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Venegoni & Co

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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 05 2011 at 11:56


The band was formed by Luigi "Gigi" Venegoni, ex guitarist of Arti E Mestieri. This was an "open" band whith twenty musicians to have collaborated with during the years. A stable nucleus of six musicians who recorded the band's two first LP's on Cramps. 

More jazz-rock oriented than Arti E Mestieri, Venegoni & Co. ideally close the old italian calssic prog groups. They played in the famous live tribute to Demetrio Stratos of 1979. Their music is instrumental, obviously dominated by Venegoni's fluid and elegant guitar playing.

I got in touch with Luigi Venegoni for the story so far.

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Your biography has been covered in your ProgArchives profile so let's bypass the biography details. But which bands were you influenced by ?
It may seem strange but my musical influences are so complex that I should need to write a book to list them all. First of all the Beatles.
The first 45 I bought was “Help” , and it really changed my life : I started practicing guitar 6 hours a day and decided to become a musician. Fron then on I should list : The Byrds , Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck (My favourite rock guitarist), Miles Davis, Igor Stravinkij, King Crimson, Weather Report, Pat Metheny, Xtc, Steely Dan and definitely Mr. James Taylor and Mrs. Joni Mitchell, for me the best singer songwriters of the last four decades. Taylor and Mitchell have profoundly influenced my musical style.
As you may notice these are not the usual musical influences of a prog guitarist.


This is an archive based interview also intended for the fans you get well after both you and I have passed away so let's go straight to your albums. Please give us your long or brief views on your albums, starting with.......




Rumore Rosso from 1977

Leaving Arti & Mestieri I had to form a new group but I wanted a kind of open workshop
so I started “Venegoni & Co” that  hosted many good musicians from Turin and Milan .
I am proud to have started the musical career of renowed pianist and composer Ludovico
Einaudi with a collaboration that lasted for three years until I put an end to the first edition
of this band in 1980. These were the best three years in my musical career .



Sarabanda from 1979


This is definitely my favourite record : a true experience with the best band I should dream of. A genuine group effort born out of six months of live concerts and long and hard rehearses. Our drummer, the late Beppe Sciuto, was one of the best in Italy, Astarita and Buttari were two magicians playing every sort of percussion and being an eye-catching attraction on stage.
Ludovico Einaudi was a very good pianist and composer in a very Davis-rock jazz fashion, so different to his actual style. A brilliant album !
Mezzogiorno is still one of the “hits” of the band and we still play it live.




Nocturne from 1989

Venegoni and Co Mark 2 :
This is a strange experiment. I was endorsing a synth guitar by Casio and I decided that I could dare to make an entire cd playing only synth guitar , a decision that I regret. The music is good but the sound is too electronic-oriented and now I find it hard to re-listen to it. However I still consider “Bonaventura Moon” as one of my best compositions.



Mosaico from 2000

This was the first recording I made after the split of “Venegoni & Co. Mark 1” in 1982. It was really a stange kind of jazz-rock record with my good friend Silvano Borgatta , a great keyboard player from Turin . These tunes were never played live if not for a duo concert , guitar + piano, made at the Turin Conservatoire in 1983 . This cd wad published by Electromantic Music in 2000 in the “Turin Jazz Rock School” section .



Planetarium from 2007

This is the real “Venegoni & Co. Mark 3” . A wonderful experience with my good friend Piero Mortara to compose and record what I consider the second best record of my life. Some great musician are playing in this project and the songs are really good . We formed a trio with percussionist Sandro Esposito and played a lot of gigs. We also played two concerts to commemorate the extraordinaire Demetrio Stratos, the singer of renowed italian group Area, who died in 1979. This is exactly the music that shows my musical style at the moment:
acoustic mediterranean prog music with many jazz and folk influences, underlined by acoustic guitar, piano and accordeon. There are true mediterranean and latin rhytms in this cd : tarantellas, tangos and calypsos !





....And the two live albums Rumore Rosso Vivo from 2002 and Live... Somewhere In The Seventies from 2003.

These were personal recordings of the ‘77/’80 groups playing live. We discovered and remastered this music and I convinced Electromantic and Edel to publish these cds and it was a good thing for us musicians and for the fans !


Your band took a long break (20 years or so) before your comeback album Planetarium. What were you up to during those years and how did it feel to record Planetarium after this break ?

