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Bio - Doug Ardito
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 –
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
had another opportunity to meet Jimmy Page. Page was gracious and gave Doug and
Scantlin tips on 'open' guitar tuning.
(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.
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.
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
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.
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.
2003 Doug became an official endorser of Rotosound Strings and was featured in
the magazine advertisements as well as on the Rotosound website.
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.
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.
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.
MTV, Europe MTV, The Bedford Minuteman, The Boston Globe,
The Boston Herald, Bass Guitar Magazine, Bass Player Magazine, Revolver
special thank you to the individuals who contributed to this biography.
POMuddRockOn Karen 2002-2006