Il Divo To Tour North America This Spring, Summer
Il Divo is doing a lot of traveling in 2012. The pop-opera quartet launches “Il Divo & Orchestra in Concert World Tour” on March 22 at the O2 World in Berlin, Germany. After a slew of dates all over Europe, the handsome foursome comes to North America. That leg of their global trek begins May 17 in Windsor, Ontario. Their route has them selling Il Divo tickets all over the United States and Canada including stops in Toronto, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. As it stands now, the group’s last performance in the New World is Aug. 19 in Denver, Colorado.
By the time 2012 comes to an end, Il Divo will have played dozens of shows on six continents. The troupe is touring to support their latest album, Wicked Game. The opus dropped in late November of 2011 and contains the songs “Dove L’Amore,” “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, “Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro),” and the title track, Chris Issack’s “Wicked Game.”
Il Divo is known for three things: their beautiful singing voices, their amazing concerts, and being the brainchild of music executive Simon Cowell. Inspired by hearing Andrea Bocelli on The Sopranos, Cowell launched a worldwide search for four singers that would be willing to give his idea a try. Cowell had to audition singers for two years, from 2001 through the end of 2003, to find his four men: Urs Buhler (Swiss baritone), Sebastien Izambard (French singer), Carlos Marin (Spanish tenor), and David Miller (American tenor). The group recorded and released their first album in 2004.
In anticipation of the upcoming Il Divo tour, Best Show Tickets starting thinking about famous auditions related to rock and/or pop bands. We all have this romantic notion of four childhood friends coming together and organically forming a band. Of course, it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, there’s just not enough talent on your block. When that happens, you have to hold an audition.
Famous Auditions In Rock/Pop History
The Rhoads Less Traveled
During an interview in 1979, heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne mentioned that he needed a lead guitarist for his new band. The interviewers, several editors of Raw Power Magazine, suggested he audition Randy Rhoads. At the time, Rhoads was the lead guitarist for Quiet Riot but was leaving the band very soon. Ozzy thought it was a good idea. A friend of a friend reached Rhoads to see if he was interested. He was and an audition was scheduled. Prior to his tryout, Rhoads set up his practice amp, put on his Les Paul guitar, and began warming up. Little did he know that Ozzy was listening. Even though Rhoads was basically playing scales, the Prince of Darkness loved what he heard and hired Rhoads on the spot. The guitarist was shocked. He told Ozzy “You didn’t even hear me yet?” The story loses some of its appeal when you learn that Ozzy was drunk out of his gourd and passed out shortly after hearing Rhoads play, but it’s a great anecdote nonetheless.
“…I Hope We Pass The Audition!”
It’s hard to believe that the greatest rock band of all-time would have to audition for anything, but they did. After all, on New Year’s Day 1961 they were just another band. The Beatles played 15 songs (three original Lennon-McCartney compositions) for Tony Meehan, producer and former drummer of The Shadows, at a recording session held at Decca Studios in North London. After hearing the recordings, many of which have been released, the bean counters at Decca passed on The Beatles. They instead signed that pioneering, history-altering, seminal band of the 1960s, The Tremeloes. Decca’s decision to reject The Beatles is widely considered the worst mistake in the history of popular music.
“Hey! Hey! We’re The Monkees”
Stephen Stills auditioned for The Monkees. That fact is one of rock’s oldest and most prominent bits of trivia. If rock was taught in school, you’d learn that tidbit on day one. It is of course true. Stephen Stills did audition for The Monkees. What isn’t true, and what most people think happened, is he was turned down because he wasn’t photogenic enough and/or lacked talent. That notion was conceived to disparage The Monkees. You know how it goes. Detractors say stuff like “The Monkees were so bad they turned down Stephen Stills who went on to make it big in legitimate rock bands like Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash.” Actually, Stills was passed over for the fabricated rock band because he was under contract with another record label. The audition process must have been a positive experience because he suggested to the producers that they hire Peter Tork.
“Collins” All Singers
Sometimes what you’re looking for is right in front of you but you don’t even know it. In 1976, Peter Gabriel left Genesis. This meant the British progressive rock outfit needed a new lead singer. The band went about auditioning 400 hopefuls before settling on Phil Collins. It sounds like a rock and roll fantasy until you learn that Collins was already in Genesis. He was their drummer. Furthermore, he coached the would-be crooners through the audition process. It took a lot of time and energy for the band to realize they had Gabriel’s replacement all along. He was the balding dude behind the drum kit.
“Name Band, Synthesize, Must Be Under Twenty-One”
The great Vince Clarke left Depeche Mode in November of 1981. Feeling like they needed a replacement, the band posted an anonymous ad in Melody Maker that read “Name band, synthesize, must be under twenty-one.” I wonder if they wanted a cover letter and a CV too? Alan Wilder responded to the ad and eventually got the gig after two auditions. This was quite impressive considering Wilder was 22. He joined the group on a trial basis in early 1982. For a while, he was only a touring musician but after Depeche Mode proved they could record without Clarke, Wilder became a full-fledge member. He would be the band’s ipso facto musical director until his departure in 1995.
Slash Avoids The Poison
In September of 1984, Slash auditioned for Poison. He didn’t get it. Slash did make it to the final three though. It came down to him, Steve Silva, and C.C. Deville. Even though Bret Michaels and Bobby Dall didn’t particularly care for Deville they picked him anyway. Apparently, they liked his “fire” more than they liked the fact that Slash was a guitar god. Some say Poison passed on Slash because he didn’t have a “glam” image. Whatever the reason think of how different rock would have been had Slash joined Poison and not Guns N’ Roses.
The Mitch Mitchell Experience
This may all be apocryphal but who cares. They are great stories. Mitch Mitchell was the drummer for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. To get that gig he had to pass an audition. Things went well and it came down to him and Aynsley Dunbar. So how did Jimi end up selecting Mitchell over Dunbar who is now considered one of the greatest drummers in the history of rock music? They flipped a coin.
Years later, after Jimi Hendrix’s death, Mitchell was looking for a new gig and was asked to jam with Keith Emerson and Greg Lake (before Hendrix’s death there was talk of all four of them forming a band). Had it gone well, the world might have been introduced to a new band called “Emerson, Lake & Mitchell.” However, the jam session did not go well. Emerson and Lake soured on the drummer after he showed up with a bunch of heavily armed bodyguards. Instead, they hired 20-year-old Carl Palmer. What’s definitely not apocryphal is in 1974 Mitchell unsuccessfully auditioned for Wings. Paul gave the job to Geoff Britton who would play on just one album, Venus and Mars.