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Max Navarro

1. Hello Max and thank you for taking the time to make this interview. So, you have just released a new album are you satisfied with the work?

Yes George, I’m very satisfied. This is the first album I really feel as mine. We worked a lot on arrangements and on a sound that could be considered peculiar. We’re gonna use this album as basis for next works.

2. How have the reviews been so far? Do the band take much notice of reviews or do you respond more to the fans feedback?

Well, you know, reviews are very subjective. Generally I don’t need to read a review to know if I made a good album or not. That’s not because I’m a better critic than the others, but because I’m quite honest with myself. Obviously I’m happy when I read a good review and less when I read bad reviews, but that’s normal. What really disappoints me is when people judge my work from the art cover or say that I wink to the masses to sell more copies. It’s not true: I just play this kinda music because I like it, and that’s all”. 

3. To those that aren’t familiar with you as a guitarist and songwriter – can you tell us about your previous musical history?

I started as singer when I was 15 and I played in a Bryan Adams’s tribute band. Then I understood that covers didn’t satisfied me because I needed to tell people what I feel inside. So in 2002 I met Nick Mayer and we decided to start a band of American rock, which is the music we always loved. In 2005 John Paul Bellucci joined the band and his presence has been fundamental in shaping the sound of the band. The same year we published our first single “Wish” and our label helped us to get more visibility in China, Taiwan and Japan, markets where this kind of music is still in vogue. Then we published our first full album “Branded On My Skin” in 2007, and our second one “No Belonging After Dark” in 2009.

4. Could you take us through the songs on the new album “Hard Times”?

With this record I wanted to make an album as close as possible to the reality that every day we live. The fact is that we really live “hard times”, with youngsters that don’t have a future, fathers that don’t have a job, society that don’t have qualms. Who do you think we have to blame for all this shit?

5. How long did you spend on the songwriting and then the recording process?

The songwriting never took long time so far. In six months songs were written, but we worked a lot on arrangements and on the recording sessions. We hit the studio in July 2011 and we finally have the master in March 2012. Last months were very stressful because the deadline was getting closer, but we succeed in finish it in time. 

6. What really changed from your debut album until your last one?

Well, it changed a lot. When I wrote songs from “Branded On My Skin” I was 20 years old, so I consider that album too far from my current point of view on the world and on the society. We can call it an adolescent work. “Hard Times” is surely more mature. 

7. What singers inspire you personally? From the present and the past…?

I grew up with Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Dire Straits, Goo Goo Dolls and Aerosmith. These bands I still listen to a lot, but also The Darkness, Nickelback and Gotthard. 

8. Many describe your music style close to artists like Rick Springfield, Bryan Adams and Dire Straits. Do you agree with that description?

No I don’t. As half Canadian I consider Bryan Adams a music hero, but that don’t mean that I try to recall him with my songs. I do my music and that’s it, but I also understand the need for critics to put a label on an artist to let the readers understand what they’re are talking about. It’s a simplification I can accept, but surely I’m not at the same level of monsters like Dire Straits or Bryan Adams.

9. I know that for a band the road to success isn’t as easy as it may seems, tell me about the people who helped you stand tall and go on with your dreams?

I have to thank my producer and bandmate Nick Mayer and my guitarist John Paul Bellucci because all I have done so far wasn’t possible without them. Then, more or less, or that wasn’t done by Nick and JP, I’ve done by myself: so, who else do I have to thank? 

10. It’s more unique than rare possibility that an Italian can get away with a hard rock sound of American. How you did it?

Maybe because I’m half Canadian. By the way, I always listen to American rock music, so I guess it’s normal that now I play something like that. Italian music, Ligabue and Negrita aside, it’s just crap.

11. In this age of downloads and declining CD sales has the internet helped you get your music out there or has it in some ways hindered it by websites offering free downloads etc.?

Honestly I don’t care if people download my songs legally or not. I just would like that people listen to my songs. Then if they think that my music deserves some euro they can download it again from itunes or amazon. That’s why the first and the second album are available for download for free on my official website. Music business is dead and we have to get over it.   

12. How do you view the current rock scene? Have you seen an upswing in interest in hard rock and live shows?

Unfortunately I don’t see any chance for this genre to get the visibility it had a couple decades ago. It’s a pity because there are a lot of young and talented bands that without the support of media will always remain almost unknown.   

13. In an ideal world which bands/artists would you like to tour with and why?

The best concert I ever seen was Bon Jovi in Udine. I’ve always been a big fan of Jon and Richie, so it would be great to tour with them.

14. Outside of business, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I like to read thrillers and watch football matches. Maybe it’s the only thing I like of Italy, food aside. 

15. What can we expect from the future of Navarro?

We’re working on the new album. Songs are already written but we still have to arrange them. I think it will be ready for 2014 with a change of line up. In fact, shortly we’ll introduce the new drummer, Alex Parpinel.

16. Anything else to add and a message for your fans…

I want to thank those, as you, who still continue to believe in rock, because every drop of sweat poured to make music would be useless without them.

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