By Dan Walton
Oliver is about to be struck by Zappacosta.
His nearly 40-year music career survived the pitfalls of pop culture with just a few scrapes.
However, there was one casualty that stood out – when his signature song We Should Be Lovers was poisoned by the sludge of mainstream pop culture.
Less-than-visionary producers from the 1980s were orchestrating a music video for the song that would become one of his most popular hits, and they thought it would be a good idea to feature a couple of floozies wrestling in red Jello.
Zappacosta trusted their expertise.
In the video, the filthy, wrestling women become distracted when they see Zappacosta and his mullet French-kissing a posh woman.
“There’s me being Mr. Real-big-cool-dude.”
Zappacosta is then manhandled by the girls in revealing clothes and thrown into the Jello-filled wrestling ring.
“I didn’t fit that bill mentally but they really pushed me big time to be one of those guys.”
Although he was in the hands of promiscuous-looking women, he said the Jello made him far too cold to consider pursuing any lustful desires.
“It was rated as MuchMusic’s worst video for 1984,” he fondly recalls.
It was all worth it, though, “as long as you don’t mind living a good chunk of your career with women thinking you’re a slut-ass. The women of the world thought I was a cocky SOB, asshole dirtbag.”
“This video is a testament to what dogs Canadian men are,” commented one YouTube viewer.
“I really thought they knew what they were doing,” said Zappacosta. “But in all honesty I felt uncomfortable.”
Fortunately, that song didn’t leave Zappacosta branded as a one-trick pony. He began dropping singles in 1979 while leading the band Surrender, went solo in 1984 and then continued releasing hits for the next 20 years.
He’s grateful audiences can appreciate his eclectic catalogue.
“Look at Trooper after all these years – they have no choice but to play Raise a Little Hell.”
Kim Mitchell is another aging rocker, he pointed out, who struggles to grow his fan base because “all people wanna hear are the classics.”
“The people closest to the stage at Kim Mitchell are rocking out by raising their canes and walkers.”
When Zappacosta comes to Oliver, he’ll be joined by a full band, but they’ve rearranged many of his songs to forego the elements that were overproduced.
“I’ve stripped ‘em down to the lowest denominator.”
Oliver’s audience will be familiar with much of his material, but Zappacosta says he could still deliver a full show of completely fresh material.
“I could probably play a month worth of tunes that an audience would think I’ve just written.”
He said many of his earlier ideas are now being revisited, and the show in Oliver will be a mix of his contemporary and classic work.
Zappacosta plays Medici’s Gelateria on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. Advance tickets cost $25 and seating is assigned.