Rob Tognoni Biography, 2008 Website: http://www.robtognoni.com/ From Australia & introduced to Europe by blues master Dave Hole in 1994, Rob Tognoni delivers a 100% powerfully charged experience with every performance. There is simply no compromise, which is strongly evident in his music. After 30 years his explosive guitar playing and unique songs are now being compared with the greats of his genre and have firmly established him in the European venues & festivals as well as gaining many fans of hard blues rock worldwide.
From Australia & introduced to Europe by blues master Dave Hole in 1994, Rob Tognoni delivers a 100% powerfully charged experience with every performance. There is simply no compromise, which is strongly evident in his music. After 30 years his explosive guitar playing and unique songs are now being compared with the greats of his genre and have firmly established him in the European venues & festivals as well as gaining many fans of hard blues rock worldwide.
?When you listen to his music, you hear a 40 year legacy under his searing lead lines??
Total Guitar Magazine UK
?Whilst Rob is a very powerful player, able to bring out power chords and driving riffs, there is also a subtle side to his playing that definitely reflects some of his influences, listed as including BB King, Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad and Tony Joe White??
Blues Matters Magazine UK
?A stunning guitarist with killer licks, and a fine blues rock feel??
Jazz FM, London UK
?Australian Rob Tognoni is one of the finest guitar players around today. His work is a combination of classic rock, blues, and blues/rock and is done with utmost passion and precision??
Bandit Blues Radio USA
?Things picked up again when Rob Tognoni took to the stage, his dexterity on guitar was truly awe-inspiring. Hailing from Tasmania, he played over an hour of songs backed by his technically mind-blowing guitar, and some funky low beats from his bassist.
Armed with a Stratocaster, Tognoni let loose with countless blue's licks. I particularly liked Dark Angel, as well as Bad Girl which was one of his most rocking tracks. It was all impressive, sometimes guitar-led music can get boring when it gets technical to the extreme, but with Tognoni it was just a case of standing back in appreciation for his skills. A true Tasmanian Devil??
Speyside Music Festival Review - Music Vice, UK
?The audience were captured by the rhythm and some people started dancing, but the majority just stared upon Tognoni's hands. His fingers were moving with breath taking speed over the strings of his white guitar. Particularily during his solo parts, people were just stunned and left with their mouths wide open due to his high precision guitar playing. Rob meanwhile stayed totally relaxed, just as if guitar playing was the most natural thing in the world?? K?lnische Rundschau
CROCODILE COUNTRY - 7? Single, ?86 Australia (Sundown)
I GOT YOU - YOU GOT ME - 7? Single, ?89 Australia (Sundown)
I GOT YOU - YOU GOT ME - CD, 12?, 7? EP - The Angels ?Dogs Are Talking?, ?90 Australia (Mushroom/Festival)
UGLIER THAN SIN - Cassette ?EP?, ?91 Australia (Independent)
MELBOURNE 5 - CD, Various, ?93 Australia (St. Andrews Studio / Independent)
STONES & COLOURS - CD, ?95 UK, Europe (Provogue)
WHERE BLUES MEETS ROCK 2 - CD, Various, ?96 UK, Europe (Provogue)
HEADSTRONG - CD, ?97 UK, Europe (Provogue)
WHERE BLUES MEETS ROCK 3 - CD, Various, ?97 UK, Europe (Provogue)
THE FINEST OF HARD ROCK VOL. 4 - CD, Various, ?98 World (EMI)
LIVE AT THE TWILIGHT - CD, ?99 UK, Europe (Provogue)
MONKEYGRINDER - CD, ?01 UK, Europe (Provogue)
WHERE BLUES MEETS ROCK 4 - CD, Various, ?01 UK, Europe (Provogue)
WHERE BLUES MEETS ROCK 5 - CD, Various, ?03 UK, Europe (Provogue)
RETRO SHAKIN' - CD, ?03 UK, Europe (Independent)
SHAKIN' THE DEVIL'S HAND - LIVE IN EUROPE ? CD, ?05 UK, Europe, US, Canada (Dixiefrog)
THE IRONYARD - CD, ?06 UK, Europe (Independent)
CAPITAL WAH - CD, ?07 UK, Europe (Independent)
CAPITAL WAH - CD, ?08 World (Music Avenue)
HIGHLIGHTS 1994 - 2007
This year saw the independant release of the Capital Wah CD with an extensive European tour as well as a first time performance in Canada.
Because of the success of the Capital Wah CD, it was picked up by Brussels Label MUSIC AVENUE / MAUSOLEUM RECORDS for world-wide release in February 2008.
