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Bio - Doug Ardito

 

 

Douglas John Ardito of Bedford, Massachusetts was born on March 10 and while Doug may now be a Los Angeles transplant he is still proud to call Bedford his hometown.  His living in the harsh, frostbitten winters of the Northeast while growing up to the pleasant December weather in California as an adult is an extreme comparison by nature's own standard, and also in that it is similar to Doug's career in the music business.  The extremes of struggling as a starving musician, landing a record deal, the break up of the band, to later finding another band that would achieve multi-platinum success demonstrates his fortitude, his fearlessness to face adversity head on and persevere while most would have thrown in the towel long ago.  With the mantra, 'if I have a back up plan, that sets me up for failure,' he has been on the lowest of lows and the highest of highs that the rock and roll roller coaster guarantees, hold on for dear life, it is going to be a wild ride there is no room for the faint of heart or someone without the heart for the music, for that is what gives you the strength when you need it the most.

 


By the age of 10, Doug was exploring his newfound talent for music.  He took up the drums first and later moved to the saxophone while in the junior high school band.  He excelled at the sax and was very proficient, but at the same time he wanted to try other instruments. 


The 'I want to be a musician' possibility hit Doug when he was 14, courtesy of a neighbor who worked for Warner/Elektra/Asylum records when he got his first view into the world of rock and roll life from an insider's view, backstage.  He went to a J. Geils Band concert and met lead singer Peter Wolf and that was 'it' for Doug, he was hooked.  Already having been exposed to his dad's choice of rock music, he was familiar with Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon and other popular bands from the time period.  His brother, who had a Fender Jaguar Guitar that Doug would just happen to borrow, was also a fan of Boston-based Aerosmith as well as guitar legend Jimi Hendrix and Doug was in earshot range from all sides.


Developing his own interests, Doug cut his teeth by listening to Led Zeppelin and the Steve Miller Band.  He often visited used record stores to feed his need for classic rock and roll performers.  One of Doug's favorite musicians was Joe Perry of Aerosmith fame; little did Doug know that more than ten years later, their paths would cross and he would come face-to-face with one of the idols of his youth, sitting at arms length from the legend at the 2002 Billboard Awards.  Doug credits Paul McCartney of The Beatles and Wings fame for inspiring him as a bassist; he idolized McCartney's perfection and melodic rhythm.  

 

Bedford had its fair share of aspiring guitar players, as did a neighborhood garage band Doug had an interest in joining.  Though he would have preferred to play the guitar, they needed a bassist and since Boston was the place to get an instrument, they boarded the train and he became the proud owner of a brand new Yamaha BB3300 Bass.  The bass seemed to come naturally to Doug as he learned three rock songs that very night, Train Kept A Rollin', Walk This Way, and Dream On, oddly enough Aerosmith songs. (Bass Player Magazine, May 2002) His passion was divided; he loved the bass, but was becoming quite an accomplished guitar player as well.  In the end he had to drop the saxophone to make time for the bass and guitar.  Though Doug doesn't have any formal training on the piano, he does play by ear, proving his diversity on a wide range of instruments.

 

As a young aspiring musician, Doug played in several Boston area bands, two specifically, Taupier and Throat Culture.  Throat Culture had a unique gimmick; they used to pass out tongue depressors with the band name on them as souvenirs for their fans.  By the age of 15, Doug and his band were playing gigs in local bars and clubs like The Channel, Bunratty's, The Rat, and Derringers, most of which he had to sneak in the back door of because he wasn't old enough to legally enter.

 

In between music, Doug was an avid sports lover participating in almost every sport in high school, but had a passion for football and lacrosse.  Harvard Square in Boston, which was known for it's local street musicians, was a skateboarding haven and he was frequently hanging out there with friends.  A cabin at a lake in New Hampshire was another favorite place to relax and enjoy outdoor sports.  As with many teenagers, spending money was earned at jobs of pizza delivery and as a grocery bagger in a local store. 

