Rob Tognoni

TrackAlbum
The Good Die YoungStones And Colours
Stones And ColoursHeadstrong
Peregian / Roosevelt & Ira LeeLive At The Twilight
Revenge Of The MonkeygrinderMonkeygrinder
Product Of A Southern LandRock And Roll Live
Words Of A Desperate ManThe Ironyard
Blue Butterfly (Seven Reasons)Energy Red
Stolen HeartCasino Placebo
2010db2010db
Ballad Of Julie-AnnCapital Wah

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Contributor: Ian Ashleigh

Rob Tognoni is a Tasmanian blues-rocker who had to pay his dues for 15 years before being offered a record deal. Since 1995, he has released 15 quality albums and whilst he doesn’t have a big following in the UK he does on Continental Europe, mainly Belgium and Germany. The following is extracted from Rob’s own website.

Born Robert John Tognoni in Ulverstone, on Tasmania’s North-West Coast in 1960, Rob Tognoni’s father was an Italian immigrant. Tasmania in the 1960s was isolated and blues music was not that well known except for white country gospel music until the early 1970s.

Around 1972, Rob began to listen to his older sister’s records and started to discover diversities of music from B.B. King, Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad and Tony Joe White to Elton John and Slade. Tognoni didn’t discriminate between blues, blues rock or pop; it was all music, it all seemed to have its place.

In early 1974, Tognoni suffered a blow that deeply affected him. His father was killed in a car accident. Soon after, Rob became obsessed with the guitar as an escape from his depression regarding his father’s death. The Good Die Young is Rob Tognoni’s tribute to his father.

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. Tognoni 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.

Tognoni spent the 1970s absorbing and learning as much guitar as he possibly could jamming with school class mates 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, Tognoni 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 a mainstay of his live set to this day.

In 1983, Tognoni started 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, Tognoni and some local musicians started Skidrow Boys. The band enjoyed the chance to gig in clubs around Tasmania, but within two years Tognoni 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, Tognoni 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. Until this point, Tognoni had never sung and was forced into the position when the new band that he was putting together could not find a suitable singer.

After this band faded, Tognoni 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 he did. Then Tognoni received a phone call from an old buddy, Mark McCormack in Melbourne (approx. 2000 km south of Queensland) who had a recording studio. He asked Tognoni to come to Melbourne to record a couple of songs for free. McCormack even paid for the bus ticket.

Tognoni needed two new songs, so in a period of a week wrote The Good Die Young and a fun, meaningless kind of a song called Itty Bitty Mama. The songs were recorded over two days and Tognoni headed back to Queensland with a cassette copy. He always had a strong belief in what he was doing but hope was beginning to fade as he was becoming increasingly jaded.

Two years previous to this, Tognoni had seen on TV, an Australian guitarist by the name of Dave Hole get a record deal from Alligator Records in the US. He was so thrilled to see someone from Australia get the break they deserved and wrote Dave Hole a letter via the TV station to congratulate him. Hole received the letter and wrote back. Two years later and out of pure frustration, Tognoni sent the cassette of The Good Die Young & Itty Bitty Mama to Hole along with the letter he had sent back two years previously. Hole remembered the letter and phoned Tognoni. 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 Tognoni received a phone call from the label offering him a deal. He subsequently released his first four albums with them and has since toured Europe annually. Mark McCormack engineered the first album and co-produced the second by way of Tognoni paying him back for the bus fare.

Now on to the music:

The first album was Stones And Colours (1995) that includes the aforementioned The Good Die Young and Itty Bitty Mama and also Crossword Blues written for Tognoni by Dave Hole.

Headstrong (1997) is my favourite of the Rob Tognoni albums and, confusingly, includes the track Stones And Colours and also Jim Beam Blues. Tognoni has never been afraid to cover songs by others and the album contains a version of Baby Please Don’t Go which is also a live favourite and Tony Joe White’s Roosevelt and Ira Lee which I have included from 1999’s Live At The Twilight and which is preceded by a short instrumental, Peregian.

2001 saw the release of Monkeygrinder with the opening track Revenge Of The Monkeygrinder and another favourite, Product Of A Southern Land. I have included the version from Rock and Roll Live (2010) to illustrate the longevity of the song.

Words Of A Desperate Man comes from The Ironyard (2008) and is another out and out rocker. Tognoni shows his gentle side again with Blue Butterfly (Seven Reasons) on Energy Red (2012). The next two tracks are pure power blues rock; Stolen Heart comes from his most recent album, Casino Placebo (2013), 2010db is the title track of 2009’s offering and finally we go back to 2008 and the release of Capital Wah for the pop rock of The Ballad Of Julie-Ann.

If you like your blues rock loud, proud and Australian, look no further than Rob Tognoni. The albums are all available as downloads from the Rob Tog website.

Rob Tognoni – The Tasmanian Devil – official website

TopperPost #232

2 Comments

  1. David Lewis
    Mar 24, 2014

    Another amazing artist, who I’ve not heard of before. Thanks Ian.

    • Ian Ashleigh
      Mar 24, 2014

      My pleasure David, and one of your compatriots too. Enjoy and catch him live at some time.

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