Canadian singer ….
Zappacosta decided he wanted to be a musician shortly after getting his first guitar at age 9. With proper guitar lessons by age 12, Zappacosta’s guitar teacher began arranging weekend gigs for him at Italian weddings. As work progressed, Zappacosta found himself playing with a plethora of musicians on stage including accordion players and flamenco guitarists.
Weary of the wedding circuit, he decided he would rather get into contemporary music which led to a series of Top-40 bands during the late ’70’s disco era. His first professional, unionized, card-carrying gig was with Robert E. Lee followed by the disco/R & B Janette Brant Lee which featured three female vocalists, a horn section and sequined three-piece jump suits.
Zappacosta soon grew tired of this three ring circus and decided to form an original rock and roll act in 1979 by utilizing Paul Delaney (drums) and Steve Jensen (guitar) from the disco act and called it Surrender. They recorded their self-titled debut in 1979 for Capitol Records which just barely cracked the RPM Top 100. After touring and several member changes, Surrender returned to their original three member line-up. In September 1981 they released the EP ‘No Surrender’ which failed to chart despite the release of two singles.
The trio trudged on despite resistance from Capitol who reluctantly agreed to another album but shipped the band off to LA to work with Ed Thacker. The resulting album was considered an unmitigated disaster, was shelved, and Surrender disbanded.
In 1983 Zappacosta began selling himself as a solo act and just as he was about to sign a management deal with American agents Leber-Krebs, he received a call from manager Lou Blair (Loverboy) who enticed Zappacosta back into the Canadian talent pool. With a fresh vision the new team decided to revive the finished Surrender album but it needed an overhaul. With Dee Long and John Jones’ new ESP studios (which was home to many other Capitol recording acts) the record was reworked and remixed by Dee Long (Klaatu) in three weeks.
The 1984 result was named ‘Zappacosta’ and featured several members of Surrender (Steve Jensen, Mitche Starkman, Paul Delaney and Gerald O’Brien) and guest appearances by Jeff Jones (Red Rider) on bass and Gerry Mosby (The Hunt, Rhinegold) on background vocals. The album spawned several hit singles including the Bob Ezrin co-write “Passion” and landed Zappacosta a Juno Award for ‘Most Promising Male Vocalist Of The Year’.
As 1985 marched on Zappacosta’s next album was in the proverbial can, and once again Capitol dragged their heels. In the interim he performed in the musical stage production of ‘Evita’ as Che Guevera and was one of many Canadian superstars to lend his voice to the “Tears Are Not Enough” Ethiopia relief record ‘We Are The World’. With the ‘Evita’ production on a roll in Halifax, Zappacosta received word that his album would be picked up by Capitol Records after all. ‘A-Z’ was released in 1986 and resulted in another fistful of hits.
During the time of uncertainty with Capitol Records Zappacosta had been courted by Millenium Records president Jimmy Ienner but Zappacosta refused his advances. However, in 1988 Ienner approached him again about adding a song to an upcoming movie he was producing called ‘Dirty Dancing’. Zappacosta co-wrote a tune called “Overload” with Marco Luchiani which the producers loved and the song was featured in the movie soundtrack which became not only a hit movie, but one of the biggest selling movie soundtracks up until that time. That same year Lou Blair’s business partner Bruce Allen founded Penta Records and signed Zappacosta.
However, Penta Records would soon become unmanageable as a five-headed business proposition and the label lost its distribution deal with Elektra on the eve of release of Zappacosta’s next album. Bruce Allen cut his ties with Zappacosta and Lou Blair helped clear up the contractual mess and Zappacosta was left with a finished master tape and no distributor.
Using money from his ‘Dirty Dancing’ soundtrack profits, he was able to convince Capitol to take a chance on him one more time and they released his A-Zee Records album ‘Quick!…Don’t Ask Any Questions’ two years after it was recorded. A heavy tour schedule followed with his new band — Steve Jensen (guitar, vox), Corrine Plomish (vocals, keyboards), Marco Luciani, Darren Bowler (bass), and Tony Azzopardi (drums). Zappacosta even brought in long time road crew Bob Shindle (audio) and Brad Campaigne (lighting, tour manager).
Following the wrap up of the tour he decided to take a much needed break to do some soul searching and finally focus on his abilities as both a singer, by taking vocal lessons, and a guitarist (by taking up classical guitar). In 1993 Zappacosta fronted a trio who played the club circuit with his flair for adult contemporary charm and new classical stylings. By late 1995 he had recorded his next effort, ‘Innocence Ballet’, for fre/EMI and did a Canadian promotion tour with few actual gigs. By early 1996, Sindrome Records had released the disc in the US and Zappacosta found himself touring on some very successful and well received dates stateside.
In July 1996 after the particularly grueling tour schedule, the singer/songwriter was admitted to an Edmonton hospital with severe pneumonia that made it necessary to perform a tracheotomy (rather than damage the singer’s vocal chords with a standard breathing tube). But the pneumonia was only part of a larger complication as doctors discovered 2 large pancreatic tumors. These were removed successfully and Zappacosta slowly recovered.
Following a long rest he toured again in 1997 with the group Pazzport (who have since released their own jazz CD). Zappacosta finally finished recording his fifth solo album in Toronto with production by Gerry Mosby and an all-star musical cast featuring Blake Manning (drums), Etric Lyons (bass), Quartetto Gellato, members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and arrangements by Claudio Venna. “Dark Sided Jewel” was officially released May 10, 2000. It was preceded by the lead-off single, “Adilina”. He also performed “Making History (Let The Games Begin)” at the Opening Ceremonies for the 2000 Ontario Special Olympics Spring Games.
