SCOPERISE:  What is your first memory of you singing or playing music?


DANTE: Playing my father’s piano.  My sister and I were exposed to music at a very early age as my mother and father would sing us kids nursery rhymes and rehearse in the lounge room.  If we drove anywhere in the car together there were always sing-a-longs.  Like 'There's a Hole in my Bucket', 'Ten Green Bottles' and 'The Lady Who Swallowed a Fly'.


My father was a music teacher and instrumentalist, my mother a singer and my sister played a bit of guitar and was a dancer in Tasmanian dance group ‘The Byronettes’) Dad played recorder in a duo with renowned Australian classical guitarist Sadie BishopSo that was my first memory of seeing a live performance.


SCOPERISE:  How old were you when you started singing and or playing music?


DANTE: 12 years old. I started to learn violin, trumpet and music theory at high school where I played in Brass Bands and Youth Orchestras.  I started to learn guitar in 1973 when I picked out the chords to ‘Brain Damage’ on an acoustic guitar just after buying Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album in Canberra.  I had gone to visit Stephen in Canberra and I blew my entire $6 holiday budget buying the album on the first day.  So Stephen suggested we only play side 1 that day and then play side 2 the next.  That way it would be as though I had spent the money over 2 days rather than 1.  The irony of that was two of the tracks on the album were called 'Time' and 'Money'.  Needless to say we couldn't resist playing it several times over and over on the first day.


A few years later I picked up Bass guitar and played it at a country and western gig with my drummer mate. As far as vocals go, I joined a madrigal group as a Tenor and recorded  vocals on my own tracks including harmonies.


SCOPERISE:  When did you first record music?


DANTE: Around 1973 I recorded a version of ‘The Ying Yong Yong’ by The Goons.  My friend Stephen and I used a Revox tape deck with half/double speed for the chipmunk effect.  Stephen (Sadie Bishop’s son) aka George Washing Machine also had a musical background and later performed guitar and vocals with his band 'The Dead Ringers'.



SCOPERISE:  What other instruments would you like to be able to play?


DANTE: Saxophone, like Dick Parry or John Helliwell.  When the DX7 came out I loved the sax sound it could make especially with a breath controller so that became a solo sound feature on many of my recordings.  Sax is probably one of the coolest and most expressive instruments ever invented.



SCOPERISE:  What styles of music did you like when you were younger?


DANTE: Pop, rock, progressive rock, jazz fusion, electronic. I went to Hawthorn West primary school and every day after school I would go to a friends house who had a Telly and watch The Beatles cartoons.  Those early Beatles hits really took a hold in my head. Also in the 60's I started getting into Crystal Sets (DIY radios that didn't need batteries).  So in the garden with a good earth and aerial I could pick up pop stations and listen to The Carpenters, The Kinks, The Moody Blues and Cilla Black etc.


In the 70's I had moved to Tasmania and a school friend got me into the Australian record club where I amazed to receive 6 albums at once.  Slade Alive, T-Rex 'Get It On', Santana 'Caravanserai', Led Zeppelin IV, Jethro Tull 'Thick As A Brick' and Emerson Lake and Palmer 'Pictures At An Exhibition'.


SCOPERISE:  Do you prefer listening to a particular style/genre or have a general appreciation of music?


DANTE: Particular styles (as above).  My musical taste hasn't changed too much over the years as my main connection with modern popular styles has been through reality shows such as 'Australian Idol' and 'The Voice'


SCOPERISE: Which other bands, solo artists etc composers influenced you or whose music you've liked over the years?


DANTE: Mid late 70's I got into Jazz Rock Fusion listening to John McLaughlin with the Mahavishu Orchestra, Chick Korea, Jean Luc Ponty.



SCOPERISE:  What other career paths have you taken throughout the years?


DANTE: Taxation (public service) and computer programming – commercial and corporate software development. Music has been a hobby for me, not my career.  But I enjoy them both pretty much equally.  I have often wondered if things were the other way around whether that would have been different.  My mother used to say music and programming both came from my visual cognition, but later research suggests the brain is not nearly as dichotomous as once thought.  So that's kind of intriguing.