Rob was also invited to record a BBC 2 Session in London for the Paul Jones Show on Oct. 1st. This year has seen a steep rise in popularity in the UK with 2 tours announced for May & October 2008.
This year saw the release of Rob's 7th CD - The Ironyard. It sold out on the tour which commenced in mid-March and finished mid-June. For the first time, the Czech Republic was included.
Rob also had the honour to represent Australia and perform at the FIFA World Cup match Australia v Japan at Kaiserslautern in June. (Australia defeated Japan 3 ? 1 :-))
Touring Europe from April ? October supporting the new release Shakin' The Devil's Hand - Live In Europe. (Dixiefrog)
Rob was invited to open the Rock N Royal Festival in Copenhagen on May 7th in honour of the Royal Wedding between Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson. Rob performed the Australian National Anthem in a guitar ?duel? with D-A-D (Disneyland After Dark) lead guitarist Jacob Binzer, who played the Danish National Anthem, to a stadium audience of 45,000. The Royal event was televised throughout Scandinavia to an audience of 2.5 million in Denmark alone.
The only other Australian representitives at the event were Brisbane band Powderfinger.
Rob's popularity keeps on growing and was reflected in his 2004 European Spring tour from March - June. (with new bass guitarist Uwe B?ttcher ) The tour included The Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Norway, Italy, Denmark and Belgium.
Tracks from the Sweden Rock Festival performance in 2003 plus tracks recorded live at Radio 21, Brussels, Belgium have been compiled for release to coincide with the 2005 European tour. The live CD will be titled Live In Europe and will be released through Europe and North America by Dixiefrog. (France)
Rob's debut gig at the Kwadendamme Blues Festival (Holland) on May 10th with his new band was a huge success. With Christian Sch?bben on drums and Albert Zander on bass (both from Germany), the new Rob Tognoni Band also caused a storm at the Sweden Rock Festival in early June. The set was recorded by Swedish National Radio and was broadcast throughout Sweden along with Yes, Jethro Tull and Uriah Heep.
In Febuary, Rob ended his 6 year deal with Provogue/Mascot Records and commenced his own label Electric-Renegade. The new album Retro Shakin' was released as a limited edition via the internet only during the month of July. The CD sold out by the end of that month. The CD has been reissued and is currently available.
The Monkeygrinder CD was released in April and is shaping up to be Rob's most successful release. The April tour also proved to be very successful, with 27 shows in 28 days. This was the first tour Rob Tognoni Power Blues Rock toured as a trio. (without a rhythm guitarist)
The new CD Monkeygrinder was completed in early December & scheduled for European release Mid-April 2001.
The live album recorded in Belgium in ?98 was released in September titled Live At The Twilight and was followed in November by a tour.
During the tour of October a live album was recorded in Belgium to be released in ?99, also Tognoni & band performed at the Leverkusener Jazztage Festival in Germany which has been televised throughout Germany & Austria 5 times to date by popular demand.
The follow up Headstrong CD was released in January again achieving excellent reviews. This year saw a successful 8 week European summer festival tour including another invitation to play the main stage at Mydtfyns replacing Midnight Oil to open for Sting.
Dave Hole went on to produce the Stones And Colours CD which was released through Europe in September ?95. The CD was an immediate success and received critical acclaim. This caused enough positive reaction to begin the first European tour in February ?96. In July of that year Tognoni and the band were invited to play the main stage at the prestigious Midtfyns Festival in Denmark to excellent press reaction.
Rob Tognoni's international debut came in ?94 when Australian slide-guitar maestro Dave Hole on hearing Tognoni's songs helped set-up a record deal with Provogue/Mascot Records in The Netherlands.
HISTORY 1960 - 1994
Born Robert John Tognoni in Ulverstone, on Tasmania's North-West Coast in 1960, Rob's childhood was fairly sheltered from music except for his mother's singing around home and her pantomime performances as ?Al Jolson? in local community halls. Tasmania in the 1960's was isolated and blues music was not that well known except for white country gospel music until the early 1970's.
Around 1972, Rob began to listen to his older sister's records and started to discover diversities of music from BB King, Billy Thorpe And The Aztecs, Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad, Tony Joe White to Elton John & Slade. Rob didn't discriminate between blues, blues rock or pop?it was all great to his ears, it all seemed to have it's place.
In early 1974 Rob suffered a blow that deeply affected him. His Italian immigrant father was struck by a car and subsequently killed. Soon after, Rob became obsessed with the guitar as an escape from his depression regarding his father's death.
