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 Truack 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. 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. 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”.