Category: Music


For a couple of years, there was a lot of promise…

Gone Hazel makes its debut on Spotify.

We’ll be going through the discography, filling in bits of story with the songs.

So the first song is… Learning to Crack Part 2.

Gone Hazel…Spotify

Dick Dale – He’s the Man

Dick Dale mattered a lot to me and my guitar playing. That fiery tremolo picking jumped out of the speakers like an airplane taking off. I could listen to Miserlou all day long and never tire of it. When I’m playing guitar – which is every day – my noodling will always include a run up the low E string, with DD being the wind in my sail.

I sent Dick Dale an email once, back in the 90’s, during Gone Hazel’s heyday. Having read a little bit about how he preferred to use an insanely heavy gauge string, I was curious. The Master replied that afternoon, telling me that yep, it’s got to be heavy for him. Like telephone wire. I immediately went out and bought the heaviest strings I could find, attempting to defy and possibly snap the natural strength of my guitar neck and my left hand fingers. What I remember (that email is buried in some box) is that the high E was a 16 and that the low E was definitely higher than a 56, possibly as high as a 60.

Problem. Back then, I was sloppy and aggressive and strings broke all the time. DD’s gauge of choice put too much strain on my Strat (actually, it belonged to Bob). On a good day I was more of a thug as I kick boxed my way through a set. Strings snapped ever more frequently and as for bending a string – forget about it.

So I modified the Dick Dale Telephone Wire to something a regular human could play. I climbed back down from the mountain, wiped the sweat from my forehead and got to work not imitating, but drawing inspiration from this incredible musician.

Sport, our last single and release while we were together, has Dick Dale all over it. The pounding beat, the clanging guitars and the interlude, which softly stretches out Miserlou’s minor melody into something entirely different. There are other elements and inspired bits in Sport, but to me, it will always be my tribute to him.

It never occurred to me to write this up while he was still alive. Don’t know why. So here it is, Dick. A big hug.

Peace and love, man. And thank you.

New Release, HEAD

GH Head CD tray photo (TITLE black constantia)


New Gone Hazel release, Head, now available (to listen, to buy, to love) through Bandcamp. Features a previously unreleased recording, Sport Part II (The Crowd is Buzzing).

Joe Iannuzzi is featured on two tracks. For a couple of months back in 1998 we had our very own Keith Moon.

The lead track, Sport, was a big production with big vocals & loads of guitars.
Is it Alternative? Power Pop? Surf? Garage?
It’s a nervous breakdown with electric guitars!

When Sport was originally released, we were excited to promote it on Breakfast TV. We were told that the song was too violent (provocative sure, but too violent? Shut up!) and couldn’t play it on the show. Have a listen and decide for yourself.

Track Listing

1. Sport (R. LiVolsi) 3:13
© 1998 Dumbfounded Music (SOCAN)
2. Alternative This (LiVolsi/Cellini) 2:19
© 1997 Dumbfounded Music (SOCAN)/Naso Grande Publishing (BMI)
3. I Am a Rock (P. Simon) 2:34
© 1965 Paul Simon Music (BMI) Copyright license agreement arranged with Paul Simon Music
4.This Old Boat (Cellini/LiVolsi) 2:59
© 1997 Naso Grande Publishing (BMI)/ Dumbfounded Music (SOCAN)
5. Sport Part II (The Crowd is Buzzing) (LiVolsi) 3:00
© 1998 Dumbfounded Music (SOCAN)

Gone Hazel Interview – Spin Charts Radio

Roberto spoke to Will Stenner of Spin Charts Radio yesterday. A planned 10 minute interview stretched to 30 minutes. A great chat about Gone Hazel and what makes music exciting.

The interview used to be heard here.

Also included in the interview are two Gone Hazel songs – Instant Therapy and Sport. Sport will finally see a re-release very soon while you can get Instant Therapy as part of the EP, Noise on Bandcamp.

Gone Hazel Store is Open

Gone Hazel Noise

2016 is Gone Hazel’s 20th Anniversary. To celebrate, we are re-releasing early Gone Hazel music along with previously unavailable recordings.

First up is the Gone Hazel compilation, NOISE, which is available on Bandcamp. It contains 5 songs originally released on The Kids Are Bored. When you download the EP you also get a pdf booklet with liner notes and lyrics.

