Aldo Nova may appear to have a chip on his shoulder but from listening to his new single, “I’m A Survivor”, it’s easy to understand why he endured a prolonged absence from the global music industry before returning with `Aldo 2.0’, a six-song reworked of the top tracks off of his 1981 multi-platinum selling self-titled debut along with the new single.
This `Juke Box Hero’ sings about his initial success, the conflict with his U.S label, Portrait Records, which forced him to stop recording until 191, his song-writing conflicts with the likes of Celine Dion, the illness and eventual death of his wife Paola Simonetto, from pancreatic cancer on Christmas Day 2017 and his intent to stage a comeback on his own terms, all within the confines of an energetic, riff-driven single.
“It’s a rebirth, not a comeback,” explains Nova over the phone from his Montreal studio where he is also working on a new concept album. “I’ve called the album `Aldo Nova 2.0’ because it is a 360 degrees take on six key tracks off that first album plus a new song which I believe contains a great guitar riff- all previous classic rock songs featured a great guitar riff.”
Yes, it has been 1991 since he released his last studio album. `Blood On The Rocks’, distributed by Jon Bon Jovi’s Jambco label, and Aldo says he has gone through hell and back in overcoming career setbacks and the personal turmoil of his wife’s fatal illness. Yet through it all, Aldo has fought for and retained a sense of integrity.
“Around 2007 I said, to hell with it, I am not going to work for anyone else but myself. I am just going to focus on me and I am not going to do anything until it excites me” reflected Nova. “So I decided to re-introduce myself by recording a turbo-charged version of six tracks off that first album plus a new single which contain lyrics that basically sum things up.”
Nova submitted two tracks; “Fantasy” and “Ball And Chain” to ace producer Bob Ludwig who liked what he heard and agreed to master the entire record. “I totally funded the entire project independently, It’s cost me literally every penny I have. I even did my own album artwork, but I wanted to maintain total control of this project.”
A major setback occurred when Aldo Nova hated the original video for “I’m A Survivor’ and felt that a bad video could doom the entire project. “But a guy called Christian Jacques reworked it and virtually saved the project. I am really happy with the result.”
Talk to Nova and you realize that a series of negative events had adversely affected his career but he has survived a number of setbacks to now be in a position to re-establish himself.
“Like anyone in my position, I was star struck when Portrait offered me a recording contract, and of course my first album was a major success, went double platinum, went Top 10 Billboard,” Nova allowed. “But they didn’t like my second album, (Subject…Aldo Nova) which I had written as a concept and they refused to market my third album `Twitch’ so I asked to be released from the label and they refused so I had to wait until 1991 before I could obtain a release.”
Aldo Nova tapped into a friendship he had developed with Jon Bon Jovi (who he had met when mixing that first album) and agreed to release `Blood On The Bricks’ on Bon Jovi’s independent label. Nova played guitar and keyboards on Bon Jovi’s debut album and later wrote the main guitar riff for Bon Jovi’s 1997 “Blaze Of Glory” track. When Bon Jovi needed a guitar replacement for Richie Sambora, he recruited Aldo Nova’s guitarist Phil X.
Nova also showed a proficiency for songwriting, co-writing a number of songs for Celine Dion as well as the likes of Blue Oyster Cult and penning a No 1 hit for American Idol finalist Clay Aitkin (“This Is The Night”), his prime achievements being his production credit for Dion’s 1996 `Falling Into You’ album which earned Nova a Grammy award for the year’s top album and his co-writing credit for “A New Day Has Come” one of Dion’s early hits. But even that experience left Nova bitter.
“Celine’s late husband, Rene Angelil insisted that to write a song for Celine, you had to supply a professional quality demo,” explained Nova “Then they would copy your demo, note for note, riff for riff and then insist on a co-writing credit. My decision to agree to that cost me millions of dollars. I thought they were my friends; she didn’t need to do that. I asked Diane Warren if she was ever pitched on agreeing to give up co-writing credits on her songs and said “Yes, and I told them to fuck off! They still used my songs though.”
Nova claimed he went through a four-year writing drought during his wife’s prolonged illness but since her death has rebounded to become more creative and now has something like 42 new songs to be considered for a new concept album.
But in the meantime, Aldo Nova is preparing to hit the road for a comeback tour. He’s been getting in shape by taking boxing lessons.
“Again, it’s all about integrity,” concluded Aldo Nova. “At this point in time, I have assumed full control. I have financed this whole project out of my own pocket. I believe that now is the right time to get back out there. I am genuinely excited about working again.”