Member Biographies

Echo Temple is still a relatively new band though the current member line up has a multi-varied background and some recognizable names to those familiar with the live music scene in Houston.

Tom Calandra

Vocals: Tom has been singing semi-professionally for over 25 years. As somewhat of a late bloomer, he was self instructed using various books and cassettes beginning in his early 20's. His first love for music came in the late 70's and was inspired by AOR heavyweights Journey (Steve Perry), Foreigner (Lou Gramm) and Whitesnake (David Coverdale), but he soon became influenced by the combination of power and melody that only metal music can deliver.

His first endeavor in the metal world came while fronting Lafayette Louisiana based band (LIXX) in the early to mid 80's, where his new musical influences, (Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate and Ronnie James Dio) inspired a vocal style that sticks with him to this day. As the LIXX experience began to fade, a phone call from an old Lafayette buddy (Dan Lantier) and Tom was convinced to move to Houston Texas in the late 80's to front local Houston band Granite. He was on his own and leaving his family for a wish and a prayer. With soaring vocal harmonies and creative song writing, Granite was on the fast track in the Houston scene, but their tenure was short lived due to personal issues and creative differences.

So, Tom was on the move again and this time joined forces with local legends Z-LOT-Z in the early 90's. The songwriting chemistry inspired 4 albums, a now international appeal and showcase shows with the likes of Dio, Tesla, Yngwie Malmsteen and more. Z-LOT-Z also broadened their appeal as Queensryche tribute band (Mindcrime) which still earns mass appeal today. A decade later and Z-LOT-Z left it's mark on a Houston fan base truly dedicated to supporting the local scene. But Tom is a family man at heart, and when his wife became pregnant with his first son, he decided to retire the mic and close a chapter in his life that he will never ever forget. The bonds created in those ten plus years will last a lifetime.

So now, husband and brand new Dad with his second son and about 6 years later, Tom is lured out of retirement by his wife's high school bud and former Echo Temple guitarist John Wisser. What was initially going to be a weekend warrior type get together turned into another family type fellowship with the addition of Echo Temple drummer Chris Kotlarz. Once again, Tom was inspired by the songwriting and the comradery and the passion was re-born. Now, some 3 years later and after the additions of guitarist Sean Turcott and bassist Thomas Helton, the stage is set, the brotherhood is alive and a new musical chapter in his life endures.

 Sean Turcott

Guitar: Sean's early musical influences and inspiration were centered on Progressive Rock bands such as RUSH, STYX, and Pink Floyd. He developed an interest in the creative approach of these instrumentally focused groups which led him to pick up the guitar at age 13. Floored by the likes of Ozzy (Randy Rhoads era), early Metallica, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden he developed a love for the darker edge of Metal which drove his desire to learn the mechanics of these classically influenced styles. Jamming around with friends and participating in several band projects through the high school years was enough of the “bug” to guide the decision to study music in college. Through the course of university studies Sean was exposed to many styles and approaches to music such as performing in a Big Band Jazz ensemble. After meeting a group of like-minded Prog Rockers in the music program the band Picture This was formed. This original music project played the circuit for 3 years (which cemented his love of live performance music).

Years later after pursuing a technical career and starting a family (beautiful wife & 4 kids) Sean began serving in Music Ministry. Out of the blue long time friend and college roommate, John Wisser, called about a Metal project, Echo Temple, he was putting together. After hearing a sample of the original tunes and jamming around with the group he was sold. Divine inspiration and a desire to please the creator with all works of his hands guide Sean’s participation and creative contributions to this band!

 Chris Kotlarz

Drums/Keys: Chris has been playing drums in various bands for about 10 years. His favorite drummers are Vinnie Paul, Mike Portnoy, and Chad Smith. His first passion, however, was guitar, which he started when he was 8 years old. Formally trained in classical and jazz, Chris developed his passion for metal when he first discovered George Lynch and then Yngwie Malmsteen.

From 1990-1995, Chris played in several successful bands in southern California, such as Intension (fronted by Brian Sheerin), Sinister Slim (with Mike Owen from Anacrusis) and Grazorback (fronted by Nick Lynch). The shift to drums occurred as a result of always having a desire to play them, and being of the mind that he took his guitar playing as far as he wanted.

 Thomas Helton

Bass Guitar: Thomas was raised with a lot of different music in his house. From the beginning he was drawn to metal. Playing trombone in school band he began practicing bass on the side and playing Iron Maiden, Van Halen and Metallica with his friends. In 1990 he was given a full scholarship to study music. In college he discovered jazz and quickly switched to upright bass. For the past 20 years he has made his living as a bassist playing with the Baytown Symphony, the Houston Symphony, notable jazz, free jazz and blues musicians, Milt Jackson, Tim Hagans, Milton Hopkins and William Parker........ Along the way he developing his composing skills and released several solo albums of contemporary classical and free improvised music. Toured as a solo artist regularly since 2003.

In 2012 he decided it was past time to pursue his real passion, metal. For six months he answered countless adds all with the same outcome. He was going to give up but decided to answer one last ad to audition for Echo Temple. He got the gig and played his first metal show in June 2012.

 Dale Rasco

Guitar: When Dale was eleven, he begged his parents for a guitar after hearing the KISS Destroyer album and seeing Ace Frehley on TV. But it was not long before this interest in being a rockstar waned and turned into a life long passion to be a true musician, songwriter and guitarist. His earliest influence was undoubtedly Vivian Campbell from the early Dio years, which can still be heard from time to time in his playing today however; Dale’s inspiration as a songwriter comes more from progressive and power metal influences such as Fates Warning, Dream Theater, RUSH, Iron Maiden and Helstar.

Dale played in several bands until the mid 90’s at which point he slowed down on the music to focus on a technical career and raise a family. However, in 2010 he started a path back that included writing and recording several solo songs, producing albums for local artists and starting the guitar based instruction series Grip It ‘N’ Rip It.