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Topic ClosedMurple! Italian Prog interview April 2008

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Finnforest View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Murple! Italian Prog interview April 2008
    Posted: April 27 2008 at 20:59
Murple is one of the classic 1970s Italian bands that made one gem (“Io Sono Murple”) and vanished.  As our luck would have it, they are also one of the many charting a comeback with a new album coming soon.  Keyboardist, vocalist, and composer Pier Carlo Zanco was gracious enough to take a few questions from one of the resident Italian fanboys and shed some light on the Penguin, the old Murple, and the new album.  I was thrilled to say the least!  Big%20smile  Enjoy...


First let’s start with the great news!  Murple is reforming and working on a new album.  Please fill us in on all the details of the new album:  What stage is it at, and when will we have the opportunity to get it?

The album was finished in January 2008 and we signed a contract with BTF of Milan and soon it will be available.

 

Tell us about the music on the new album:  What will it sound like?  What are the songs/concepts about

The new album is called Pictures at an Exhibition and we composed music for ten pictures of Hartman (the ones Mussorsky used), adding a reoccurring promenade and the three works which are sung describe the pictures of the Gnomus of the Old Castle and of Baba Yaga.

 

Why is guitarist Pino Santamaria not participating in the reformed group?  What is he doing these days?

I have lost track of Pino and therefore he was not involved in this latest album.



What do the members of the group do outside of the band project, or before the reunion began?

Besides teaching at the Conservatory and playing in two of the most pretigious symphony orchestras, also played with Angelo Branduardi, and very involved with Baroque  music..I am now the director  of an association which organizes concerts in Rome. Mario Garbarino is a surgeon, who has continued to be involved with music all these years, and Duilio Sorrenti has played in many bands and is still doing so all over Italy.

 

After the new album comes out will you be playing any live dates?

Although we hope to do so, we still have no sure live dates.

 

Give us some background on how the group formed in the early ‘70s.  Where the members were from, how you all met, etc

Mario and Duilio, very good friends, originally had the idea to form a band. They were looking for a keyboard player..they came to hear me play and immediately asked me to join their group. Later, we met with Pino who also joined.

 

“Io Sono Murple” is a classic that is beginning to be uncovered by a new generation of prog fans who are into the Italian scene.  As many of us do not speak Italian, please give us a summary of the concept/essence of the lyrics.  Tell us the story of the Penguin. 

I am Murple is a Suite which tells the story of a penguin (Murple) who is dissatisfied with his life on the ice, and begins a fantastic voyage which takes him to a man, who fascinates him, and has him work in a circus. Obviously this became a negative experience, but in the end he is happy because he got what he wanted, to change his destiny.

 

Where and when specifically was the “Io Sono Murple” recorded?  How long did it take in the studio? 

It was recorded in 1973 in the Chantalain Studio in Rome..a studio which had just opened and not perfectly ready. In fact, some of the sounds could have been better, but on the whole it is a reflection of the style of those times. I don’t really remember how long it all took…since the pieces were pretty much ready when we started recording them.

 

I really love the piano intro on side 2, simply gorgeous.  What was the rest of the keyboard arsenal used on the album?

Besides the Yamaha grand, I used a Hammond L122 with Leslie and an effect Ecorech Binson, a Arp Odyssey and a Farfisa keyboard.

 

Both sides of the album build to quite muscular sections near the ending, parts that must have been exciting to play live.  Was the material on “Io Sono Murple” expanded or developed live prior to the actual recording of the album?   Or was it mostly written in stone and performed very much like the studio work

Like I said before, all the material  was composed and edited before we went into the studio, and performed live.

 

What groups were most influential to Murple?  What bands did you guys enjoy?

Our favorite groups were the ELP and the Van Der Graaf Generator, also Genesis and the  Yes

 

Tell me a few of your favorite Italian prog albums. 

We didn’t play much Italian music, but I appreciated Banco, and also worked with them helping with their live concert in 1978..I hired a symphony orchestra.

 

What festivals did Murple play?     And did you ever tour with other bands?

Murple played in two big events in the 70’s, il Be of Naples and the Villa Pamphili festival in Rome, with other important progressive groups..the atmosphere was like a little “Woodstock!”

I played with Branduardi, with Richie Evans, Crosby and Still, as well as TV programs, where artists such as Tina Turner, Al Jerreau and others played.

