Friday, September 12, 2008

Before Our Ears! The J.C. CINEL interview!

J.C. CINEL – “Before My Eyes” CD ’07 (Lonestar*Time/Black Widow, Ita) - I’ve always loved Italy’s Black Widow label. Good ol’ Mass & the guys there have a real knack for coming up with the kind of music that’s about as heavy in feel as you can get. We’re talking dark, eerie stuff that’ll make your skin crawl as much as it’ll hammer your butt. Imagine my surprise, then, when I slid in this disc from my latest goodie bag from the BW cats. Was it dark? Nope. Was it eerie? Uh-uh. Thing is, as songs like “Ships In The Wind” and “Feel The Moment” floated out of the speakers, borne on lush, pastoral acoustic guitar and rich with uplifting vocals and lyrics, I was at first confused. Then, as I moved on through such special nuggets as “Dear Old Friend” and “Before My Eyes,” I felt a smile creeping across my face as my spirits lifted with the arrival of a new top spinner in the Raysrealm Disc-a-rama. Music like this may not be the antidote for world problems or even troubles in your own life, but it sure can make things go down a bit easier. Nice stuff and to get a feel for the man who’s behind it, wrap your head around the following interview with J.C. CINEL. 8.5

RAY - Well, should we start at the beginning? What was your early life like & how did you come to get involved with music? Who were some of your influences?

JC - I started out playing the guitar at a very early age..i was ten years old....i remember being in love with The Beatles all those clean harmonies and melodies....i thought that's exactly what i want to do in my life to write songs and be on the went time by i realised that singing and playing a guitar would get me to know girls much easily than most of my friends....i said that's the way.....My early influences were the Beatles, Eagles, the Band, Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Doobie Brothers, ..America, Crosby Stills and Nash all the California sound,but even Supertramp, Billy Joel....let's just say all of my brother's records...But little by little i started to be into the British classic rock and prog rock and other styles...the Who,Led Zeppelin,Bad Company,Eric Clapton. and the Cream,Humble pie but also Yes ,Camel,Styx ,Tom Petty.....i always loved great performers with great songwriting......

RAY - Am I correct that “Before My Eyes” was initially a self-release and that Black Widow is now distributing it? When did it originally come out & when did BW take over distribution?

JC - Yes you are right...i was writing all this material that was supposed to be on "Before my eyes" and record was almost finished i had so many songs...then i was asked to join Wicked Minds as a lead singer and consequently we got signed to Black Widow records and recorded two albums and toured all around i had stop for a while and let the record unfinished...Black Widow guys are now friends..they have always been very kind and supportive and sure they have always been great fans of my singing and art...."Before my eyes"came out in 2007....i had few contacts with labels but it was taking so long and i had the need to put the record out.....after a few months i proposed to them if they could take care of my distribution and they accepted....

RAY - I’ve got to say, your disc surprised me. The reason is, when I slip in a Black Widow disc, I’m usually expecting something with a dark, even scary sort of vibe. With your disc, I’m hearing bright, even uplifting acoustic-based rock. How did you hook up with Black Widow?

JC - Yes i know what you's not really Black Widow style...but as i told you before they always showed interest and appreciation in my way of being an artist and even though it was maybe risky to put out something so different they were happy to do it. I tell you that it was really rewarding to me to read great reviews and get so much positive feedback in a musical environment that's so distant from what "Before my eyes"comes from ,i am really happy and means that if the music plays upon your heart and sensitivness strings .then there's no wall between musical styles........
Yes "Before my eyes" has got a very positive and sunshine sound....With this record i wanted to put together all of my influences without sounding redundant but with a musical .strong personality

RAY - Dude, you’ve got better hair than most ‘80’s metal bands put together. What’s the best “hair” story you’ve got? Have you ever poured your soul out onstage, only to have a woman come up and say how cool your hair is? Did that make you want to pull your hair out?
JC - Ah thank you…I must admit that for all of us born with the Robert Plant or David Coverdale’s syndrome , hair is much more than it is for a normal human being. Of Course on stage it becomes your flag to wave and fortunately there s still some girls around willing to touch……your hair… at the end of the gig… long as they gonna be around we will have one more reason to go on playing and believing in our rock’n roll dreams…..

RAY - Back to “Before My Eyes,” obviously you write all the material. Do you have a typical process you follow, such as music first, then writing lyrics to fit it? Or do you just “wing it,” each song done differently?

JC - I don't have any typical process i follow....i mostly write on my acoustic guitar and try to find good harmony progressions.......and then try to think about a good melody to fit in...but sometimes it comes challenging to have already lyrics written down ....words give different and sometimes unexpected rhythm patterns to melodies you couldn't think of if you're working on a melody that still has no lyrics.
The writing process is so important to me and it's a real hard work because i write all the parts for other instruments it takes a while to figure out how put all sounds and arrangements together...So this why i am not a one record every year kind of guy....
RAY - Your lyrics have a personal feel throughout the disc and yet, I can’t help getting a very positive feeling of my own when I listen. I mean, I had a bad day, was getting ready to go home, yell at my wife and kick the dog. Then I listened to “Before My Eyes” on the way home, stopped and bought my wife jewelry, toys for the kids and hell, even a bone for the dog! How do you explain that?

