"Allium: Una Storia" is the name of the production by three prog heroes and friends Andy Tillison (a. o. The Tangent), Jonas Reingold (a. o. The Flower Kings) and Roberto Tiranti (a. o. New Trolls). It's a very special album, the idea for which goes back to a special afternoon that keyboardist Tillison experienced 45 years ago. In the interview, the 62-year-old Englishman talks about an unforgettable musical experience in Italy
eclipsed: Andy, how is your Italian language skills?
Andy Tillison: "Buon giorno", "Buona sera", "Buona notte" I know. That should be all of them. (laughs)
eclipsed: But obviously you love Italian culture?
Tillison: Especially the ancient culture there is fantastic and unique! From the modern era, on the other hand, there is Italo-Prog, which I love beyond measure.
eclipsed: Which brings us to the actual topic of our conversation: What made you decide to record an album in the tradition of 70s Italo-prog?
Tillison: I'll have to go into a lot of detail about that. But I'll try to give as concise a background as possible for outsiders to understand. Let's travel back to the spring of 1976: My parents and I, just 16, went on a camping holiday across Europe. At some point we ended up at a campground outside of Rome. There, the same band, called Allium, as I was soon to find out, played every night. My parents, who were big fans of classical music, were quickly annoyed by the same repertoire of covers by ELO, Supertramp and Queen. I myself was very fond of it, but was not allowed to go to the concert hall without adult company. But one afternoon I heard the group rehearsing and playing songs that were obviously not imitations. I told my parents I'd like to go for a walk - and there I was, standing at the venue's glass door with a clear view of the stage. It was, if you will, the first rock concert I had ever experienced. My knees were shaking, so captivated was I by what I was seeing and hearing.
eclipsed: What happened then?
Tillison: After about 20 minutes, the singer jumped off the stage, walked up to the glass door and addressed me directly, "English?" I nodded my head sheepishly. "You like our music?" Again I nodded dumbly. The next moment he motioned for me to enter the small hall. He then hopped back up to his five musical companions. Now they really got going with sprawling tunes à la ELP and PFM. At some point they took a break and sat down at the table with me. I was frozen. After all, these guys were ancient, probably 19 or 20. (laughs) Singer Roberto asked me what I thought of the performance. I mumbled something. He said, "Don't hold back on criticism - my buddies here don't understand English, they're all Albanian."