Author Archives : Ted Ollikkala


Marek Arnold


(Sax, clarinet, and keyboards)

Marek (2017)“I was working on several recordings with my friend Guy Manning, so when he called me asking for contributions to a new project called UPF back in 2014, I didn`t have to think too long. The concept of UPF – the lyrics and the music – touched me instantly, so I`m glad to be part of that international project. After the first album was released, we all had a great time performing the songs on tour through Europe. I`m looking forward to the next release, bringing the visions of Truey and all the great musicians to life again.”

German saxophone / clarinet player and keyboardist Marek Arnold is the remaining founding member of German progressive rock band “Toxic Smile “, which has produced 6 albums (the first one was very successful with a major label in Asia), 1 orchestral DVD and an EP so far.

He also plays with and works as producer, composer and arranger for his second „baby“: the progressive crossover band “Seven Steps to the Green Door”, already working on fifth album and being part of nearly all important prog festivals in Europe after release of latest release „FETISH“.

After finishing the study of popular music / teaching of saxophone, he played in several bands from Jazz, Hip Hop, Pop to Progressive Rock/Metal and works as a sax & keyboards teacher at a European grammar school.

Marek was a member of legendary East german artrock band “Stern Combo Meissen” from 2010 – 2012. He still writes and arranges for this band and writes and plays live with the actual singer, Manuel Schmid.

After that he also co-founded melodic prog band “Cyril” ( with Manuel Schmid and „Toxic Smile“ – singer Larry B.), currently working on 3rd CD, and added his talents to progmetal band, “Flaming Row“.

Since the founding of his studio “b`side-music” several recordings, productions, compositions and CDs have been realised.

He has contributed Saxes and Clarinets to 3 Manning (Guy Manning) albums and was featured on the album and toured Europe with UPF for their debut album ‘Fall In Love With The World’.

More recently, Marek is the ‘EK’ in Damanek along with Guy Manning, and Dan Mash. The group, along with Sean Timms (Southern Empire), and Luke Machin performed at Summer’s End 2016 and the album ‘On Track’ was released on Giant Electric Pea (GEP) in May 2017.

Marek is a featured guest on the album “From Here to The Impossible”, with Oliver Rüsing’s band KariBoW, released in July 2017. Marek joined the band for their 2017 live tour through Europe.

Beside all the “Prog“ bands and studio work, Marek is also part of German jazz band “Passage“, playing nearly every week for nearly 20 years now.

 

 


Ed Unitsky

Ed Unitsky (2017)“I think that the UPF project has a strong and very important message for all of us, beside its wonderful music side!… Being a visual artist behind the project, I am not only inspired and impressed by all of project’s music beauty but I also want to embody UPF’s ideas, so touching and smart: it’s something for the people’s heart, soul and mind. Everything is united! I am really very happy to be involved into this the great movement with this great musicians…. Thank you a lot to all!….” With Love! Ed Unitsky

Ed Unitsky is an international digital visual artist, known for his complex and captivating surrealistic art and primarily for music progressive album artworks. His artwork expands the mind creating an imaginary journey into the fantastic realms.

Ed’s cover music art has been like with the likes of Roger Dean, Storm Thorgerson, Salvador Dali, Michael Whelan, H.R. Giger and many other prestigious master fantasy artists and is being touted as the modern day Salvador Dali. Ed’s creative range is remarkable. His unique signature style resonates an old world influence with an innovative Pop Culture flare.

Ed’s creative abilities began when he was small child. After years, of painting, sketching, doing large scale mural work, airbrushing, and many other mediums, in 2002, Ed sat down at a computer to apply his artistic capacity. Instantly, he fell in love with this new digital forum to create his ideas. Digital artistry has become a medium which has expanded his artistic range enormously.

Ed is an artistic master of digital painting, collage creation and photo manipulation. His creations continue to amaze and inspire all those who become familiar with his artistry.

In addition to his CD cover artwork, Ed has an extended collection of spiritual artwork, which is gaining recognition worldwide.

Ed has created a lot artwork pieces in these few short years and continues to create incredible artwork for more that 150 CD, Album Covers while expanding his artistic energies to his personal artwork pursuits.

