By Adam Waldman
Friday the 13th…a day that the superstitious fear, but it is also one that people like me embrace. After a long wait, the day has finally come for the debut EP from a band that has been featured prominently over the past year or so on Hard Rock Daddy. Every song on Ugly Melon’s EP is outstanding, but that is a story for another day. Today, we celebrate the debut of a track that is near and dear to my heart – a brilliant cover of “The Rose,” which was made famous by Bette Midler in 1979 when it was featured in a movie with the same name.
So what makes this more special than any other exclusive world premiere that we’ve done? To fully appreciate what this moment means, we must travel back in time to the ‘80s, when I had dreams (like many) of becoming a rock star. The only problem is that I didn’t play any instrument, and was never more than an average vocalist (at best). My strength was always in lyric writing and the ability to hear things in my mind that I knew others would appreciate if I was somehow able to have someone with true talent interpret my ideas. That’s where Ugly Melon comes in – more specifically, vocalist Tony LaSelva and guitarist Lu Cachie.
It feels like a lifetime ago that this dynamic duo sent in a cold submission for a feature on Music Discovery Monday, but the truth of the matter is that it was less than a year ago. Since that time, Ugly Melon been featured a number of times on Hard Rock Daddy – including as the #13 song on our recently published Top 100 Hard Rock Songs of 2016. The music is what drew me to the band, but over the course of the last year, we have become friends with a mutual trust and respect.
When I heard Bette Midler’s version of “The Rose” while driving in the car one day with my family, I instantly said that Ugly Melon has to do a cover version of the song. I knew that LaSelva’s soulful vocal style would bring the emotion of the song to an entirely new level, and that Cachie would do the same with his poignant guitar arrangement. The trick was conveying my vision to a band that wasn’t even looking to do a cover song. Because of our relationship, this duo got to work on one of the most inspired hard rock cover songs that I’ve ever heard.
Because we connect on a level that goes beyond music, I was able to use shared personal tragedies as an inspiration to get LaSelva to tap into exactly what I was thinking for the song. He did what I would have done if I had his vocal gift. Cachie took the references that I gave him and delivered something truly memorable. It’s as if he had experienced the same pain as us.
I have listened to this song dozens of times (often times playing it on a loop). It continues to get better with each listen. You don’t have to be familiar with the original to appreciate this masterpiece. Those who are familiar with the original will find that all of the elements that made the song emotionally stirring are still there. Ugly Melon has brought out the bittersweet beauty of “The Rose” in a way that no one else could have. I’m honored to have my friends be the ones to bring my vision to life in such a meaningful way.
Without further ado, I present to you the exclusive world premiere of Ugly Melon’s interpretation of “The Rose”…