The phrase ‘Ivory Tower’ has long been a metaphor for a place of
refuge from the rest of the world. For singer/songwriter Mark Regula
of the critically acclaimed modern vintage rock band: Ivory Tower
Project, this figurative ideal resonates deeply. The New York
City-based band has functioned as a safe haven for its members to
process and, ultimately, triumph over trying times.
The group’s greatest victory is its rousing and emotive latest
album; ‘How Much More?’. It’s an album that bids farewell to a key
collaborator, co-founder and dear friend while it also welcomes a
new era as Ivory Tower Project gears up for more recordings and
fresh creative partnerships.
“For me, the name Ivory Tower always conveyed a feeling of
escapism,” reveals singer, songwriter, co-founder and multi
instrumentalist: Mark Regula. “The music has been where my heart and
mind can live when everything around me goes wrong.
It’s been my savior.” Ivory Tower Project specializes in the
majestic power rock of the 1970s and early 1980s. The songs burst
with stirring vocal melodies, soaring vocal harmonies, polished
musicianship, heartfelt lyrics, and imaginative arrangements. The
band is part of a new breed of classic rock purists preserving the
traditions set forth by masters such as 1970s Styx, Queen, Foreigner
and Boston. ITP has garnered praise from a variety of sources,
including: The Entertainment Bank, The Ripple Effect, Mossip, Quirky
NY Chick, and Boom Boom Chick, among others. The group’s debut:
2008’s ‘Red Hot’ (Guerilla Records), has received rave reviews and
airplay on over 600 radio stations in 32 countries. As a result,
tracks from that CD earned them nominations in a few categories in
both the 2015 and 2016 Nashville Universe Awards.
Much like Boston and Steely Dan, and other purveyors of exquisite
pop-rock, Ivory Tower Project is not so much a band as it is a
collective of songwriters. Mark Regula and lyricist Johnny Jace have
been the creative core since the 1980s. In 2003, Johnny passed away,
and the lyrics on ‘How Much More?’ are some of the last he’s
written. In 1983, original drummer Sal DiAngelo also passed away.
And in 2009, Mark Regula survived a car accident that has since left
him barely able to walk, and currently battling chronic pain. In the
face of it all, Regula has valiantly upheld Ivory Tower Project.
In the wake of all the loss, longtime collaborator and, hotshot
studio guitarist; Tony Novarro has emerged a central creative force.
Currently, Ivory Tower Project is: Mark Regula on vocals, keyboards,
guitar, bass, and percussion, with Novarro functioning as recording
engineer, guitarist, backing vocalist and co-songwriter.
The title of ITP’s latest CD; ‘How Much More?’ references the band’s
own challenging journey.“In life, you sometimes find yourself
waiting for a good thing to happen or a bad thing to end.” Regula
says. “It’s like; ‘how much more can we take?’ That sentiment
resonated with me and Johnny [former songwriting collaborator].” He
continues: “The struggle can be tough, but it can also be important
in that, if you don’t give up, you learn something.”
‘How Much More?’ posits a query and provides a comforting
prescription of answers in song. The album manages to be soothing,
seething, and stirring. The title track unfolds from a boldly
vulnerable piano ballad with smoldering emotionality to an anthemic
climax with burly classic rock guitars. “That’s a song about being
frustrated with a friend. In it, I ask, ‘How many times must I be a
victim of your lies?’ The feeling is how much more can I take or
should I take,” Regula says.
On "The Ides of March (Et tu Brute)" ITP manage to create their own
niche of Shakespearian rock through melding classic texts with
classic rock in the grand theatrical tradition of Queen. Guitarist
Tony Novarro turns in the touching soulful rock gem, “Please Tell
Me,” a tribute to a long lost friend, original drummer: Sal
DiAngelo. The tracks “Ring Around Rosie” and “Way Too Late” are
visceral and uplifting. “Ring Around Rosie” is a stately love song
overflowing with amorous vibes and lush production touches. The
invigorating “Way Too Late” is a hard driving pop-rock song with
galloping guitars that evoke 1970s Styx, Billy Idol and Heart.
Up next, Ivory Tower Project is working on new music. Reflecting
back on ITP’s journey thus far, Regula says: “Music is what has kept
us going. It’s been our light during the darkness of loss. This
album is a memorial to those no longer here with us. I hope this
music is as healing and cathartic for others as it has been for us.
I hope it gives people a chance to escape their pain and fears, and
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