Fireworks

Fireworks Magazine Online 81: Interview with PFM

PFM

Interview by Malcolm Smith

PFM emerged in the early 70s onto a burgeoning Italian Progressive Rock Scene, and are arguably the biggest name to come out of said scene. Probably best known on these shores for the 1973 album 'Photos of Ghosts' which appeared on ELP's Manticore label, with lyrics from King Crimson Collaborator Pete Sinfield, the band are beloved of the real Progressive cognoscenti for their rather romantic, elegant musing throughout an extensive back catalogue.

The band took a lengthy sojourn through the late 80s/early 90s but are now back fully loaded with their new album 'Emotional Tattoos', their first for the Progressive specialist label InsideOut. Fireworks put Franz Di Cioccio under the spotlight to answer questions about the new release and the present state of play in the world of Prog Rock.


PFM

The band's new album 'Emotional Tattoos' is your first with Prog specialists InsideOut. How did the deal come about?

InsideOut happened to know we were working on new material for an international album. They asked if they could hear some songs, so they came to Milan and heard the first four songs we were working on. They liked it and asked if they could come back and listen to more... when that happened a few weeks later they decided to sign us.

PFM are the only Italian Prog band, to my knowledge anyway, to break out globally. Is that something you are especially proud of, and why do you think this was?

We are very proud to be an international band. Since the very beginning of our career we have looked for it and it finally happened when our album 'Photos of Ghosts' went in the Billboard charts. We think this happened because of the Mediterranean flavour of the music and also because of Pete Sinfield's lyrics, which were amazing for that particular moment.

The new album seems to draw on various periods throughout the band's illustrious past. Was it conscious effort to do this or was it a natural process?

It's for sure a natural process. That's the way we have always worked, trying to put in our music everything that is in our hearts ̶ not only music to sell, but music we feel like playing. This is the reason why PFM always did different music on each release.

That early 70s period when PFM was having both UK and American success were heady days indeed. Any interesting stories you can remember from that time?

After more than 6000 concerts all over the world you can imagine how many stories we could tell. One coming to mind was when we met the Queen Mother in London during the rehearsal for our concert at the Royal Albert Hall!! The lady was great, she came on stage and wanted to know everything about the instruments and the music. We were amazed.
Another time we can't forget is when we recorded the 'Cook' live album at the Shaeffer festival in Central Park, New York City... trees and skyscrapers all around...

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The band went into 'hibernation' for a period in the 80s and 90s, although never officially splitting up. Was there a reason behind this?

After thousands of concerts and many, many miles we needed to take a break and recharge our batteries. We wanted to start again with new energies and new projects. This is probably the reason why we didn't split up ̶ we had many things still to say and to play. Music is our life and we didn't want to miss it just because we were a little tired.

Yourself and Patrick (Djivas) are the only remaining core members of the band, with a seemingly revolving door of other members coming and going. Do you see yourself and Patrick as the 'torch-bearers' of the band's name?

For sure we are riding the PFM starship as you can see on the new album sleeve. We know what our responsibility is and we do everything we can to deserve the role. This is why we wrote such an intense album with ten songs in two languages and one instrumental. We did it out of consideration for our fans, for ourselves and for PFM's sake.

This new album is being released in both English and Italian languages. Were there any issues that arose from doing this, as it's been a while since the band attempted a full English language album?

It was a lot of work obviously but with no particular problems. We wanted it to be like that because everywhere in the world, our fans can listen to PFM's music with the sound and language they prefer.
Since the last English album many years have passed. We did Italian and instrumental albums but we thought the time had come to do it again.

Although the band have always embraced melody, to my ears at least there seems to be a shift to areas occupied by the likes of bands such as Saga and World Trade. Is that a fair comment would you say?


We are an Italian band so since we started in 1972 our sense for melodies has always been very strong and always will be. We play the music we love at the time and fortunately PFM has such a wide experience and vision for many styles of music; from Classical to Jazz, we never lack inspiration.

You've announced a fairly extensive global tour. Are there any plans to include the UK in this tour?

