Sunday, February 17, 2008

Valentina Assassina?

I- talia, it was really one of the best hangs of my life, 3 days in Verona rehearsing with Danilo Gallo and his Roosters, cocks of the walk all of 'em, unseasonably warm weather providing a corona of light surrounding some of the finest musicians it's been my pleasure to play with in many a year, some of the most accomplished players on the free musica szene internationale, including the estimable Zeno Di Rossi on drums, who moved from subtlest gradations of pulsation to kickass powerhouse tub-thumper in the blink of a millisecond (the snail crawls across the edge of the razor blade); the sanguine 6 footer sardonico Achille Succi--a Borat ringer!-- on fruity/woody bass clarinet, ich bin ein Berliner Gerhard Gschloessel on finely articulated trombipulation, and the bearded composer himself, Danilo Gallo, purveyor of Italian moods, spaghetti western interludes, manic compositional mood-swings and then some who also happens to be one of the finest most fluid upright acoustic bass players I've ever heard (guy also plays a mean guitar...)...

Three days and three nights and then it was further on up the road to Milano where we roosted in the ultra-groovy studios of Officine Meccaniche, a retro-fitted fabulous old studio complex whose main room could fit at least 2 symphony orchestras and and a children's choir, huge it was and chock full of vintage gear (amps galore, I chose a Vox AC-30 and a Marshall half-stack from about 50 rigs to choose from...not to mention vintage guitars abounding, I settled on a fantastique 3 pickup 60's Japanese Teisco ( and a '65 Strat not far afield from the one I used to play with is owned by Mauro Pagani, the original violinist of PFM (Premiata Forneria Marconi), the great Italian prog band once signed to ELP's Manticore label, and its superb vibe has enticed everyone from Morricone to Muse to record there (Muse most recently, their most recent album in fact) and I for one can't wait to return there as soon as possible...the only studio I can think of that might compare in sheer hippitude is the original Olympic Studios in Barnes.. we spent 2 idyllic days and nights working there on a record that exudes a sense of new possibilities/extra texture/the joy of music, and the rough mixes of which had us agog and magogging into the night, we roosted also in a fine italian restaurant down the block, such friendly lovely people who operated the joint-- a party in the best sense of the word...come and see us at The Stone here in NYC on Friday April 11th when we take this music even higher...there was a band from Palermo--one of my favorite places to play--in the next room making some beautiful magical sounds with an actual children's choir, this studio has that kind of effect on people, a liberating unfettered sense of experimentation permeates the premises...just wait until you hear our album...

then spent a lovely 3 day holiday in Venice with Caroline, Danilo had gifted me with 3 nights in the great old 4 star Hotel La Fenice et Des Artistes right off Piazza San Marco...and I was so happy to see Caroline who'd never been to Venice before, she arrived a day before me and was already totally starry-eyed and suffused with the eternal spirit of this most beautiful of cities, I'd played the Venice Biennale a few years ago with "The Golem" but had not really had a chance to knock around much then and thus we spent several days and nights with mile long smiles on our faces, I mean how could you not, we were blessed to be there right after Carnivale in the beginning of their off-season, but it was all On to us as the absence of grotesque swarms of tourists was a definite plus, plus the skies were brilliant and sunny and cloudless for the entire 3 days and the beautiful light of Venezia poured down like honey over us...

first thing I spirited C to Peggy Guggenheim's Palazzo where we eye-balled Miss Peggy's fantastic 20th century art collection, Ernst and Malevich and Leger and Boccionni and Picasso's to die for...we spent an entire day on the island of Murano looking at amazing translucemt glass foundries each more fabulous than then the next, we walked walked and walked some more tramping the back streets and canal bridges until late each night and did the de rigeur Harry's Bar pub crawl, found the wonderful restaurant Manzello's and feasted on Amalfi cuisine, another great eating joint with typical Venetian food we found on R. Terra Assassini, took the Secret Inquiries tour of the Doge's Palace and marvelled at Casanova's cell/abut/existence, giddy with the sense of the place we skipped and laughed and played for days and were so sorry to have to leave but we'll be back and since we got back home (after a grueling Mercury in retrograde travel day which started with a 2 hour delay on the ground at Marco Polo Airport and a 5 hour layover at CDG as we'd missed our connecting flight) we've been watching all my DVD's which feature Venice as a fore-grounded protagonist (Felliini's "Casanova", Nicholas Roeg's "Don't Look Back", and of course Joseph Losey's "Eva", possibly my favorite film, Jeanne Moreau is so great in this)...(and oh yes, I did get another Borsalino!)

And on the night after Valentine's Day I took Caroline to Cafe des Artistes here for our belated 23rd anniversary dinner and we had a big row while feasting on our respective monkfish and steak tartare (guess who et what) in amongst the famous soft-focus murals of roseate nymphs sporting and cavorting and laughing looking down on us but whaddya expect, it's a bittersweet symphony that's life that's what all the people say, let's make up and be friends (again), okay?

And so we did...





Blogger danilo gallo said...

thanx gary!
too kind...
it's a big pleasure for me and an honour to have you in my band...
you are such a piece of my history!!
hope to see you soon.

2/20/2008 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Babs said...

Where can I listen to your music? Do you have an album or single?

2/25/2008 10:48 PM  
Blogger Guitar Hunter said...

I've got some cool Teisco's over on my blog and more to come. Check them out.

1/20/2009 6:34 PM  

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