Ed is always available for artworks, illustrations CD / DVD / VINYL / book cover & booklet, layouts and more….

Welcome to Ed’s web-pages:

www.facebook.com/ed.unitsky
www.facebook.com/Ed.Unitsky.fanpage
www.edunitsky-store.com
www.youtube.com/EdUnitsky

 


Ted Ollikkala

(Logistics,Video/Promotional Manager, Mark’s Sidekick)

Ted Ollikkala

“I give my time freely to support the cause of awakening and activating a change in mindset that is necessary to save the human race from self-annihilation. For me there is no better way to spread the message than through the creative musical talents of ‘The Frat’ (UPF) created by Mark Truey Trueack.”

Ted has been fascinated by progressive rock since the early 70’s starting with a flurry of self-discovery with albums such as Queen (Sheer Heart Attack), ELP (Welcome Back My Friends…), and avalanching into Kansas (Leftoverture), Rush (A Farewell to Kings), Blue Oyster Cult, Alice Cooper, Renaissance, Gentle Giant, Genesis, and on and on. Going to university in Boston provided ample opportunity to hone a collection of both new and second-hand vinyl masterpieces. Concerts at the Boston Garden were cherished events.

Fast forward to 2006. MySpace opened up a plethora of first contact opportunities with frontmen and managers of various cover bands, and Ted quickly seized the opportunity to curate a collection of prog rock videos online. He then began blogging and interviewing various personalities including roadies, album cover designers, etc. Eventually he befriended and interviewed rock royalty such as Paul Bielatowicz (Neal Morse, Carl Palmer Band), the late Tony Ortiz, Damon Shulman (son of GG’s Phil Shulman). He collaborated with Anne Leighton on a Gentle Giant project, and has met up with both Paul Whitehead and Leonardo Pavkovic (Moonjune Records) when they were passing through Singapore. He did a 40 minute phone interview with Orianthi Panagaris in 2008 (she was an unknown recording her first album, pre-Grammy performance with Carrie Underwood), and enjoyed chatting with Nikki Squire (Esquire) in both English and Spanish.

Along came Facebook, and Ted became the co-administrator of the first Orianthi FB fanpage, and provided publicity/promotion for Moonjune Records. Working on a project in collaboration with Olga Potekhina (Ed Unitsky fanpage), he was in contact with several of Ed’s best known clients, including David Rohl (Mandalaband), and Mark Trueack (Unitopia). This is how he first met Truey.

Several years and many interviews/websites later, United Progressive Fraternity announced their first single “The Water”. Ted chatted up his friend Truey and offered his services, and the next thing he knew, was given the keys to the website. Since 2014 their friendship and deep understanding of one another’s causes and concerns has rung true in many senses, musically, graphically (Ted now produces the band’s music videos), lyrically (Ted has co-written the lyrics for the epic ‘Seeds for Life’). In addition he managed the lyrics contest for Planetary Overload (PO), and connected with none other than the ‘father of climate change’, Dr. James E. Hansen who agreed to be involved in support of UPF’s message on PO.

For the music video ‘Fall in Love with the World’, Ted arranged for many of the future guest arrangers and musicians on PO to record footage. The video features Kristoffer Gildenlöw, Phil Naro, Steve Unruh, Joanna St. Claire, Owen LeLean, Dale Nougher, Ben Craven, Jose Manuel Medina, and of course, Truey.

For the music video ‘Travelling Man (The Story of ESHU)’ he liased with several award winning international producers of live action, animation, stop motion, and cgi (Blender) short films to create a 20+ minute mini-movie featuring live band footage from UPF’s 2014 European tour (6 cameras). Steve Hackett filmed a guest spot for the video also.

Ted now produces music videos for The Samurai of Prog (Marco Bernard, Steve Unruh, Kimmo Pörsti), DAMANEK (Guy Manning), Interpose+ (Sayuri Aruga, Japan), Paidarion (Kimmo Pörsti), Unitopia (2017 box set). He created the video projections for U.N.I.T.db (RoSfest 2017) for the Unitopia songs ‘The Garden’, ‘Tesla’, ‘Suffocation/Artificial World’, and ‘The Great Reward’. Other video work includes syncing a Skype audio feed from Pennsylvania with camera footage from UPF ‘live in the studio’ in Adelaide, Australia for Marty Dorfman’s Progressive Coffeehouse.


