Far be it from me to demur from an incendiary headline, in which I accuse people of saying things they didn’t say. Although, I’m not a journalist, so:
- It doesn’t come natural to me
- I feel the odd twinge of guilt even if I do say it, and then don’t square the story.
- CNN REALLY overshot their azimuth.
Ken Tamplin is a world-renowned vocal coach, musician, singer, producer and intrepid long hair that tries to improve the lives, fortunes, chances and dulcet-tones of other singers. Word on the street is, he’s got the goods. He also has a lot of known-singers that have gone to him to up their game. But I didn’t come around to Ken Tamplin because of that. I know him because of this picture:
That’s him second from the right. Now before anyone in the room starts to wade in with some snarky, Wayne Newton meets David Coverdale comparative mic-drop–stand down right now. You will not wreck my childhood with crass references to glam rock. I simply will not allow it.
This was Christian metal band called “Shout.” These records were straight-ahead tour-de-forces of sound, with Tamplin providing the plethoric amount of scales, riffs, arpeggios and glissandos. Sure, the vocal harmonies are layered to the horizon. And sure, the Christian genre has not always been taken seriously, outside the realms of Petra, Stryper and Resurrection Band. But Tamplin has always played in a larger musical sandbox, and has made friends all around the rock world. This record alone sees contributions from Alex Masi, Joey Price, Lanny Cordola, marty Friedman and Michael Angelo.
He’d have probably gotten Ronnie James Dio in on it, as he did manage to sing on a 1980 Christian album by Kerry Livrgren. If anyone could’ve pulled it off it would have been him.
Anyways, a few things about Tamplin:
- He regularly posts videos summarizing technique or styling of famous singers.
- He has most likely thrown away the unsightly, blue lamai jacket.
- He does not feature other singers directly on his channel.
This was, until Dino Jelusic came along. Now I consider myself a reasonably-competent connoisseur of strong lead vocals. I do actually sing, and therefore I know a bit about the craft. I even have a few friends in high places that let me sit next to them and play a guitar while they do this craft. So I cruise around the musical ocean like an auditory Mako shark waiting for the next suprise to come along.
One day, I’m sitting on my couch when a friend sends me this video:
The first thing I see is weathering guitar hero of mine, George Lynch, being as cool as George Lynch always is. I can never turn down a chance to listen to George do what George does with aplomb, style and grit. He also plays in like 35 bands of varying connecting ligaments, so he’s always working. Always. That doesn’t even take into consideration his endless studio contributions. A genuine hired gun, and that’s a compliment. Chances are, he’ll appear on a Partridge Family reunion album, if they ever decide to punch up their version of Like a Roller Coaster. If they know what’s good for them.
So anyway, this Dino character starts in and well, the rest is history for me. Even if you’re a reader of mine and don’t like the heavier music, just give the kid’s pipes a chance here. That confounded Eddie Trunk isn’t listening to my emails. If he interviews Alice Cooper one more time without interviewing this guy, I’m going to . . . um, . . . keep emailing him.
Anyway, I found out that aside from his primary membership in the Croatian-based hard rock band, Animal Drive, he was also part of the West Coast Trans-Siberian Orchestra lineup and he was coming my way. Hadta. Hadta see him live. Turns out, he’s not a studio creation, not some hackneyed, auto-tuned rock effigy with good hair and golden-ratio good looks. Guy’s got some chops. I know. Trust me. But also trust me. Paul Stanley is Lip-Synching. It’s a sad world.
Without a doubt, Ken Tamplin was idling in the same general cycles of vocal appreciation that I was when he swerved into the S.S. Jelusic. Thus, his assertion that he felt it would be “criminal” if this singer didn’t get more exposure. Especially now since this COVID-19, whatever-you-want-to-call-it has him battened down in his home country of Croatia, doing voice-overs for Nickelodeon and recording ad hoc projects with his musical heroes.
And it would so appear that the TSO Christmas tour this year is going to be wiped out by the virus. And since Coronavirus now justifies all manner of bad behaviors, misinformed, accusatory tirades, and oppressive, near-totalitarian administrative measures, I am hereby assuming that Ken Tamplin wants me in jail for not listening to Dino Jelusic. Zeitgeist, baby.
Also, since that part is all a lie, I must append the record to say: It is criminal that more people don’t know about this guy. And his treatment of Queen’s The Show Must Go On will cover any and all doubts: The kid is going places–just as soon as the places are open again.