Max Meazza interview by Toshi Kanazawa
From the official Max Meazza website.
Q1. This is the first release in Japan, so first of all, please introduce yourself. I looked through the website to find your profile, but I want to know more about your childhood. For example, how was your relation to music then, what kind of music you were listening to, and why you started playing the instrument?
Well my story is not different from the other boys of my generation and I’m so lucky to be a kid in the golden age of rock&roll. I bought my first vinyl when I was 12 years old and I think was “A hard day s nights” of the Beatles and the first single “Pushin’too hard” of Seeds but the song that change all my life was “Satisfaction”….my brother was studying in his room one evening and he was listening to Radio Luxemburg and: oh my God ! was a shot in the dark ! Rolling Stones !…..
I got to thank my brother ‘cause his favorite records were Elvis, Paul Anka, Connie Twitty, Neil Sedaka, Platters and many others….. after that I spent all the money that my father gave me to buy records: Who, Move, Them, Animals, Kinks, Yardbirds….. my mother bought me an acoustic guitar for Christmas and after learning I think only 3 or 4 chords I started to write songs ! My first live concert was Rolling Stones with Brian Jones.
Q2. Please tell me some artists you were influenced.
Well I think the first influence was Bob Dylan ‘cause is chords was simple ! Lol No I’m joking I think his lyrics are legendary…. he’s a music poet a genius of his generation. Another influence is sure Free and Paul Rodgers…. I saw the band live in London… Eric Clapton: I saw him with Derek & The Dominos at The Marquee….
James Taylor I loved his music…… Joni Mitchell and David Crosby ‘cause I started to use the open tuning on the guitar and so I do now. After Bob Dylan I consider Joni “the lady of the canyon” the best to write lyrics.
Nick Drake the most wonderful unkown songwriter in the world timeless music….. a sad story unfortunately I been involved in his drama ‘cause me too I suffered from depression and panic attacks which for many years stopped my live gigs…. but thank you God I’m still alive and well to tell my story!
Eagles… when I signed for Polydor with my band Pueblo produced by LaBionda we recorded some demos in London at The Apple ( Beatles Studio ) and the record company and the press said we are the italian Eagles and also the italian America.
After touring with Le Orme a progressive band ( I never loved this kind of music ) and some hit singles with my band….. the first was “Mariposa” (50.000 copies sold ) that I wrote with Michelangelo LaBionda I began to think about to plan to record my first solo album and after a single for Ariola in Germany my influences changed.
John Martyn: I miss you big man I miss your music nothing moves me inside like his voice…. a great influence! Michael Franks: I adore his music a great artist and wonderful composer maybe not a great performer ‘cause I think he’s a little bit too shy… he’s a studio artist. Marc Jordan: from Mannequin to his last cd I love this guy for his voice in which I hear something special and his wonderful songs.
Q3. Please tell us some of your favorite albums and the reasons why you choose them.
John Martyn’ Solid Air a masterpiece…. from this album I covered the title track in my last album. James Taylor’ Walking Man there is not a specific reason but I listened to this record so many times in one of the most happy summer of my life… maybe I was in love! Eagles’ Greatest Hits the best of country rock era. Michael Franks’ The Art of Tea the best ever…. fantastic musicians great songs.
Q5. Now I’d like to ask about the brand new album, did you have any concept before starting making this album?
Well in a certain way the concept is about the guest artists who are involved in the project…. my goal was to have on guest Jordan, O’Malley and other songwriters that I feel are perfect for my music style.
Q6. What’s the significant difference between past solo albums and this album?
No I think there’s no difference between this and for example “West Coast Hotel” The quality is so high that I consider these two works the best of me.
Q7. The song “Charlie Parker Loves Me,” which is also the album title, was in the album by Marc Jordan in 1999. Why do you feature this song this time, and decided to call this album so too?
I think that “This is how men cry” together with “A hole in the wall “ is the best Marc album and this song also covered by Rod Stewart attracted me so much and the first idea was to sing a duet with Marc but when he sent me the file from his studio in Toronto with the singing I got no nerve to touch anything was absolutely fantastic and I told Marc that I wanted only his voice in the version. The title is so cool so I decided to call the album so too.
Q8. How did you meet Marc Jordan and how you got to work together this time?
Well I been lucky one night I sent him an email saying that I was goin’ to record a cover of his song for my new album…. he wrote me: “ok send me the recording I’ll sing my vocals and I’ll send back the file”. Great! so it goes…
Q9. and what kind of experience was it to work with him?
So great it was so natural I think one year before I sent to him a copy of “West Coast Hotel “ so I suppose he liked my music.
Q10. How about Mark Winkler? How did you get to work with him?