Dan Mash

Dan Mash(Bass, vocals)

Dan has managed to achieve a lot in a very short period of time. His musical palette is made of his love of diverse styles, from the obvious influences of great bass play-ers like Wooten, King, Pastorius and Jamerson. With his considerable technical prowess he fuses tremendous pop sensibility into his playing, has a keen ear for melody and can spend hours enthusing about artists normally considered poles apart from Prog Rock, like Earth Wind & Fire or early Michael Jackson.

The funky edge he brought to The Tangent is his hallmark, and the older guys around The Tangent were quick to realise that this style is actually a very suitable way in which to approach Progressive Rock, in that Chris Squire’s legendary work for Yes is, intentionally or not, “well funky” as Dan puts it.

Dan met Luke Machin (The Tangent, Maschine) at BIMM in Brighton where Dan was studying under Franc O’Shea and the two worked together on many projects. By the time the bass position became available in The Tangent, there was no-one else under consideration. Dan was The Man!

“I try to capture the melodic quality of players like Jaco and McCartney and combine it with the groove of bassists like Wooten and Jamerson” he says, “If you find the balance between groove and melody your bass lines will not only sit well, but complement and add to the harmony of any given composition”.

Dan was featured on the album and toured Europe with UPF for their debut album ‘Fall In Love With The World’ in 2014.

More recently, Dan is the ‘DA’ in Damanek along with Guy Manning, and Marek Arnold. The group, along with Sean Timms (Southern Empire), and Luke Machin performed at Summer’s End 2016 and the album ‘On Track’ was released on Giant Electric Pea (GEP) in May 2017.

 


Colin Tench

Colin Tench(Guest Arranger)

“My interest in UPF is more than just the music. I have seen pristine coral reefs and then returned to the same places later to find the coral devastated by weird temperature changes in the sea. I visited an Orang Utan rehab centre in Sumatra, mountain trails in the Himalayas, untouched islands in Asia, etc. Sadly, all of these places are now suffering climate problems, massive increases in tourism or war. I’ve seen it and don’t like it!”

In the last 2 years I have been working with many wonderful musicians on albums under the “Colin Tench Project” (CTP) name. Right now the drummer is Joe Vitale (Joe Walsh, Eagles, CSN etc), a true statesman of rock.

The prime singer on both albums is Peter Jones (Camel, Tiger Moth Tales etc), another stunning musician and human being. Through meeting Mark Trueack, I had the luck to find Gordon Bennett, who is now my main collaborator in music, so I have to thank Mark for being the centre of so many good things and even hope that he will honour us with his magical voice one day!

I am also known by some, as the guitarist in Corvus Stone. We tend to play rock music with a touch of just about everything, and often instrumental only. Some say retro. It probably is but not by design.

I love varied music. I grew up with the music of the 60s & 70s in London. It was surprising, fun and it encompassed almost every form of music known. We now call that no rules approach, “Prog”.

I was not involved in actually playing music until the 80s and that was a mistake! Progressive music was not wanted much back then, so 3 years gigging in London with Odin was almost doomed to failure, although we very much enjoyed it.

In 1985 three of us from Odin plus a singer from Los Angeles formed BunChakeze and recorded an album with no help or backing. Again it was great to do but the wrong time. Record companies all showed us the door without listening even.

I began to focus more on work and my other passion: Travel. I love discovering new places, Mountains, Deserts, Jungle, “Real things”. I spent as much time as possible, travelling all over the world. The fact that I was ever in a band became a distant memory.

I can claim for certain, that I was the first backpacker in Afghanistan with the album “Animals” on cassette in 1977. I left a copy of it in a cafe there. I have always forced good music on people! I now live in Sweden, probably the last wilderness in Europe and have fallen headlong into music again.

I started by releasing the BunChakeze album “Whose Dream” 25 years late.

