MICHELE LUPPI'S HEAVEN : interview with
mailer by Salvo "Lovedeath" Russo ___
organized by Michele Luppi and Salvo Russo
THE RIGHT VOICE EMISSION
Speaking about Strive, influences on Strive, vocals, Vision Divine, Italian and foreign bands, best singers, collaboration with other artists, Mr. Pig, Scarlet Records, techniques in singing and emission of the voice , thanks to..., and....the Game of the Tower!
…”Strive” is your
solo-project that comes out after a career full of study and rich of
experiences, tell me the “story” of this album…How these songs have
I wrote most of the album right after I came back from VIT in ‘98. They
came out very naturally. All the ballads were composed with a Piano and
the rock tunes with a Guitar... After I “capured” the main part of the
music, I usually laid down the rhythm section and keyboards with my
computer and start the arrangement... Then I would ask my buddy Viossy to
play all the guitars and eventually track all the vocals... Those were all
demo versions. I was very fast at that point doing so... Arranging is the
cool part of the making of an album and the one I feel more comfortable
with. When I started the sessions of “Strive” I gave all the parts to
all the musicians who came to play in my studio. It took me almost 4 years
from start to end, not just because of my “wanna be perfect
attitude”... In the meanwhile I did other records and toured a lot. I
could hire another producer just to make it faster but I know exactly how
these songs have to sound. Lots of experiments and “striving” just to
release the record I’ve always wanted to do. As I said they originally
came out as demos in order to get any kind of gigs (live and studio)...
And they worked! I used to go to see some concerts of players I liked and
give them copies of these songs... They eventually called me, so here I
This album reflects the best a.o.r. /west-coast production
reminding me of the best TOTO, STRYPER, TOMMY FUNDERBURK, RICHARD MARX,
and in my review I underline that the compositions are very articulated
…there are not “easy-listening” songs or ultra-romantic ballads …
are there any other particular influences?
Mr. Big, Kiss, Seal, Europe and Giant are the main influences on
the way, thanks a lot for the review. I totally agree with you. AOR
shouldn’t be too easy listening. I wanted to make a record full of
harmonies, solos and “liks and fills” so every time you listen to it
again you would always find something new... I usually get bored very soon
of a record that don’t say something new after the first turn... I see
AOR as a labyrinth of pleasing sounds, strong choruses, rich harmonies and
class along with the rock attitude. It should always have a “slick
production” without being too progressive; “the mechanical feel”
doesn’t appeal to AOR. At least this is my opinion.
You’re the new Vision Divine singer, I see that your vocals are
very great. Have you had difficulties to re-adapt the old songs to your
voice for live-performances?
Thank you. Not at all. I tried to make’em sound more “American
oriented”, giving’em a new groove changing some parts by the rhythmic
point of view. The song from VD previous albums are not very “high
pitched” so that gave me the chance to sing’em much heavier without
any further vocal effort. I actually sing only 4 songs from “VD” and
“Send Me An Angel”. I think Olaf wrote great songs, especially the 4
we play live. You can also listen to my versions of those tunes if you get
the Japanese version of “Stage Of Consciousness”; they’re enclosed
as bonus tracks. One last thing; since all “Stream Of Consciousness”
songs have lots of harmonies, we decided to record some new vocal
harmonies of the old songs too for the live-act... We playback’em with
Oleg’s Hard Disk Drive in order to have the same impact for all the
songs we play each night.
Actually I have a pretty good following with my band (Mr. Pig) I play with every week, twice a week... So we just “melt” the 2 “Legions” of fans right after I joined. Before knowing each other, I’ve always been busy making concerts while Olaf and the band doing records... That’s probably the main reason of our last album success. It ain’t a coincidence that we shoot the DVD in Reggio Emilia, my hometown... I’m glad I brought something to this band ‘cause this band brought a lot to me too. I’ve learned a lot about my voice since I joined them. VD are well known outside Italy too, and honestly, except for 2 World Tour with U. Tozzi as session player, nobody beyond the Alps knew me before “Stream...” came out.
artists! In my recent interview with
Tiranti (Labyrinth) we agree that there are a lot of good bands
in Italy, but there’s much respect abroad…what do you think about the
typical Italian tradition to appreciate more the foreign bands?
totally agree with him. When you’re on front cover of an important Rock
Magazine you’re cool... But if you kick ass in a small club (whether you
play great or not), people feel you’re totally “reachable”... Which
is actually true. I hate Rock Stars and I sure don’t wanna be one of
them (have you ever listened to my song “Stars” from “Strive”?). I
love “real musicians” and stay with the people before and after the
gig to talk about the show and so on... There are hundreds of foreign
bands that come here and play for big bucks in front of 50 people... How
much should I earn from a gig? There have been times me and both my bands
made 2, 3 thousands people attending our shows... Then agencies ask you to
open for those foreign bands... I’m sure that’s what it takes to get
to a certain success, but there are too may loads of shit to swallow
without any reason... Fortunately I love my job big time and take the good
trying to ignore the bad as much as I can.
