If you think you’ve heard everything, you haven’t! That is, of course, unless you’ve had the opportunity to hear the unlikely fusion of pop icon Madonna and heavy metal, known simply as Madonnica. The Material Girl mashup has been rockin’ the LA scene for the past year and has settled on a few new additions/replacements representing its current iteration. Madcap creator and lead guitarist, Bill Crawford, gathered fellow band mate, Chip Rainone, drummer, to help us with the whole Madonnica concept.
Madonnica?!? Metal Madonna? How cool is that? What was Bill Crawford smoking when he dreamed up this unlikely mix and what has been the reception to this original blend?
Well this is def a question for Bill to answer- Hey, Bill Crawford here. No smoking going on when I dreamed this up, BUT.... there may have been some Vodka involved.... LOL!! Actually, I come from a background of playing out in the Hollywood scene with original bands. I kind of self-retired that part of me for a while and concentrated on writing and producing songs to pitch for film and TV opportunities. But I definitely started to miss playing out a lot.
Out of the blue one day, a friend of mine asked me to play guitar in a Black Sabbath tribute band and I agreed. Once I got out into that scene, I saw that there were lots of bands "tributing" the same type of bands all trying to get the same gigs. I was out with another friend one night watching one of the local tributes and I said to him, Man, I need to come up with some kind of different concept for this tribute scene. And that's when I blurted out, "How about a heavy metal tribute to Madonna?!?!" It may have been the vodka talking, but we both thought it was a brilliant idea so a couple years later I started doing the rewrites in my home studio and the rest is history!!
The reception to this band has been really positive from both the female and male Madonnica fans. We have great musicianship in the band and the fans can tell that we love playing these songs and putting on killer rock experience for them.
I understand Madonnica has been around for a little over a year in LA and you have just recently brought on a new lead singer as well as a guitarist/keyboardist. What brought about the change? In what ways has this positively changed the dynamic of the group?
Chip - First off, we would like to wish the best to our former band mates. Keyboard/guitarist Shannon Deane came into play as the feeling was the band was missing that universal player who could bring it with killer guitar riffing and tackle the keyboard parts we were missing that are so dominant in the original Madonna songs.
Sarah Schulte is a world of talent. She acts, sings, writes, plays guitar, and has a dynamic stage presence that is unforgettable. We all love her energy and how she brings her own vocal stylizing to our songs. We look forward to you all rocking out with her in the future.
Why not Paula Abdulica, Lisa Loebica or Debbie Gibsica?
Chip - Much easier to say Madonnica 10x fast.
Who is the biggest Madonna fan in the group?
Chip - That could be me. Madonna's work ethic, passion and drive to get to the top of this crazy business has always been an inspiration to me. I'm also a huge fan of drummers Jonathan Moffett and Omar Hakim. Didn't have a second thought when asked to join this project.
What is the process in choosing an original Madonna song to be "Madonnica-ized"?
Bill - Luckily I chose the biggest female Pop Artist of all time with one of the largest catalogs of hit songs in the world. Sitting down and "Madonnica-izing" the songs is one of my favorite things to do as a Writer/Producer. We've got 24 of her songs Madonnica-ized at the moment, which covers pretty much all of her big billboard hits. We mainly do the upbeat songs, but we do have a couple of her ballads like "Live To Tell" and "Crazy For You" in that group as well.
What other bands/musicians are you currently into?
Chip - I appreciate all styles of music. One band that Bill and I talk about frequently is Halestorm.
If Madonna agreed to sing one song with Madonnica, what song would you choose? Chip- Haha. I don't think that would be our call. Any of the classics would be a bucket list moment.
You're a rock n' roll professor giving out a homework assignment to young, aspiring musicians. What 3 albums would you send them home with to study? Why?
Bill - Dude, that's like telling me to pick my 3 favorite foods!! Wow, um... First one that pops into my head is KISS Alive 2. That record changed my life as a kid and started me on my path to playing guitar. I would tell them to listen to how Paul Stanley sings every song like he's singing his last song ever before he leaves this earth. That band understood what they were doing artistically as well as the business side of things and still does to this day. Number two would be Purple Rain from Prince. The reason would be... because it's Prince dammit!! The 3rd would be Nirvana-Nevermind. When "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came out, that song single handily sent hair metal on a downward spiral.
What do you remember about your very first paid gig as Madonnica?
Chip - I'm getting paid to play in LA!!! Woo hoo!!
What is Madonnica working on right now?
Chip - We are currently in the studio working on new arrangements to suit the keyboards and dynamic vocals. Also keep an eye out on social media as Bill and Sarah are working on a series of live video recorded acoustic Madonnica songs.
Where can we go to see more of Madonnica?