A distinctive cover version of ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ has been made available as the second single from ‘Invisible’, the forthcoming new solo album by the American drummer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Nick D’Virgilio (NDV). The first ever hit on the Tamla Motown label in 1959 has seen notable covers in the past by the likes of The Beatles and The Flying Lizards, with NDV stating: “I’ve always liked this song, with the original version by Barrett Strong being my favourite. I wanted my take on it to be dark and brooding with a cinematic sound, so I came up with a way to build an end with chords that kept climbing until a nice climax, while parts for orchestra were arranged that built a great sound on top. One of my favourite parts of the song is when I’m whispering a bunch of slang terms for money. I sang the whole song like a person that is going a little crazy and that section was a perfect fit.”
In regard to how the song fits into the narrative flow of ‘Invisible’, he explains: “Lyrically, the words fit perfectly. The song comes at the point in the story where the protagonist has decided to leave his dead end job and venture out into the world to try and discover the meaning of his life. He wanders into a shop and sees the person behind the counter looking dishevelled and depressed, prompting him to ask ‘is everything OK? Why are you here? If it’s that bad, why don’t you go home?’ Those questions prompt the response that they need money. They are stuck in life’s trap just like him, and he swiftly realises that he is not alone in feeling alone.”
‘Invisible’ is the second solo album by the California born but Indiana based NDV and comes almost two decades after his debut solo offering. He describes his new record as “a collection of songs that make up the story of a man who is unhappy with where his life has ended up. He finally decides to take the scary step of leaving everything behind so he can go and find the meaning of his life.” He continues: “Throughout my career I have been in many different places. Over time the word ‘invisible’ kept coming to mind and it got me thinking of people that truly have the hardest jobs in the world, or no job at all. The outliers. The ones we all take for granted. The ones we will never know but if they were not there then our lives would not be the nearly the same. Over time I amassed lyric and song ideas with the idea of writing a concept record on the subject.”
Keen to establish that “this is not your typical drummer record,” NDV states that “‘Invisible’ is a rock album with various musical flavours thrown in because the songs were formed with the story in mind. A classical prelude that uses various themes from the whole piece sets the stage. From there comes a mellow ballad outlining the story and then it is on to the adventures of the central character. The main thing making this record did for me was to reaffirm my strong belief that we are all here for something. We all have a purpose.”
With the recording process split between the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London (including full string and brass sections) and the world class Sweetwater Studios in Fort Wayne, Indiana, ‘Invisible’ boasts star turns from luminaries such as guitarists Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, Racer X), Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) and Carl Verheyen (Supertramp), bassists Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel) and Jonas Reingold (The Flower Kings, Steve Hackett), plus keyboard players Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) and Jem Godfrey (Frost*).
NDV’s debut solo album, ‘Karma’ (2001), had appeared midway through his tenure with US progressive rock titans Spock’s Beard, with whom he started out as drummer upon their inception in the early 1990’s before taking on additional lead singer and live frontman duties in 2002 for four studio albums prior to his departure in 2011. At the time, this was partly in order to continue touring as drummer, singer and assistant bandleader with Cirque du Soleil, with whom he played over 1400 shows over a five year period until 2014. He has also been the drummer with the award winning UK band Big Big Train since 2007 and performed with world renowned acts such as Genesis (appearing on the ‘Calling All Stations’ album) and Tears For Fears (with whom he toured for over a decade).
Upon ending his stint with Cirque du Soleil, NDV relocated to Fort Wayne to become the face of the drum division of world leading music technology and instrument retailer Sweetwater Sound, explaining that “it has exploded and I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people while building new lifelong relationships. I’ve also had the chance to play on so much great drum gear – it is Disneyland in that regard! Many of my old bands and music compatriots have been there to record or do workshops, which is icing on the cake.”
The release of ‘Invisible’ now begins yet another fascinating chapter in NDV’s multi-faceted career, which he concludes “has taken many twists and turns. I have been able to live out some major musical fantasies, seeing some of the highest highs as well as some of the lowest lows. It has been a wild ride that is not over yet!”