Oh well you know many years ago I was in the office of my friend and boss of the Appaloosa Records Franco Ratti who unfortunately passed away… he suggested to hear an L.P. of Mark titled “Jazz Life” ‘cause I.R.D. was my and Mark distributor from then I became his fan…. after years he bought my records and I bought his records… so we became friends via internet and we continue to send emails to each others.
Q11. “Forward Motion” sung by Winkler was in his album “Hottest Night of the Year” in 1989. Why did you feature this song? Was this song your favorite? or Was it Winkler’s suggestion?
No I choosed the song is one of my favorite and I asked Mark to sing my version recorded with GRP Pucci Bros.
Q12. How was working with him?
Great so natural no problem from the beginning Mark liked the way of playing by the Bros. he recorded his voice in Pasadena.
Q13. Please tell us about GRP Pucci Bros.
GRP Pucci Bros are a band of three brothers Piano, Bass and Drums based in Milano… nice guys introduced to me by their friend and vocalist Luisa Pausini who opens for me sometimes in the gigs.
Q14. How did you meet Tony O’ Malley?
I discovered Tony’cds at CDBaby and I felt in love with his voice and his songs so I bought his records… he wrote me to thank and after that he also got my cds so we became friends via internet.
Q15. Tony has longer career than you. You got any influence from him?
Yes I know… Arrival, Kokomo, 10cc… Tony is from England but he could be from United States.. in a certain way is like Paul Carrack….
I got to say honestly no but his soulful voice catch me so much and I like his funky soul arrangements… last year talking here in Milano with Ronnie Jones (Dj and singer ) I knew that many years ago when they were young they play together in the same band in London.
Q16. Marco Taggiasco is a promising artist whom AOR freaks in Japan are paying attention to. How did you get to work with him? How do you see his talent?
Marco is a friend…. here they call us “westcoasters” ‘cause we like both the West Coast music ( not Rap ! lol )….. I was born in Milano but I’m a California boy at heart maybe because my mother’relatives lived in Grass Valley and San Josè.
We met in Rome when I went to his recording studio where also he worked with Robbie Dupree when Robbie settled in Trastevere (Rome) with his italian girlfriend for a while renting a house. We met several times also in Lucca for the Steely Dan concert years ago…. he’s a talent arranger a classic guy I think is a kind of David Foster so it could be his ambition. He offered me to produce and arrange a song of mine “ Lost in L.A.” included in the new album and he made a great job so thank you pal!
Q17. You covered two songs from John Martyn’s repertoire. Is he your favorite singer and songwriter? (Not many Japanese people recognize him.)
Absolutely….his music has been the soundtrack of all my life even if I’m sure he could be a star but the abuse of drinking and drugs and self destruction were his limit and ruined his art… anyway in my opinion was a fantastic acoustic guitar player and the use of echoplex built part of his career….. not so great on the electric guitar but you know is a small thing…. after his death I kept in touch with Spencer Cozens to ask him to join me and play keyboards in almost one track but unfortunately was out for the gigs and the answer arrived too late…
Q18. Why did you choose “She’s a Lover” and “Solid Air” from John Martyn’s repertoire?
Well I have to say that I saw John in concert many times and in particular one night in Codevilla near Pavia Italy he played a great soulful version of She’s a lover and from that night I decided to record the song….. I played Solid Air many times live and I recorded my version with Gigi Cifarelli on the jazzy guitar.
Q19. What was the response from Italy and other European countries on this album?
Italy for sure is not the right place for my music but not at all… the best places till today waiting for Japan (!) are France, Germany, Sweden and United States.
Q20. What’s your schedule toward end of year and further on?
Now my focus is to arrange the new material ‘cause the most thing I like is to record in the studio… I never like too much the live gigs…. John Martyn said: “people write diaries I make records” and so I do too.
My hope is to have a budget to record the new songs in fact I’m working with my young guitarist and arranger Nick De Montis…. he is a genius he lives in Florence and one of the best person I ever met full of passion and talent for music and to have the chance to hire on guests this time guys like Bill La Bounty and Robbie Dupree… never say never.
Q21 Please give message to the fans in Japan.
Dear japanese men and women boys and girls is a dream comes true to have the chance
to let you listen to my music in your country ‘cause I know all of you got good taste for the good music and passion for it….
I bought many japanese copies of vinyl and cds first of all for the quality of the printing and also because many of my musical heroes are published in Japan artists like Marc Jordan, Bill LaBounty, Robbie Dupree, Michael Franks, Bobby Caldwell and on and on and on….. the list is too long !
I’m very proud of Charlie Parker Loves Me cd and I hope in some ways the songs will touch your hearts!