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Progressive Rock Interviews

Marcelo Paganini

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Marcelo Paganini from 2018


It's been three or four years since we last interviewed you. What's been new in your world over the last few years?

I did a Brazil Tour in December 2014 to release my album 2012 Space Traffic Jam there with shows in Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro.  I had some of the best musicians of the country on my band: Kiko Continentino on keys, Sergio Brandao on bass and Elcio Cafarao on drums. We made a musical documentary and live album called "First Time in Rio."

I won a Facebook contest at the last minute and went to Cruise to the Edge in November 2015. I played in the jam at Miami Magic Casino and on the ship... It was a life changing experience. I met lots of wonderful people that became my best friends. I saw many great bands, some wonderful musicians that are no longer around us. I saw both shows of Allan Holdsworth, spoke to him twice, he signed a CD for me. I took  breakfast with Billy Sherwood of Yes who recorded one song on my album released in 2014. I could go on forever talking about this cruise... And the next one of course...

I worked on a new musical film I wrote called "Requiem for Belchior" that was co-directed and co-produced by Juliana de Oliveira,  with wonderful drone aerial images of Rio de Janeiro. It was a lot of hard work, there is a trailer on my Facebook page, the film was completed in the Summer 2017.

Fall 2017 I finally released 2012 Space Traffic Jam in France with a show at Reveillon Jazz Cafe in September and a showcase in October at Music'Alençon with my new band with: Ricardo Fiuza on keyboards, with Marc Madore on bass and Christophe Bras on drums. Some video excerpts of this show were posted on the internet and got thousands of views...

I invited Pink Floyd's singer Durga McBroom to come to my studio in the Normandy countryside in France in August 2016. We recorded four songs and two videos. It was one of  the highest points of my musical life.  I worked several months on the music and videos. It was released  on March the first 2018 as a four song EP B4ever now with me on guitar and keys, Durga McBroom on vocals, Eumir Deodato on keys on two tracks, Gary Husband on drums and Marc Madore on bass.  It is getting airplay in several countries...

MSJ: What's the best thing that's ever been said about your music?

Most recent, a couple of weeks ago "Almost every other guitar player out there is a copy of somebody else, but not you, your playing is fresh and original." It was not printed anywhere. It was a chat with a guitar player after radio show Friday Night Progressive.  Maybe I am just not good at copying other people. Who knows?  I guess I try to make wrong sounds kind of interesting. When I saw Durga McBroom inside my studio singing like an angel  it was powerful. I knew I must be doing something right when she said "yes"...

MSJ: What's ahead for you?

Work on my new prog album. There is a song  I wrote about my Cruise to the Edge experience called  "Captain's Face" that is already recorded. It is dedicated to Larry Morand, the producer of the cruise, who I never met, but had such an huge impact on my musical life. Vocals were done by Karla Downey and Jamison Smeltz, who also did the wicked sax solo. I met them on the cruise, of course. Jamison also recorded vocals on the song "Soul Much Further Away" with music by Lo Borges and lyrics by me.  Jan Dumee from Focus already recorded an awesome guitar solo on this song . Adam Holzman from Steve Wilson's Band already recorded keyboards in another track. I will release it next year. I am also working on a couple of new films.

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
I always buy CDs from the touring bands. I bought  "Toto XIV" when I saw them in Paris. They are at the top of their game on studio and live.

Lately I took the time to listen to all the Genesis albums and several Steve Hackett solo albums. Now I will move to watch live shows. I never had the time to really dig in this stuff before. I am re-listening to all the music I grew up listening to to find out what is still moving me today. I discover new bands on the internet and on prog radio programs that play my songs - lots of great music being released lately by new and old bands. Truth Decay by Adam Holzman is fantastic. Now it is like a Golden Age of music, yet some people complain, it is hard to get noticed in the flood of info arriving at ever increasing speeds... Sometimes I got the impression that there are more and more musicians, to play in fewer venues and shrinking public... People interested in music now want to play it instead of just listening to it... Only the live performance still has the impact to make most people look away from their electronic devices. But for how long? Only time can tell...

MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
I tried to catch up after years working around the clock in the studio, working on long projects. So I finally enjoyed Life by Keith Richards. I only read Brief History of Time after Stephen Hawkinf passed away. Now I am reading Complete Works of Flavius Josephus and it is fascinating how things change while remaining the same...
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
To say the truth nowadays very few artists can take me out of my around the clock work routine on my Normandy countryside studio. Most of the time only friends who invite me over make me take two trains and travel 200 miles to Paris. When it happens, it is a total pleasure every single time.  Jane Getter at La Boule Noire was incredible. Toto at l'Olympia was just perfect. Steve Lukather who invited me, signed my CD. I met the whole band. I will never forget this night. I was so impresed that I started working extra hard to perform at the same level. It inspired me to write a new song that will be on my new album. Mike Stern with Lenny White on drums at New Morning was also very impressive. I have a lot of respect for the great spirits that show us mere mortals how it is done. They all make magic happen as if it was easy...
MSJ: Do you remember the first concert you attended?
It was a huge Camping Pop Music Festival on my hometown Belo Horizonte in July 1975. I sang in front of ten thousand people, didn't get scared by some people telling me to go to bed since it was late at night and I was ten years old... Once you got a taste of playing in front of the crowd there is no turning back... I saw the best Brazilian bands of the time later that night and the next ones. I saw Brazilian band Os Mutantes playing their prog rock album Tudo foi feito pelo Sol live, and that made me want to make music in that style...
MSJ: Have you come across any new gear recently that you love?
Yes I am completely in love with the fuzz pedal BOG made by Deep Trips in Brazil. Fuzz guru Du Marques captured exactly the sound of Jimi Hendrix at the Band of Gypsies period and updated it to the 21st century. It is all over my next album...
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
It is very important to support the music scene in your area. See as many live bands as you can. People work around the clock far from their homes to give you the best possible experience. Buy CDs and merchandising from the people who create it. Just scrolling on social media is not enough, you know? And to creative people: publish your work instead of wasting your ideas on social media wishing for likes and shares. Internet is not a fair game at all. How many more revelations it will take for everybody to finally wake up? We need more direct contact between people. I have a lot of respect to everybody in the industry and all the music lovers who are keeping it alive. Don't take the music you love for granted. To meet and hang with people who dig the same music you do is what life is all about in my book... That is why Cruise to the Edge is so special...
MSJ: This interview is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at:
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