We are working on a European tour which will include the UK and which will take place right after the world tour, which will start mid November.

What, If any, are your expectations for this new album and what do you make of the current Progressive Rock scene and PFM's place in it?

Our expectation is to reach people's hearts around the world and where to leave an emotional tattoo made of words and music, hence the album title, and obviously to do many more concerts around the world because this is what we were born to do. The current Progressive Rock scene is very exciting and PFM is happy to be in that scene with its own very distinctive way of looking at it and always bringing in new energies and sounds.

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  • SeaDog57 : just an observation. I just got Issue 89 at the Bookstore and when i looked at the spine of the magazine it says "Fireworks Issue 85 Winter Jan - Mar 2019" Was this a misprint? The rest of the Magazine is Issue 89. Was just wondering did anyone else notice this?
  • Berny : Apologies! Magazine can now be accessed from your download section. Best wishes, B.
  • Berny : @Martykelly: We're sorry
  • Martykelly : Just purchased issue 89 hoping its going to be in my download soon.
  • Johns Band : Will "Watch & Listen" music videos make a comeback. Just order H.E.A.T. "Live In London" CD.
  • Berny : @the trapps: Apologies for the delay in processing your order. The magazine is now available in your downloads section.
  • the trapps : waiting for the issue 89 which we purchased to be in our downloads section ???
  • Berny : @tomandpam: Many thanks for your purchase. The download instructions were sent yesterday, please contact me at «email» should you haven't received the email.
  • tomandpam : I paid for a download on issue 89 and didn't receive the download. Please let me know when I can get it. Thanks
  • Berny : @zom414: Fireworks Magazine #89 will be available at selected UK based newsagents on December 16th. The digital version can already be purchased in our Download Store.
  • zom414 : When's the next mag due for release?
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  • el nowy : Hi, how long does it take for my download license to be available? I purchased it 3 days ago. Thanks!
  • Rocktopia Te : @l.thijs: Apologies for the delay, your digital copy can now be downloaded from your "My Downloads" section.
  • l.thijs : Hi Fireworks Magazine. I made a purchase on 10 nov and I paid by Paypall. I bought the #85 fireworks mag download for GBP3,50. But I didn,t receive anything. Please can you find out what's going on?
  • kazooba : I have digital versions of every issue from 27 thru 88, any way I can get issues 1 - 26 with cd's digitally?
  • Berny : @SeaDog57: The links are in the Fireworks menu. Have you tried scrolling down? Maybe your screen size is too small...
  • SeaDog57 : Berny; there are only links up to Fireworks 86. Which is kinda strange because i already downloaded CD 87 but i'm looking for the link to CD 88...Chris
  • Rocktopia Te : @Johns Band: Can you please contact us here: «email»
  • Johns Band : Fireworks Magazine 88 did not arrive by post. paid by PayPal. Any Suggestion.
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  • bpomper : i found the problem..old email i can not access.i have tried to change it by editing my info but it wont allow. any suggestions
  • Berny : @bpomper: A reply was sent yesterday, We recommend checking your spam/junk mail to see if our message was filtered there. The magazine was already sent to your shipping address. Please let me know if you do not receive it within the next couple of days. Thanks for your patience!
  • bpomper : Thanks didnt of that. I still have not heard about fireworks 88 was it sent out. Thankyou
  • Rocktopia Te : @bpomper: For security reasons, we removed your previous message. Please do not post your private e - mail address. Many thanks for your understanding.
  • bpomper : Thanks for the reply. I see download but can you confirm that hardcopy was or is sent ou .thanks.the email i used is inder the contact me info of the website
  • Berny : @bpomper: Apologies for your troubles. Where did you send the email to? We haven't received anything. I will send you a longer reply via mail. Also, you can download the free CD from the "Fireworks" menu on top, but the CD links are only shown if you are logged in.
  • bpomper : 3rd email inquiring about my purchase of fireworks #88. i purchased on the 2oth of sept and today is the 24 with no response...paypal has taken the payment. should i have a down load of the cd for mu usa magazine. Looking forward to an answer
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