1. Instant Therapy
2. Circle Jerk
3. Learning to Crack Part 2
4. If I Could Rule the World from a Small Town
5. The Kids Are Bored

Here is an excerpt from the liner notes, written by Yeppo:

It was the summer of ‘96 and loads of guitar-driven bands were high and low. Nirvana was done but Oasis still stood at the top of the mountain. Also adding their sound and fury to the mix were Dodgy, Sloan, Fastball, Blur, Presidents of the USA, Weezer and Green Day (to name a bunch). Gone Hazel began with all this great music swirling around them.

In the beginning, Chicagoan Bob Cellini (bass, vocals) hooked up with Torontonians Roberto LiVolsi (guitar, vocals) and Tim Woodger (drums). Early rehearsals were in Tim’s basement, early songs consisted of Roberto and Bob’s back catalogue and early gigs took place as much as possible.

The boys were united in three ways: songwriting talent, love of a variety of music and a sense of humour. The humour came out in their first independent release, The Gigging of Gets, which was released for the purpose of getting gigs. Those gigs came quickly as did signing with a booking agency in Chicago.

Inspiration – Uh Was a Hound

Gone Hazel Gets Their Asses Washed (Title)It’s amusing to hear comparisons of your own music. What I notice is that any comparisons drawn are almost always connected to what the listener has stored in their preferred music box. “Oh, you sound like Television,” or “Your music reminds me of The Caulfields.” On a first listen that is bound to happen. We all do it. But there is so much more going on to create and produce music, especially in a band setting where influences and inspiration are bouncing off the walls.

For Gone Hazel, we’ve been doing it for so long that the influences are buried deep and what may be thought of as direct influences are actually sonic similarities. Simply put, a performance on an acoustic guitar brings across a very different listening experience than a full band plugged in. Our electric sound in the studio was characterized mainly by two features: overdubbed guitars and harmonies. From 1996 to 1999, Bob and I sang together whenever we could because we agreed it was too easy (& lazy) just to have the songwriter sing their own song. Harmonizing added a layer that we and our audience enjoyed.

The harmonizing began when Bob and I wrote our first song together called Uh Was a Hound. Since Bob had written most of the music, he sang lead. I suggested a harmony on top for the verses, like the Everly Brothers. Then Bob sang solo on the middle section and it was complete. A lightening creation.

But that’s not all that’s going on. Bob often lamented that there were hardly any cool guitar-riffs in rock music at the time so for Uh Was a Hound he also wrote a riff. The problem was, at least for Bob, I didn’t play it exactly the way he played it. The notes in the original riff were even eights while I added a pull-off. So the riff and the way I played the riff was another feature of the song.

Then there’s the bridge. We came up with that music in Tim Woodger’s basement. It probably took ten minutes. One of us suggested a 6/8 rhythm to distinguish itself from the Joe Jackson/Elvis Costello new waviness circa 1978. That 6/8 rhythm is one of my favourite parts of the song. And Uh Was a Hound has a lot of parts, all squeezed in under two minutes. Squeeze might also be an influence. Anyway, forget all those influences – already we were becoming Gone Hazel. Plus, being the only guitarist in the band, I couldn’t pile on the layers in a live performance like I did later on in the studio where the song really took off.

Although there’s more going on (like the lyrics)  I’ll stop with the analysis now. You can make your own mind up by listening to the full studio recording and an acoustic rehearsal of Uh Was a Hound. Is it bits of inspiration that I shared above or the combination of other unconscious elements when Gone Hazel first put the song together? Does it really sound like Television or the Caulfields or Taylor Swift because that’s what you’ve been listening to?

It doesn’t matter. We just want you to like it. And hopfully one day people will say to a new band, ‘You know, you remind me of Gone Hazel.’

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10 Things About Learning to Crack Part 2

  1. Learning to Crack Part 2 was written in 20 minutes and is the lead track from The Kids Are Bored.
  2. It has 14 chords.
  3. It’s about the last ten minutes of a relationship. Scratch that. It’s about something else.
  4. There are a set of lyrics for a song called Learning to Crack that still has no music for it.
  5. Although Roberto hates most of the song, he loves the ending and thinks its the best recording from The Kids Are Bored.
  6.  Bob suggested modulating for the guitar solo.
  7. video was filmed and ruined during developing.
  8. There have been very few live performances of this song.
  9. The last time the original line-up performed LTCP2, Roberto and Bob were sharing lead vocals, with Bob taking lead on the chorus.
  10. Some people hear Weezer in this song and there’s some truth to it. Weezer’s Blue Album was buzzing around Roberto’s head when he wrote it.