exclusively from Virgil’s webstore: http://virgildonati.spinshop.com