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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Storia Di Un Minuto CD (album) cover

STORIA DI UN MINUTO

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.37 | 845 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

fratelmaestro
5 stars An attempt is made here to piece together a history of P.F.M. from their earliest days. My knowledge of the band is rather limited and the information that follows has been collected from bits and pieces that I have found on the Internet. I welcome all contributions particularly from any Italians who stumble upon this humble website and can share some knowledge on the band.

It is safe to say that P.F.M. was probably the only Italian progressive rock band to have enjoyed an international success. Some people have described them as being an Italian "Genesis" but clearly in their earliest work King Crimson was a more powerful influence. However, this is not meant to label them as a copy of King Crimson as they had what can best be described as a unique "P.F.M." sound.

The band originated from a group called Quelli (Those Ones) which consisted of Franco "Yoghi" Mussida on guitar and vocals, Franz Di Cioccio on drums, Giorgio Piazza on bass and Flavio Premoli on keyboards. They were later joined by Antonio "Teo" Teocoli as well on guitar and with Alberto Radius who replaced Franco Mussida when he left to do his military service.

Quelli were quite successful in Italy mainly by doing Italian cover versions of foreign artists such as 'Per Vivere Insieme' ('Happy Together' by the Turtles) or 'Tornare Bambino' ('Hole in My Shoe' by Traffic). Due to their musical skills the group was also very popular and requested in recording studios as session musicians. They played for Mina, Battisti, Nomadi, Camaleonti and even at international events where they had to play 'hidden' behind stage while somebody else was monkeying about in the limelight!

Teocoli left the group to work in a cabaret and Radius later left the band to set up "Formula 3" when Mussida returned from the army.

In autumn of 1970 Di Cioccio, Mussida, Premoli and Piazza formed a new band, which was in need of a name. After spending a few days toying with a bunch of silly words the names "Isotta Fraschini" (a famous car name) and "Forneria Marconi" (a pastry shop in Brescia county, Italy) were left standing. The band preferred the name "Forneria Marconi" but felt that something was missing. Alessandro Colombini the artistic director of Numero Uno, the label they were signed to, suggested the word "Premiata". "Premiata" was a title awarded to famous craftsmen and it fit in well with the ideals of the band. So in the end "Premiata Forneria Marconi" was born. The name in a nutshell translates into English as "Marconi's Award-Winning Bakery", "P.F.M." for short. Not everyone at Numero Uno liked the name but the band stuck with it based on their philosophy: difficult to remember, more difficult to forget.

At this time P.F.M. was joined by Mauro Pagani who 'melted in' perfectly with the progressive ideas of the group. In 1971 they played as support band for Yes, Black Window, Deep Purple and Procol Harum. With King Crimson as their inspiration they wrote 'Impressioni di Settembre' using a synthesiser which was at that time quite unusual in Italy. Both the first and the second albums were great successes due (mostly) to the outstanding qualities of Mauro Pagani who on stage was equal to musicians like Ian Anderson and Darryl Way.

In 1973 the group signed a contract with the Emerson Lake & Palmer owned label 'Manticore'. This saw the release of their third album, "Photos of Ghosts", which was basically an English version of "Per un amico", their second album. Pete Sinfield, of King Crimson, wrote English lyrics (not direct translations of the Italian ones) for most of songs on this album. An English version of 'Č festa' from the first album was also added plus an instrumental song entitled 'Old Rain'. Oddly enough at this point in time Pagani became 'Paganini' outside of Italy due to his performance on the violin.

P.F.M. toured the US as a support band for Santana, the J. Geils Band, the Beach Boys, Poco, Frank Zappa, the Eagles, the Allman Brothers and ELP. At this stage Jan Patrick Djivas, from Switzerland, had replaced Giorgio Piazza on bass.

Their fourth album "L'isola di niente" followed and was again released with English lyrics by Sinfield under the name "The World Became The World". An English version of 'Impressioni di Settembre' was added and given the title track of the album. The association with Sinfield ended at this point and as Pete was kind enough to write me I shall allow his own words to shed some light on this period in the P.F.M. story.

"The boys did ask me to write the lyrics to "Chocolate Kings". I remember it well one evening at Greg Lake's house, if I would write the words for what was to become that album. However they insisted, as folk do on the cusp of success, that I must pay more attention to what 'they' wished to say and that it must be much more political and anti the US involvement in Vietnam. Since I lean naturally to the left, as it were, that should not have been a problem. However I declined. One because I had other work to finish, two because I couldn't face the thought of more endless vocal sessions but most importantly because I could not comprehend the irony of a European band on the verge of acceptance in the USA wishing to piss on their audience. The political views of the band at that time went from left to right. . .I wonder if you can guess which one was the 'communist' with a holiday home in Sardinia."

It is an unfortunate footnote that the Americans labelled P.F.M.'s style during this period "Spaghetti-Rock".

In 1975 Bernardo Lanzetti joined the group with vocals on "Chocolate Kings". Many people described his style in terms of Peter Gabriel (with laryngitis) but the album was far away from the direction of Genesis at any time in their career. Lanzetti's voice might well be judged as one of the best ever in Italian Rock Music. After the 1976 tour Pagani left the group to return to teaching and studying. He was shortly replaced by Gregory Bloch (violin for Mark Almond and It's a Beautiful Day) for the recording of "Jet Lag". At this point they embarked on their fourth and last US tour.

The following albums "Passpartů" and "Suonare Suonare" saw a lot of personnel changes with exceptions of Franz Di Cioccio and Franco Mussida. The band collaborated with Fabrizio De André for an Italian Tour of his music, which was later released as 2 albums. The album "Suonare Suonare" clearly shows the influence of this collaboration.

The beginning of the '80s saw a less internationally minded P.F.M. with all of their music geared toward the Italian market. Their later music became less 'progressive' and more accessible in a 'pop music' vane. Nonetheless P.F.M. have shown throughout their musical career, talent, versatility and an ability to venture into new directions without succumbing to the repetition of a set formula.

P.F.M. reunited in 1997 and produced a concept album entitled "Ulisse". They made radio and television appearances in Italy and an Italian tour in the fall and winter of 97/98 produced their latest live album "www.pfmpfm.it (il Best)".

fratelmaestro | 5/5 |

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