Anyone who has gone through a Weekend Warriors program will know that there are many inevitabilities; you will meet new people, have a lot of fun playing music together and you’ll get looked after with quality instruments at the jam and professional PA and staging at the Big Gig. The other constant is that you will be well coached by an experienced industry professional. The lineage of music industry professionals involved in the Weekend Warriors program continues with the appointment of a new South Australian coach Dino Jag, who will oversee his first Warriors jam on October 16th.
Dino Jag is not only a busy working singer but is also a respected songwriter and recording artist. He recently released a new EP called Breakthrough, recorded in Hollywood and featuring some of LA’s finest session musicians including: Aaron Sterling (Drums – John Mayer), Corey Britz (Bass – Bush), Tim Pierce (Guitar – Bruce Springsteen), Jeff Bova (Keyboards – Michael Jackson), Carroll Hatchet (Backing Vocals – Bette Midler) & The Rolling Stones’ backing vocalist Bernard Fowler. Not only did Dino get to record his EP with those incredible musicians, another claim to fame is that he is featured on a recording with Paul McCartney! Long story short, Dino was working for a Sydney-based record label and was asked to work on a track by a guy named Rusty Anderson. Apart from playing with Elton John, Willie Nelson and Santana among many others, Rusty was also Paul McCartney’s lead guitarist. It was while Dino was working on the track, “messing around with some drum samples and bass grooves… recording some of my own vocal lines onto the track”, that he realised that Paul McCartney was also playing bass and singing backing vocals on the track as well. Naturally Dino was thrilled with that bolt from the blue.
Dino’s musical influences are varied and range from rock and pop to soul and rhythm and blues. It’s a consequence of growing up in a household which was accepting of all kinds of music.
“In my house there was Elvis, Led Zeppelin George Benson and Stevie Wonder, even Carsuo,” Dino recalls. “Dad was playing Enrico Caruso and Dean Martin. My mum was listening to Elvis. My brother was into hard rock bands, so it was really a cocktail of music and there was something about all of those artists that I connected with on some level or another. I used to be really impressed with the power that some of those opera singers had. For me as a vocalist, there was something about the black singers that made me stop and listen and they really connected with me … that soul funk thing has always stayed with me.”
Dino has a lifetime of music business career guidance to pass on to Weekend Warriors participants but I wondered what were the significant learning moments for him during his musical journey …
“Firstly as a performer, when I first started touring with cover bands, I was 17 and the scene was different,” says Dino. “We were doing 6 nights a week. I wasn’t used to working 6 nights a week and switching on every night, getting into the flow so … that was a huge learning curve for me. It also taught me how to connect to an audience. So I learned a lot from doing the hard yards. As a songwriter, I think an important moment was when I accepted that it was in the re-writing of songs which made a difference. I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves as artists to be perfect. If it doesn’t sound great straight away it must suck. You hear incredible work from some artists and think they are just churning it out in one go. It was when I started working with songwriting mentors that I really got to know what goes into writing a song. I wanted to lift my level of songwriting and I decided to go to work with mentors internationally that were disconnected to what I was doing here and had a different mindset. I learned that it is not what you come up with initially that has to be perfect, the work starts in the rewriting. I like the accountability of being connected to someone else too and there’s healthy pressure to get your stuff together.”
Dino takes over the SA Weekend Warriors coach reigns at 6.30pm on Monday, October 16th at the The Gov. It’s something he is looking forward to immensely.
“What I loved about the program when I first heard about it was the fact that it reconnects with why we all got into music to start with … it feels good, its something you do with friends or share with people you don’t know but get to know through playing music,” he says enthusiastically. “I love the idea of getting people into music just for fun. As a professional musician you can easily lose sight of what it was about music that you loved when you started. Regardless of whether you do it professionally or not, it lifts us and it lifts people we share it with. I am excited about plugging into that energy. It is something that I recognised before when I have done some some mentoring and teaching. People always leave the session feeling lifted. I haven’t been to a Weekend Warriors session as yet but I have met people who have been through the program and I have seen the results of them coming out the other end with friendships and bands that have kept going after their Weekend Warriors sessions. In South Australia, the Weekend Warriors community has become a club of its own and there is this whole network of people that create their own event and shows and some have gone on to become regular working musicians. So from the outside I have seen the positive spin offs of Weekend Warriors.”
Having been a longtime musician in Adelaide, Dino is very familiar withThe Gov, the Weekend Warriors program venue and is pleased that the participants will get the opportunity to hit the stage with full production and put on a show at the end of the program.
“It’s a great venue for this kind of thing,” says Dino. “It’s one of SA’s top music venues and has great in-house PA that the touring artists use. When people go through the Weekend Warriors program and get to the end, they get to play a gig on that stage with full production. It’s a buzz for everyone involved. And everything is supplied. If you don’t have an instrument there’s no problem. Plus there’s all the emotional benefits. Maybe people are feeling a bit flat and looking to reconnect with people again, it’s another aspect of this thing. It’s going to be great fun.”
Register your interest for the Weekend Warriors SA jam now: http://weekendwarriors.org.au/register-your-interest/
Jam Day: Monday, October 16th, 2017 @ 6:30 pm at The Gov
Final Concert: Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 @ 12 pm at The Gov
You can also catch Dino Jag in concert:
Sun 22 Oct – The Toff (Melbourne)
Tue 24 Oct – Hamer Hall (Melbourne) *supporting Status Quo
Sun 29 Oct – Leadbelly (Sydney)