Interview with Fabrizio Perissinotto (Long Song Records) (February 2019)
Dear Fabrizio, welcome to neuguitars.com blog, how did it start the idea to create a new indipendent label, Long Song Records?
Well it happened in 2005, actually it was all accidental, as it always happens in these cases. I was always obsessed by the crossroads of guitar-based music, improvisational and extended pieces (hence the name of the label!), pure improvised stuff, creative jazz, open minded rock (being it classic rock, psychedelic, punk rock, etc etc…it just has to be HONEST), and so on….
Actually it was thanks to Simone Massaron, he was the one who pushed me a lot, out first record actually was him and some great Italian cats as Tiziano Tononi and Daniele Cavallanti, and guitar wizard Elliott Sharp as special guest. This was someway the beginning of my habit of putting together Italian and foreign musicians, most of the time American ones.
What are the main music you prefer to release?
Beyond the already mentioned and preferred styles and genres, what I look for is always: great dynamics, a clever use of space and silence, research and explorations everywhere without never forgettting a great sense and love for melody, which is fantastic when comes out in contraposition to all these elements, splendid and powerful.
I have followed your label a lot in the last years on my blog. I think it’s one of the most interesting label for creative, experimental guitar music. Do you like guitars and guitarists in particular?
Yes I LOVE guitars, I am an amateur guitar player on my own, and I have also happily and unexpectedly started a new trio, with some friends, a couple of years ago (that’s where my grungy bluesy punk rock jamming attitude comes out the most!). I am particularly into Les Pauls, and I can say I have a good bunch of them. I can’t get enough of their creamy, meaty, dense and intense tone! I love many guitarists, I admit mostly from the electric blues and rock blues area, but there are so many even from other areas, in any case I am definitely an ELECTRIC guitar and players lover! To name a few: Richard Thompson, The Allman Family (Duane, Dickey Betts, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks), Mike Bloomfield, Roy Buchanan, Nels Cline, David Grissom, John Mc Laughlin, John Cipollina, Jimmy Herring, Angus Young, Steve Cropper, Neil Young (his guitar tone is THE TONE for me), Jerry Garcia, Buddy Guy, Danny Gatton, Ry Cooder, Robert Fripp, the three Kings Albert Freddie and B.B., Jimmy Page (the Greatest Rock Guitar Player Ever, eclectic and versatile and inventive as nobody else), Mike Campbell and so many more, even obscure and unknown ones I don’t remember now, I also love many ones from the jazz area obviously, Grant Green and Pat Martino being my favourites, and I have a particular love for Afro beat and African blues, there are some fantastic players there!
I think your first record was “Breaking News” by the Italian guitar player Simone Massaron, you have worked a lot with Simone…
Yes! Simone has always been for me an ideal and spiritual inspiration for the label, beyond also being already a very lovely and very close friend and even a guitar teacher for some years too!
He has been my “jolly player” fro the label many times, when I needed a special guitar player here and there over the years, in addition obviously to his beautiful solo records we put out together.
Simone is a monster guitar player, he’s able to play in so many styles and has his particular voice on the instrument, I am really happy that I did my little part to have his talent more and more recognized and appreciated by other super players and new listeners as well.
You have released also last Garrison Fewell’s record, isn’t it?
Yes, and I am quite proud of it. Actually I was never able to meet him personally, and I am sad about that. Gianni Mimmo, his partner on that record, was the one that “connected” us, I realized through some mails and what I read about him that he was such a special and sweet person, that touched many people’s heart with his music and teaching.
I am really glad that the record with Gianni contains, in my opinion, some of his most “out” playing.
I know you are a great fan of Allman Brothers, we talked a lot about them, what does it mean for a fan like you to release a record like “From The Roots To The Sky”? How long did it take to start The J. & F. Band? Have you got problems with the Allman’s legacy?
Well this is a crazy story, I really have an obsession for their music, they are and always will be my favourite band. I can say they were my starting point, more than 30 years ago after I bought one of the many copies bought over the years of “Live at Fillmore East”, of everything that carried me out of conventional and usual rock music: they took blues rock to outer space, and opened my mind for jazz and a lot of other music to come.
When some years ago I produced a session featuring bass player Joe Fonda, the first minutes after we met he asked me what was my favourite record ever, you know, just to start a conversation.