 

Doug attended Bedford High School and graduated in 1989.  He had been a life long resident of Bedford until moving six months after graduation in January of 1990.  He was itching to pursue his dream in Los Angeles, where the heartbeat of the music industry lay, and with a long-time friend they loaded up his friend's Hyundai and trailer and made the trek across country.  Encouraged by his family to have a back up plan, Doug was against that idea feeling when you have a back up plan, you are setting yourself up for failure.  He was on the road with one thing in mind, Los Angeles or bust.

 

Doug landed a job in a recording studio not long after arriving in L.A., which not only allowed him to make connections but to also learn about the industry from the inside.  By keeping his eyes and ears open, he diligently picked up tips for the recording process and the mechanical workings of the studio. As early as 1992, Doug earned an assistant engineering credit for the hip-hop band The Boys on their album And the Saga Continues.  Much of his spare time was spent perfecting his composing abilities.  Armed with an 8-track recorder and a drum machine, he in essence became his own one-man band; laying down drum tracks, adding guitars parts, and learning how to edit tracks.  Doug was becoming comfortable behind the scenes of production and he carries that passion into the studio to this day, spending hours in the studio to help tweak tracks that have been recorded.

 

While in L.A. Doug took in a new companion, his dog Brando. Brando, an Akita-Rottweiler-Chow mix who has an unconditional love for Doug and has remained at his side going on ten years.  Unbeknownst to Doug, he had a budding actor in his animal friend who would later play a role in an upcoming project of Doug's with a new band.

 

As with all struggling musicians, sometimes you accept a gig because it is necessary, the starving artist persona is not merely fiction; it's a cold hard fact. Doug's career path is no different. Some of those jobs you take you would just as soon forget.  Making ends meet is a never-ending story, living in your car, hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck never knowing where your next dime was going to come from.  You dig deep and push harder, it's when you find out what you are really made of and consider some gigs as a bridge to better things, and leave those memories for what they were, necessary for survival.

 

                   

 

 

 

 

        

(Images courtesy of cellophanesite.com, now offline)

 

 

A more promising detour in Doug's musical career included playing with a Los Angeles band called Cellophane, who got their name from a plastic-like crumbling noise inside of a movie theater.  They toured throughout the US from 1996-1998.  Partnered with vocalist/guitarist Shannon Crawford, lead guitarist John Chase, and drums/percussionist Mark 'Moke' Bistany, they played at shows nationwide including an Ozzfest show in October 1996.  They had good company, sharing the stage with Coal Chamber, Powerman 5000, Slayer, Sepultura, Biohazard, Neurosis, and Earth Crisis.  The band continued touring and in the spring of 1997 supported ESPN's Extreme Games at several of their stops including, New York City, Virginia Beach, and Miami.  While touring and trying to make a name for themselves, the band would pass out a four-song disc to fans that featured Standing In The Storm, Tamarack Tree, Ride Thy Neighbor, and Down.

 

In an effort to have a promotional product to get the band exposure for gigs, a video of the band was created with Producer/Director Sami Ansari in the spring of 1997.  With his guidance, there were two completed projects, which had similar video concepts, yet, each slightly different in content of the song Down.

 

One video contained a straight up band performance on stage in a small club-like setting.  Cellophane has a hard-edged rock sound and unmistakable is their convergence on stage to one central pinpoint, rock till you drop.  The other video disperses between the stage performance images of Doug, Shannon, John, and Moke as individuals perusing through busy, big-city downtown streets as if they are escaping from someone or something we the viewers can't see.  We immediately notice Doug, who at that time had distinctive two-toned, red and dark hair and he completed the funky look with dark sunglasses as he keeps abreast of his surroundings and peers over his shoulder.  Shannon, dressed in a business suit with a tie, breaks out into a full-on sprint, maneuvering around people on the crowded sidewalk by dodging left and right.  Moke is 007-ish as he gives a sideways glance, as if scouting for an enemy.  John saunters by calm, cool, and collected while toking on a cigarette, the most reserved of the bunch blending in well with the other pedestrians.  The song quickly escalates on stage into a combustible frenzy and closes with close up shots of Doug playing his clear-bodied bass and the shaking of his hair that frames his face.


