One of his early credits as a session musician was his synthesizer performance on Juice Newton's Dirty Looks and Old Flame albums released in 1983 and 1985, respectively. His first major break came when he was chosen to co-write several songs on the Staying Alive soundtrack (1983) with Frank Stallone. Following his work on the Staying Alive project, he was recruited by Sylvester Stallone to contribute key compositions for Rocky IV (1985), followed by scoring the original animated Transformers movie in 1986. Since then he has been active in the capacity of producer, recorded and performed as both a solo artist and member of several bands, and continues to work as a session musician and contributor to film soundtracks as composer and performer. DiCola counts Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer among his biggest influences in progressive rock music.
He also admires film-music composers Thomas Newman, John Powell and Jerry Goldsmith. In 1983, DiCola was a co-nominee for the Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special Grammy for co-writing the soundtrack of the movie Staying Alive, in spite of the poor critical reception of the film. He also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song - Motion Picture for the song Far From Over which he co-wrote with Frank Stallone for the same film. He received a Golden Raspberry Award in 1986 for his work on the Rocky IV soundtrack. The song The Touch from the Transformers soundtrack won DiCola a 1986 Apex award for Best Original Song - Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror. DiCola has had enough of a cult following amongst Transformers fans to have warranted the release of several albums of music related to the Transformers movie, as follow-ups to the release of the original 1986 The Transformers: The Movie soundtrack. First released as a BotCon'97 exclusive, the 2-CD set Til All Are One contains the first full score of the movie. BotCon 2001 saw the releases of The Protoform Sessions (featuring demos and rarities and including extended commentary from DiCola) and Artistic Transformations: Themes and Variations, containing solo piano renditions of songs from the soundtrack, as well as another complete score on a single disc named Lighting Their Darkest Hour. He has been a guest at multiple Transformers conventions, including appearances at BotCon'97, BotCon'98, BotCon 2000, and The Official Transformers Collectors' Convention 2004 in Rosemont, Illinois. An interview with DiCola was included on the Region 1 DVD release of The Transformers: The Movie released by Rhino Entertainment in the year 2000.
However, this interview is not present on the 20th Anniversary Edition released by Sony & BMG in 2006. DiCola credits his work on Transformers with getting his music exposed to a much wider audience and getting him the most attention and fame he has had as an artist. DiCola released his first solo work in 1986, an album simply titled Piano Solos. He later worked both as an arranger and performer on a 1991 multi-artist project called Artfully Beatles, which led him to release Artistically Beatles, an album of ten Beatles songs he arranged and performed, in 1993. An additional solo album called Falling off a Clef was released in 2004. In the same year he completed the soundtrack to the low-rated 2004 film Sci-Fighter, collaborating with the composer Kenny Meriedeth in October 2003, using Kenny's synthethizer and sound banks. The Falling off a Clef contains six new tracks (Castle of the Gods suite, Alien March, Fallen Angel, FS#7, A.
P.B., Castle of the Gods Variation) + a selection of 20 tracks from Sci-Fighter soundtrack. Other than his solo work, DiCola has worked with various musical groups. In 1991-1992, he worked with the 5-piece rock band Storming Heaven in the mid 1990s releasing the 1996 album titled Life In Paradise. In addition to DiCola on keyboard, guitar and vocals, the Storming Heaven lineup included lead vocalist Rick Livingston, Jethro Tull drummer Doane Perry, guitarist Curtis Taylor, and keyboardist Casey Young. Life In Paradise was written during 1991. The band was originally formed in January 1991. They spent the first half of the year creating the start of a musical suite entitled "Jessie's Journey", an idea that later was abandoned in favour of just individual songs.
"It was supposed to be an entire album based on a kind of science fiction theme. Those first four songs ("Cross the Line", "Red Knight", "The Passage" & "Dream House") they're sort of like the opening four songs of a suite." Around the same time in 1996, DiCola, Storming Heaven bandmate Perry, and Tower of Power vocalist Ellis Hall formed a soul/rock trio named Thread and released a self-titled album. In 1999, he recorded experimental and largely improvisational instrumental tracks under the name of The Firing Squad. These recordings remain unreleased. In 2001, he worked again with Perry and released In-VINCE-ible!, a collection of diverse works from various past projects, with ex-members of Santana and Chicago assisting as session musicians, and featuring several special guests including Steve Walsh of Kansas and his Storming Heaven bandmates. DiCola appeared as keyboardist on the first Hughes Turner Project album, HTP in 2003. He and Perry once again formed a trio, this time with bassist Paul Ill and called DPI, to release a 3-track EP called Found Objects in 2006. Previously the trio had worked with vocalist Vincent Kendall and guitarist Reeves Gabrels in releasing a 42-minute suite called Pity The Rich based on recordings made at the same time.
The jam-session style recordings for these releases were originally intended to be part of a new DiCola solo instrumental release, but while editing the tracks in his home studio DiCola felt they had the feel of a project for a band and chose to expand his original plan to include the other performers. In 2007, "Paulie's Robot" from Rocky IV, was used in the episode of Family Guy: "Moving Out(Brian's Song)". In 2008, he was featured on the Gran Turismo 5 Prologue Original Soundtrack and was responsible for arranging the series theme, "Moon Over the Castle" (with the guitarist Doug Bossi) as well as another piece titled "Truth". Both titles were written by the Japanese Band T-Square with which Vince worked on the album Truth 21c (2001, with Takeshi Itoh, as T-Square Plus). He described his work on the Gran Turismo's soundtrack's project in an interview with Music4Games, noting that he collaborated with T-Square and Doug Bossi on the project, and looks forward to becoming involved with game music in the future. In 2009, he composed the song ”BOUND & GAGGED” as a submission for the upcoming Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. The track featured DiCola on keyboards and drums, Kenny Meriedeth on guitars, and Rick Livingstone on vocals but was not selected by Michael Bay for the Transformers II soundtrack. Read more on Last.fm.
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