Fabio Drusin's interview
by Will Lester - February 2003

Hi Fabio, before we talk about your news and new album, can you talk a bit about the band, how and when it was created, its history, the evolution... ?

Well, W.I.N.D. started as a Trio format at the beginning of 2000, after the debut album. Before we was a quartet, with a keybord player, but as a trio we grown up a lot, we started the art of improvisation, we started to explore our music. Now we're a power trio, we're free as a band, you know, nobody can play and have a sound as a power trio can, even if you play with another guitar or keybord player, as a trio you can explore your music a lot, you've got the power, if the rhythm section is strong enough, and you can "fly" with the music

Let's talk about Jimi (guitar) and Sandro (drums). Tell us about your relationship in the band.
Ohh we're like brothers! Sandro is my drummer for about ten years now, we're very close friends and we work together with our rhythm section like a train! He's a powerful drummer and with me he's got a great sense of rhythm, we're two of a kind, you know, W.I.N.D. sound is known in part for the rhythm section, like Cream, Hendrix, Gov't Mule, thundering big fat bass sound and a jazzy section, with power and amalgama. Jimi is a great blues and slide guitar player, he's got a great vibrato and intonation with the slide and together we're in a perfect situation, we follow each others with melodic notes, it's a "magical sound"

What was your musical evolution and how did you discover bands such as the Allman Brothers band and Gov't Mule ?
We listen a lot of kind of music, from jazz to blues, to Indian music, clasical music, progressive and Psichedelic bands of late '60. Form John Coltrane to Blind Faith and bands like Allman Brothers, Hendrix, Cream, Steamhammer, Led Zeppelin, all the great bands, Thelonious Monk, all the great soul singers, Otis Redding, my favourite singer of all times, man...What a great soul man! Gov't Mule and Allman Brothers are two of our favorite bands, I saw and met Warren and Allen Woody two times in N.Y. They're great guys, Warren is a gentle man, a great musician, we're similar as songwriters, I mean, the influences are the same, and the sensibility for the lyrics and for the melody. I think he's one of the best singers around man..he's amazing. When he sings you can feel his soul.

From your point of view, do you see differences between bands close to Lynyrd Skynyrd and bands close to the Allman Brothers ?
A lot of difference....Allman Brothers is one thing, Lynyrd Skynyrd is another. Allman Brothers is a Jam iprov.jazzy Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd is more Hard Rock, you know? They're both great bands, but Allman is more "complicated band", with a blues feeling, Lynyrd Skynyrd is more a "good time band". They're great bands

W.I.N.D members seem to be real close together, how did you decide to be a power trio ?
We decied to be a powe trio the first time we palyed as a trio, something magic happened to our music

Fabio, it seems you're the leader of the band. What is the role of each member inside the band ?
We're a band, we're three persons, I write the music, alone or with Jimi and I write the lyrics and the melodies, but everyone in the band arranged our music, Jimi plays a riff and I write the melody and the bass line, the rest is Sandro's work. We're a band, we feel together our music

Let's talk about your last album "Hypnotic dream". How and when did you start thinking about this project ?
We started to think about Hypnotic Dream at the end of 2001, after I met Johnny Neel in N.Y. It takes just two days in Nashville with Johnny and one week in Italy for the rest, we played live in the studio, overdubbing only the vocals and some solos

The songwriting is very 70's priented. I mean guitar riffs, psyche atmospheres... How do you approch your songwriting ?
I write a lot of songs, the first song I wrote I was 12, I write when I'm blue, I like to talk with my music, I'm introspective guy, I write about my dark sides and about my clear visions, about my demons and my angels. Sometimes Jimi start a riff and sometimes I have a whole song inside me, sometimes I have this melody line inside and sometimes we write while we jam

How and when did you meet Johnny Neel ?
I met Johnny in New York in March of 2000, he was on the road with Gov't Mule, they was playing at the Irving Plaza, I saw them forth times, two times with Johnny