    

On August 12, 1997 Cellophane released their self-titled debut album on Virgin Records.  Produced by Howard Benson, engineered by Robert Green-Brooks, and distributed by EMI Music Distribution, their eleven-song disc included the songs Here We Lay, Down (which received radio station airplay), No One In The End, Cut Away, I Crave You Gone, Ride Thy Neighbor, I'm So Glad You Came, Home, Dress The Day, Tamarak Tree, and Standing In The Storm.

 

It is strange how people from your past always seem to cross paths with you many years later, as is the case with Chris Cuffaro. He is a rock photographer who happened to shoot the photos for their debut Cellophane CD and unknown to Doug, he would later work with Cuffaro with an entirely new band seven years later on a music video.

 

At a show at Los Angeles' The Dragonfly, they were the opening band at a surprise Rage Against The Machine performance, the line stretched out on the street to see Rage, it was a good gig for Cellophane to gain a following.  Cellophane soon landed a gig opening for Creed, whose debut album My Own Prison was starting to break out.  They did a range of dates with Creed and were learning the ins and outs of being on the road.  Cellophane also did a several shows with Sevendust and even a few shows on the Vans Warped Tour. It was during this time Doug met Fred Durst of the band Limp Bizkit, Cellophane played at the very first MTV Beachouse. Limp Bizkit were rocking the beach, and that connection with Fred would work out for Doug many years later.  Doug gained valuable stage experience by playing in places such as The Whisky a Go-Go, The Troubadour, and The Roxy.  As with many bands, personal conflicts and other issues lead to the breakup of the band.

 

The band had seen the peaks and the valleys, a record deal that didn't lead to where they had hoped and were witness to the crumbling of their opportunity.

 

 

 

We all know the story, how being in the right place at the right time can determine what happens to you for the rest of your life. Doug Ardito was doing a stint at Interscope Records as an A & R intern and trying to network within the industry and just happens to fill that 'what a stroke of luck story'.  Fred, who had previously seen Doug with his old band Cellophane, was surprised to see him at Interscope's offices and asked what he had been up to.  Durst's new record label, Flawless Records, had received a demo from Wes and Fred was interested in finding musical pairings for the project.  Fred had just made the deal to bring Wes out to L.A. and mentioned a hot new talent he had just found in Kansas City to Doug and was looking for members to put with Wes, there was a bass spot open and would he be interested?

 

Doug remembers - "Fred came up to me and asked if I still played bass. I told him I did, and he took me down to his car in the parking garage and played me a tape of Wes' stuff. I thought it was pretty bad-a**. A few days later Wes walked into the office, fresh out of Kansas City. I said to myself, 'Yeah, he looks like a lead singer'." - Revolver Magazine  

 

Of course he was interested, Doug met when Wes paid a visit to do a demo for Interscope's Jimmy Iovine and they hit it off very well from the start.  Circumstance and coincidence put Doug just where he needed to be.  Puddle had a new bass player and his name was Doug Ardito.

 

The road to complete Come Clean was a difficult one.  Not only did they have to write material, but also in this case they were just getting to know each other, their quirks, talents, and personalities. Their creative efforts were compounded by the pressure of having something to prove to the head honcho's that were giving them this opportunity and to themselves that they deserved this chance to hopefully become a band with a nation-wide audience.  There were some very desperate times for all three members financially; making ends meet with the small stipend of their 'development deal'.  One may get signed, but there were no big bucks or a bottomless bag of cash for living expenses.  From one's dark days come insightful lyrics and music, you have nothing left to lose and you let it all hang out; all of it, the good, the bad, and although there was a lot of excitement brewing in themselves there was an ominous cautiousness to not become overconfident.

 

Equipped with a rented Fender Jazz Bass, Doug recorded the bass tracks.  Doug had previously used a Jerry Jones Longhorn Bass to audition for the spot in Puddle and used the same bass to record Piss It All Away as it appears on Come Clean.