Like Roberto said, there are great bands here... You name’em. Favorite? Mr. Pig and Vision Divine of course!!! Just kidding...
and which are the best singers in your opinion or those you more
...I think Roberto Tiranti, Morby and my student Alessio Garavello are the best Italian Heavy Metal Singers. The singers I admire most are Glenn Hughes, Joey Tempest, John Payne, Richie Sambora, Seal, Eric Martin, Paul Stanley, Bryan Adams and many more... They’re all great for different reasons... I try to get the best from each of them, among their various styles and technique (some of them don’t give a shit about “Vocal Training” but hey, we can also learn from that too!).
“Strive “ is made with the participation of very important
artists, You’re not new to collaborate with important names, considering
the since 1998 you sang with
important artists….tell me something about
these collaborations, in particular, this latest one?
when I decided to make a “real” record I called all the friends I’ve
shared the stage with during all these last 7 years... I’m proud to say
they are all friends who were glad to take part to this project. It’
been very interesting to deal with all these great players. They are so
different from each other but I think whatever they played fit just
perfectly on my songs. You don’t actually realize how much you’ve
learnt from any of these guys until you listen to the songs after you’ve
taken a break; I had to step back a little ‘couse after all that time it
took me and Roberto Priori to mix “Strive” my prospective was gone...
speak about the songs….Which are in your opinion the best song of
love all of them, really... Anyway I think “Wasting My Time” came out
very well... Both “Always Remember You” and “The Castle Inside My
Head” are great songs... I don’t know... I’m very proud of how these
song sound, from both songwriting and producing points of view.
Mr. Pig is my band since I started singing lead. In the last 11 years we made about 700 concerts... The line up changed over the years but since JT got into the band we took it more and more seriously. Viossy has been playing with me since ’87... We always considered the concert THE REAL THING and we strove in order to be a great live band. Now we have a huge following here in northern Italy, we play songs from Dream Theater, Mr. Big, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Eurpe, Deep Purple as well as the songs from my solo album. Right now we’re recording our first CD made up with 12 Original Songs with only one cover... I can’t look forward to release that CD!
Records is your partner, and it’s strange to see an a.o.r singer for a
typical metal label, how are the relationship with them?
And that’s why we work together at this project even if they usually
produce Metal Bands... We trust each other and we gave “Strive” a
try... I strongly believe that no matter what kind of music you play, if
it is good you’ll always find people who believe in it, especially if
it’s well done. I gave my best to do so and I hope a reached the
point... Of course we weren’t talking about jazz and other kinds of
music different from rock otherwise I would have given my songs to a label
more into that stuff... Lucky for me I hate jazz! AOR is still within the
Rock Family along with Metal, so...
I can’t but tell you to explain us something about your “divine”
voice…, I know that you’re a teacher and in your web-site you speak
about “emission of the voice” How much is important to study in order
to obtain the right technique? …, and which are the hard rules to
respect in order to have not problems during a long tour?
ain’t just a “Right Technique”... There are hundreds... You just
have to figure the one that fits better for you. The only thing in common
between all vocal techniques is the Right Voice Emission... This is more
into anatomic stuff, but that’s basically the science that studies the
right way to “let your sound come out”, without causing any damage to
your vocal cords. It’s like learning how to walk the right way without
ruining any muscles of your legs. After you’ve learnt that you can start
singing... You can’t run if you can’t walk properly! Let me tell you
that I’ve always been touring since ’99 and I surely don’t wanna
stop. To preserve my voice for example I don’t drink er/or smoke, I do
drink lots of water, avoid some foods that can be bad such as chocolate
and mint, I try to rest as much as I can, be careful not to get cold
and... Sing! Yes, the best way to save your voice is singing properly! If
your head works well and don’t make any jokes (like getting too stressed
for any reason), you got it.
you kidding?!? You’re too kind... Thank you so much.
ever told me “you were bound to be a singer” or stuff like that... Especially
the early days when I used to scream as hell singing higher and higher!
Ha, ha, ha! I’d like to thank my parents Quiro and Dia for their love,
trust and understanding... And, of course, my band Mr. Pig for letting me
develop my skills night after night... And yes, many thanks to my ear,
patience, passion and desire.
as last question the typical and old “game of the Tower”...the Tower of
Gryphonmetal created by Dalia!!! You’re on a big high tower, and there
are 3 bands; You have to push down two of them, saving only the third one,
for you there are:
I save Def Leppard, and I tell you why. All these bands wrote great songs, no doubt, but I think (comparing to the other two) Def Leppard is a REAL band. I ain’t talking about Musical Skills but human relationships... Just think about what they did for their drummer. You can see that they haven’t stuck together for so long just to make money. They look like a family... They love each other and that can help a lot making a band a great band. That makes the difference, at least to me. And, of course, they’re European, so I cheer for them...
Thank you Michele!
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