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Interview with Massimo Izzizzari

Interviewed by Joe Manno
Date: February 2007

Joe Manno: Welcome to Rockeyez, as I stated in my review of your album, you received 5 stars which I have never given out! I was totally thrilled listening to your album'Unstable Balance'. How does that make you feel on your accomplishment?

Izzi: I cannot deny I feel good about it. It pleases me to receive such a good level of appreciation especially when the compliment is from someone who observes the world musical scene carefully.

Joe: Also in my review I referred to your name asIzzi. I hope I did not offend you, and if I did I apologize. What name do you prefer?

Izzi: You did not offend me by calling meIzzi. I am aware of having a particular surname. Even Italians have problems pronouncing or spelling my surname. Actually, you had a good intuition since many people call me MAXIZZI.

Joe: Could you tell us a little about what influenced you in your writing? You seem to incorporate a few different styles.

Izzi: I am a self taught musician. I have always listened and played different musical styles. In my childhood I listened to the Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Italian Pop music. Later on I got more into Rock music listening to bands like Deep Purple, Van Halen andYngwie Malmsteen. I played a lot fusion and jazz which I listen to a lot at the moment. I have also played in many cover bands. In the record, we captured all these influences and contaminations.

Joe: You have a fantastic band! Can you tell us about them? And is the drummer your brother?

Izzi: I am really proud about the band. Azeglio is my brother and is a superb drummer. Obviously, we have been playing together for the longest time since he is my brother. His drumming is fantastic and his reputation as a drummer in Italy makes him being constantly on demand all the time. I would like to thank my younger brotherGiuliano Izzizzari, who plays the bass on'Violation of Privacy'and Francesco Carlesi, who plays the keyboards on 'Teresa'.

Joe: You have an incredible sound. Could you tell us how you achieve it and what equipment you use? Are you endorsed?

Izzi: According to many people my sound is really personal and recognizable. I don t use any sophisticated equipments. On this record I used an Ibanez Jem 777 on the soloing parts. On the rhythm guitar parts I used a Fender Telecaster The amplifier is a Fender Twin Amp. At the moment I don't have any endorsements but I hope that for the future somebody will show up!

Joe: What touring are you planning on doing?

Izzi: I have the intention of scheduling many concerts. Unfortunately, In Italy pure instrumental music doesn't have a big following except for a few aficionados. The owners of the places that offer live music prefer to hire bands with a singer and are somewhat reluctant to hire an instrumental band.

Joe: Any plans to come to the USA?

Izzi: It would be very nice to perform in the United States... It would be really exciting for me as a performer and it could be a crucial point in my life as a musician & especially playing for a wider audience.

Joe: I have stumbled on to some great musicians over in Europe. BesidesJoe Satriani andSteve Vai which are influences of yours, tell us of some other musicians that you feel need to be heard that probably aren t known in other parts of the world, such as yourself.

Izzi: As a guitarist, I have been strongly influenced by Greg Howe, John Scofield, David Gilmore, Richie Kotzen, Steve Ray Vaughan, Robben Ford, Scott Henderson just to name a few. I listened a lot to their records and spent whole days playing and interiorizing their licks. If you haven't listened toGuthrie Govan yet, I really suggest you to listen to his music. He is one of my favourites as well.

Joe: In my review I mention that you have great structure to your songs. There is a story that is told in all of your songs. Can you explain in words on how you like to structure a song?

Izzi: That's a good question. I believe that in many Shred/Rock records, artists often focus on demonstrating their musicianship by building complex structures through complicated chords and fast complicated solos. Instead, my idea was to create an instrumental record with songs that don&'t have a complicated structure but have a nice groove and a recognizable melody. I don t deny that I have used advanced guitar playing techniques on this record but I focused more on the balance of all the components so that the final result would be as smooth as possible. My songs usually come out of musical ideas. The only track on the record that is inspired by a story is 'Teresa' which is inspired by my daughter.

Joe: How important do you see the internet in showcasing new music today?

Izzi: I think Internet is important for both the experienced musicians and the new talents. It allows you to know all the information you need about any artist. Even the ones who are new on the scene like me. It has been possible for me to get contacts that otherwise I would have never probably gotten. That s what I find amazing about the Internet.

Joe: What other things can you tells us about yourself. What other hobbies do you have?

Izzi: Music is my life and I eat, drink and sweat music all day. As a teacher I am the coordinator (with my brother) of a music school named 'Sonoria'. As an artist, at the moment I am working constantly to improve my compositions. As a studying musician, I am specializing on jazz writing. As you can imagine I don&'t have much time for other hobbies. In my free time I love to spend time with my wife and my daughter who is one year old.

Joe: What is next for you?

Izzi: I have new tunes that I intend to record as soon as possible& Perhaps this summer. Soon my second album will come out.

Joe: I would personally like to congratulate you on a brilliant album!

Izzi: Thanks for everything. I'll talk to you soon!!!


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