A tree with its fruits
Tell us about yourself and your music
I was born in Italy, in Verona, the city defined by Shakespeare with this statement: “There is no world without Verona walls….”
I come from a poor and common family. In this, I feel ideally close to many southerners American artists, (obviously I’m not going to compare myself to their greatness) … I think of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Glen Campbell, and many others. Of course, the Gabanizzas didn’t have a farm and didn’t pick up cotton, but we lived for 5 in a small two-room apartment, with an outside toilet without hot water – some reminiscences of that period are described in my song “Joshua’s wooden cabin”. Do you remember the Ingalls outside toilet in Walnut Grove? It was exactly like that. We spent the days (I did not use to do a lot of homework) listening to music and from what my family told to me, I started singing when I was aged 3 the hits of the time: Candida, San Bernadino, Yellow river, Eloise, etc. My father and my mother were great music lovers, even though they didn’t play any instruments; my musical culture was facilitated by this since I had at my disposal hundreds of vinyl of all kinds, from Benny Goodman to rarities like Upsetters’s “Return of Django” , a marvellous collection which featured the greats of the time too, as Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Cat Stevens, Mahalia Jackson, Huriah Heep etc. We had an old red turntable and I and my two brothers took turns playing each of their favorite vinyl. I made this long introduction because I firmly believe that the roots, what we come from, is always of primary importance. In that context of open-mindedness (there were also many books at home), my “conscious” passion for singing and writing was born. We, the 3 brothers, each started playing an instrument and we formed our first Band: the Monsters. Our days were made of music, a bit like Bill Monroe and family and it was not uncommon for those who came to visit us, the few who succeeded because mother was very ashamed of our poverty and even gave a non-existent address of residence just to keep visitors away, it was not unusual I said, to find us engaged in one of our exhibitions, made of overturned jam jars or coffee jars covered with oilcloth … Well, we were children.
When things became more serious and roles defined, the band split and everyone went his own way. At the time, in 1978, I was 10 years old and I already played keyboards and drums in a folk band with which I had my first live concert that year. Soon after I bought myself a guitar with the money earned working in a bakery and I learned to play that too, in order to be completely independent as an artist. My first compositions date back to that era and some of them, duly revised, have been included in my albums. I believe in freedom, firmly. Especially in that of the mind: Body may be shackled but the mind wanders free. Therefore, my vision combined with my innate curiosity and desire to learn, both in literature and in music, leads me to explore, to try, to knock at unknown doors. I don’t like labels. For me, it is always a problem when I am asked what kind of music I do. Also because I don’t have a genre. I have many in fact: rock, hard rock, classical, Celtic, country … And frankly, I find the question highly reductive. What does that mean: what kind of music I do? I make music, isn’t that enough?
Talk to us more about your latest release
The song “Straight to the Heart” is part of a strongly autobiographical concept album called “out of darkness”, which I have been working on since 2017. The proceeds will be partially donated to the association of Talinda Bennington, widow of the late Linkin Park frontman, which fights to change the Mental health world, through awareness campaigns and providing immediate tools for those suffering from depression.
Every song on this album is like a book chapter. In the album there are lights and shadows, falls, relapses, joys and loves, the abuses suffered during my childhood, depression, suicide, the attempt to break that veil of darkness which weighs down the soul and the mind. Eventually a kaleidoscope of emotions. Last but not least, it’s a sincere work. I believe this is a virtue. Maybe some record company don’t feel that way, but believe me, Man, for someone who has had to live years on masks for the sake of civil coexistence, being fully himself is a gift. “Straight to the heart”, is a love song, a very intense ballad that speaks of those who do not abandon you. The kind who remains at your side even when you are unbearable, when everyone leaves you, in the worst moment, the darkest, when the whole world seems to give up on you. Certainly, there is behind this song a bitter feeling of back and forth, which nevertheless leads to the joy of a reconfirmation which is purposedly repeated by the refrain at the end of the song.
The personnel involved is First-Class.
On Drums, Robby Pellati, famous for his collaborations with Willie Nile, Elliot Murphy, Willy de Ville, Robert Gordon, and multiplatinum Italian singer Ligabue.
On the bass, my brother Max Gabanizza. He has multi-fold collaborations among which stand out the ones with Chuck Berry, Badara Seck, Andhira, Christie, Cristiano de André, Mogol New Era, Mauro Pagani.
On electric guitar, Luca Marcìas, guitarist of the American band LEVELS. he recently performed at the opening ceremony of the Universiade with Malika Ayane and collaborated with the famous Italian singer Antonella Ruggiero.
The song was mixed by Stefano C. Bedini, to whom they entrusted their works artists such as Janet Gray and Bruce Sudano.
The mastering is effected at the IOMastering studios, Los Angeles, California by a milestone of the field: the Grammy-nominated and multiplatinum Don Tyler.
Don has a terrific career as a musician and engineer as well. He runs at present his own Studio, IO Mastering and previously worked at Precision Mastering, the famous studios located in 1008 North Cole Avenue, Los Angeles, CA. Don has worked with artists such as Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Stone Temple Pilots, Janet Jackson, Waylon Jennings, Tina Turner, James Blunt and many more. For his talent, his magic, his skills, I call him an alchemist of the sound. And it’s a great honor and pleasure to have him on my staff.
What inspired you to write this release?
Describe the writing and recording process
And a few other changes
If you talk about me
The story is the same one “Concerning the recording process, things are different. Nothing is left to chance because I want the song to sound like I hear it inside my soul. Let me make myself perfectly clear, I don’t enslave musicians, on the contrary, I leave them much freedom and they can add or change their parts, but all within the range which allows not to distort the song. For me, the recording studio is a second home, if not my home. I feel comfortable over there, and I would live my life among microphones, pianos, guitars, and drums. When I have to sing a song, I don’t perform it, I interpret it because I believe that a true singer is not a simple performer but an interpreter too – even an interpreter for himself. In my case, as a songwriter, I try to make the interpretation of my own feelings through singing, just as I would if I had to sing someone else’s song.
Any plans to release a video?
Any plans to hit the road?
All will be revealed when the album is over.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I am not trying to stand out from the crowd. This is not my way to see things. I am just being myself as an artist and wish to spread my message of hope and love. I am like a tree that bears fruits, whether people take them or whether they ignore them.
Who have you been listening to lately?
A lot of music, a lot of genres. I Always have on my cd player Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Christie, Kate Bush, Linkin Park, Soundgarden, Elvis Presley, Beatles, Barry Ryan, Edith Piaf, Queen, Badfinger, Marmalade, Sibelius…and on and on.
Who are your biggest influences?
The above. I learned to sing (I am still learning, I guess, as no one will get to the top of it, even the greatest) when I was 3 years old, and that kind of music lingers on my mind. So that poppish, country rock, bubble gum records are the roots for me: Donovan, Tony Orlando, and Dawn, Kincade, Stamford bridge, Christie, CCR, etc So all this music had and has a great influence on me. You can add all the above-mentioned artists. Surely, I have to pay respect to Freddie Mercury for what “He taught me” and Barry Ryan as well with his 2 tracks ELOISE and LOVE IS LOVE.
Tell us about your passions
I’ve got music and poetry. Reading books. Writing books. I love the 19th Century European writers. But also the American southern writers as Willa Cather, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote (that is my first choice, along with Marcel Proust.
What else is happening next in your world?
Nothing that Maybe interesting to the reader. I am living in a creative turmoil so, what is interesting I guess, are the fruits of it, not the chaos in which they were born.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Lorenzo Gabanizza
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