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Frank Vilardi
Independent/Donny Osmond/ The Bacon Brothers - United States

Overview

I grew up on Long Island, in a family where playing music was expected, as long as you played sax or clarinet. I dutifully studied the clarinet, but was always drawn to the drums. When The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, the deal was sealed, the clarinet was retired, and all hopes of a normal life were gone.

I started playing in the school's music program and did well enough that the band director recommended I study privately. I studied with Thomas Hatch, the drummer/percussionist at Radio City Music Hall when they still had a full time orchestra. Since he was such a well rounded musician, he taught some theory and vibraphone and music school became the goal.

I attended Hartt College of Music at the University of Hartford where I had the honor of studying with Al Lepak, one of the most respected percussionists and educators in the country. Both Lepak and I quickly realized that the classical world was not going to be my career, so he covertly started helping me hone my skills on the kit. At my recital I was the first percussion student at Hartt allowed to play drum set (not part of the school's program) performing Chick Corea's 'Spain' with a quartet.

Moving back to NY in the early 80's, I started doing every gig and demo session I could get my hands on. This gradually led to some really great opportunities, and some not so great ones. The standout on the not great side would be having the entire Mink deVille band hauled off to jail in Norway on a tour we did in '83... but that's another story. That episode soured me to the road for a while, and I focused on staying home and breaking into the studio world. I bought a set of Simmons Drums, and every advertising company wanted those tom fills on their jingles and I was getting hired.

In 1987 'Grace Pool' formed with Elly Brown (lead vocals, writer) Bob Riley (guitar, programming, writer), Clifford Carter (kbds & vocal) and Shawn Colvin (acoustic guitar, vocals). Shawn left to start her own career before we got our deal, and was replaced by Terry Radigan. This was the one time in my career that I was part of a band that scored a major label deal (Reprise). We made two really cool records, but unfortunately the band never broke through.

While we were making the second record with Grace Pool, I was asked to audition for Suzanne Vega and I was lucky enough to land my first big gig. I spent 4 years, from 1989 - 1994, touring the world and recording with Suzanne. I enjoyed every minute, maybe with the exception of the time we were headlining the Glastonbury Festival in England. Mike Visceglia (bass) and Suzanne received death threats. Scotland Yard told us we should play. They protected Mike offstage and gave Suzanne bullet proof armor. As for the rest of us - target practice!

Starting in 1991 I also found myself touring with Curtis Stigers, along with Mike Visceglia who was Curtis' MD. For a few years we were constantly on the road between the 2 bands.

I've also had the good fortune to record and/or tour with: Shawn Colvin, Rosanne Cash, Jewel, Rod Stewart, Carly Simon, Celine Dion, Southside Johnny, Judy Collins, Phoebe Snow, Mark Cohn, Peter Allen, Mink Deville, Rosie O’Donnell, Jim Carroll, Willie Nile, Aztec Two-Step, Graham Parker, Lori Carson, The Roches, Darlene Love, Jane Olivor, Billy Vera, Bobby McFerrin, Peter Frampton, Dean Friedman, Tom Rush, Freedy Johnston, Lucy Kaplansky, Richard Schindell, The Manhattans, Al Green, Howard Stern, Larry Kirwin (Black 47), David Broza, Delta Goodrem, Naked Eyes, Eric Anderson, David Wilcox, Gloria Gaynor, Evelyn “Champagne” King & Stephan Seagal.

I was a member of Donny Osmonds touring band from 2001 - 2006.

Presently I can be found touring with The Bacon Brothers and doing sessions in New York and from home. I recently finished a record for a wonderfrul singer from the U.K. named Natasha Sohl.

I also work with some great independent NYC artists. Among those you can check out are Julia Greenberg and William Hart Strecker. I'll include dates for all shows on the GIG page.

In addition - I've done movie soundtracks, corporate shows, and hundreds of TV and radio jingles.

Links

Frank Vilardi

Equipment Configuration

MRP Masters Series

Abalone
20x16 bass drum
10x8 tom
12x8 tom
16x14 tom

14x5.5 snare drum
10x4 snare drum
14x6.5 Steve Ferrone Signature snare drum


DR503C curved ICON rack
PCX100 clamp x 10
BC2000 cymbal holder
TL200 gyro tilter x 3
B1000 boom stand x 6
TH2000S tom holder x 2
TH2000 tom holder x 2
H2000 hi-hat stand
S2000 snare stand x 2
D1000SP throne
CST80 cymbal stacker
PPS37 perc. holder x 2
PTM10SH steel tambourine
PTM10GH gold tambourine
SBA1/3 snare basket adapter