(2012) Corvus Stone released our first 80 minutes album

(2012) I played guitar on The Road To Avalon with ” The Minstrel’s Ghost” Blake Carpenter(a regular with Corvus Stone) and the great Zoltan Csörsz Jr played drums.

(2013) Produced and played guitar on “Return to Mingulay” with Andy john Bradford’s Oceans 5. This is a folk based band but with a difference. Vic Tassone (Unified Past) on drums & Marco Chiappini (also on the Road to Avalon) played keys. We were honoured to have Pink Floyd’s Lorelei McBroom was a guest on the single.

(2014) Corvus Stone II, our 2nd 80 minute album was released

During this time I also played guitars on a semi classical piece called “Wish you could Hear” with Andres Guazzelli, who was also a guest with Oceans 5 and Corvus Stone.

(2014-2015) I did some production and guitars with the band Transmission Rails, which will see a full album in the future. Stef Flaming plays most of the instruments and he was the bass player in Oceans 5 and guest also with Corvus Stone. Our guest drummers so far have been the amazing Joe Vitale (Joe Walsh), and Gary Lynn Hodges (Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham)

2015 Corvus Stone Unscrewed was released

This year (2017), I joined Steve Gresswell’s Coalition as guitarist and that album is about to be released.

I have been working on some music for UPF with Steve Gresswell of Coalition and Petri Lindström, the bass player of Corvus Stone.

Yes I have been busy!

I would say that my approach to music is about getting the right notes or additional melodies to add something to a composition. In Corvus Stone, we all play what we want and that results in something that is unique. You actually can hear that we are all different kinds of musicians. So we end up with a new recipe for every song we do. I also mix our albums and have no equipment at all really. I use my ears and very basic tools and those tools are way easier to use than the 4 track studio world not so long ago. I am not avoiding technology, I just find that it usually sounds bad and takes the life away from music rather too often.

We all have music in us, tho’ nobody knows why. A simple sound, the right note, a magic phrase. That’s what I try to get. That is me!


Ettore Salati

Ettore Salati(Guest Arranger)

Ettore Salati (born April 29, 1974) is a guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer from Milan, Italy.

He is best known for his work with The Watch, Alex Carpani, David Jackson, Aldo Tagliapietra, Karl Potter and many others.

He has been part of The Watch from 2000 to 2007, then entered Alex Carpani Band till nowadays and had frequent side-projects collaborations with the above mentioned artists.

He has been featured in several progressive rock world-released albums and has produced many full-lengths, including SoulenginE’s “Mind Colours” and The RedZen’s “Void”.

Since 2000 he tours Europe, North, Center and South America and Japan, playing live in the most world-renowned progressive rock international festival, like Baja Prog, RoSfest, Prog’Sud, Trieste Summer Rock Festival, Progday International Festival, Prog Exhibition, Nisville Jazz Festival, Gong Prog Fest, Fasano Jazz Festival, Virada Cultural and many others.


Jerry Marotta

Jerry_Marotta (fb) - 3(Drums)

Jerry Marotta was a member of the bands Arthur, Hurley & Gottlieb (1973–75) Orleans (1976–77 & 1982), Peter Gabriel’s band (1977–86), Hall & Oates (1979–81), the Indigo Girls (1991–99), Stackridge (2011), Sevendys (2010–present) and The Tony Levin Band (1995 to present).

Marotta also played drums on Stevie Nicks and Michael Campbell’s song “Whole Lotta Trouble” from Nicks’ 1989 album The Other Side of the Mirror. He has also performed on albums by Ani DiFranco, Sarah McLachlan, Marshall Crenshaw, The Dream Academy, Suzanne Vega, Carlene Carter, John Mayer, Iggy Pop, Tears for Fears, Elvis Costello, Cher, Paul McCartney, Carly Simon, Peter Gabriel, Lawrence Gowan, Ron Sexsmith, Banda do Casaco and many others.

In addition to his work as a studio and stage drummer, he is a singer, composer and record producer. In 1996 he produced Ellis Paul’s A Carnival of Voices. He is currently touring with The Security Project. Marotta currently lives in Woodstock, New York with his wife.