I made a living composing and producing music for Movie and Tv soundtracks, adverting jingles , sound design for big events (Fiat Conventions, Turin 2006 Olympic Games , many Museums ) , playing and producing records for other artists. 
I even had a number one single in Spain with a dance record called “She’s My Queen” !!!.

There was no future for the band since 1980 so I decided to work mainly in my recording studio in Turin and quit the live scene for almost twenty years.




How would you describe your musical development from Rumore Rosso to Planetarium ?


A very strong attempt to built an open group of fine musicians to compose and play the music we loved without any commercial compromise.
Maybe it can seem a bit naive but I truly trusted in a very open and democratic project where everyone could feel comfortable as a musician and human being. I still think that it was a very good experiment , even if it was not commercially rewarding.

Your band and music has been compared to Arti E Mestieri. But how would you describe your music ?

I understand that many fans are thinking that “Venegoni & Co.” music is too much different from the A&M’ one. In A&M the Furio Chirico drumming was a very strong influence but I am more concerned about music than about instrumental virtuosity. My music has always been mainly a fusion of the styles I absorbed in my life: The british blues from Beck and Clapton, the strong prog influences from King Crimson, Genesis and many other, and the fundamental inspiration coming from the “Bitches Brew” syndrome generating “jazz rock”.
These three elements, together with my mediterranean soul, define me as musician and composer.
The thing that really changed in these twenty years is that now I use to play mostly accoustic guitar.

You are true veterans in the Italian music scene. What is your experiences with the music industry and the gigs promotors ?

Italy is not an easy place to be a musician . The record market is mainly concerned with low-key pop music and big American and English superstars. There is almost no room for alternative groups and record companies. To play prog, jazz or folk music you must finance your group and hope to find gigs and sell your self-made cds . There are not many promoters who dare to work on alternative music and most of them are the big ones working with the famous pop stars (Ramazzotti, Pausini, Zucchero, Vasco Rossi etc.) .

Which of your albums are you most proud of and the one you would mostly recommend to us ?

As I said before : Sarabanda and Planetarium .

What is your plans for this year and beyond ?

I am working with italian group “Nuvoleincanto” . We produce a theatre concert to celebrate one of the most famous italian songriters: the late Fabrizio De Andrè . There are projects to start a new “Venegoni and Co” quartet to play and record new music in late 2011. 

To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?

Some musicians are playing for a living. I always decided to play as a deep music lover so I never had any strong commercial strategy.

For this reason I am so proud when someone like You is asking me to talk about my music. It is very comfortable to think that I can speak for myself without worrying about managers and record companies . So I really thank You for this interview and I hope that someone in the world can appreciate the music that I love to play.


The pleasure was mine, Luigi. 

Thank you to Luigi Venegoni for this interview

Their PA profile is here and homepage's here





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Finnforest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 05 2011 at 12:07
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Love his last paragraph!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote avestin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 05 2011 at 16:19
Originally posted by toroddfuglesteg toroddfuglesteg wrote:


Your band took a long break (20 years or so) before your comeback album Planetarium. What were you up to during those years and how did it feel to record Planetarium after this break ?
I made a living composing and producing music for Movie and Tv soundtracks, adverting jingles , sound design for big events (Fiat Conventions, Turin 2006 Olympic Games , many Museums ) , playing and producing records for other artists. 
I even had a number one single in Spain with a dance record called “She’s My Queen” !!!.

There was no future for the band since 1980 so I decided to work mainly in my recording studio in Turin and quit the live scene for almost twenty years.

Sounds like a good career. Pays the bills and you can do your prog alongside. 


Originally posted by toroddfuglesteg toroddfuglesteg wrote:

Which of your albums are you most proud of and the one you would mostly recommend to us ?
As I said before : Sarabanda and Planetarium .
I'll check out Planetarium, haven't heard it. 
Thanks for the interview
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 05 2011 at 22:46
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Good interview! Don't know the group but they sound quite nice. 
Dig me...But don't...Bury me
I'm running still, I shall until, one day, I hope that I'll arrive
Warning: Listening to jazz excessively can cause a laxative effect.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrea Cortese Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 07 2011 at 05:13
I have "Sarabanda" and "Live...Somewhere in the Seventies"... both are great!!!Clap
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