I’ve been waiting months to have this interview with Incognito drummer, Francesco Mendolia – but other than resorting to buying plane tickets and chasing him and Incognito across the continents, I just had to wait to hear the answer to my burning question – How did he get into the band? And just like the age old saying goes “all good things come to those who wait” – here’s my interview with the man!
“Being in Incognito it’s like a dream come true for me”
I just love Incognito you know (Francesco begins with a reminiscing smile). I used to play their songs in a cover band when I was 18 years old and now I’m one of them – it’s so surreal! I remember a chance meeting with Matt Cooper, the band’s Keyboard player, in a club in Rome. I used to play there on a regular basis and Matt and I became good friends. He invited me to see Incognito perform live a few times and so I got to know Bluey and all the other guys, they are such a great bunch. It wasn’t until a few years later that Bluey contacted me – excuse the pun ‘out of the blue’ and asked if I wanted to take part in their latest video ‘I’ve Been Waiting’. Well I couldn’t believe it, I jumped at the chance! I moved to London about 6 years ago and around 18 months later Matt called me and asked if I wanted to substitute for their drummer – Richard Bailey – for a show in Switzerland. The show went really well, Bluey was happy with my performance so from then on I would stand in for either Richard or Pete Biggin if they were unavailable. When Bluey asked me in 2011 to become a regular drummer for the band – that was the best day of my life!
“I do work with other artists”
Being in Incognito takes up much of my time, but when we’re on a break I do work with other artists such as Jack Savoretti, the band Imagination and also the musical Thriller Live. It’s tricky to put it all together sometimes, however I’ve managed to do that without any major problems so far.
“…started playing drums at 5”
My father was an amateur musician and so he actively encouraged me to take up the drums first, I started playing drums at the age of 5. Later I attended the Classical Conservatorium in Rome where I studied other instruments like the Piano and Guitar. It wasn’t till I was 18 that I started playing the drums professionally. I do teach sometimes, whenever I have time and I’m not on tour.
“The Royal Albert Hall…it’s a Legendary place”
Having been with Incognito for the last 4 years, I have been fortunate enough to have played at some great venues and festivals around the World. We get to visit beautiful places, meet exciting new people all the time but the thing I love the most about being in the band is that I really love Incognito’s music – what more could I wish for? If I was to pick my favorite venue that I’ve played at with the band, it has to be The Royal Albert Hall, it’s a legendary place where all the greatest people have performed, it truly has a unique atmosphere.
For more information on Drum Tuition from Francesco Mendolia, you can contact him through Facebook.
July 2014 sees Incognito play a very special gig, their 35th Anniversary Concert