JEFF CANNATA is a multi-instrumentalist who has been active in the music business for more than 25 years now, starting off with JASPER WRATH, a band that also featured JAMES CHRISTIAN. Jeff also released two solo CDs, but is best known for his ARC ANGEL Classic. the album he released as ARC ANGEL in 1983 is an instant AOR/Pomprock Classic, with such brilliant songs like "Stars", "Tragedy", "Just another romance" and "Sidelines". I had a chance to do an interview with Jeff, here's what went down...

When did you pick up your first instrument?

My first instrument was the drums, which I started at 13 yrs. old. Before that , just banging on whatever was around the house

When did you form ARC ANGEL?

Arc Angel was put together at a point after I had gotten signed to CBS/Portrait Records from a handfull of demos, recorded with my writing partner Michael Soldan were presented to the label. I was then lucky to get a lot of help from friends in the production of the CD. One of which, James Christian , who I think you may know of from" House Of Lords"

In 1983 ARC ANGEL released its first and only album, please tell us all about this fantastic CLASSIC AOR/POMP MASTERPIECE?

Most of the songs were demoed at my home studio and then re done at Jahnna Studios in Connecticut. The CD was mixed at the Power Station in New York with Tony Bongiovi engineering. At the point of near completion, the label wanted one more song. In the next few days "Stars" was written and recorded and ended up as the lead track. Sales were greatest in Germany, The Netherlands and Japan

Which bands/artists influenced you for ARC ANGEL's music which was quite different than most other acts around that time?

No band in particular influenced the Arc Angel project. At a point when you are writing your own material you "try" not to emulate anyone, although I'm sure your sub concious absorbs and retains. I can tell you though that my early favourites were..........King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Genesis: (With Peter Gabriel of course) Yes..........As a matter of fact the band I was in before the Arc Angel project, Jasper Wrath, with James Christian as lead vocalist, doing all originals were approached by several fans(in the early stages) saying "you guys sound like Crimson", at that time, we never heard of them..............

The album was produced by Tony Bongiovi, how did you get in touch with him?

The album was produced JC......As Don Henley once said" Whatever that means" ...........and Tony Bongiovi mixed it and co-produced two of the tracks with Lance Quinn, Jon Bonjovi's then producer. Lenne Petze, head of the record company at the time was close friends with Tony and asked to help out at the Power Station.......The place to be back then

Why and when did you decide to gave up ARC ANGEL and go solo and do everything on your own?

Sequencers !!!!..................I never actually gave up on ArcAngel, it's just a name I came up with for that particular group songs.

It took about 5 years before a new album was released. What did you do between 1983 and 1988?

Was signed to Mirage/Atlantic for a single.......Produced by Richie Cannata (Billy Joel's band) with his players as backup. Elliott Schenier( Steely Dan) engineered..........Record didn't happen...........Also learned how to play keyboards and program sequencers.

In 1988 you released your first real solo album entitled 'Images of forever', please tell us all about it?

Again, wrote a group of new songs , more keyboard oriented, sent demos to CBS, got signed to Carrere/CBS . Because the Arc Angel record took over 800 hrs to record, I needed my own studio to experiment with my new found instruments........sequencers and synths. So I negotiated for an advance to build an analog 24 Track studio in my home.........They said OK. Recorded " Images Of Forever" mixed it in LA with Bill Drescher, Rick Springfield's producer at the time. Shot a video " Fortune Teller"directed by Scott Calvert , who did some of the early Pink Floyd stuff.

Then it became again very quiet, what did you do between 1988 and 1993, and how did you get hooked up with NOW AND THEN RECORDS, why the split with CBS RECORDS?

Carrere/ Paris was the mother label who was also involved in the motion picture industry...They're record label branch fell apart..........Out of the blue, I received a call from a record exec. at Now and Then to do a new CD........I did

Please tell us all about 'Watching the world'?

New material........Last track........While working in the control room, my 4 year old son stopped in to say hello, I turn on a mic, and told him to sing something, he ad libbed" Ian's Song"........First record deal 4 years old !

Then again it became very quiet, for almost 10 years! Now we're in the year 2002, what did you do since 'Watching the world', which was a very good album by the way.

Compiled 2 hrs of studio, live and demo recordings of Jasper Wrath and released the double CD , Jasper Wrath Anthology 1997

You just released a new album called 'Cannata + Arc Angel', and this album contains 7 new songs, tell me all about them, when you wrote them and just tell the stories behind them...

That would take forever..........

OK, then why did you also include 7 old songs, the first track from the ARC ANGEL album, the first 3 tracks from 'Images' and the first 3 from 'Watching...'...

Both of those CDs are out of print, and I've been asked about copies of them. Stars is on there , just wanted to include one of the tracks from that time. Sony Records made it somewhat difficult to use the original master, so I
re-recorded it.

I think the question everyone is waiting for, is if you ever will make a full-length new CD/album as ARC ANGEL, because that was basically one of the highlights in your career...

To be honest with you, there will be another full length CD , but the music will definately be in a more contemporary and progressive nature. Although I did like the Arc Angel stuff........then.

Anyway, what are the other things you are planning for the near future?

I am planning on going 48 track digital in the next few months, you can never have enough tracks

Looking back, what do you consider yourself as your best musical effort?

Some of the live shows with Jasper Wrath

Finally, I would like to know who influenced you for making your music, and what are your favourite albums of all times, and what are you listening to at the moment?

On drums, Michael Giles ( King Crimsom) Keith Moon ( The Who)
Moody Blues( Question of Balance) King Crimson (Court Of The Crimsom King)

Well, thanks for the interview and good luck with your career...

Thanks, Gabor............Jeff Cannata