Raf Azaria

Raf Azaria 1(Piano, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Violin, Mandolin, Accordian)

A man who speaks the language of music! He not only plays but has mastered instruments including Piano, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Violin, Mandolin and the Accordian. His ability and music intellegence is like none other!

Raf holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Adelaide. He is a highly experienced musician and has over 30 years of teaching and playing music.

orianthiSome Highlights of his Career include:

– Teaching Orianthi who went on to play for the one and only Michael Jackson
– Taught at numerous schools, colleges and Tafe SA
– Recorded full length original CD in Sydney entitled ‘State of Reality’
– Winning 1st prize in Battle of the Bands in 2001 with his song ‘Do You Believe In Him’
– Qantas Corporate show
–  Hyatt Regency, Stamford Grand Glenelg, Hotel Adelaide, Arkaba
– Special Guest appearance for Adelaide 36ers
– Opening for the New Parliament House Camberra with the German Choir
– Numerous festivals, pubs and clubs interstate and overseas.
– Performed extensively with numerous bands. Tours around Melbourne and Sydney including The Felix Bar St Kilda and Kardomah Club in Sydneys Kings Cross
– Corner Hotel in Richmond
– Numerous wedding appearances
– Has played for Bowen Family Funerals
– Produced music for a film documentary soundtrack
– Produced music for local Adelaide musicians
– Produced music for commercial jingles.
– A Session Muso with airplay on Nova 91.9


Tim Irrgang

Tim IrrgangTuned and un-tuned percussion

Tim Irrgang began studying drums in 1986, and tuned percussion in 1992. He completed his Bachelor of Music (Hons) in 1996. During this time he gained valuable experience playing in the Adelaide University Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Big Band,The Adelaide Connection (jazz vocal group), and The Elder Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra. In 96 he spent a month at ISSU University, Yogyarkata, Indonesia, with fellow Adelaide percussionists on a cultural exchange.

While at University, Tim & fellow students formed a quartet called ‘The Rhythm Works’. They played at the 98 Fringe Festival, performed live on radio and TV, were actively involved in the ASME National Conference in 2001, and were part of the Musica Viva in Schools programme until 2017. In 2006 they toured Australia and Singapore.

In December 1999 Tim travelled to South Africa with the Australian Aboriginal Jazz Connection – Warkala, to perform at WOMAD – Living Treasures Festival in Durban, as well as The Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Mamelodi & also performances in Pretoria and Johannesburg. The tour also included performances with some of the local artists.

As part of the Hormingo Ensemble, Tim was involved in the Elder Conservatorium Evening and Lunchtime Concert series, Sunday Salon at the Festival Theatre and the Bundaleer Forest Music Festival. They were the first group to be part of the Musica Viva, Menage Series. In 2001 they travelled to Malaysia with state trade delegates to provide entertainment for official functions held in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

Tim has played with The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra as part of the Adelaide Festival of the Arts with their Symphony “Under the Stars” in 2004. Further work followed, including The Australian Ballet, The Zep Boys ‘Led Zeppelin Tribute’ and The ASO’s Masters Series. He continues to work with the orchestra on a casual basis.

Tim has also had the opportunity to perform with The South Australian Police Band, Etype jazz, Lucifer’s Lounge, Cathie Renner, J.C. Jazz, The Australian Girls Choir, Orianthi, Boogiemen, Flat on your Bacherach, Akhter Jahan, and Rataque. Events include the Glenelg Jazz Festival, Adelaide Fringe, Cabaret & Arts Festivals, Bundaleer Forest Music Festival, Come Out Festival, Tour Down Under, Tasting Australia, and WOMADelaide. In 2005 Tim was adjudicator for percussion competitions at the National Band Championships, and performed for Cirque Du Soleil ‘Quidam’ for the majority of the Adelaide season.

In 2012 Tim spent 3 months working for The Royal Guard of Oman. This included directing a 70+ piece drum corps and teaching on the palace grounds at the ROSO (Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra) Music School, which His Majesty Sultan Qaboos set up for children to study, with a focus on music.

Tim regularly performed on both drum kit and percussion with numerous groups including Unitopia, The Liars Bench, Fig Jam, The Bob Johnson Big Band, TWIT (Thompson, Whitney, Irrgang Trio) and Taylor Made – a James Taylor tribute show that Sean Timms is also a member.