When I said the Fillmore one by the Allmans, he said that he learned as a kid to play bass with it, and that he knew Jaimoe and had played with him many times…so one thing led to another, and here we are! It took about a couple of years to develop the idea and get to the recording session in February 2018.
Andrea, I have to tell you that your review of the record (and other ones that are coming these days) really surprised me and the other players involved (Tononi and Fonda, wonderful players and composers and arrangers, first): we actually never consciously thought in advance of this project as an Allmans “evolution” band, actually it was just one more idea I got with them of another project with certain ideas that would also feature Jaimoe as a special guest, who was so happy about it all, because he has been given the chance to go jazz! You know he was the one that let Duane’s mind open to the sounds of Davis and Coltrane, modal jazz, Roland Kirk etc etc.and still listen to a lot of that great music, and still plays jazzy stuff with his own band nowadays.
But we are so happy that this record is being perceived as a tribute to that kind of ideas! The Allmans could have gone Jazz and more adventurous if Duane hadn’t died, and Dickey Betts incorporated many jazzy elements in his phrasing and compositions. And at the same time it’s something new and different and original. I am TOTALLY proud of this record and I see it as a point of arrival (and departure too!) for the “vision” I have had for this label more than 10 years ago.The musicians have been fantastic and I am so grateful!
In any case we made a couple of years ago an explicit (and I say splendid) homage and tribute to the Allmans, covering many of their classic and less classic songs, with Tiziano Tononi & Southbound: “Trouble no more: all men are brothers. A tribute to the spiritual unity of the Allman Brothers Band” which actually….had NO guitars in it at all! I thought about it a lot, and then decided that any guitar comparison would have been risky. So let the horns and other instruments go wild and soar. And the idea was a winner.
You have worked a lot with Elliott Sharp, Nels Cline, Jim McAuley, Laboule…how have you met these musicians?
Well it was all due to connections among those musicians and other musicians etc etc. Elliott was in the first (and others to come) record because…I don’t remember at the moment, probably Simone got some contacts, then Nels Cline had worked with Daniele Cavallanti in LA in the nineties, Marc Ribot ..I contacted his manager someway, Jim McAuley had played with Nels in the fantastic Acoustic Guitar Trio and he contacted me, Laboule did the same, Craig Green (that you recently reviewed) too, and so on and on…
What are your next projects? What are you working on?
Well Andrea let me proudly tell you I will keep you VERY busy this year!
This will the absolute Guitar year of Long Song. First, in February I’ll have new J&F Band session coming, this time we’ll be more rootsy and R&B (but wihtout losing an inch of our very adventurous attitude!) and we’ll have a singer with us, and we’ll have on board the great Texan player David Grissom, whom I have admired and loved for decades.
Then in a couple of months I should be releasing the reissue of a 1999 record by Andy Aledort. Andy is a musicians’ musician, guitarist extraordinaire, mainly rock blues based but at ease with many kind of music, he’s widely know among guitar players for having been for more than 20 years a famous musical instructor for books and videos about the great rock players. His Hendrix method from the nineties is an absolute classic.
Then we’ll have the new record by Bobby Lee Rodgers, monster player, guitar crazy bopper as few other, and fantastic songwriter as well. He’s totally a cult artist but a total hidden treasure.
Then in April I should be able to record Raoul Raoul Björkenheim ( I know you like him a lot!) for an exciting John Coltrane guitar tribute. I proposed him this idea after the J&F Band session, when I discovered his obsession for Coltrane and having realized he never paid tribute to him with a record.
Then, do you know Nick Millevoi? He’s based in Philadelphia, funny guy, very talented, he plays a kind of cinematic psychedelic instrumental music, he’s very good, really fresh and exciting and unpredictable. I am putting out a LP of his, a crazy quartet with some jazz and rock cats from his area, an analog recording live in the studio. Great sound too!
Finally, there should also be a trio record by Craig Green, with super charged electric playing and two drummers!!!
Every year I say I have to stop, because the label is not my daily job, and purely a labor of love, and I never made a penny so far out of it, and every year it seems I get more and more into new great music….and I can’t stop! Hahahah
I am also thinking that at the end of this year my catalogue will be more and more full of amazing players for the ages. And I am glad and honoured for this.I never made it for the money, that’s more than obvious.
Thanks Andrea so much for your continuous support and interest over the years!!!!! I really appreciated, you were really among the first ones, if not the first at all, to pay attention to my activity.