Anni di piombo, anni di paillettes.

Music from a country on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Posts Tagged ‘kandeggina gang

[music:] AA. VV., Rock ’80 (1980)

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Given its commitment for a musica totale (“total music”) and its endeavours to establish a new urban rock form supporting artists such as Eugenio Finardi, Alberto Camerini, Andrea Tich, the same Claudio Rocchi, it made somehow perfectly sense that in the late Seventies Cramps Records directed its attention to the then rising italian punk scene, releasing already in 1978 “Karabigniere blues/Io sono un autonomo”, a single by Skiantos, the “demented rock” band which I already mentioned in the post about Gaznevada’s tape, and then their LPs MONOtono (“MONOtone”, 1978 ) and Kinotto (1979).

Following these first steps, in 1980, during the difficult times after the death of Demetrio Stratos, in the middle of “riflusso” and when its founder Gianni Sassi was increasingly losing interest in the label’s events, a new series of coloured-vynil 7″ by seven (post)punk acts from Central-Northern Italy was launched, under the name of “Rock ’80”. The songs from these singles (with the exception of Skiantos’ b-side “Mi piaccion le sbarbine” and Kaos Rock’s “Oh! Caro amore/Policeman”) were then collected in the same name album, curated and mixed by Paolo Tofani. A record which I consider the most meaningful epitath for this daring, clumsy, glorious independent record company.

Bologna led off the dance with two bands which had debuted on Harpo’s tapes series: just Skiantos, with a bowel-moving delirious funky about beans (“i fagioli son la mia anfetamina, i fagioli saran la mia rovina”: “beans are my amphetamine, beans will ruin me”…) and street rockers Windopen, with their anthem “Sei in banana dura” and the sleazy “La testa”. Skiantos ended up being one of the most influential and long-lived outfits in italian rock history. They’re alive and kicking, and a new album, Dio ci deve delle spiegazioni (“god owes us some explanations”) has been recently released. Windopen founder Roberto Terzani later joined Litfiba as a bass player when Gianni Maroccolo left the band, in 1990.

The Stranglers/2-Tone-oriented Take Four Doses from Rome – featuring Stefano Pistolini, now a well-known journalist and writer – wheezing introduced the Milan contributions: Kaos Rock were Gianni Muciaccia’s band with Luigi Schiavone on the guitars, who later joined Enrico Ruggeri in his successful solo career. Their a-side “Basta, basta” was already included as the opening track in the live tribute to Demetrio Stratos 1979 Il concerto (“1979 the concert”, 1979), but not in their sole album WW3 (1980). Wavey-garage X-Rated also appeared in the legendary Gathered (1982) compilation, together with Diaframma, Pankow, Not Moving, Death SS, Victrola, and others, before disappearing. As for Kandeggina Gang, you can check out my post about Jo Squillo Eletrix’s Girl senza paura, which featured a different version of their b-side “Orrore”.

Dirty Actions from Genoa completed the line-up with their prodigious ironic, messy clang’n’roll (“siamo figli del demonio, vi spacchiamo le vetrine, vi bruciamo le officine, vi alziamo le cantine, vi traviamo le bambine, vi vuotiamo le piscine, vi turbiamo le vecchine”, “we are sons of the devil, we smash your shop-windows, we burn your garages, we lift up your cellars, we corrupt your baby girls, we empty your swimming pools, we upset your little old ladies”). Their song “Bandana boys” was later included in Gathered as well. They seem still active; you can learn more about them on their web page.

Here is the tracklist:

01, Skiantos, Fagioli (“beans”)
02, Windopen, Sei in banana dura (“you’re in a hard banana”, street slang referring to a drug-related state of confusion)
03, Windopen, La testa (“the head”)
04, Take Four Doses, Vita di strada (“street life”)
05, Take Four Doses, La notte che inventarono gli eroi (“the night they invented heroes”)
06, Kaos Rock, Basta, basta (“that’s enough, that’s enough”)
07, Kaos Rock, La rapina (“the robbery”)
08, X-Rated, Blockhead dance
09, X-Rated, Routine
10, Kandeggina Gang, Sono cattiva (“i’m bad”)
11, Kandeggina Gang, Orrore (“horror”)
12, Dirty Actions, Rosa shocking (“shocking pink”)
13, Dirty Actions, Figli del demonio (Dirty Actions S-Ha) (“sons of the devil (dirty actions s-ha)”)

Get it: AA. VV., Rock ’80 (1980)


Written by alteralter

February 10, 2009 at 3:17 pm

[music:] Jo Squillo Eletrix, Girl senza paura (1981)

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If we ever had our own little rock’n’roll swindle in Italy, this could be it.

In 1979, Jo Squillo (Giovanna Coletti) was the lead singer of Kandeggina gang, a riot grrrl teen band based in Santa Marta, the squat/art school in Milan (Demetrio Stratos was a teacher there) where some of the first local punk acts used to rehearse. She was provocative, scary, unpleasant, sexy. And she had a boyfriend, too: Gianni Muciaccia, possibly the closest thing to an italian Malcolm McLaren.

Kandeggina gang gained some fame thanks to their brutal anti-male attitude, and performances such as throwing red painted Tampax tampons to the audience during concerts. They eventually released the single “Sono cattiva” (“i’m bad”) on Cramps in 1980. But Muciaccia had more ambitious plans for her girlfriend.

First, he founded the Partito Rock (“rock party”), which participated in the elections for Milan’s town council with Jo Squillo as the leading candidate. Then, he created his own label, 20th Secret, distributed by Polydor, to release her first solo effort, Girl senza paura (“ragazza without fear”): basically a collection of three-chords tracks in the early Ramones fashion, with synth lines and sax intermissions here and there which remind of Métal Urbain, X-Ray Spex, or Bow Wow Wow, celebrating Jo’s shrill, almost unbearable screaming. The music paired with the elementary, repetitive lyrics about (or should i say against) school, family, males, etc. Everything was put in the simplest possible way. The result was naive and rough, yet exciting.

Helped by the scandal about the song “Violentami” (“rape me”) and the brilliant music video for “Skizzo skizzo” co-starred by the popular melodic singer Christian, Squillo and Muciaccia managed to create a female outrageous pop/punk sensation suitable for mass media and the music mainstream. The next step, indeed, was a u-turn towards new pop and eventually italo disco, with singles such as “Avventurieri” (“adventurers”, 1983) and “I love muchacha” (1984). Unfortunately, the career of this former punk diva was not very successful until her 1991 first and last big hit: “Siamo donne” (“we are women”), a duet with pop pin-up Sabrina Salerno.

Jo Squillo is now a television presenter. She released her last album 2p LA-xy=(NOI) in 1994.

Here is the tracklist:

01, L’asta (“the auction”)
02, Muoversi (“hurry up”)
03, CX
04, Faccia da vipera (“viper’s face”)
05, Paranoia
06, Ma chi se ne frega (“who gives a fuck”)
07, Skizzo skizzo (“skuirt skuirt”, also released as a 7″ b/w “Energia interna”)
08, Orbita (“orbit”)
09, Cristina
10, Energia interna (“inner energy”)
11, Violentami (“rape me”)
12, China’s war
13, Voglio farlo con te (“i wanna do it with you”)
14, Orrore (“horror”)
15, Tuo Cesare (“yours Cesare”)
16, Fuggi fuggi (“run run”)

Get it: Jo Squillo Eletrix, Girl senza paura (1981)

Written by alteralter

April 20, 2008 at 9:25 pm