 

While in Europe, Doug had the opportunity to meet a major influence in the world of rock and roll. At a benefit for children, Doug saw Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) play. At the same benefit were Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) and Paul Weller (solo, The Jam). Plant and Page did not play together. He was fortunate enough to hear Noel Gallagher (Oasis) also. He has met Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) and they had a 'nice talk.' Doug felt very fortunate to meet Jimmy Page at one of their shows, and it made him kind of nervous. At the Puddle of Mudd show Jimmy Page attended, he was clapping, watching and nodding his head as if in approval. These thoughts crossed Doug's mind –

 

"I'm thinking, 'There is Jimmy Page over there by the soundboard'," he recalled. "Things like that make you feel like you're in never-never land like it's a dream." - Boston Herald, May 2002

 

Doug had another opportunity to meet Jimmy Page. Page was gracious and gave Doug and Scantlin tips on 'open' guitar tuning.

 

"He (Wes) met him before me, so I was jealous when he was doing the VMA's in Frankfurt and I was like dam*, why can't I be up there - So then when I got to sit down and talk to him that was a pretty remarkable experience. We started talking about 'open' guitar tuning and he says - You like 'open' guitar tuning - he gave me the secret to Jimmy Page open guitar tuning. Now we have to write a song with it and it better be good - Yeah maybe Jimmy should play on that one." - Europe MTV Pre-Winterjam Audio Interview.

 

During his career he has had coverage in just about every major music magazine, his radio interviews go out to listeners via live broadcast and Internet streams.  He's been blogged about and appeared on webcasts, media has evolved since his early days of dreaming of being a rock and roller.

 

Doug was featured in the May 2002 issue of Bass Player Magazine. Doug outlined his equipment of choice: Warwick Thumb Bass, Twin Thumb Bass, a Dolphin, Alien Acoustic Bass Guitar, Washburn AB10 Acoustic Bass Guitar, Ampeg with SVT-4PRO Head / SVT 810E and 215E, Ernie Ball Round Wounds and a Dunlop 1mm pick on occasion.

 

Bill Murphy of Bass Guitar (February-March 2002) covered Doug in his article Love That Dirty Water giving us insight into the back of the bus writing of Puddle's second album, Life On Display.

 

Over the years Doug's hometown newspapers have covered his career rise with POM: The Bedford Minuteman, The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald. An in depth interview was featured in the article, "From Bedford to L.A. - It's a Puddle of Mudd," written by Lawrence Pruyne.

 

In 2003 Doug became an official endorser of Rotosound Strings and was featured in the magazine advertisements as well as on the Rotosound website.

 

With Puddle, there have been many first-time accomplishments for not only but the band, but ones that give personal recognition to Doug as a songwriter and performer.  In 2002 with five nominations at the Billboard Awards, Puddle were winners of four categories.  They swept the Rock Group of the Year, Rock Single of the Year for Blurry, Modern Rock Group of the Year and Modern Rock Single of the Year for Blurry.  As co-writer of this song, it was confirmation he found his place within the music industry.

 

It wouldn't be his last songwriter award and on May 20, 2003 at a ceremony in Beverly Hills, CA, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) recognized Doug for achievement with two awards. Doug, along with fellow co-writers Wesley Scantlin of Puddle of Mudd and Jimmy Allen, former member of Puddle of Mudd, received the approval of his peers by capturing top ASCAP honors with a prestigious win for Song of the Year for Blurry from the debut album. He was also an award recipient for one of the most played songs of 2002 with Blurry placing in the top five.

 

Doug has spent many years on the road working the magic with Puddle onstage and off, penning songs while the bus rolled down the highway, in hotel rooms, anywhere an idea would materialize he would make a note of the thought process and let it evolve into a tune.  He has matured as a musician, trying new techniques and enhancing his ability as both a bass player and guitarist.  He has been written about in magazines, appearing on their covers, by being a bass player. He has been to the four corners of the Earth just about, including the honor of playing for American troops in Germany and for those fighting in Iraq in 2004, by being a bass player.    His hair-brained idea of no backup plan has allowed him to meet some of his life-long musician idols and achieve his dreams, not bad for a bass player… and now it doesn't sound so hair-brained after all.

 

Credits: MTVEurope MTV, The Bedford Minuteman, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Bass Guitar Magazine, Bass Player Magazine, Revolver Magazine.

 

A special thank you to the individuals who contributed to this biography.

 

© POMuddRockOn Karen 2002-2006