Sitting outside of the Poorhouse in Fort Lauderdale Florida, Dellacóma Rio approaches our table. One of my friends says, “I swear I have a picture of you and Michael Hutchence side-by-side. The resemblance is uncanny.” Another friend chimes in with, “Do you get that a lot? Comparisons to Michael Hutchence?” Del nods, and in his charming Australian accent says, “I’ve never been able to grow facial hair. One day my mother points to a picture on Facebook and says, ‘See Son, you can to grow facial hair,’ to which I responded, ‘Mom, that’s not me. That’s Michael Hutchence.'” I stop laughing long enough to ask “Can I quote you on that?” to which Del responds without hesitation, “Yes you can.”
It’s hard to argue Del bears a strong resemblance to the late INXS-frontman Hutchence. In static photos he even invokes a young Robert Plant. On stage however, he is undoubtably his own rocker man. He is Dellacóma Rio, and any comparisons made prior to him taking the stage are forgotten when he takes the mic.
I’ve seen Del perform with his band Dellacoma on multiple occasions, but tonight I’m treated to one of the very few limited engagements with Jasin Todd of Shinedown and Fuel. They take the small stage together, Jasin sitting on a stool, and Del standing behind a scarf-embellished microphone stand. A few people mill around Poorhouse, unaware that music is even starting, until it does. Rio and Todd open the set with “Sunburn” by Fuel. Within a few short verses the front of the stage is crowded with people who may have come to see the show, or may have come to just hang out in one of Fort Lauderdale’s bar districts. By the time Del and Jasin finish their cover of Alter Bridge’s “Watch Over You,” they have a captive audience. Whether or not they arrive as fans, they will leave as fans.
Says Del, “I met Jasin while I was on tour last year, he was filling in for a band that we supported. He was kind enough to give me his phone number and before you know it I’m back in Australia, we’re texting and I just floated the idea and he was keen…then here we are! I threw out the idea to a couple of venues I knew of and before I knew it we had 10 shows lined up over 11 days. Neither of us were interested in doing a ‘cover show’ so we put together a setlist made of songs from 2 of his previous bands (Shinedown and Fuel), my previous band Sunset Riot, some of my new stuff and a few carefully chosen covers we both enjoy. We pretty much rehearsed on our own, got together the night before the first show and went for it!”
Regardless of the amount of time spent together prior to their show, the chemistry between them is obvious. Del and Jasin operate on the same level; they have the same rock and roll spirit, a similar and infectious energy that extends to the crowd. They run through an acoustic, but not dressed down, version of Dellacoma’s “My Kinda Woman.” The audience is singing along to a song they’ve likely heard for the first time tonight. Del is on the stage, then he’s on the bar, then he’s running outside the venue and down the street, mic in hand, while Jasin continues playing with passion and … this intangible Jasin-thing that can only be described as genuine humility coupled with unbridled talent. Del is back on the stage again, Jasin is smiling, standing next to his stool, standing on his stool. The energy that they impart to us is infecting them too. A girl in the audience leans over to me and says, “I caught their show last night in Melbourne [Florida]. Del went outside and climbed a tree during his set.” I reply, “I can believe it.” They close the show with their unique version of “Simple Man” and the house is mesmerized.
Later I have a chance to chat with Jasin about the tour and his collaboration with Del. Jasin tells me these few short weeks of performing and traveling have restored his passion and love for music and for people. I tell him I’m grateful, and I am. He tells me he’s ready to go back to Nashville and make music, and help others make music — in other words, do what any Shinedown and Fuel fan knows he’s meant to do. I can’t wait to hear what an inspired Jasin Todd has planned after this tour is over. The tour is over now, by the way. Del is back on the road, traveling through the US with his band Dellacoma Rio (and if you have a chance to catch them on the road I highly recommend it.) As to whether or not Jasin and Del will ever collaborate again, my money is on, please-God-yes, but I have nothing to back that up outside of a, “You never know. Maybe if we find a drummer and a bass player. I like Florida.” So if anybody plays drums and bass and is looking for gigs, I’ll throw a penny in the wishing well and meet you at the front of the stage. Hell, I’ll make it a dollar.