Interview JC Cinel 2012
By Philippe Archambeau assisted by Y. Philippot-Degand
Translation of the questions : Y. Philippot-Degand
RTJ: Hello JC, many thanks for accepting this interview for our Southern Rock site.
JC: Thank you guys it's a real pleasure
RTJ: To begin this interview, can you introduce yourself to our readers? Where do you come from?
JC: I come from Italy, and I started very early in my life playing guitar and singing... And above all writing songs... Which is the most difficult and rewarding part of growing as a musician...
RTJ: What kind of music did you listent to and, what are your first influences?
JC: I started with the Beatles... Which I consider even today the greatest band ever... I loved their harmonies and song writing and their skill to put together different influences and yet sounding very fresh... I think the Beatles taught everybody how to write good songs... Then it was America, Eagles, Neil Young, CSN (Crosby Stills & Nash, N.dR.), Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Peter Frampton... My love for the acoustic guitar comes from them... But also Doobie Brothers, Jefferson Airplane, Allman Brothers, Yes, but there has always been also a harder music side that appealed to me... Led Zeppelin, Who, Free, Bad Company, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cream, Whitesnake, Journey, Boston, Styx...
RTJ: When did you begin to play music ?
JC: I started at the age of tweve.
RTJ: Do you play other instruments than guitar and harmonica? Which one was the first?
JC: No Ii only play guitar and harmonica... It was guitar that came first and harmonica follow suit after a short time...
RTJ: How did your first steps in a band happen and go?
JC: As usual it was hard... Because I always wanted to play my own written songs and start working on a style... Today too many cover bands are losing the magic of building your own musical identity... And give bad example to audience that is always wanting to hear hear famous songs... I remember we wanted to be original we wanted to create something new... Or at least that's what we wanted to believe...
RTJ: Can you tell us about your « first career » in the band Wicked Minds?
JC: Sure... Ii was called to join as a singer by Wicked Minds (Hard Prog band) because the record label (Black Widow records) wanted a real singer to go with the record deal and didn't like the guitarist voice... After I sang a few promo songs they immediately wanted me in and we got the record deal... I recorded two studio records and one live with Wicked Minds and I think they still are a must for Hard Prog lovers... I was not only the singer but even song writer and so many different influences brought a very special and unique blend to the sound. We toured Europe a few times and peaked at the Burg Herzberg Festival where we shared the stage with UFO, Wishbone Ash, Uli Jon Roth in front of thousands of people... The Wicked Minds " live at Burg Herzberg festival" (Inakustik Records) witnesses that great performance.
RTJ: So we could discover you in the JIMI BARBIANI BAND, can you tell us how you found yourself in this band?
JC: I met Jimi at a jam party in Milan with WIND... He was about to be out of the band and i was already out of Wicked Minds.... We played a few songs together, the next he called me to see if I wanted to work on a project with him... Ii accepted and started working on the songs of the new album.
RTJ: How would you describe your album? And how did you write the tunes?
JC: I loved the album a lot, it's a great hard blues work that put together our strong rock influences and despite the name of the band which is Jimi Barbiani the album was written by Jimi and me half and half... I wrote all melodies and lyrics (only one song was already finished by his previous band) and many arrangements, and Jimi took care of riffs and guitar parts, one song is mine alltogether "The day of the witch" where I sing and play guitar too.
RTJ: We had the surprise in 2011 to see you release your own record, and that was a damn good surprise. How and when did you record it?
JC: Thanks a lot... My last ten tears have been very busy... Touring, recording and writing, but I always find time to follow my solo carreer which to me is the most important and rewarding because it allows me to be exactly what I want as a musician singer and song writer... And today is the only project I follow... I want to be sure my songs come out exactly the way I want them. I write all arrangements too... I take a lot of time to put out a JC CINEL record, because there's an extreme care for arrangements, sound, vocal parts... In studio I play most of the guitars which I share with my long time buddy Dave Dabusti. I'm very happy about this record which is getting great feedback all over the world... It means my hard work of choosing only the best material for my records has paid off...
RTJ: How do you compose?
JC: I usually compose everyting on my acoustic guitar... Chords progressions, and riffs... If they sound good acoustic... Chances are they will be damn good and stronger electric... Then lyrics follow inspired by this or that melody. I love to work on lyrics too... My approach to writing lyrics is slightly poetical and metaphorical... I love to see my music, life as a constant inner outer journey... To discover yourself and watch how sometimes you feel distant from the rush and hurry of people to have... Forgetting our role and losing all the beauty of living for the moment and appreciating life's tastes and different colors.
RTJ: Speaking about the arrangements, have you the most parts of all in mind since the start, or do you give your accomplices the opportunity to use from some freedoms, to suggest some ideas and to take initiatives, and in which measure ?
JC: I have to be honest… All arrangements are previously written by me before going in the studio....
I have all in mind and I want it exactly the way I felt…
RTJ: My real surprise was when listening to « Sweet and Wild », slightly Allman, with its slide, is this band an influence for you ?
JC: Yes… This band has been a great influence on my writing... Their way of blending rock, blues, and even jazz is still today unique. You can hear Johnny Neel ex-Allman and Gov't Mule play Hammond and piano on that song. With" Sweet and Wild" I wanted to write a good southern rock song without too much jam on it… I wanted it to be more direct... I think it came out a good job... And it keeps that fresh American sound.
