his 2013 CD release, The Sky Therell Always Be,
Italian guitarist / composer Marco Iacobini is joined by
some esteemed jazz-rock fusion musicians including Tony Levin,
Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Carl Verheyen, Dave Weckl
and more. Members of Marcos core band, including keyboardist
Stefano Sastro, are also featured on this outstanding
CD. Even with inviting such well regarded fusion names on his CD,
the main focus is still on Marco and his daredevil electric guitar
pyrotechnics. While the majority of tracks are full blown instrumental
guitar-based fusion workouts, some tracks, such as Red Sunset
On L.A. and Sunny Day With You, the former including
Verheyen and Hamm along with drummer Phil Maturano, are filled
Iacobini's atmospheric, majestic and quite melodic approaches to 21st
century instrumental guitar based fusion. Filled with an impressive
range of jazz-rock stylings, The Sky Therell
Always Be is a most impressive step forward in the progressive
guitar world of Marco Iacobini. www.MarcoIacobini.com
mwe3.com presents an
mwe3: Why do you call your CD The Sky Therell Always
Be and what did you set out to achieve musically and guitar-wise
on your new CD?
IACOBINI: These last six years have been been full of hard work
and difficult moments. I have lost some very important people for
me. The music market has changed quickly, the economic crisis has
destroyed a lot of investments in this business area. One day, while
I walked here in Rome, I raised up my head and I saw the sky. It was
a sunny day and I said okay, there're a lot of problems to solve,
but the sky there'll always be and at once there was a smile
back on my face.
My first target to reach for my new album was to create an instrumental
album full of music. Often, in these recent years, a lot of guitar
oriented records have been too similar to the books of exercises.
I love the guitar, but if I work on a new album, I should have new
ideas, not only new guitar licks. Often guitar players, they forget
the most important thing: the music.
mwe3: Where was The Sky Therell Always Be mainly
recorded? Its interesting you had the album mixed and mastered
in New York City. What did that add to the overall sound and presentation
of the CD?
MARCO IACOBINI: The new album was recorded ninety percent
here in Italy, except the drums of Keith Carlock. His drums was recorded
at the Avatar Studios, in New York and the drums of Dave Weckl. His
drums was recorded at his studio in California. Also the drums of
Thomas Lang were recorded at his studio near L.A.
For this project I had the great honor and pleasure to work with two
great engineers. Mr. Roy Hendrickson and Mr. Randy Merrill. Roy, now
we are good friends, is an incredible sound engineer. His mixing work
is great. Roy is always careful on all details. The sound of guitars
is incredible and everything sounds amazing. Roy asked his friend
Randy Merrill of Masterdisk, if he would be interested to be involved
in this project for the mastering. Randy sent a positive answer and
after few days, I have received by Roy, one song mastered by Randy.
The sound was great! My decision was to call on Randy for the mastering
of the album. Good decision.
mwe3: How did you decide who you wanted to play on The Sky
Therell Always Be? The way it looks to jazz-rock fans, The
Sky Therell Always Be has a dream band on there.
IACOBINI: After the first steps, the song writing, I was sure
I needed some different musicians to play all the songs of my new
album. The songs are so different between them. When I ask a musician
to be involved in my project, I'm not interested to call for a music
star. I need this specific musician, because I'm sure that he's the
best solution to play this specific song. So I was very lucky, because
all musicians I called to play on my new album, gave me a positive
answer. It was so funny to link Tony Levin and Mike Terrana, Stu Hamm
with Dave Weckl. It was an incredible experience. Yes, you're right.
A dream band!
mwe3: Who else plays with you on the new CD that you could
mention? The CD also features members of your band, some of who played
on your great 2007 album In My World. Can you say something
about your core band and other musicians your work with in Italy?
MARCO IACOBINI: Of course! I'm a very lucky person, because
I have the great pleasure to work with my great friend Stefano Sastro.
Stefano is a fantastic player. He's a guy with an incredible talent
and he uses his talent to make music, only great music. I think that
Stefano is an incredible keys player. He has a great technique, great
phrasing. He plays acoustic piano, Hammond, Fender Rhodes, he writes
the string arrangements and he does all these things as well as only
a few can do.
