“Fourteen songs, and not a clunker. Fourteen winning tracks. I was blown away by the first note.” [Steve Ludwig, Classic Pop Culture.]
The Initiative was an alternative way of structuring an album for songwriter Joe Mandica, who wanted to do something different than have a fixed band or a solo album. In interview with Steve Ludwig from the New York based ‘Classic Pop Culture’ webcast, Joe explained his vision was to involve “a collaboration of singers, musicians and songwriters. Wouldn’t it be great if I could have an album with all these fabulous singers! Everyone was happy to be involved, and you can hear it right down to the production and the studio time. So we put it all together, and as it was going along, it just got better and better. Eventually we came up with this whole album of music, and the reaction has been unanimous.”
A number of quite distinctive vocalists were involved, including the sultry diva Grace Marino, who felt very free to express herself in the studio. “I put myself in the song, in the zone, and sang my heart out.” Not all the singers Joe brought in were experienced, but that didn’t inhibit us from getting fabulous performances, as Joe explains. “Nino has this real nice, real smooth Dean Martin/Frank Sinatra voice, but he’s not a professional singer, and I just love the challenge of taking him into the studio and he just nailed it in one take.” We had the pleasure of recording Marty Penrose, who brought a particular iconic flavour to the recording. “Marty is one of the best known Roy Orbison tribute artists in Australia… and we wrote a song called ‘Then The Light Came On’ and we specifically tried to get the Roy Orbison and The Traveling Wilburys influence in there, and I think we did it.”
“Roped and tied with compact and coherent vocals, augmented by jumbles of juicy hooks and columns of chiming choruses, The Initiative models itself on the detailed and sophisticated pop rock mentality exercised by heroic bands such as the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Raspberries and ‘Rumours’ era Fleetwood Mac. Enterprising instrumentation, involving horns, tooting harmonicas and lots of cool and tasty piano work unite in perfect harmony with the plucky rhythm section. The Initiative took the initiative to make a remarkable album, which I hereby declare record of the year!” [Beverly Patterson, Something Else Reviews.]
The CD launch was filmed with an expanded brass section, in front of 400 people, and will be released as a live DVD. A theatre performance music video for ‘Survive’ has been released, showcasing the powerful voice of Grace Marino.