For over fifty years,(born Francis Stephen Castelluccio) and The Four Seasons have been entertaining global audiences with such hits as "Big Girl's Don't Cry", "Walk Like A Man", "My Eyes Adored You", and "Oh What A Night (December 1963)". It is no wonder that they have lasted so long in the music business. With71 chart hits (including 40 in the Top 40, 19 in the Top 10 and eight No. 1’s) and millions of million of albums sold, you can bet that for Frankie Valli, this is only the beginning.
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons will be performing all of their hits at HardLive at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on February 13, 2011.
Valli took time from his busy touring schedual to give us an exclusive interview. Here it is in it's entirety.
Q: Who were some of the earlier musical influences that helped to shape the style and sound of The Four Seasons?
A: Well, a lot of it was R&B but I mean my earliest musical influences were from guys like Sinatra, Nat Cole. There were a lot of R&B guy's though , guy's that were underline between R&B and jazz. There were guy's like Little Jimmy Scott, and people like Dinah Washington, , Rose Murphy. There were a lot of people.
Q: You are a singer and a performer, but do you play any instruments?
A: Well, I play a little drums. Before we had any type of success, I was playing a stand-up set called a "Cocktail Set" and then very early on, with the first couple of hits, everybody decided that it was a little weird to be singing and sitting behind drums, so we hired a drummer. So that's how that came about.
Q: How do you cope with separation from your family and life on the road?
A: The way you cope is by loving what you do. Being on the road is tough. It would be a lot tougher if you were a singer and there was no work and you weren't on the road, then you would be just sitting around the house. I don't know, you know, in most cases if you are really dedicated, it becomes your mistress.
Q: One of your most popular songs, Oh What A Night (December 1963) features your vocals on a small percentage of the song, mostly the chorus, and is sung by another vocalist, yet it is still a Frankie Valli song.
A: Actually it was sung by three of us. We were lookin for a new way to go and since we had these other people that were so talented, why not exploit that? We were thinking of developing the Four Seasons to work without me, to see if we could come up with a whole new concept and use the other members and not me.
Q: Is there a true story behind the song lyrics?
A: Not really. The whole idea of the song was about prohibition. It was originally written about prohibition and when we went over the song, when Bob Gaudio brought it over to the studio, we went over the lyrics and we said "What are the kids of today going to know about prohibition". We almost scrapped it. Bob went home that evening and the next day he came in with a whole new lyric, which was "Oh What A Night (December 1963).
Q: The stage play, Jersey Boy's, is a huge, phenomenal success. How did the idea come about and did you have a hand in the writing or casting of the play?
A: Well, the idea was a long time idea. We had offers to do a Movie of the Week for CBS and NBC. We looked at it and checked out all the Movies of the Week. Financially, it wasn't that fruitful, first of all and number two, I wasn't thrilled with what I saw and neither was Bob, so we decided that maybe it's a play and we started to pursue people
that might be interested in it. It took quite a long time for it to happen.
Q: With over fifty successful years as an entertainer, what would you say is the secret to your success?
A: I don't know, I guess it's really just believing in yourself and hard work.
Q: You obviously have the passion as well.
A: Yes. I don't know if there's any other formula.You know, there will be many times when you approach various people with stuff you have created and..... they may not like it. That is why Baskin Robbins makes thirty-one flavors. You have to believe what you are doing. If I had quit every time we were turned down, there would have been no four Seasons.
For more information on Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, log on to his official website at: www.frankievallifourseasons.com. There will find a biography, discography, merchandise, and a host of other things.