Another great guy is my friend Cristiamo Micalizzi, incredible drummer
and cool guy. This time he has recorded on only one track because
the album is full of drummers. Great drummers like him. Also Fabio
Trentini has recorded his bass on one song. Great musician and great
Which tracks stand out in your mind as being key on the new CD? Im
sure everyone who hears it will find several for favorites but Smoky
Clubs Blue Light and Red Sunset On L.A., with
you sharing the guitar sounds with Carl Verheyen on both tracks, is
really cool. What was the inspiration for those tracks and can you
tell us about working with Carl?
MARCO IACOBINI: I don't have favorite songs on my album. Its
very hard to say what song is my favorite. I love all songs in the
same way. But the first song "The Great Rush" was great
fun to record and maybe the song closer to my heart is the second
song "Where The Angels Come Down " because this song is
dedicated to my Grandmother, who passed away 5 years ago.
My first inspiration to write "Red Sunset On L.A." was 3
years ago, I was in a car in Santa Monica and I saw one of the most
beautiful sunsets in all my life.
My first inspiration to write "Smoky Clubs Blue Light
was totally different. In the same period I was with some friends
in a strip bar near Las Vegas. In this club there was a smoke machine,
with a big blue neon sign. It was very funny.
Carl is an incredible player, he's one of my favorite guitar players
of all time. I love his phrasing, his music, I have his entire discography.
He's a great person, a very kind person, always. To work with him
was great. He's always busy, but he has found enough time to record
his incredible solos and after he sent them to me by internet.
Among the highlights, Smoky Clubs Blue Light features
Tony Levin on bass while Red Sunset On L.A. features Stu Hamm
on bass. Those guys are legends, what did Tony and Stu bring to the
MARCO IACOBINI: Tony Levin is a living legend. I love Tony,
always, with King Crimson, with Peter Gabriel, with Liquid Tension
Experiment. In 2006 I had the great pleasure to play as opening act
at the first gig of the European tour for the Tony Levin Band. It
was in those circumstances that we met.
After, I asked for him to play on my album and Tony has been willing
to play. He has recorded two songs here in Italy, one with bass and
one with stick.
Also Stu Hamm is great. I love Joe Satriani and if you love Satriani,
you must love Stu. I contacted Stu by email and he was immediately
interested to play on my new album.
He was here in Roma and he has recorded his bass on a lot of songs.
The second time that he was here, he introduced me to Joel Taylor.
Incredible drummer. Another bass legend on my album is Billy Sheehan.
Yes, you're right. These guys are legends.
mwe3: How did you meet the Muso Entertainment and describe
your impressions of working with them on your new CD.
MARCO IACOBINI: The first time I heard of the name of Muso
Entertainment was when my friend and co-producer Francesco Desmaele,
a great photographer, told me that he was going to the U.S. to take
some photo shots for Thomas Lang. Muso is the label record owned by
Thomas. At the beginning, I didnt have an idea if Thomas was
interested but after, he gave me a chance to sign a contract with
his company. During the NAMM show of this year, I met Thomas with
his wife Elizabeth and I can say only that they are great persons
and I would like to thank them for the incredible promotion of my
new album. To work with them is fantastic. Thank you guys!
mwe3: What guitars are you recording with on the The
Sky Therell Always Be and whats new and interesting
in the guitar world for you these days?
MARCO IACOBINI: On my new album, I have used my new Carvin
custom model and some other vintage guitars like Fender Strats from
1961 and 1979.
my Carvin guitar, in May 2008, Carvin gave me the chance to build
my custom electric guitar on my specs. My signature model. It was
a great honor and pleasure for me to be an endorser of a great company
With great support of Joel Kiesel and Alan Colquitt, I received the
first prototype the first week of May 2008, after three months of
hard work about designing and building.
The guitar is a bolt-on plus, custom model, to my specs. The body
is consists of two parts of wonderful swamp ash from Southern California
with a quilted maple top, attached to a Hard Rock quarter sawn maple
neck and birds eye maple fretboard. The electronics have been
designed by Carvin, pick-up configuration H, S, H. Floyd Rose, with
locking nut and sperzel tuners. Headstock reverse. Black hardware.
I was very happy and proud to play my custom guitar on my new album.
