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:: Spotlight :: The Casanovas interview

By: Georgia O'Connell

“Is it working,” he asks as the recorder turns on. Not that it mattered though. You could barely hear him over the noise around the bar. He’s as hot in real life as he is in all their photos and a lot quieter than he is on stage. He isn’t that hard-nosed rocker from way back, but you wouldn’t know that after seeing them live. On stage, they ooze sex appeal, and pure, raw, and gut wrenching rock n roll. I caught up with Tommy Boyce from The Casanovas, and he filled me in on how things have been going.

In the last twelve months, the Casanovas have experienced some of the most gruelling and trying times of their career, especially financially. “We really have struggled to make ends meet”. You wouldn’t know it though. With a knock out show at the Prince of Wales, St.Kilda recently, The Casanovas have made a mark in the industry and in the hearts of Aussie rockers.

The Melbourne three piece: vocalist/guitarist Tommy Boyce, bassist Damien Campbell and drummer Patrick Boyce, once started out as just an idea. When Tommy and his younger brother were working at a cake shop on Acland Street back in 1999, they joined forces to create the Casanovas. There was talk that such a name could damage their reputation as a band who thought they were too good for themselves. But now, after five years of playing in some of the more underground rock scenes throughout Melbourne, the boys are considered “hot property”. A classic, undefined sound, hard fast rock n roll, and a fist full of energy, The Casanovas have set the standards for playing a great live show.

Friday night's show at the Prince was positively packed out, a cloud of smoke filled the air, bright lights, and a there was a crazy mosh. People everywhere were screaming for one more song after the next. Promoting their latest single “Heartbeat” from their 2004 debut album, the boys ripped up the night with energy, fast heavy beats and some classic rock n roll. No one evened seemed to notice that Jet had come down for a look see, all eyes and ears were on the stage alight.

“Playing live is definitely the best part” of the industry says Tommy, “nothing beats it”. And you can see it in the way they are on stage. The sweat, the screaming, and the crowd a roaring, what else would you ask for?

Following in the footsteps of their idols, AC/DC and Kiss, The Casanovas have risen to a solid point in their career: But this has been a hard road. “You know we have had these fantastic experiences, like our tour of Japan, and escalated shows in New York, and England as well”. But, as Tommy explains, “It’s the in between time that’s tough. You know, I had to go back to my old job. Its s**thouse!”

And so is the industry at times. Everyone knows that the music industry is a hard one to crack. Tommy explains, “It’s sleazy and it revolves around distributing to precious and conservative corporate companies. Such a scaled weight of either massive labels or totally slugging it”. But that hard work has certainly paid off, now with an outstanding album behind them, and a overseas tour set to obliterate the UK, Europe, and America, The Casanovas wont be worrying about any in between time.

A second album is on the way, and will be recorded in their time in America. “I don’t know how long its gonna take but, as soon as it’s completed, the boys will be quickly back to Australia to promote it.

Some have tried to pin their style on rip off AC/DC like riffs and to much 70’s like sound. Sure, they are influenced by them, what rock band isn’t. But the best part about The Casanovas is that they acknowledge this, take it for what its worth, and completely s**t all over it. “The songs are about stuff that’s pretty fun, rock ‘n’ roll. A lot of the time it’s just good phrasing, good words, not necessarily all the time have a deep meaning or anything, but, to me, that’s the essence of good rock ‘n’ roll anyway. A lot of my favourite bands like Kiss and AC/DC; you’re basically writing about girls and cars and drugs, and whatever”.

So what about all the crazy s**t that goes to with being in a band like The Casanovas? Tommy reckons he needs to sit down one day and write out a list to remember all the crazy stuff they’d done in the time they’d been together. “I always forget,” he says.

Even so, with the recent rise of rock bands like Jet, The Wrights, Dallas Crane, and The Casanovas, there have been many that have slandered the genre and claimed that there are just too many jumping on the cash in, or what has recently been considered the rock ‘n’ roll bandwagon. Tommy explains, “Bands like ourselves and Dallas Crane have been around well before any of it all came back, but certainly I think there are definitely bands that are jumping on the bandwagon”

95% of the time, Tommy writes the songs. But without the unbelievable Damo on bass and fat beats from Patrick, The Casanovas would still be just an idea in that dude’s head who used to work at that cake shop on Acland Street. But seriously, songs like “Shake it” and “10 out of 10” have remained the favourites because of how these guys pull the songs together. Like Tommy says, it’s all in the process. “We’ll bring in an idea of a song, might just be a verse, or chorus, or riff, or something like that. It may not have words, or lyrics yet, and we'll thrash it out in the studio”.

It’s been a long hard slug for The Casanovas. but worth it. Now, with a new album on the way and a tour set to rock the overseas market, the band has much to look forward to, and so do their fans.

The Casanovas' single “Heartbeat” is out now through Rubber/Shock Records.

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