We had the pleasure to interview with Max Navarro and talk about the recent past, the last album, the rock scene in Italy and much more.
-Hi Max, how are you doing?
I’m doing great , if only because we are in summer. If you don’t feel good in this season, when then?
– Let’s start with the departure from the band of John Paul Bellucci: What happened?
What happened is that after ten years we realized we could no longer make music together. The artistic differences were really strong.
During the recording we didn’t take punches each other just because fundamentally it is not in our nature. But the fights were continuous. Nick Mayer and I on one side and he on the other. In the middle were Danny Policella and Alex Parpinel which will surely have wondered what kind of ruckus they had gone to hunt.
It had created a climate of constant tension in which even to say own opinion of an arrangement had became a problem, because a dispute was always ready to burst. When he announced his retirement, in my opinion, he did the most logical and natural thing . But I don’t say this lightly, because for better or for worse John Paul has made the history of this band.
He isn’t the first musician to be gone, but he sure is the only one that has truly cared something about this band and the music we were doing together. Here he left his mark.
After the end of the recordings we did’t talk for months. Then we clarified us and now the things are fine ; much less between him and Nick, but these things will have to see each other, when and if they so choose.
– In the future do you think you can come back and play together?
Actually we do it already, in the American Idols. But I think that the desire to make records of unreleased material is passed to both, otherwise we would not have reached this point. Then, you know, the future is a guess, and I don’t use to bet.
– “Somewhere South Of Heaven” is your 4th album: how was the creative process and what are the main themes?
The creative process doesn’t have any particular evolution than previous works. Overall I am one who likes to look around, to outline what emerges from society, perhaps through the eyes of a character. In general I like to call “Somewhere South of Heaven” a serene album.
Obviously the world has not changed compared to five or ten years ago, or at least has not changed for the better. I think it fundamentally changed the way I see it. Between twenty and thirty want to smash everything that you don’t like and you think it’s possible to change it. Then after you realize that actually you can’t change anything, you’re just a grain of sand in the desert. And then you start to see everything in a more detached and peaceful view.
When you see that things are going in a certain way because that’s – unfortunately – they have to go, you must put aside a lot of anger and begin to live and fully appreciate the little things. Sure, you’re far from understanding the meaning of life, but at least you get a lot more peaceful living.
– And musically what are the main differences compared to the previous albums?
Well, in this regard I have to admit that the genesis of this album was rather curious. It is probably the first record in the history of rock music in which they were recorded before the guitar parts than drum and bass. It was one of John Paul’s decision, me and the other guys weren’t at all convinced, and then in the continuation of the work it has created many problems.
It was just one of the causes that led to the subsequent break with JP.
– This is your first work published by AW Recordings, the newborn Italian record label, how was it working with them?
When do you leave for a new adventure you’re excited and you always want to do great things. So at the beginning it was very nice and we were fine. Then the feeling went lost and something has broken.
I don’t know if in the future we will publish other album via AW Recordings. From a strictly musical standpoint, though, we want to continue working with Nico Odorico.
– Your is an American-style rock with catchy melodies, but what are the main musical influences in it?
As a boy I listened to exhaustion Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Goo Goo Dolls and Dire Straits, just to name a few.
In recent years I listened mostly to the country scene artists like Will Hoge, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley and Jason Aldean.
From my point of view, they disguise them as country only for a marketing question, because for them the country is an institution. In fact many their music are essentially rock, only with the addition of a steel guitar and a cowboy hat. The fact remains that the albums released by Nashville over the past decade are the best ever in terms of cleanliness and sound depth.
-You’re Italian-Canadian, how this double “identity” affects your music?
Not so much. Musically speaking my Italian side must be lost for several decades. Seriously, my models are exclusively American.
Here in Italy the rock culture never arrived. Here we are thrown rock, metal and related all in the same cauldron.
The rock here is a niche genre: there are many people around who use to fill their mouths with names like Dylan, Springsteen, Bon Jovi, but listen to them – if they listen to them – just because they are icons, not because of their music. They will never make the effort to move their asses – but not even the mouse – to go looking around if there are bands who try to carry on that flag.
– How is nowdays the rock scene in Italy?
Does it exist? Undoubtedly there are willing boys,with some very smart and good ideas; but I don’t think we can talk about rock scene.
Venues where you can play without recommendations can be counted on the fingers of one hand; the booking agencies want only tribute band; labels don’t invest anything because nobody buys records and focus only on the talent-shows to bring out kids to exploit, and get profit from the editions; the musicians themselves don’t want to spend too much for making a record done well. They prefer to go by their friend who records them by spending 500 euro in the cellar for a whole album, and then go around boasting because they managed to make a record – which of course sounds like crap.
No, frankly I don’t see a rock scene in Italy. If anything, a slight movement of mediocre people who think is cool take up a guitar, and that has not yet realized that unfortunately in reality the rocker figure today is really little trendy.
-Do you think there is place for true and vivid rock as yours?
Listen, the thing that makes me laugh more when I read a few reviews out on our albums is when the journalist passes the notion that if I write melodic songs, I do it to sell some more copies. In my opinion, I believe that writing melodic songs get much more easily negative critics.
Often come branded as easy listening but there’s actually a tremendous work of care arrangements behind. And I assure you that you don’t sell more copies, indeed.
So, answering to your question, I say that yes, a bit of place there is, but it is really too small for a 100-pound beast like me.
– What’s on plan for the future? Any chance to see you live outside Italy?
Soon “Stay”, the 3rd single from” Somewhere South of Heaven “, will be released. Meanwhile, we are rearranging some older tracks to produce an anthology of this first decade of “career”, we’re going to record it he next year, with the addition of a couple of new songs.
I have several songs for a new album ready to be arranged, but I think will spend a couple of years before we will record it.
Talking about gigs,not at the moment. A promotional tour, in Italy like somewhere else, has substantial costs. I don’t talk as much in economic terms but cause of time. We each have side projects, then when you have a family you have to choose which side of the fence you want to be. Who knows, maybe in the future, however, things will could change.
– We are at the end of this interview, thank you so much for your time. Would you like to say something to our readers?
Thank you for the interview. I wish for The Offering Magazine readers to a long summer made of fun and healthy rock n roll.