Currently Tim is a member of UPF and the Raiders Drum Corps, and performs with Kelly Menhennett and occasionally with Laura Hill. Performances with Kelly Menhennett include Coonawarra Arts Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, Semaphore Music Festival and WOMADeldaide.

Up until May 2017 Tim also tutored privately and at some of Adelaide’s leading colleges, and has also been employed by Adelaide University to tutor in the Diploma of Education (percussion workshops) and CASM (Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music). He ran the only steelband in South Australia at one of the schools he taught at, and directed 7 ensembles including Concert Bands and Percussion Ensembles.

At the end of May 2017 Tim had a career change and is currently working as a Security Officer after a 9 week training course. He runs his own percussion hire business, and when time allows, enjoys running, mountain biking and other physical activities.


Joe Toscano

Joe Toscano(Drums, vocals)

“I’m really excited about putting myself into United Progressive Fraternity and giving it my best. Plus, it’s great to be a part of a band that has an important lyrical message too. The concepts that Mark has written are vital issues that really speak to us all.”

From a very young age, Joe Toscano was beating on pots and pans in time while his father played the guitar. It seemed Joe was destined to become a drummer even back then. As an impressionable young boy, watching Animal on the Muppets and Kiss’ Peter Criss helped cement his decision and by the age of ten, Joe began taking formal drum lessons to develop his craft.

“I realised at that point that there was more to the art of drumming than just playing along in time,” said Joe. “A whole new world opened up to me, where I started to pay attention to music theory, syncopation and the different rhythmic aspects of playing. At the age of twelve, I remember my drum teacher loaned me a copy of Deep Purple’s California Jam concert on video and he told me to pay attention to Ian Paice and that really blew my mind!”

After years of being exposed to his Dad’s record collection, which included Jimi Hendrix, The Shadows and Black Sabbath, Joe’s love of music combined with his own curious nature led him to start broadening his listening tastes and he began to discover bands like Rush, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Scorpions and Led Zeppelin.

By the late 80’s Joe was attending drum clinics held by the likes of virtuosos Simon Phillips, Dave Weckl and Virgil Donati (with whom Joe had a lesson) and this opened up his musical vocabulary even more as he started to become influenced by jazz, prog rock and world music.

Joe joined his first proper band Einstein’s Child (later The Childs) in 1990 playing covers around the local music scene in Adelaide. His first show with the band even included a tribute to Neil Peart’s famous Rhythm Method drum solo, much to the surprise of the modest audience! Later the band began writing original material and Joe went with them to Melbourne to record their first album at Sing Sing Studios, which was then mixed at John Farnham’s Gotham Studios. The band began receiving local radio airplay and had become a favourite on the Adelaide music circuit with high profile support slots for bands like The Angels, Joan Jett, The Divinyls, Tim Finn and Screaming Jets cementing their reputation.

Joe spread his wings in the mid to late 90’s by playing a mix of covers and original material with a number of other local rock bands in Adelaide such as Outshine, The Court Jesters and Sound. It was during this time period that Joe first met up and played with vocalist Mark Trueack in a fledgling progressive outfit that went on to become Pangea (and much later Unitopia).

In 2001, Joe was invited to join Adelaide metal band The Loving Tongue, with whom he recorded “Shadows of Innocence” (2009) and “Temple of Love” (2012). It was through The Loving Tongue that led Joe to join Metal Blade act Raven Black Night, with whom he recorded “Choose The Dark” (2004) and “Barbarian Winter” (2013).

“It’s funny how sometimes things come full circle” said Joe about reconnecting with Mark Trueack in United Progressive Fraternity. After a number of years playing covers in Adelaide pubs with various outfits, Joe and long time friend and bass player Mark Franco reconnected with Mark Trueack who was scouting for talented musicians to join his prog rock collective. Joe said “I’ve always really loved prog rock. It gives musicians an opportunity to stretch out and try new things. It’s also exciting to be recording with other talented players such as Guy Manning and Steve Unruh not to mention prog heavyweights such as Steve Hackett and Jon Anderson, who have long been heroes of mine”.