 

Many of us are too young to have been present at the legendary Italian prog festivals of the early ‘70s.  We’ve seen some pictures but please help us understand the “vibe” of the social part of the shows.  Tell us about what was in the air, what people were talking about, politically or socially…[No response to this question...I hope it wasn't unprofessional, but I was genuinely curious about the scene I was too young to be a part of]

 

What was the recording process in the band?   How did the group construct the material on “Io Sono Murple?” 

Our recording technique was very similar to playing live, we all played together, and the only thing which we recorded separately was the voice and some of the synthesizer parts.

 

There is a common pattern with many of the great Italian bands of the period I would like to understand.  Around ’73, it seems that excitement was very high and a wide variety of great bands were given the opportunity to records their albums and the results artistically were stunningly good.  Then, many of the groups quickly broke up before ever recording a second album.  Generally speaking, can you explain to today’s fans why that happened?  What caused that pattern at that particular time

I couldn’t say why..probably because they were not able to be marketed in a way which would allow them to be successful and popular…which is what happened to us.

 

In “The Return of Italian Pop” it says that material was written for a second album that never came out.  Is this true?  Is any of that material being used on the new album, or is the new album all written recently

Yes, it’s true, material was ready for a second album, but it all got lost when we broke up. The new album was composed completely in 2007.

 

Tell us about the CD pressings of the first Murple album.  The Mellow CD sounds like it was taken from vinyl.  I have not heard the Akarma version.  Any comments on the two versions and which one fans should pursue? 

IT’s  true..I wasn’t informed about the reissuing of the album. I found out after a long time.

The CD was taken directly from the vinyl, and there don’t seem to be many differences. Mario Garbarino did a remake of a version…however it isn’t for sale.

 

What are your thoughts on the current state of progressive music? 

I don’t follow progressive music much, since I have been involved almost exclusively with classical music. However, I do know that it is having it’s second youth, which I am very happy about, also for all the groups which really believed in this music, and lived this very special period in their past.

 

Any other thoughts or comments you wish to share with the readers of ProgArchives?   Yes, we are happy that what we did when we were very young still has a public today, and that our musical message is still important for the new generations. It means that the 70’s were culturally very important and valid, which gives me immense satisfaction.

I wish to thank  all the readers and wish them well  with their music.

Thank you Jim very much!

Pier Carlo Zanco Murple

 

My most sincere “thank you” to the band Murple for taking the time to answer these questions for us.  We look forward to the new album very much. 



Jim Russell/Finnforest

For ProgArchives.com only

April 2008



Edited by Finnforest - April 28 2008 at 19:23
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2008 at 21:14
Exciting news about a new MURPLE recording! Nice job as usual Jim with the questionsClap,you must have been on cloud nine during that interview.Still are i bet.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2008 at 21:35
Bravo, FinaForesta!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2008 at 21:50
Cool, great read and looking forward to their new album.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2008 at 09:32

Nice.Clap  I'll have high expectations for the new album because, given the name, it may support a theory I have with RPI bands and a certain Emo-driven prog rock bandWink

Thanks Jim, very well written questions!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2008 at 10:59

Many of us are too young to have been present at the legendary Italian prog festivals of the early ‘70s.  We’ve seen some pictures but please help us understand the “vibe” of the social part of the shows.  Tell us about what was in the air, what people were talking about, politically or socially…[No response to this question...I hope it wasn't unprofessional, but I was genuinely curious about the scene I was too young to be a part of]

Don't worry, I don’t think this is an “unprofessional” question... In fact in many interviews to Italian prog band of the early seventies you can find similar questions... Nonetheless, answering could be hard for many reasons...

 

Bank Of The Mortgage? Perhaps it would be better edit that passage writing Banco del Mutuo Soccorso LOL

 

Anyway, very interesting interview!

Thumbs%20UpClap 



Edited by andrea - April 28 2008 at 11:00
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2008 at 19:22
HA!  I was wondering what the hell Bank of the Mortgage meant???   Thanks for clearing that up Andrea...

Thank you all for the comments, much appreciated!Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 01 2008 at 13:30

Excellent!!

Great interview Finny, thanks for it!!

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 05 2008 at 09:59
Great interview James.... and looking even more forward to the album than I was before.

not surprised he didn't answer your question about the great 70's festivals... probably was bombed out of his mind LOL  That was a great question though... I strongly suspect they had a strong political social aspect to them. 
I find your lack of Bassoon disturbing.....
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