After guitarist Rodolfo Maltese died in 2015 and singer Francesco Di Giacomo died in a car accident the year before, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso seemed to be history. But now - after 15 years without new recordings - the progressive rock formation founded in 1969 unexpectedly presents their 14th studio album with "Transiberiana". So it's all back to the beginning?
Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, along with Premiata Forneria Marconi and Le Orme, are among the pioneers of Italian programming. They like to compare media at home and abroad with ELP or Gentle Giant. The linchpin of the band was their expressive frontman Francesco Di Giacomo, who died in 2014. Banco stood, it seemed, before the end. However, founding member Vittorio Nocenzi did not want to bury the dream of "his" group. The 68-year-old keyboarder was looking for new comrades-in-arms, especially singer Tony D'Alessio. This one doesn't make you forget its predecessor. But it is also thanks to his vocal power that "Transiberiana" has become a true Banco work.
eclipsed: How did you come up with the five new Banco members?
Vittorio Nocenzi: The Italian prog scene is manageable. Word quickly got around that I wanted to keep my baby alive, but I lack the people for it. The line-up stood relatively quickly. I already had a lot of ideas for new songs, so we went into the studio. Everyone brought in their share. And the recording sessions were so intense that we became really good friends.
eclipsed: Are you happy to finally have new Banco material again?
Nocenzi: Absolutely! Also because Banco have always been a live band. We had more or less the same stage program for 15 years. That's about to change.
eclipsed: What is behind the album title "Transiberiana"?
Nocenzi: One has to imagine this as the modern equivalent to the fictitious state Utopia of the Renaissance philosopher Thomas Morus. Morus was concerned with a humanistic idea. I'm about the same thing. Transiberiana is a metaphor for global humanity. Expressed as
megalomaniacally as naively, I have a huge desire to save our planet. I like that bullet pretty much. And if my work can make a minimal contribution to making it worth living in our country, then I have fulfilled my task.