Photo by Brian Rose
Playing with Suzanne Vega: from
1989 to 1993
A native of Long Island, New York, Frank
Vilardi received his bachelor's degree in music performance
from the Hartt College of Music at the University of
Hatford, where he wasthe first percussion student at
Hartt allowed to play drum set (not part of the school's
program) performing Chick Corea's 'Spain' with a quartet.
Frank worked as a studio musician in New York performing
on records, movie soundtracks and jingles. Frank has
played with innumerable underground New York bands as
well as being for some time a member of Warner Brothers
recording act Grace Pool, that briefly featured Shawn
Frank Vilardi's credits include the "Ghostbusters"
soundtrack, and works with, among others, Mink Deville,
Rosie ODonnell, The Manhattans, Peter Frampton,
Al Green, Howard Stern, Naked Eyes, Jim Carroll, Rosanne
Cash, Shawn Colvin, Celine Dion, Anna Domino, Gloria
Gaynor, Jewel, Lucy Kaplansky, Bobby McFerrin, Suzzy
Roche, Southside Johnny, Rod Stewart, Curtis Stigers,
Phoebe Snow and Ina May and Wool. In addition Frank
has done movie soundtracks, corporate shows, and hundreds
of TV and radio jingles
Frank Vilardi replaced Stephen Ferrera
as Suzanne Vega's drummer in 1989. He participated in
the recording of "Days of Open Hand" (1990)
the following album "99.9°F" (1992), doing
the respective tours with Suzanne Vega until the end
|How did it happen
that you joined the Suzanne Vega band?
There were auditions being held in
the spring of 1989 for a European tour that Summer,
they were still doing some shows to support "Solitude
Standing" as well as trying out some new material
for the next album ("Days Of Open Hand").
I was able to secure an audition through my good friend,
guitarist Marc Schulman,
who I had worked with extensively over the previous
What, according to you, did
your way of playing bring to the live performance of
At the time I think I was able to
learn execute the parts they needed very quickly and
add some spark and creativity. We also all got along
great and had a great time on the tour.
What are your main music influences,
and musicians you look up to?
Wow, I can really go on here, but
it starts with the Beatles, Motown, and Stax, &
The Band. There are so many great drummers, but my absolute
favorites besides Ringo are probably Steve Gadd &
Apart from playing with Suzanne,
which are the other projects, you have been participating
in, that you're more proud of?
Every project is unique and I loved
my time with Suzanne, and would really love to work
with her again. I've been involved in so many other
things over the years and give 100% to each, so I'm
not more proud of any one thing. Just check out the
to see who I've been involved with and what's coming
the characteristics of Suzanne's music that attract
you the most, both as a musician and as a listener?
Suzanne is the best lyricist
I've ever worked with. Her melodic sense is incredible
and at the same time sneaky simple, which is what
makes her such a great song writer. As a singer
I think she is unique, very underrated.
interview by Josť Carlos Maltez (January 2007)
Last Update: December 10, 2006
Copyright © 2004 José Carlos