How did you decide to record in the Johnny Neel's studio in Nashville ?
I gave Johnny one pre-production of some songs for Hypnotic, he liked'em and he invited us in his studio in Nashville to record that songs with him

Tell us about the recording sessions.
The recording sessions went great, we talked with our instruments, without words and reheals, we played like we was playing for years together, it was something special, something magic in that studio, Johnny was playing his hammond near to me, I could feel his soul man....It was amazing, we recorded all the songs on the first or the second take, all live

This new album has video samples from the recording sessions, from a gig in a club in Nashville, and an "unplugged in the Kitchen". How did you decide to record all this on video and use it on the album ?
Nothing was pre determinated, the videos are all amatorial videos, you know, just a simple videocamera, than home, in Italy we decided to put that videos on the second cd, it's cool, it's our Nashville Experience, it's just what we've done.

How is the audience in Nashville ? Were you well received in the club ? Is the audience more enthusiastic than the european one ?
Audience was great, we played one gig with Johnny at the Blues Hideaway, and we played a jam in another club, with some Nashville musicians

Tell us about you mind spirit when you play with an historic member of the Allman Brothers band, and a sideman of Gov't Mule .
Man......my spirit was flying, it's something magic, it's like to share something strong with another person, without words, it's like to be in a magic circle, all for one one for all, and the music flys, goes alone, and you don't know why, everything is so perfect, everything goes round and you can feel the soul , the demons and the angels of the other guys playing

This kind of meeting is some kind of a dream. Do you think the work with Johnny Neel can help you to make it big in the States ?
I think so. Now many people around him and around the Mule circle know who we are, and our collaboration is still strong, we made a tour in Italy and Johnny recorded some improv jam on the studio of our producer Stefano Amerio, a long jams with himself alone, with us and with a jazz trio too. It will be called JOHNNY NEEL and THE ITALIAN EXPERIENCE, it'll be a bomb, we recorded three songs for more than 30 minutes!!! All improv, all live!! There's a suite long 15 minutes, all instrumental

Tell us about the gear you're using in the studio and on stage.
We use a lot of vintage stuff, I'm a vintage bass freak, I have 12 basses, I use Gibson and Epiphone basses, Gibson are very old, and as a amps I use Ampeg SVT exclusively, just a good old bass and Ampeg, the rest is your personality and your hands! Anyway I use a dunlop Wah for bass sometimes. Jimi plays Gibson Les Paul Standard reissue of '59 and has a beautiful stratocaster of '65. The amps are old marshalls 50 watts and sometimes he plays a good Fender, Fender and Marshall together. Sandro plays an old Pearl and Zyldian cymbals. In studio we played live, and we use the same gear, with our secret for the kind of microphones we use for the drum set and the amplifiers. Stefano Amerio, our producer and studio owner is a MICROPHONE'S WIZARD!!

What do you think of the southern rock scene in Europe ?
It's fine, there are a lot of bands who plays southern rock, but I see more bands similar to Hard Rock bands like Molly Hatchet and Blackfoot, Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute bands you know, it's good for the Europe scene.

Do you believe in a kind of "European Southern Rock Festival" with bands from different countries ?
Absolutely YES! It would be cool!

I'm gonna give you names from famous musicians and tell what you think of them :
Gregg Allman: One of the best singers and white voice around
Gov't Mule: Great band, one of that great bands who can play everything, from blues to jazz, to rock to improv music
Warren Haynes: Maybe the best musician around today, great guitar player, amazin singer, fine songwriter, that man loves music! A true talent!
Matt Abts: What a good drummer! A force of nature, fine, between jazz and rock, he feels everything everyone is playing
Johnny Neel: Another great singer, great person, amazing musician, with a feeling that goes over the normality, great talent!Great hands and heart
Jimi Hendrix: One of the greatest musicians and guitar player of our time, he was one of a kind.

Thanks Fabio for answering these questions.


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