The sound is cool, amazing, great feel, incredible playability and
the look is wonderful. Thanks Carvin for having built, for me the
best guitar in the world. Its very hard to say what's new and
interesting in the guitar world, now. The market is full of everything.
But now I'm interested to look back at the vintage.
I use always my Lexicon PCM 42 delay, Dynatronics tri-stereo chorus,
Lexicon PCM 70, TS9 from 1981 and other vintage toys.
mwe3: What amps and other new effects and pedals are you using
on the new CD? Youre renowned for getting all these cutting
edge sounds on your CDs. What do you like best about all this new
guitar technology and where is it all going?
IACOBINI: The set up of my gear is not easy to explain. Often,
I use 4 different Marshall amps:
Marshall Plexi 1959 of 1971
Marshall Plexi 1959 of 1973 modded
Marshall JCM 800 of 1982 modded
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100 of 1998
These amps are for crunch and lead sound.
Fender Princeton Reverb for clean sound.
Bogner Ecstacy 101B also for crunch and lead sound.
CAE 3+ preamp modded SE by Bob Bradshaw for other sounds.
Carvin V3 amp and VT50 amp.
Like pedals, I often use the Visual Sound pedals.
Visual Sound is a great company made by great people. I love the Visual
Sound pedals. I would like to thank my great friends Steven Bliss
and Bob Weil for their incredible support and friendship. Thank you
guys, you're very special people, always in my heart.
For the recording sessions, I use also my rack with CAE preamp and
amp selector by Bob Bradshaw. With this unit I can engage and select
my amps by foot controller via midi.
I love the technology, but today, I'm not sure that all this new guitar
technology is good for the creativity. I remember when with two pedals
and one amp head, you could play a lot of great things. Now, If there
are no good musical ideas, all this new guitar technology is nothing.
mwe3: What do you like best about Romes music scene and
history these days? What do you think of the rest of the Euro guitar
fusion scene of 2013?
MARCO IACOBINI: The Italian music scene is very rich, even
if the recording industry is disappearing. In Rome, like in other
towns, there are a lot of good musicians.
For example: Marco Sfogli, Giacomo Castellano, Andrea Braido, Fabrizio
Leo Bicio and other guys.
The musical offering is good, but here in Italy its not ever
easy to produce good music. The people listen only to pop music, often,
low quality music. We have some very great pop music artists, but
they are not many.
It seems your audience is spread all over the world. What do you like
best about music in the age of the internet?
MARCO IACOBINI: Internet is cool, but the total absence
of rules about the legal downloading of music contributed to the total
destruction of the music market.
I'm very happy to have a lot of people interested to buy and listen
my music in all the world, but every day I fight against the illegal
blogs where its possible to share and download the music for
My new album, after only two days from his release, was on two guitar
blogs available as a free download. Terrible. To produce a new album
is very hard. To produce music takes time, energy and money. A lot
of time, energy and money. Its not correct to steal the music.
Without money its not possible to create investments for the
music business area. I hope that in next ten years, there will be
the rules necessary for the protection of copyright.
How would you say your music and guitar playing has improved or changed
over the past ten years? Do you have have new impressions of your
first two solo albums Spaces and In My World?
MARCO IACOBINI: Surely my music and my guitar playing has
improved over the past ten years. I spend a lot of my time to practice
everyday. But for me, the most important thing is the music. To write
good music, this is the reason why between my new album and the previous
album passed many years.
in life, if you don't have interesting and new things to say, maybe
is better to remain silent. Spaces was an album unripe, born
on the wings of enthusiasm, a good album but now I smile when I listen
In My World was an album that was more mature, full of a good
things and good ideas, but my phrasing needed more elements. Now,
with my new album, I think that Im moving in the right direction.
Whats coming up for you musical this year and next year do have
any early ideas for your next album? Where are you looking to take
your guitar sound next?
IACOBINI: I try to find my inspiration from my life, to find the
inspiration only from the music would be reductive. I'm working on
the new ideas, harmony and rhythm, more complicated, but with easy
melodies. It's only an experiment. I try to take my guitar sound next
from my head, from my heart and from my hands, as always.
Thanks to Marco Iacobini @ www.MarcoIacobini.com