Rock Impressions

by Massimo Salari

Hi Jeff, at first I'd like to ask you about your new album, Can you describe how the new album was born and how have you completed the project?
Well, 1st it signifies a full circle of 3 albums, all different from each other that if you compiled them into 1, it would be a carnival of music to satisfy all senses. LITT is a heavier album than the last 2 which the fans really wanted from me so I was happy to oblige. It also represents that there IS interest out there for me to have a real solo career & not just do these things at random for fun. This new album is 1 of the best recordings I’ve ever done, I’m very proud of it. I wanted to spend longer on it, but I met Neal Schon the same month I was still writing. Once we decided the new band was ‘on’, I was doing double duties in writing for the 2 albums. I love a challenge, but this really put me through the wringer, especially since now I insisted Frontiers put my CD out in Sept instead of Nov as we originally planned. I wanted my album to have a fighting chance as I knew Soul SirkUS would get a lot of attention & could overshadow it. As well, if I were to tour for LITT, it would all have to happen exactly the way it has. To do all of this, I rushed to turn in the masters, but overall it came out superb.

How do you manage the compositive process?
1st, I looked over & made sure the keyboard switch was ‘OFF’…the whole inspiration of the songs came from sitting with drum loops & a guitar around my neck. After the structures were recorded, I gave them to the other guys who would be involved to add their own touch & then we recorded it all at top speed.

Who played with you in the album?
Howie Simon & Gary Schutt on guitars, I did mostly bass & keyboards & Glen Sobel on drums.

Can you tell me about the lyrics?
I usually have to draw upon themes from movies, the news, friends, etc., I’ve written so much from my own experiences that it would just be repeating if I continued. As well, I like to think my lyrics out as having double meanings…sometimes the lyrics can be heard from 1 perspective but end being about something entirely different, depending on where your mind is when reading them.

Which are the main differencies between the new album and "Prism"?
LITT is much heavier & sounds more like a band.

Will you come in Italy to do some promotion to the album?
Unfortunately not, it’s 1 of my regrets of this upcoming tour. There was no interest from venues or promoters to have me this time, everyone is so afraid of losing money which is understandable.

Did you have a favoured song in the new album, why?
I love the groove, sexy grind songs like On My Own or Doin’ Time, but the ballads have a lot of emotion too. I love them all.

You have choose to work with Frontiers, an Italian label, why?
Simply, they are 1 of the only indy labels out there who know what they’re doing! I have a great relationship with them, we understand each other which is really important, but more so, they treat me with respect as a priority artist so the whole plan works.

You've got a huge discography, thanks to many collaborations you did, but there are some that you prefer, why?
Talisman is by far my favourite of all the collaborations, but Soul SirkUS is becoming in 2nd now. I get something from everyone I’ve worked with & for, it all goes hand in hand.

And there are some that you haven't liked?
Yes, many….but I won’t talk negatively about anyone.

You have collaborated with many artists, what is that it pushes you to work with so many different musicians?
They ask me!

Would you like to play again with Malmsteen?
I would jam or record something with as an appearance, but I’m so beyond his style or playing second to him, I would have to say no to any permanent dealings with him.

Usually speaking about you, you were remembered as the Malmsteen's singer, do you like this?
It’s my history, it’s the reason I have done so many things in my life, of course I’m not bothered by this. If it were the ONLY thing I’ve done in my life, then I would have reason to be bothered.

Will you play again with Talisman?
Yes, I’m sure we will incorporate more together in the near future….Talisman for me & Marcel is what KISS is for Gene & Paul!

You came from the '80 heavy metal scene, which is the best decade for this style: '80, '90 or 2000?
All decades, they’re all important, history & the future.

In your opinion does the heavy metal live forever?
In many different stages & genres, yes, absolutely!

After so many years, how has the music business changed?
In the same ways it changed from the 50’s to the 60’s, the 60’s to 70’s, etc., it has to change, it has to evolve, you don’t wear the same socks all your life! It’s a natural evolvement, love it or hate it, it’s what it is & always will be.

You have a lot of experience in the music world, what has this taught you?
The 1 thing I’ve learned from this business is ‘don’t take no for an answer’. What’s not right for some might be right for others.

Which are the artists/singers that have inspired you most?
Freddie Mercury, Steve Perry, Terence Trent D’Arby to name a few.

How it was important the family in your musical career?
Very, 1st they were all very musical so it helped music was always in my ears & heart. 2nd, the support was very strong because my drive & ambition was so strong. My family knew I would do something with music because it was something I thrived for everyday.

If you weren't a singer what kind of job would have you done?
None, I’d be dead by now!

At this point of your career which are the projects that you still want to realize?
I’m having a great time establishing this new solo career, but overall, I want to become more of household name so I can tour every year all over the world whenever & wherever I want to.

There is still something that you'd like to say to end this interesting interview?
Only that I’m at the happiest in my life & career at the moment & hopefully things are looking so that I will be able to visit Italy more often & frequent in the near future. I miss you all, thank you for the years of loyalty.

Salari Massimo

Reviews (in italian): Live at the Gods 2002; Essential Ballads
; Live in Madrid; Damage Control

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