The Hormonauts... (English)
A long time ago in Sardegna I met two Scottish guys busking rockabilly. They called themselves “Spalmabilly Cheesecake”. Later I met them at the Ferrara festival a few times and then they disappeared. I heard later that the guitarist, Andy Mac Farlane had cracked his skull.
Then in 2007 I heard that Andy had gotten better and formed a band called the Hormonauts that was getting to be quite famous. I was hoping to run into them some day to talk about old times. Then I got a call from a show from a show called “Gip-Lo Show Piú Buono Che Ci Sia” on the “ALL MUSIC” television channel asking me to be a guest and that the house band was the Hormonauts. I thought it would be nice just to see another old timer of the streets, so I packed my gear and headed for Milan.

On the show I did several short pieces and “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by the Clash together with the Hormonauts, (you can see the it on my demo video!) It was all good fun, I played good, got a good video from it they gave me a free hat and we said goodbye.

Several days later I got a call from Sasso (Alessandro Battaglia), the bands bass player/manager asking me if I was interested in trying out as the 4th member of the band. They were just releasing a new album that had lot’s of computer D.J. stuff on it and they wanted me to fill in all that stuff with acoustic instruments. I went, tried out and they made me the 4th Hormonaut. I was a little nervous about accepting the offer. I had been playing as a solo act for a long time and had certain economic needs seeing as I have to support a family. Andy assured me that I wouldn’t have anything to worry about and seeing as I saw him as a brother of the street I put my trust in him. That’s probably my biggest failing... I have a habit of trusting people who come from the street. I tend to think of them as incorruptible as myself. It’ll be a while before I make that mistake again!
What they we’re asking me to do with them was just about an impossible task. I had to play many different acoustic instruments with many different mics while the band played at such loud volumes I couldn’t hear myself at all. Sometimes there was no sound check before taking the stage. Anybody who knows anything about sound will tell you that you just can’t go plug in ten separate mic channels on a big stage and have them all work. I had told them about the difficulty of what they wanted me to do before we ever started together and they were always reassuring me that they were a “big-name” professional band and not to worry.
After playing with them for a while I began to be shocked by the arrogance that they would present sometimes to the concert organizers. I remember one gig in particular where we were supposed to play outdoors but it was raining, so the organizers had moved all the equipment into a nearby sporting facility. They set up the stage on the floor and there were seats all the way around on risers. It wasn’t the best situation, but I didn’t think that it was that bad at all. At least it was clean, dry and had a good sound system. Sasso threw a hissy-fit when he saw it. He kept on threatening to leave without playing because the stage was on the floor saying that we were a big name act and that we don’t play at ground level. I kept on saying to him that I thought they had improvised fairly well and that if we were truly professional we’d rough it and knock ‘em dead from the ground level. He refused absolutely and we we’re about to leave when the organizers called a professional stage set-up crew and rented a second stage (the first one couldn’t be moved in the rain). I’m sure the organizers didn’t make their money back on that gig.

After a while I was shocked to find out that I was playing with a group of racists. They found it really funny to sit and rattle off the worst racist slurs that they could come up with in English. Then, when they found out that it really made me angry they did it even more. I knew already that my days with them were numbered. I don’t enjoy the company of racists.

Anyway I went on playing with them full time and was forced to refuse many good paying solo gigs. The last gig that I played with them was the Heineken Jammin’ Festival in Venice. We were the main act on the B-stage. We were so important that they cut our power after only 20 minutes so that some other really awful band, (I think that they’re called the”Stereofonics”) could go on the A-stage. It was a total mess like most of my gigs with them.
After the Heineken gig I had a last solo gig to do in Spain that was organized months before. When I came back they made coward’s excuses about the next gigs didn’t have enough mic channels for me and then that they didn’t have the money to pay me (they had been building up a very large debt to me), and said that I was free to do my solo act. I had refused thousands of euro worth of gigs to play with these losers and they just gave me the brush-off like it was nothing. Then Sasso insisted that he wasn’t going to pay me until I mailed him the 3 microphones that I had of theirs. He said that I couldn’t be trusted to send them back if I got paid. Well, the moment he said that I couldn’t be trusted I lost my cool! I got a lawyer in Rome and was going to sue them when they panicked and paid me off. I sent them back their mics in good condition (but I hope you remembered to sterilize them before you put your mouth to them, Sasso!)

In September I was supposed to play at the same festival as them in Arezzo but they were cancelled for the rain. I was waiting there with my official “Stronzonaut” t-shirt. At least I had the pleasure of substituting their gig and slagging them totally to the crowd.

They were always talking about how it's important to act like a big star or you won't be treated like a big star. Who the hell want's to be treated like a star at the price of acting like one? Show business doesn't make you an asshole, you have to be born with the capacity.

And Andy, by the way... your album is trash, man.
Thursday, 26 June 2008
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