The defining musical moment in Rob's life was by chance at the age of 14 going to see a relatively new band on the scene touring from mainland Australia - AC/DC. He could not believe what he heard?this was it, this incredible power with high charged guitars.
Rob started churning out those simple, basic power chords made famous by this influential band. But something else was developing?more than just the power chords. An emotive blues feel was becoming more evident in his playing, and as quoted a few years later by a local newspaper journalist ?
?Rob could become one of the world's best blues players if he gets the right breaks??
Rob spent the 1970's absorbing and learning as much guitar as he possibly could, jamming with school classmates and anybody else that would be willing. When asked by his concerned high-school headmaster what career path he was seeking, Rob simply answered? ?Guitar player.?
After leaving school in 1976, Rob did various jobs from grocery packer, bulldozer operator to geological draftsman. In 1977 he wrote his first song - Jim Beam Blues, which has proven to be one of the favourite live songs in his set today.
In 1983, a year after his marriage to Leonnie and birth of their only daughter Anastasia, he decided to start a band with the intention of his own style of song writing and guitar playing.
With the influences of Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC and blues masters of the likes of BB King, Rob and some local musicians started Skidrow Boys. The band enjoyed the chance to gig in clubs around Tasmania, but within 2 years Rob felt the need to move on to improve and gain the much needed experience that has been honed into his style and playing today.
In late 1985 Rob moved to Melbourne and managed to secure a job with a touring covers band playing chart material. Not used to playing this style he decided to quit the band as soon as a replacement was found. The replacement was found in Queensland so Rob and his family settled in the cane growing town of Nambour.
At this stage of his career he had never sang and was forced into the position when the new band that he was putting together could not find a suitable singer - The Outlaws formed.
Within 4 months The Outlaws had gone on to collect 3 categories at the 20th Annual Queensland Rock Awards at the Roxy in Brisbane at the end of 1986. (Best guitarist, best drummer and best band) Tognoni and band had earned themselves a reputation of not tolerating bullshit and refusing to bow to trends within the industry?this built up a huge following for the band.
The Outlaws located to Melbourne in late 1989 and were invited by cult Australian band The Angels (Angel City) who inspired bands such as Guns ?n' Roses, to place a then recent demo song of Rob's, I Got You ? You Got Me on The Angels upcoming EP release, The Dogs Are Talking in May 1990 along with The Hurricanes and the then newly formed Baby Animals. The Outlaws changed their name to The Desert Cats just before the release.
Backed by a 4 week national tour the bands played sell-out gigs and achieved #7 on the Australian Mainstream Charts. The release achieved gold status. Previous to this, Rob was approached by management to form the Baby Animals with Suze DeMarchi. Believing in his own music, he turned the offer down.
The Desert Cats disbanded due to poor third party management. Trying to pick up the pieces, Rob re-assembled the Outlaws with a new line up but the band failed to gain sufficient industry attention so it disbanded for the last time in 1992. During their career the band had played with many greats including Lonnie Mack, Joe Walsh & the late Roy Buchanan.
Rob then decided to head back to Queensland where he played acoustic guitar in restaurants for the following years to scratch out a living.
?I was living in Queensland playing in restaurants to make a living after spending years performing around Australia trying to secure a long term record deal from a label that truly believed in what I was about. I received a phone call from an old buddy of mine, Mark McCormack in Melbourne (approx. 2000km south) who had a recording studio. He asked me to come to Melbourne to record a couple of songs for free. He even paid for the bus ticket. ?
?I needed two new songs, so in a period of a week, I wrote The Good Die Young (a song about my deceased father) and a fun, meaningless kind of a song called Itty Bitty Mama. I organized by phone a few other buddies from Melbourne to play with me at Marks studio. ?
?We recorded the songs over two days and I headed back to Queensland with a cassette copy. I always had a strong belief in what I was doing but hope was beginning to fade as I was becoming increasingly jaded? ?
?Two years previous to this, I had seen on TV, an Australian guitarist by the name of Dave Hole get a record deal from Alligator Records in the US. I was so thrilled to see someone from Australia get the break they deserve - and he deserved it. I wrote him a letter c/o the TV station to congratulate him. Dave received the letter and wrote back to me.?
? Two years later and out of pure frustration, I sent the cassette of ?The Good Die Young? & ?Itty Bitty Mama? to Dave along with the letter he had sent back to me two years previous?he remembered?and phoned me. He said he was heading to Europe for a tour and was going to present the two songs to his record company there.
Two months later?I received a phone call from the label, offering me a deal. I have since released 4 albums with them and have toured Europe annually since?
I invited Mark (McCormack) to engineer my first album and co-produce my second?and paid him back for the bus fare!?