Interview with Giovanni Spano from Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical & deVience @ Download Festival 2018: “It will be ok for Drake, and bands like Inglorious and Black Stone Cherry to be number one and number two, and there is nothing wrong with that, it makes complete sense to me”

Sometimes here at Rocksins we get to do something a little bit out of our wheelhouse, and we get opportunities to do some really cool things. At this year’s Download Festival one of those opportunities arose when we were given a chance to talk with Giovanni Spano who currently plays the part of Ledoux in the smash hit musical Bat Out Of Hell. We chatted about what it’s like to work on the show, working with Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman, as well as juggling his commitments as the frontman of his own band deVience and what the future holds for them, as well as the British rock scene and where that is currently at.

So firstly let’s start off with Bat Out Of Hell.  How did you get involved with the show, were you a fan of Meat Loaf’s or was it an opportunity that came your way.

Giovanni: I knew of his music and I knew the classic hits. I didn’t know of  Steinman and Meat Loaf’s music together very well, but I knew Steinman’s music very well because I worked with him when I was 14 years old on a production of Whistle Down the Wind. Basically what happened what I was in a production called Guys & Dolls, and a guy came up to me called Ollie Thompson who was involved in Rock of Ages and said “Dude, you need to audition for this production, it’s perfect for you” because he knew I was in a band and he knew that I sang rock music, so I went along for the audition and I listened to a couple of the tracks that I was auditioning with, and after listening to the songs I was utterly immersed, and I couldn’t get enough of it, so I started listening to anything and everything that was Meat Loaf, and from then onwards I was passionate about the project, said to be my agent that I need to be seen for it, she got me seen for it and from then it was mine to lose, but there was no chance of me losing it, because I was driven, and I was passionate about the project. I went along for the audition and every single rock singer that was involved in the West End at the time was there and it was crazy, but I managed to bag the part which was amazing, I’m truly blessed.

How has the experience been for you. There was the initial run last year at the Coliseum and now you are back with a longer run at the Dominion Theatre, so how has it all been

Giovanni: The whole journey started in October 2016, and we did the promotion with Meat Loaf in Manchester, then we did London, and just being a part of that got me so excited to be a part of the production. Since the beginning, it’s been absolutely amazing and the audiences have been getting better, the Manchester run was amazing, then the folks from Manchester have been coming down to London, and then the guys from London started flying over to Toronto to see it, and now people from Toronto are flying over to London to see it again, the whole process has been seamless really, and the fans adore it and we couldn’t be more thankful for what they do for the show, they’re promoting it every day, it’s been bananas.

How involved were Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman in the whole thing.

Giovanni: Jim Steinman was all in 24/7, video relay, the whole thing. Meat Loaf is here, there and everywhere, he’s doing Netflix series and things like that, but he’s passionate about the project and he couldn’t be more happy that one of his best friends has now achieved something that he’s wanted to achieve for years, right from the outset he wanted it to be a production and a stage show and he wanted people to be able to immerse themselves in it, and I think that’s what his writing says anyway.

Outside of Bat Out Of Hell, you have your own band deVience. So how do you balance the two projects

Giovanni: It’s not hard. At times obviously it’s exhausting physically, but it’s not hard mentally because they go together so well, being in a rock musical and being in a rock band they go together so well that the fans  of Bat Out Of Hell the Musical love deVience and the deVience fans love Bat Out Of Hell, and they have now come together and formed a little community that is the deVience Bat Fam, it’s nuts but all the festivals and shows have been accommodating and they have put us on, on a Sunday which is a good day to play anyway, and when it comes to promo and things like that everyone is really understanding, it’s been good.

What does the current deVience schedule look like

Giovanni: We’re leading up to Isle of Wight Festival, we are playing at 7pm on the Sunday, so I’ll do 8 shows during the week, then the entire cast of Bat Out Of Hell is travelling down to the Isle of Wight Festival to come and rock out with us, so it’s going to be amazing and I’m excited about it.

Is there currently new music in the works for us to get excited about.

Giovanni: There absolutely is, on June 20th people will be able to pre-order our new single Beyond the Bounds, we’re really excited about it, it’s a song that shows that are music has developed a lot over the last year, and I’m really excited about the new single and it’s received well and when people get to listen to it they are going to fucking love it. It’s one of those things that is written for the people by the people.

Rock music is in a really interesting place at the moment. You come to a place like Download and it’s sold out all over all 3 days and there are bands like Guns N’ Roses sharing a bill with bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Black Veil Brides and Inglorious. Do you think rock music is more accepted nowadays.

Giovanni: I think it’s always been ever present, however in the 70’s, 80’s and maybe even early 90’s it was THE genre, and the UK did it so very well, especially in the 70’s, and I think it’s about time that with the talent we have before us, especially wandering around today and seeing these smaller bands play, the talent is outstanding, it shouldn’t be suppressed, it should be put back out there on the forefront, and the UK  should be representing real music again. and I think it’s coming, I feel this wave, and it’s going to be a thing where it will be ok for Drake, and bands like Inglorious and Black Stone Cherry to be number one and number two, and there is nothing wrong with that, it makes complete sense to me.

In closing do you have any final comments out there for the fans

Giovanni: Keep doing what you’re doing guys, everything is truly appreciated. You guys go above and beyond, you’re phenomenal, every single night you represent, and the things you have been doing for deVience please keep doing that and spreading the word, I love you and think you are absolutley incredible.

Tickets for Bat Out Of Hell can be purchased here:

The new deVience single Beyond the Bounds can be preordered here:

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