RTJ: Are some other Southern Rock bands great influences for you?
JC: Of course... I can think of Lynyrd Skynyrd, in my opinion the best ever, I love James Gang a lot, even though they're not really southern rock, I love a lot of other souhtern rock bands even though i tend to blend different styles and don't want to sound too much like this or or that...Blackberry Smoke are great too…
RTJ: The tune that illuminates this record is for me « White Soldier », that remains « The Breakdown », a tune from the Californian band Orleans, the whole thing with a funky sound and a hell of groove. Do you know this band? Can you tell us about this tune « White Soldier »?
JC: Yes I agree with you... As I was saying before i tend to blend and mix styles... And "White soldier" is the perfect example... You can find funky, southern, fusion, jam and a catchy hook on the refrain with harmony vocals... That's exactly what I want from my music... Of course it has to sound like one fluid thing and not many things patched together. I think my style has that identity or at least that's what I love it to sound. The lyrics of this songs are about being always on the way to something... Being a soldier means believe in what you do and do all you can to get it.
RTJ: Your album provides us a sunny music like in Italy and in California, like on « Living on Highway », « Islands » or « California Sunset ». Are you a Joe Vitale and Joe Walsh fan?
JC: Of course I am.... I love sunshine music the one that takes you along your highway, might be real or in your mind. I love songs that make you fly where you would like to be... I love songs that give you a happy mood and good times. The songs you mentioned come from my love for West Coast Music, harmonies and acoustic guitars... Such a great blend to me....
RTJ: Can you tell a few words about Johnny Neel's participation?
JC: Oh yeah... I met Johnny on Nashville... We spent a lot of time together...partying, singing, drinking (of course)... It came natural to me to ask him if he wanted to play on my songs and of course he accepted... He's such a great talented and incredible player... He colored my songs in a special way without overplaying, just feeling the songs... I remember my Nashville days with great pleasure and a bit of nostalgy....
RTJ: Can you introduce to us your guitarist Davide Dabusti? Did he play all the lead guitars?
JC: Ah... My buddy Dave... We've been playing together for more than 10 years....We went together touring Spain, Crete, Germany, France, Holland (Netherland, N.dR.), USA... He's been such a great musical partner and a talented musician always looking for the best sound and what's best for the song, and I thank him for always been on my side working on songs and travelling around the world to bring my music... We shared lead guitars on the record... I play all the acoustic but we shared the electric parts... On “White Soldier” you can hear us both on the final jam of the songs.
RTJ: After all this, if you had to define your record in a few words to give once more the urge to listen to it? And to buy it?
JC: I would say it's a classic rock album with so many things to discover listen after listen… It's an album for people who don't get stuck on one style but who like the American sound without being hooked on labels of gender... It's a highway record to take it to the limit of your need of great spaces and curios journeys.....
RTJ: In this connection, how can we find it and how do the sales go?
JC: The record is going great all over Europe....you can find it at
Andromeda Relix -Italy
Black Widow records - Italy
Carù Dischi - Italy
Compact Dixie - France
JUST FOR KICKS records - Germany
Rock Cd - Germany
RTJ: What is your opinion about illegal downloading?
JC: I think really it's damaging the artist and music… It's a sign of the new times, people lose always more curiosity about art... They want to have things but don't care a lot about things…
RTJ: You played a damn good gig at the Spirit 66, can you introduce to us the band that accompagnied you on stage?
JC: Sure... That was a great gig... I had Dave Dabusti and Andrea Barbieri on guitars, Luca Balocco on bass and Elvis Fior on drums.
RTJ: What are the JC CINEL BAND projects? We know that you'd like to tour in France, would you?
JC: This summer will be playing lots of gigs and festival in Italy... Yes I want to be back on the road to keep on promoting the album"The light of a new sun", and I would love to tour France where I can see there's a lot of interest on southern and classic rock altogether... Hope to be there very soon... I will also be back in Germany and Holland (Netherland, N.dR.) very soon after our last winter tour that went real great... In the meantime I keep writing new material for the next record...
RTJ: There are several good Blues Rock bands in Italy, but do you know BLUE DOGS? It was an Allman Brothers Band tribute.
JC: I only know them by name.
RTJ: What do you think about the « Columbus Way » album of your Smokey Fingers compatriots? Did you listen to it? How do you consider the activity of the Italian stage in connection with the Southern Rock?
JC: The same thing for Smokey fingers, I only listened to a couple of songs... They sound very classic but good... I think Italy has always been a great place for southern rock bands... The problem is that Italy is a bad place to be if you want to play that style of music... And for young band it is very hard to find places to perform...
RTJ: Tradition by us to finish, if you have to go on a desert island, what would be the five albums you'd take with you ?
JC: Five... Uhm... I would bring sure more than five... Ok let's it give a try…
If i could remember my name - David Crosby
Sreet Survivors - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Who's next - The Who
White album - The Beatles
The Captain and me - Doobie Brothers.
But I would try to squeeze more in my pants....
Thanks a lot Philippe and Yves for your interest.