JC - Ah that is funny.....unfortunately dogs and wives don't buy records.....just kidding....I think this is a great compliment......and i think you really got it all....i love to think that my music can take you down to your personal self and to talk to him and communicate....our emotional balance is hard have to work on it everyday and if you can talk to your demons instead of yelling at them maybe they won't yell at you...I like to think that people can listen to my songs while driving and feel that in end life is good to be living.....there's always hope in a better chance that maybe hasn't showed up yet...but soon will be on our way...
i think sometimes we forget that present time is all we got....I like to think that my music is about living and loving the present time..
RAY - Do you see a guitar as more of an instrument or a song writing tool, as Pete Townshend once called it?

JC - Yes and no...It's a tool of course.....but just the fact you have to embrace it, it gives you a direct connection to your emotions...the more you love it the more it will give you back.....sometimes good ideas come out of playing just for the pleasure of doing re not thinking about writing....they just come because you called them....

RAY - Do you see a chainsaw as more of a tool or a party device, as Leatherface once used it?

JC - I think it could be a party device too...i 'm thinking about big corporations or big record company guys....sometimes it might be the only way to convince them to listen to upcoming bands demos and not throw them immediately in the dustbin....thanks for the suggestion....

RAY - What’s it like where you are for doing live shows? Do the guys who played on the disc play with you live? Do you typically do pub gigs or bigger places?

JC - Not all of the musicains who played on "Before my eyes" are still with me playing during live shows. Being a solo artist i often change musicians to meet different musical needs. Of course a few of them are following the project since the beginning. My guitar player Davide Dabusti is there since the beginning and it's a great musical partner...we ve been touring together all over the world from Spain ,to Crete,France ,Germany and USA....he's always been there,,,,he's very important for the sound of my songs...,My bass player too Luca Balocco has been with me since the beginning...Besides drummers who often come and go out of the band..i have got quite a steady line up the last few years...Andrea Barbieri is the other guitar player playing with me for so many years even in other bands...
The last seven years we have been playing all sorts of venues : from pubs to big festivals, theatres and palatendas...i tried to bring my music everywhere following the old school way of meaning music and life on the road.

RAY - A guy once told me that it’s a really bad idea for anyone, especially a American, to try to hold his own drinking with a local guy at the pub. Any truth to that?

JC - Being in Nashville Tennesse for 4 months I learned how to deal with local people sittin on barstools…..if you don’t want to party you better stay home….

RAY - What’s on the agenda for JC CINEL? Any new recordings coming down the pike? Will Black Widow be involved?

JC - I have just started the writing sessions for my new record which i’m planning to put out by the end of next year. There’s going to be many important.special guests on my new album Johnny Neel for instance. ex Allman Brothes band , has already played organ and piano on four of my new songs, Mike Stergis,guitar player with Crosby Stills and Nash for 7 years, will be probably part of the gang and many others. I am not in a hurry anyway.”Before my eyes” is still receiving great feedback all over the world that I’m planning to go on promoting it with gigs in Europe and maybe America too.I
I don’t know at the moment who ‘s going to produce the record or distribution…’s going to be a very articulated album and I was thinking about having a good label supporting the whole project…we’ll see…

RAY - Please, if you would…Regale us with some story of insanity, wanton debauchery or just plain stupidity from your years as a performer. Don’t hold back, the readers are fond of the hideous and the obscene.

JC - Yeah I remember on of our first tour in France Cote d’Azur…we played for 3 hours and half in a big pub for 7 days a week…it was devastating… .our wild “apartment”(see rathole)was turning into a nuthouse…you had people falling asleep on the corridors after the gig…you had girls screaming(not with pain…)in the other rooms……the wc was in a closet and you had to stand to do what you were in need to….there was booze and girls everywhere….one of the longest, exhausting, but rewarding week I have ever lived in my life…….

RAY - Any final comments?

JC - I would like to thank you Ray for your interview and especially for your interest in my music and record….supporting the underground circuit has nowadays become the only way to get in touch with true people feeding their dreams with no big structures behind….just with great passion and aware that arts and music especially, need people that speak the same language as musicians to get their word heard far from the business world that seems to have always less to do with music.

To buy my new cd order it at
for more info and reviews

a few distribution points:

Black Widow records
Just for Kicks – Germany
Rockcd – Germany
caru dischi – italy – Sweden

I’d like to add a witty ending to this one, but since I used up all my jokes at bowling last night, I’ll just say that J.C. CINEL’s “Before My Eyes” is a disc that has at least one song that would resonate with nearly everyone in the world. Chances are, even more. Get the addresses above and do what you need to do.

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