Drawing from his many years singing with the legendary rock band Boston, Fran Cosmo makes his Maui debut on Saturday in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
"We're going to play a lot of Boston songs, that's for sure," says Cosmo. "A lot of the old big hits that people will enjoy like 'More Than a Feeling' and 'Long Time.' The show has a lot of energy."
The former Boston lead vocalist is now fronting a band that features his guitarist son, Anthony Cosmo, who also played with the popular rock band.
Backing Fran Cosmo (second from right) are Tom Moonan (from left), Rusty Foulke, Mick Brooks and Anthony Cosmo
Boston's debut album, released in 1976, was an enormous success. With three hit singles - "More Than a Feeling," "Long Time" and "Peace of Mind" - it ranks as one of the top best-selling debut recordings in U.S. history with over 17 million copies sold. Probably the least prolific rock band, since that debut, they've only released five albums in three decades.
Before joining Boston, Cosmo had sung on a solo album by the band's guitarist, Barry Goudreau, which served as a prelude to the formation of Orion the Hunter. Together they released the hit single "So You Ran." Soon after, Cosmo was invited to join Boston and sang on the multi-platinum album "Walk On."
Several years later, "Corporate America" was released, featuring Cosmo on lead vocals on four of the album's tracks, and marked the return of original lead singer, Brad Delp, to the line-up. The band embarked on a national tour that featured both Delp and Cosmo performing together on stage.
'We're going to play a lot of Boston songs, that's for sure. A lot of the old big hits that people will enjoy '
- Fran Cosmo
"You couldn't get anything better than that," Cosmo enthuses about singing with Delp. "We used to switch around vocals, and it was hard to for people to tell who was singing. He was one of my best friends from way back, and I think we were one of the best teams in rock."
Cosmo's son's introduction to Boston came after band founder Tom Scholz heard a tape of Anthony Cosmo's band, SuperCell, in 1997. Scholz brought him on board to co-write several songs for the "Corporate America" album. Since 2003, he has played guitar with Boston on back-to- back headlining tours.
"He wrote some songs for the record and I sang them in the studio, and that's how he got involved with two tours," Cosmo says of Anthony's arrival in the group.
So what's it like playing in a band with a son?
"It's fun, it's different, but it's cool," he reports.
When he's not touring with his own band, Cosmo performs with the World Classic Rockers, an ensemble of seasoned musicians including members of Steppenwolf, Santana, Toto, Journey and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
"I sing the Boston songs on it," he notes. "It's a good band, well rounded."
For the future he's working on a new record and plans a release next summer.
* The Fran Cosmo Band plays Castle Theater at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20, $35 and $50 plus applicable fees, plus a limited number of Gold Circle tickets at $300, available at the MACC box office, 242-7469 or www.mauiarts.org.
Renowned chant master Krishna Das returns to our island with his kirtan band to present an evening of sublime chanting and music on Wednesday at The Studio Maui.
Krishna Das helped transform the Hindu practice of singing divine praises into an accessible form that many people, including some leading musicians, have embraced. Sting sang on Das' album "Pilgrim Heart," one of the Beastie Boys added his voice to the celestial choir on another album, and Steely Dan's Walter Becker and Def Leppard's drummer Rick Allen played prominent roles on his "All One" recording.
"It's the best gig you could have," he says. "This is my practice and I get the most out of it. This is what plugs me in and to do it so intensely and so many times it keeps me moving into myself. It's just an offering of let's get together and chant. Chanting is like taking time off to feed your heart and to let go of tension."
His latest CD, "Heart as Wide as the World," will be released in March, and will be more rock-flavored than any previous release. Musicians featured on the album include drummer Jerry Marotta, who has worked with Peter Gabriel and Sarah McLachlan, and former Pat Metheny Group bassist Mark Egan.
* Krishna Das will lead chanting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at The Studio Maui. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 day of show.
Among the Maui residents just honored with Grammy Award nominations, pianist/composer Peter Kater was nominated for Best New Age Album for his "In a Dream" collaboration with Sting's guitarist, Dominic Miller, and singer Kenny Loggins. This popular, multi-platinum-selling pianist has received six Grammy nominations in the last seven years, and he's just released a new CD for the holidays, "Piano Christmas."
"I'm excited. This record for me represents a lot of things," says Peter. "I've been a fan of Dominic's music for years, and I've known Kenny for 15 years and have been on a couple of his records. Dominic and I are going to do another record and tour next year."
Living on Maui for about a year and a half, Peter recently felt inspired to start working on a new project paying homage to our migrating whales. He had planned to paddle out into the ocean, conduct some video documenting and whale sound recording, and use this material to create a new studio work.
However the proposed project ignited a firestorm of protest and he has shelved it.
"I sent out an e-mail and got a dozen threatening e-mails and phone calls threatening to sue me, throw me in jail and shut me down because I was harassing the whales," he reveals. "I was blown away, it was a total surprise. I was planning to get as close as I can without breaking any laws. I think the whales are so amazing, and just I wanted to dedicate a record to them."
Kater had planned to utilize the fundraising services of the innovative U.K.-based company Pledge Music for the whale project. Pledge Music allows artists to seek to raise money from fans, asking them to pledge in return for future incentives including downloads, CDs and gig tickets. A number of established artists are now contemplating the fan-funded route.
"The reason why there are companies like this with new models for connecting musicians and fans, enabling musicians to make an income, is because of MP3s - literally the business will never be the same," says Peter.
"Musicians are having to come up with new ideas. So what do people want from musicians they admire? They want more personal contact, so you could skype into a recording session and mixing session. I'd pay money to view a band in the studio I really loved. Thousands of musicians are now going, 'What the hell? We used to be able to sell CDs. There was an easy way to make a living from doing our art, but not anymore.' "
The Maui Pops Orchestra presents its annual Holiday Pops concert at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater. The festive show includes carols, popular holiday music and classical favorites performed by the orchestra conducted by Jim Durham.
Soprano Leighanna Locke, whose most recent credits include Maria in "The Sound of Music" with Maui On Stage, will be featured on "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" from "Phantom of the Opera." Other highlights include "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and a special arrangement of "Silent Night," accompanied by harpist Kristine Snyder. Waldteufel's "Skater's Waltz" and Leopold Stokowski's arrangement of Bach's "Toccata and Fugue" will be among the afternoon's highlights.
* Tickets are $36, $26, $21 and $10 plus applicable fees, kids 12 and younger, half-price, available as above.