The Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra is a classic rock band that features 14 vocalists and plays the music of David Bowie, The Beatles, Queen, The Who, and Led Zeppelin. Watching URO, is like being at a Broadway Show. So, how did this large group of talent come together to create a band that really does rock?
In 1999, producer/drummer Alan Ware and musician/vocalist, Sal Clemente put their heads together after coming up with an idea to do a newer version of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s, 1969 version of the “Brown Album,” (AKA) Jesus Christ Superstar.
It took 30 singers, 23 tracks and four years of developing new arrangements for these classic songs. Then it took six years to find a Jesus. And did I mention, they had to build their own recording studio?
Clemente and Ware started dabbling around in film production in 2001. They did gain some national exposure and with excitement, decided to approach Andrew Lloyd Webber’s company about filming their Superstar project. They were quickly passed off to music rights organizations.
The Boston Globe gave a big nod to the URO performance which was to be held at the Regent Theatre in Arlington. At that performance, they would be doing the full Jesus Christ Superstar as well as filming the production. Overnight, Webber’s company contacted URO and made it clear that they could only do certain songs.
So, they did just that and incorporated songs from Tommy and the Who, and Queen’s rock anthem library. Voila! A new band had been formed. A big nod to the Regent Theatre, which became the URO home base.
Sal Clemente, co-founder of the URO, comes from a theatrical background and is an integral part of this band. He is serious about the intricate vocal harmonies of his players, and contributes playing electric and acoustic guitar on many numbers.
Alan Ware the drummer, is an Englishman and co-founder of URO, who moved to Boston more than twenty years ago. He and Clemente had been in a few bands together before putting URO together.
Examiner met with Ware to find out more.
Examiner: What are you working on now?
Ware: Sal and I always have a number of focuses for the band. The URO is our only band, but, as you know, we have many different shows that we perform with that band. Each time we do another show, it takes us a lot of re-learning and rehearsal to get ready (we do not use sheet music or cheat sheets on stage, so everything has to be committed to memory – all the songs of Superstar, or the nuances of Quadrophenia, for instance.)
We are currently working on getting ready for our September Xtravaganza show and our Halloween show. Also, we’re re-learning songs for our November Jesus Christ Superstar performance, all at the Regent Theatre.
Our ongoing recording projects are a new Album of songs from our show including Queen, Bowie, Beatles, The Who, and Led Zeppelin. An ambitious studio recording of the URO performing The Who’s Quadrophenia is also in the works. Recording has begun, and we’re finding the time to fit in sessions when we can.
We shoot and edit our own live performance videos and mix our live recordings for them, and are working on putting together new videos to promote all of our current shows. Our YouTube channel will continue to be a focus for us. https://www.youtube.com/user/UltrasonicRock
Examiner: Are you hoping to do more film work with your music?
Ware: We began working on video projects as another way to give our musical projects greater exposure. We have a few ideas still percolating but, not the time currently to execute them. Making the live band work with studio projects on the go, and video and website editing in the works is quite a lot to do.
Examiner: How many shows have you put together thus far?
Ware: We currently perform three main shows: Xtravaganza, which are the songs of Queen, Bowie, The Beatles, The Who, and Led Zeppelin. Band In Boston, the songs of Aerosmith, The Cars, Boston and some others. And Jesus Christ Superstar.
We’ve done some other special shows from time to time: David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’ album, The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ album, and The Beatles ‘Sgt Peppers’ album.
We’ll be performing our Xtravaganza Show on Saturday, September 26 at the Regent Theatre in Arlington which will be followed by a Halloween Special on Saturday, October 31.
The Regent Theatre is where our band was born basically so we are grateful to Leland Stein and his team.
Visit the band website here: http://www.UROrocks.com/