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Stacking The Deck with Tony Lucca
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Stacking The Deck is a feature exclusive to Adam’s World where I bring packs of 1991 Pro Set Superstars MusiCards to artists, and we discuss who they find in each pack.

It would almost be an insult to call Tony Lucca a natural born performer, because that would imply he doesn’t work hard at his craft. In truth, he combines an innate ability to relate to people, with an incredible passion for music. This is why at his recent show at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC, with just a guitar in hand, and a vast repertoire of stories to tell, he had the crowd captivated during his entire time on stage.

Lucca’s journey from the Mickey Mouse Club, to The Voice, to solo success, has been well documented, but hearing his stories, and his music, one comes to realize he’s far more than a list of accolades, he’s a man who seeks to make a connection with people, and he’s happiest when his music is making that happen.

I caught up with Tony before his show at Rockwood to open up some packs of MusiCards, and the artists we found sparked stories of childhood inspirations, one of his first moments breaking into the industry, and the un-labeled record that blew his then six year old mind.

Bell Biv DeVoe

Bell Biv DeVoe, man, I guess it goes back to “Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, and Mike.”

I was a big New Edition fan back in the day. I got to see them live at Pine Knob in Carkston, Michigan when I was a kid.

How young were you when you saw them?

I was pretty young. I guess I was probably 9 or 10 when they came around.

When Bell Biv DeVoe broke off that was around the same time Bobby Brown had all his hits, and it was exciting to see everyone do their thing, (including) Johnny Gill, and Ralph Tresvant.

Bell Biv DeVoe I really dug. It was cool because you got to realize, OK, these kids were paying attention. Michael Bivins was paying attention during all that New Edition, boy band, stuff. He came out guns ablazin with his own empire of music. ABC, BBD, Boyz II Men.

The East Coast Family.

He was the godfather of The East Coast Family!

I liked Ronnie DeVoe because he was just so smooth, and so chill, but it was Ricky Bell … {sings} “It’s driving me out of my mind!”

The line everyone now sings!

Everybody sings it! That epitomizes the ‘90s.

Then, what was it, “Do Me.” Who didn’t know those raps?

I can’t believe how young I was singing those lyrics.

I know, right?

I don’t know if it was cultural-wide, but my mom used to refer to the little spandex dresses that came down just past (the butt) as “do me” dresses, from the “Do Me” video. “These girls walking in their ‘Do Me’ dresses!”

Being that you were around nine years old when you went to see New Edition, was that a situation where a parent dropped you off, or was there a chaperone with you?

I remember there was a handful of us, and there was supervision. I was the young one in the group, for sure, but I was also paying the most attention because I was totally into everything that they were doing, and musically speaking I was into the show.

We got to see them get off their tour bus. It was like, “Oh my God, there they are!” So yeah, I love me some Bell Biv DeVoe.


Madonna. Coming from Michigan, she was a Michigan treasure, so there’s always been love, and respect, for Madonna getting out of the D.

I really fell in love with Madonna when she crossed over from the really poppy stuff.

Actually, true story, people always ask me, “How’d you get into the business?” The truth is around that same time, age 9 or 10, I entered into a local back to school fashion show contest down at my local mall, and I got picked. I was one of a few dozen locals they picked for this fashion show, and the song that I had to do my runway routine to was “Material Girl.”

It was the summer that record came out, so I think damned near the whole show was done to “Like A Virgin,” “Material Girl” … but I definitely remember walking down a catwalk to “Material Girl.” I was the little boy, some lady’s little kid, or something, and she was in a material world.

I’m sure there was some mortified mom who didn’t know her daughter was going to come out to “Like A Virgin.”


But when Madonna crossed over and did “Justify My Love,” the track that Lenny Kravitz produced, that was just really oooh, this is kind of interesting.

And of course there was “Vogue.”

