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Sailor Free

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with David Petrosino of Sailor Free from 2012

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?

I started with music when I was very young, in the late seventies. When we started with SF, in 1991, the four of us had been playing together with other bands, we are friend and we shared the same ideas. At the age of fourteen I saw “The Kids are Alright” by The Who, and I decided to live as a musician, a rock musician... and that has been my life since then.
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an ethologist... I still love animals, but now I would say a writer or a magician... Yes a magician! Creative and physical.
MSJ: How did the name of the group originate?
When SF started we knew each other very well already, but we all liked different styles of rock. We wanted to give the idea of a journey across people, culture, musical styles and that was intended to be done with great freedom. Something to be done with consciousness, but ready to sail across the unknown... like a sailor... free.
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
We all have different passions. Stefano Tony, the drummer, knows a lot of bands, he reeds mags, buy CDs... very smart! Personally, I can tell you that this morning (today is Sunday) I played a couple of CDs from The Who and The cheerful insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp, tonight I'm listening the CDs of the soundtrack from The Lord of the Rings, and tomorrow morning, while in the car, I will listen A Perfect Circle's Thirteen Step, the Korn's untitled or Kate Bush's 50 Words for Snow... depends on the weather.
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
We are ready to play this album live, we'll start touring in spring. Than we need to complete this Spiritual Revolution part two, a lot of material is boiling. And then a big show of the whole story!
MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
I personally don't hate that, just think that sometimes it's... funny. We are collecting on our website all the musical genres and bands we have been associated to, by the reviewers of this album, so far... too many; it's weird. I don't mind to be labelled, but the overwhelming effort that some people need to put on this is too much. I mean, it's clear that, writing about music, we need references to share what we feel with others, but first you should try to understand and feel, not going straight to put that in a row. Our music is varied, sometimes is progressive, meaning what it was in the seventies... free. There's too much need for labelling in the world, I think. Minds should be more open.
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
I had the chance of playing with many, many musicians, in my life. Now I just look for energy and emotions, sharing feelings and intentions. So I get excited. There are many people I'd like to play with.
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
Our album in a couple of months was available on tens of downloading websites (I personally tested one of them, perfectly working). I am still trying to evaluate the matter. I think, in this period, the gap between the mainstream and the rest, the known and the unknown, is bigger than ever, regardless the quality. So the first goal for anyone should be to spread his work so trying to be known. But music needs money to be done. Sharing is one of our basic principles, but we need money to do our work. So these people that share our music, our hard work, our independent work, should share something on their side... don't you think so?
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
No, if they trade them is just wrong. Same as before: I'm okay with sharing, but we must feed creative differences, we all must keep research alive, to fight conformity. To fight “The Nothing."
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
He is called “The Tuning Man!” He is dangerous. He can fix any ridiculous music or performance and make it sound perfect... But I am a superhero, and my magic can reveal the truth!
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
Drums: Gavin Harrison, Bass: Richard Sinclair, Keyboards: John Medeski, Guitar: Mikael Akerfeldt, Voice: Maynard James Keenan
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Opeth, Ulver, Wovenhand, A Perfect Circle, Killing Joke and Led Zeppelin
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
A Wovenhand CD-DVD, Live at Roepaen - a great concert, very intense.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Few days ago I stumbled again on the I Ching, the Book of Changes - you know, the ancient Chinese oracle, and I was really impressed!... That will definitely be my next reading and studying. But first I have to finish the first collection of short tales by Nik Redian.
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Depeche Mode. But unfortunately the audio system was not so good, and I had a version bass drum and voice, only... it's a shame for such a harmonic band. But I still like them a lot.
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
Guilty?. mmm, I don't know... David Bowie?
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
We were going to Munich, in Germany, for a single concert, from Rome. When we get to the borders of Austria, after ten hours driving with a very slow “Bradford's family” van, we realise that Alphonso, the bass player had an expired passport! We were desperate. We showed the contract of the concert, the van was full of instruments... but they didn't let us pass. We looked for a free concert for that night, in the north of Italy, calling some local contacts, to have at least food and night rest. But we didn't make it, so we drove back to Rome. It took 32 hours, without sleeping.
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
In this answer, the fact that I'm Italian makes a difference, I guess... I would probably choose different people if the dinner is for food or is for conversation. I would choose someone like... the woman I love, to share the delight and the excitement of good food and good wine. For conversation I would love dining with Alejandro Jodorowsky.
MSJ: What would be on the menu?
Ribolla Gialla, a special italian white wine. To start, a selection of incredible fried things (pieces of cheese, apple, vegetables...) like they do in a restaurant where I live, “tagliolini all'astice” (a type of long pasta with lobster) as first course, “timballetto di alici” (a thing done with anchovies) as second course and “tortino al cioccolato” (a hot pie with choccolate)
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
The System is organized to contain creativity and research. I don't think there is one at the top of the stair. The system now works by itself, controlled by powerful people, but they may change, it does not affect the system. It's like in Matrix: it's a gear, a big machine. It is our enemy! We are all part of the spiritual revolution, aren't we?
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at
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