Thirty-six years after he exploded on the music scene, in 1982, Montréal-born guitarist, composer and producer Aldo Caporuscio, a.k.a. Aldo Nova, has decided to re-record six of the 10 songs from his eponymous debut album. It was a classic arena-rock record that featured “Fantasy,+ one of his two biggest commercial hits – the other being Céline Dion’s “A New Day Has Come” (2002) which he co-wrote, arranged, and produced alongside Stephan Moccio.
“That song launched my career!” he says about “Fantasy.” A day-and-a-half in the studio and it was done. Done in a demo form, as the other nine songs. And it’s based on a true story. “I was walking in Manhattan,” says Nova, “and stopped at the corner of Broadway and 40th Street, and the sensation I felt at that moment was that everything I was bombarded with was just a fantasy. The lyrics were written before the music, which was rare for me back then.”
The album would go spend two months on the Billboard charts where it peaked at No. 8.
The storyline of the video is quite over-the-top: three machine-gun-toting men gun down guards near a warehouse at night. As soon as the guns have quieted, a chopper comes throbbing down from the sky and lands on the crime scene. Out of it comes Nova, wearing a skin-tight, leopard-print body suit and, with the help of his accomplices (his musicians, as it turns out), he breaks into said warehouse with his laser-spewing guitar. Cut to the next scene: the band is playing “Fantasy” in that industrial setting. So ‘80s!
City nights / Summer breezes make you feel all right / Neon lights / Shining brightly make your brain ignite
See the girls with the dresses so tight / Give you love, if the price is right / Black or white / In the streets there’s no wrong and no right….
And a few verses later, the coup de grâce:
So forget all you see/It’s not reality, it’s just a fantasy
“Back in 1981, I was playing with a covers band in clubs in Montréal and surrounding areas,” says Nova. “I worked in a music store during the day, then from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., four nights a week, I would play clubs, four sets a night: two disco sets, one rockabilly set, and the last set dressed as a Beatle. Then, I would go to the studio from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. to work on my own songs and after a couple of hours of sleep, I would start all over again.
“‘Fantasy’ wasn’t my favourite song on the album, but seeing the reaction of people around me, it became the single. Writing that song wasn’t hard, but arranging it was a different story. I had to give life to all those sounds I was hearing in my mind. I started with a repetitive drum loop, tagged three guitar chords onto it, and that was the foundation. I used ‘Fantasy’ and nine other songs to build a demo. They ended up being the album, as is.”
“I love SOCAN, they’ve always supported my projects!”
All that was left to do was the mixing, which was handled by New York-based producer and engineer Tony Bongiovi, and the mastering, handled by the legendary Bob Ludwig (Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Queen, Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead, The Police, etc.) – the same guy who, at 74, mastered the tracks on Aldo Nova 2.0.
The new album was launched on Oct. 19, 2018, on MRI. The re-visited songs are heftier, more rock-oriented: “turbo-charged,” as the artist himself puts it. Apart from the six reprised songs – “Fantasy,” “Ball and Chain,” “Heart to Heart,” “Foolin’ Yourself,” “It’s Too Late” and “Can’t Stop Loving You” – Nova offers a new one: “I’m a Survivor,” the video for which is currently under production, although the song is already available on YouTube.
“I’m thrilled by the end result, it sounds much better,” says Nova. “The sound is beefed up, futuristic, it sounds like a production from the 23rd Century! I wanted to preserve the innocence of the songs, but add experience to them. I sing better at 62 than I did at 40. I recorded the album with the same analog technology, but I no longer mix directly on the console; I prefer my computer, which allows me more leeway.”
What advice would the 62-year-old Nova give to the 1982 Nova? “Never trust an agent, manager, or producer.”
Written by: Aldo Nova
Published by: Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Album: Aldo Nova (1982)
Label: Portrait Records (FR37498)