ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
Black Widow Records
WITH: Massimo Gasperini
Richard Hawey -November 2016
PROFIL – Who is Massimo GASPERINI? A short summary of your career would be appreciated.
MASSIMO GASPERINI - I love rock music since 1970. I worked for 16 years as a designer in a large company then I decided to open my shop and my label together with my wife and two friends.
PR - How did the idea come to create the Black Widow label in 1990? Were you alone in the adventure? Why this name, has it a special meaning for you?
MG- Black Widow is a band that I have always loved a lot. "SACRIFICE" is a MUST have for all those who say they love rock and particularly progressive.
I also liked the phonetics of the name.
PR - What is the philosophy of the label?
MG- The philosophy behind our work is to enjoy ourselves and work with passion and love for the music that we love. We are in one of the most famous street in the city but in our showcase are just discs that we like, nothing commercial.
PR – Had you some fears in the beginning?
MG- Fear? Absolutely not. I was attending record fairs around Europe, especially in London for many years, I knew well what I wanted to do, well, because I had figured out what was missing in Italy and I did it.
PR - Which is the first group that you signed?
MG- The first thing we did was the CRYSTAL PHOENIX reprint, an obscure and rare album with the amazing voice of Myriam. It was not a simple thing to do in those days there was no internet. But I was crazy about this record and in the end I succeeded.
PR - How is the recruitment and what is your selection criteria?
MG- The contact with the groups takes place in many different ways.
Often it is they who send demos to us, other times it is we who will contact the bands. It is possible that we see a live band which we like, but now I am convinced that there is always something magic that binds us or not to one group rather than to another.
PR - Do you have any anecdotes that come to mind and you’d like to tell us?
MG- Too many stories, too many strange things, almost inexplicable, happened in these years. It takes a book to explain them all. Think that I've always been a big fan of Jacula and Antonius Rex, two mysterious groups of which little or nothing was known in the 70's and 80's and even 90. The greatest collectors around the world were looking for their discs. Discs very rare, almost impossible to find, and very expensive.
Today we were able to reprint all their albums, publish the unpublished material and produce new works with them. This is a dream come true.
PR - What is your proudest moment since the creation of your label?
MG- Another great moment was when we met some of the original members of BLACK WIDOW and we have been able to realize the album with unreleased material.
PR - Black Widow is also a place where people can buy their favorite music. This way seems to change with the arrival of the Internet. Are there always as many people who come to your store? Or is the trend changing?
MG- Fortunately our audience is made up of friends and mostly intelligent people who understand the importance of having a point of reference for music and culture. Internet has facilitated our work, it certainly has not hurt me.
PR - Do you think that music, all styles combined, is doing well today?
MG- Today, around, there is too much music of ridiculous levels, but it is so 'that goes the world controlled by the power of money’. However, every day we have young people of 16-20 years who want to buy LED ZEPPELIN, GENESIS, BLACK SABBATH, CAN, KRAFTWERK or T.REX....! Maybe they have discovered them through a friend or a parent. Our music will never die in spite of everything, and this is a miracle.
PR - Do you think it is possible for artists to live by their music today?
MG-It’s very difficult if you play Progressive. It is possible to be session musicians and perform in several bands of various types and then to also have your own progressive music group. To play Prog Rock, the most logical thing is to have another job and play your own music when possible. This way you can make nice things very seriously and have fun and achieve great satisfaction.
PR - What are your musical tastes, except for groups that are under your banner?
MG- I LOVE T.REX, HAWKWIND, CAN, BLACK SABBATH, CHROME, FAMILY, ANGE, MAGMA, MC 5, STOOGES, GRYPHON, URIAH HEEP, COMUS, AMON DULL, BOWIE, BLUE CHEER, ..and obviously BLACK WIDOW. …but I listen to everything that’s good about Progressive, Doom, Hard Rock, Southern and Folk. I’m a great Space Rock fan.
PR – Do you have hobbies and, if so, which ones?
MG- Science Fiction, English football, rugby …and fishing!! I support Liverpool “You’ll never walk alone”.
PR - Do you have a dream you’d want to make come true?
MG- YES, to be happy and stay in good health, with my wife, my friends and my cat Zora. If Liverpool wins the championship and even a couple of Champions cups it will be even better.
PR - What will Black Widow Records announce in the coming months?
MG- This is a very important project for us: NIK TURNER, HELIOS CREED, JAY TAUSIG and CHROMIUMS HAWK MACHINE (A Space rock concept about the origins of life on earth). We are great HAWKWIND and CHROMA fans and Nik TUNER, and Helios CREED are great friends of mine.
Let me think...:
UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA-Mathematical Mother
BOLAN & BOWIE A TRIBUTE TO THE MADMEN (with bands from all around the world)
MYTHOLOGY (A mysterious band)
The third album of IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE
New album of IL CERCHIO D’ORO
A project about Giordano Bruno with the O.A.K. OSCILLAZIONI ALCHEMICHE KREATIVE band.
PR - You have the last word...
MG-We are very happy with how things are going with BLACK WIDOW RECORDS but we would like it if some of our bands could play more concerts and festivals around the world and especially in USA.
Groups like UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA, INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE, LA FABBRICA DELL’ASSOLUTO, Sophya Baccini's ARADIA, DELIRIUM, SPETTRI ... are among the best in the world of Progressive Rock and deserve to play for all the Prog lovers. I ask the American festival organizers to listen well to our bands and invite them to play for the joy of our fans around the world.
Thanks very much and PROG ON!