I remember when “Vogue” came out it was the same summer we got one of those big ass 52 inch TVs that was bigger than a refrigerator. It still had the tube, so it had the back. Oh my God they were huge, it was just silly, so we had one of those, but the picture was incredible, and the sound was amazing, so between “Vogue,” and Janet Jackson’s “Love Will Never Do (Without You),” I think I was 13, or 14, I didn’t leave my living room.

Shortly thereafter “If” came out from Janet.

Oh right. It was over. It wasn’t a matter of if, it was when. {laughs}

When I got down to Florida, and did the whole Mickey Mouse Club thing, I think we were all old enough to slip in to see (Madonna’s) Truth or Dare when it came out. So all we pretty much did backstage, in the dressing rooms on the Mickey Mouse Club, was play truth or dare, and it got out of hand in some cases.

A couple years later when Ryan Gosling, Christina (Aguilera), and Justin (Timberlake), and those guys joined the cast, they asked all the producers, “What are some of the things the other kids do?” “Well, they do a lot of truth or dare.” They were like ooooh! So now you got Britney (Spears) and Christina doing truth or dare shit in the greenrooms and it was like OK kids, time to go home now.

Is there any story you can tell that won’t get anyone in trouble, or arrested?

No. It’s all incriminating.

But there’s plenty of Madonna out there, that when I see, or hear, the stuff come on it’s like you know … obviously I think she’s one of the iconic artists of our time. Her art was reinvention, and for someone who never professed to be the best singer, or the voice of a generation, she was definitely the icon of a generation, of a few generations. People like her, and Radiohead, and Beck, and artists like Bjork, every time they step up to the plate you're never quite sure what you’re gonna get, but you know it’s gonna be innovative and interesting, so I’ve always appreciated Madonna.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin was the beginning, for me. I had a copy of Led Zeppelin II on vinyl, and the label had been sort of peeled off, so I didn’t know what was on this record. Somebody had told me it was a KISS record. I was 6 or 7 years old. I put it on, and I remember hearing “Whole Lotta Love,” and imagining that was KISS, and that drum solo where it breaks down, all these crazy noises, I’m picturing Gene Simmons breathing fire, and Peter Criss on this huge drum kit. I used to think that Led Zeppelin was KISS.

As far as I recall, that was the very first record I ever dropped the needle on, and it just blew my hair back. I listened to it so many times, to all the little different things.

I came up in a garage band when I was 12 years old, my first paying gig, I was in sixth grade, and our opening song, pretty much to every show, was “Rock and Roll” off of Led Zeppelin IV. That was our jam. We also played “Stairway to Heaven,” eventually we played “The Ocean,” we played “Black Dog.” Our band was damned near a Zeppelin tribute band.

A sixth grade Zeppelin tribute band is a very interesting concept.

Right. I was in sixth grade, the rest of the guys, I think, were in seventh. By the time I was a freshman in high school our band was pretty solid.

You had three or four years building up to it.

Of that prime time, before life, and bills, and things. When all you had to do was your homework, and practice.

And maybe get a girlfriend.

That’s the other thing. I started playing music at 8, 9 years old, before chicks were even part of the equation, and then by the time chicks became part of the equation, me and my cousins, I grew up playing with them, we were like, we’re already ahead of the game! We were like, alright, alright!

But yeah, I think obviously there’s The Beatles. There’s music, and there’s The Beatles, and I think The Beatles will always have a pantheon unto themselves, but I think in terms of rock n roll, and the epitome of a rock band, of a rock n roll lead singer frontman, no one did it like Robert Plant, and no one pushed the envelope quite as far as Jimmy Page.

Also, in terms of drummers …

Bonham, there’s just a signature thing there that’s just incredible.

I also heard some John Paul Jones solo stuff some years back, and I couldn’t get over (the feeling of) oooohhh, that’s how much he’s bringing to the table. Especially on the records with all the organs and the strings, and the different instruments, that was all him. John Paul Jones was really big in developing their recorded sound, and live he was a badass bass player.

For more Tony Lucca check out tonylucca.com.

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