Carlo Infante, the out gay bass player of the band White Noise, is describing their newly released “Out Of The Ashes,” an album of songs the band performed “back in the day.”
Twenty-five years have passed since White Noise glam-rocked Ohio with music their fans never forgot. Those fans found Infante on Facebook and demanded his return, shocking him by quoting never-released White Noise songs they remembered from demos played on the radio. The band reunited with Infante who now lives in Oakland Park, Fla., releasing an album of their popular classics.
Their patient fans do not mind the buzz cut that has replaced the huge curly mop of hair that Infante once tossed about on stage. New and younger fans, who are just now discovering pre-Nirvana music, are hungry for exactly the kind of fist-pumping metal sound this album delivers. For Infante, a music career on long hiatus is rising from its ashes, and the embers are about to burst into flame.
Infante grew up in the small town of Niles, Ohio, in the kind of Italian Catholic family where the local priest came to dinner every Sunday.
When he was 12-years-old, he won a motorcycle in a church raffle and traded it for a guitar. At that time, he read that boys develop an attraction to girls while in high school. He figured this would replace his attraction to men. He waited patiently but it never happened. He kept his sexuality a secret.
Meanwhile, rock music transformed him from an unpopular kid into a high school star. In his early 20s, his first band seemed on the verge of fame with a New York connection to Ritchie Blackmore of Rainbow and Deep Purple that ultimately resulted in their getting deceived and ripped off. Back in Ohio, they continued to write their own songs, and reconfigured themselves as White Noise. They signed with a company that already represented Bon Jovi and Cinderella. That company renamed them Noisy Mama, a change they disliked.
It was at that time, Infante fell in love with a man, a married fire chief, whose disgruntled wife outed Infante to his parents who brought their anguish to the parish priest. He reminded them that Infante was still the same son whom they loved, and that they should continue to love him because he had not changed in any way. It is refreshing to receive an account in which a priest is actually helpful in the coming out process, and whose counseling resulted in Carlo’s parents’ total acceptance of their gay son (Many years later, they also came to know and love his current partner of four years, Michael Cooper).
Infante was not out to his band mates, but they had already guessed the truth and had researched the best ways to coax him out of the closet. Despite their strong support, Infante quit the band to pursue his relationship and to begin a career in anesthesia. The timing of his fallback career was fortunate because the entire music industry was about to be transformed by the arrival of Nirvana. White Noise disbanded and those early songs gathered dust until now.
Back in the studio, White Noise perfectly resurrects their glam metal sound for the new album. More than retro, these 12 songs seem freshly liberated from some fast moving glacier that flash froze them for later consumption (I can easily see why the song “Rescue Me” had once been under consideration by Air Supply. They should have gone with it).
If you savored the energy of Judas Priest and Bon Jovi (and other related branches on that tree: Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Twisted Sister, Blue Öyster Cult, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Air Supply) you will appreciate “Out Of The Ashes.” (The album vocals on songs like “Party In The Rust,” contain hints of Sammy Hagar’s 1984 “I Can’t Drive 55.”)
Infante is well aware of how the music industry has changed since the days when White Noise would perform at different venues five nights a week. Despite the current lack of performance spaces for a group like theirs, with a new album and social media connections all over the country including a strong gay network, White Noise will have no problem attracting attention. A Fort Lauderdale appearance is definitely on the horizon, and Infante looks forward to performing for all his South Florida friends.
While Infante was talking, I was envisioning an all-gay super-group composed of Carlo Infante, Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü), Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Chuck Panozzo (Styx), Adam Lambert and even Ray Boltz for a dash of country. We may only dream of being able to buy a ticket for that, but we can get “Out Of The Ashes” on iTunes.
For more on White Noise, visit WhiteNoiseRocks.com.