I have been on and off the road for the last two months. March was pretty intense. I was invited to open a couple of shows for O_R_k here in Italy, and had a good time. For those of you who are not familiar with O_R_k: the band includes my good friend Pat Mastelotto on drums, Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari on vocals, Colin Edwin (of Porcupine Tree’s fame) on bass, and Carmelo Pipitone on guitars. They have been writing new music for the last couple of years. I’m happy that I got to know Colin Edwin a little better. I was impressed at how good he sounds – such a sharp, distinctive, precise tone. He plays very short, definite notes on the bass. Outstanding. And a very nice guy to boot.
As usual, when playing solo, I felt very nervous. I’m torn about solo performances. I like the freedom that they involve, but I’m also terrified about the possibility of something going wrong, when no one is around providing some kind of musical backdrop. It’s because I’m relying so much on technology these days – no computers (which I’m tempted to use sometimes), though all of the live looping and digital effects, they’re a bit overwhelming at times. I’m also singing, so it’s quite tricky. However, when you finally get to the last song, and feel the warmth coming off an enthusiastic crowd, it’s a feeling of massive accomplishment.
While in Milan, I visited guitarist and producer Fabio Mittino. I recorded some bass tracks for his new album, still in the works. We will probably play a few shows together, maybe in the summer, to promote his latest effort, “Simple Music For Difficult People”.
I also helped Pat setting up a drum clinic here in my hometown, Latina. We played a bunch of songs together, including “I Want You” by The Beatles, “Mayor of Simpleton” by XTC, and he requested to play “The Ugly Song”, from “Dime Novels”, my 2014 solo record – I’m honoured that he likes the tune so much, it really means a lot. We did pretty much the same thing in Milan, a few days later, and in Fossanova, a small beautiful town not too distant from Turin.
Obviously, it was a pleasure to spend a couple of weeks with Pat, easily my all-time favourite drummer, and one of the nicest people on the planet; and of course to play music with him. I learn so much everytime – such a consummate pro.
Sometimes my life takes unexpected routes.