23 August 2010

Unitopia announces two new members for European tour

The following is from Unitopia, talking about the 2 newest members of the band. They will be joining Unitopia for the European tour in October.

The European tour is almost there and you must all wonder which musicians will be part of the tour. Well, we are just about to tell you.

We have recruited two of the finest musicians in Australia to tour with us.

Craig Kelly – bass player

Craig is a self-taught but university-trained musician, who tries not to let that get in the way of his playing.

Despite loving music from an early age, he was musically a relatively late starter – not picking up a guitar until his mid teens (inspired by heavy metal loving school mates), and not seriously taking up bass until his mid 20's when he enrolled in a Jazz degree at the University of Adelaide.

Heavily influenced in his childhood years by the music of Warner Bros cartoons, random advertising jingles, the RnB/soul/funk/jazz stylings of early Sesame Street episodes, and iconic Australian country music singer Slim Dusty (whom he emulated age 3 complete with acoustic guitar and cowboy hat), it is no surprise that he enjoys playing a wide range of styles. His musical tastes range from Miles Davis to Led Zeppelin, Ella Fitzgerald to Sepultura, the Beatles to John Zorn, James Brown to Jamiroquai – making Unitopia a very agreeable outlet for his instrumental talents.

In between learning and rehearsing the entire Unitopia back catalogue, Craig somehow finds time to teach bass and to be active in the Adelaide music scene playing a variety of pop, rock, groove, jazz and country music – as well as touring nationally with 'Laura Hill & The Tuesday Bandits' and 'Vorn Doolette'.

David Hopgood – drum player

David was born raised in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia, and exposed to music from the beginning. His father, a trumpet player and trad. jazz buff, would play him records featuring drummers like Baby Dodds, Zutty Singleton and, more notably, Chick Webb. He bought him a snare drum at age 5, having noticed his propensity for wandering around the house and hitting things in rhythm, and he first took drum lessons around age 9. Before long his interest in music and drumming was super-charged by an older cousin who turned him on to Deep Purple, E.L.P., Yes and, later, Weather Report.

In his formative years David played drum-kit in jazz bands, 60/40 bands and concert bands, high school musicals and the state schools stage band. He went to university in 1986 to study music teaching and further my jazz drumming. At the same time he was involved in his first original rock band with Van Halen and Living Colour influences. Since 1991 David have been teaching percussion with the South Australian Education Department’s Instrumental Music Service and published his first book of drum and percussion solos in 2007.

As a drummer he’s known in metal circles, jazz circles and a few circles in-between. In the 90’s he drummed for rap/rock hardcore group Hobson’s Choice who released two e.p.’s, toured the eastern states and played on the Big Day Out festival in 1996. Since 2003 David has been the drummer in successful corporate band Club Schmaltz and done several shows with Cucumber Slumber, a Weather Report tribute band. Right now he is involved in at least four original music projects:

- Murdergrin, a hardcore, rock/metal group influenced by Dillinger Escape Plan,

- Outside The Square, a jazz trio with former Unitopia bassist Shaun Duncan,

- Split-Second Heaven, a just-formed rock/pop/progressive group in which he’s both

drummer and songwriter, and most recently…
-Unitopia, Australia’s foremost modern art rock band.

David has studied tabla as well as drum-kit and he plays DW drums with various Zildjian and Sabian cymbals.

His favourite music right now includes: Rush, Porcupine Tree, Spock’s Beard, Fleetwood Mac, Free, Muse, Frost, Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Opeth, Killswitch Engage, Sigur Ros and lots of other prog rock, prog metal, jazz, jazz-fusion and alternative.

His biggest drumming influences include: Ian Paice, Carl Palmer, Steve Gadd, Peter Erskine, Bill Bruford, Dave Weckl, Jeff Porcaro, Neil Peart, Will Calhoun, Dave Lombardo, Pete Sandoval, Steve Flynn (Atheist,) Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Ndugu Chancler, Jimmy Chamberlin, Danny Carey, Simon Kirke, Marco Minnemann, Gavin Harrison, JoJo Mayer and Zakir Hussain.

Apart from music and drumming he gets into downhill mountain-biking, gym work, yoga, meditation and spirituality, reading and following sports, especially basketball and football (Aussie Rules that is,) and he has a wife and two sons aged 7 and 3.

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