Words from the official Zappacosta website.
Once Upon A Time
Rawlco Records 2013
Tracks: Turn It On, Another Man’s Gain, Burnin, Heroes, I Think About You, I’ll Give It A Go, Judgement Day, Nothing Can Stand In Your Way, Runaround, Spread Myself Too Thin, Start Again, WE Should Be Lovers, When I Fall In Love, You Belong To Me, It’s All Been Done Before, Can’t Let Go & Passion.
Musicians on the Once Upon A Time album: Zappacosta and others.
Live From The Blue Frog Studios
Rawlco Records 2012
Tracks: Soda, Take It From Me, Tu Si Na Cosa Grande Per Me, Blame It On Me, Give It Away, Spread Myself Too Thin, You Make Me Laugh, Bella, Start Again, Adilina, Oh My Baby, Next To You, When I Fall In Love Again & Passion.
Musicians on the Live From The Blue Frog Studios album: Zappacosta and others.
Blame It On Me
Rawlco Records 2010
Tracks: You Make Me Laugh, Bella, I Am Your Chariot, All These Words Above, Eden, Blame It On Me, I’m Here For You, Beneath The Vines & Spin.
Musicians on the Blame It On Me album: Zappacosta and others.
The Church At Berkeley
Rawlco Records 2008
Tracks: I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face Until Then, Night and Day, Worries Away, Here’s That Rainy Day, Close Your Eyes, My Foolish Heart, My Funny Valentine & Perfect Night.
Musicians on the Church At Berkeley album: Zappacosta and others.
Rawlco Records 2007
Tracks: Dreams Will Come True, You’re Always There, Notion, This Ride, Oz, I’ll Tell You, Constant Rerun, Oh My Baby & Marvelman.
Musicians on the Bonafide album: Zappacosta and others
White Feather Rec 2004
Tracks: Start Again, Moon Tattoo, Tears Of Hercules, Passion, And We’ll Dance, Take It From Me, Do I Dare, The Dance Is Over, We Should Be Lovers, I’ll Be The One, Chloe, You Thief, Life Disciples, The Hills Of San Sebastian, You Are What You Love & Tu Si Na Cosa Grande.
Musicians on the Start Again album: Alfie Zappacosta, Vernon Dorge, Mark Kelso, George Koller, Marco Luciani, Etric Lyons, Blake Manning, Rob Piltch & Lou Pomanti.
Dark Sided Jewel
White Feather Rec 1999
Tracks: Soda, Squirm, Imposition, Bone, Legs, Home, In Your Arms, Perfect Night, Adilina, Next To You, O Amore & I´ll Be The One.
Musicians on the Dark Sided Jewel album: Alfie Zappacosta, Marco Luciani, Gerry Mosby, Pat Kilbride, Blake Manning, Dennis Keldie, Cladio Vena, Gord Sheard and others.
Sin-drome Records 1995
Tracks: 500 Days, Someone, Orlanda, Give It Away, When I Fall, Show Me, La Sorana, Close Your Eyes, Madonna Che Supressa, Lombard Street, La Toscana & Me & Mrs. Jones.
Musicians on the Innocence Ballet album: Alfie Zappacosta, Carlos del Junco, Etric Lyons, Dennis Keldie, Mike Solosky, Chris O’Brien, Marco Luciani, Robert Occhipinti & Mike Stanutz.
Quick! Don´t Ask Any Questions
A-Zee Records 1990
Tracks: Letter Back, Nothing to Do With Love, Simple Words To Say, Good Intentions, Place On The Beach, The Only One, Mannu´s Dilemma, All Night, Keep Up, I´ll Be The One, Worries Away & Don´t Ask Me.
Musicians on the Quick! …. Don´t Ask Any Questions …… album: Alfie Zappacosta, Marco Luciano, tony Azzopardi, Darren Bowler, The Mozz, Corinne Plommish, Janet Macewen, Sheree Jeacocke, John rutledge, Joel Feeney, tony Carlucci, Earl Seymour and others.
Over 60 Minutes With
Capitol Records 1987
Tracks: Nothing Could Stand In Your Way, We Should Be Lovers, It´s All Been Done Before, Passion, Spread Myself too Thin, When I Fall (In Love Again), Start Again, runaround, I´ll Give It A Go, Turn It On, Another Man´s Gain, Burnin´, i Think About You, You Belong To Me, Heroes, Judgement Day / Can´t Let Go.
Musicians on the Over 60 Minutes With… album: Alfie Zappacosta, Steven Jensen, Bob Rock, Gerry Mosby, Brian MacLeod, Olaf Dashield, Mitch Starkman, Jeff Jones, Gerald O´Brian, Peter Bjerring, Dee Long, Peter Boynton, Chris Taylor, Paul Delaney, Tom Keenleyside, Francine Raymond, J.C. Chale, Marc La France & Paul Janz.
Capitol Records 1986
Tracks: Turn It On, When I Fall (In Love Again), Nothing Could Stand In Your Way, Another Man´s Gain, Judgement Day. Hi-Texodus, You Belong To Me, I Think About You, Burnin´, Nights I Remember & Heroes.
Musicians on the A-Z album: Alfie Zappacosta and others.
Capitol Records 1984
Tracks: Passion, I’ll Give It A Go, We Should Be Lovers, It’s All Been Done Before, Spread Myself Too Thin, Runaround, Can’t Let Go, Start Again, Can You Hear Me & Katie’s Eyes.
Musicians on the Zappacosta album: Alfie Zappacosta, Dee Long, Gerald O’Brien, Gerry Mosby, Jeffrey Jones, Mitch Starkman, Paul Delaney, Peter Boynton & Steve Jensen.