Friday, 12 June 2015

Johnny Pisano Interview

Credit :Unknown
Johnny Pisano has a CV that reads like a who's who in music.

He's played with Marky Ramone & The Intruders, Jesse Malin, Deborah Harry and of course Willie Nile, as well as sharing a stage or a studio with Bruce Springsteen, Counting Crows, former KISS drummer Peter Criss, Steve Earle and many, many others!

Ever thought you recognised a face in a film or on TV? Well, that could have been Johnny as he has appeared in numerous films and TV shows such as The Sopranos, Wolf On Wall Street and Boardwalk Empire.

But today it is his role in the recently released "Strength" (2015) that we are here to talk about.

How did you get involved in the recording of "Strength" (2015)?

I was on tour in the UK with Willie Nile November 2014 and I received a call from Mike and Jules asking if I had any days off on the tour and if I wanted to come and record. I did have a few days off so I hopped on the train to Wales and Mike picked me up at the train station.

Were you familiar with the original album?

I was very familiar, yes. As a teenager I was a big fan of The Alarm, and I still am. Me and my friend would see as many shows as we could when they were in the New York area.

What direction did Mike give you for what he was looking for?

He emailed me the newer vibe of the songs, most had drum tracks, acoustic guitar and vocals and he asked me to just be free with fresh ideas. From what I heard he was approaching the songs as if they were brand-new again and that's how I approached them as well.

You appear on 5 songs on the finished album, was this always the plan or was this due to time constraints?

Credit : Michael Aarons
There was already upright bass on some of the tracks recorded previously. I showed up pretty much knowing the songs and what I wanted to do and we got it all done that day.

Can you describe how the sessions went?

Mike took me to this beautiful old church, where I met Mark Warden who was producing and engineering. Mike and Mark said they loved everything I was coming up with so we continued on till we felt it was great. We recorded song after song laughing and having fun in between tracks.

Which track(s) are you most proud of?

I think all the tracks are great, but "Absolute Reality" would have to be one of my favourites on here just because of how great it came out but also because it was one of my favourite songs.

Were there any plans for you to guest with Mike on any of his U.S. dates or did they clash with your Willie Nile commitments?

There was talk about him coming to the U.S. with a band and using me to play electric and upright bass but I believe he's doing it solo this year. As for anything in the future I would be psyched and honoured to back him up, especially if Smiley was playing drums. Those drum tracks are amazing, he is such a great drummer.

After the piano laden "If I Was A River" any idea what the next Willie Nile album has in store for us?

All the tracks are pretty much done for the new Willie Nile record. Last I heard it will be released the beginning of 2016, we still have some overdubs and singing to do, maybe a few guests to come play on some stuff. I am also working on my own little side project. I'm recording songs which I hope to release before 2016.

Any idea when we can expect any new U.K. dates?

I was hoping we would get there this fall as we do every year. Right now there are no plans but I'm sure we will get there soon. I'm looking forward to it...

Johnny Pisano....thank you very much!

I'll post info on Johnny's solo project as well as any new Willie Nile info when I have them!

Credit : Conni Freestone