Midnight Breakfast

“Close to the Wall”

The new cd in stores on May 13, 2015

International Records Distribution  -  Glitterhouse Records

“Thanks to Midnight Breakfast, the banner of the blues is flying high in Italy” - Blues Times, 1994

“They would hold their own with bands from the other side of the Atlantic” – Buscadero, 1994

“This band is a well-oiled machine that works seamlessly in accordance with the best blues tradition” – L’Isola, 1996

“They firmly believe in what they play which becomes their best guarantee. VERY GOOD.” – La Hora del Blues,(Spain)2002

“A contemporary Chicago blues rock, that draws its inspiration from John Lee Hooker and Magic Sam for their guitar sounds and Howlin’ Wolf for their vocals. The group possesses an undeniable blues culture, and they are more geared towards a modernist approach than an academic interpretation” - Soul Bag (France), 2010

“This is a no frills blues; substance continues to be the feather in this quartet from Bergamo’s cap” - Il Blues, 2010


 

Formed in 1985, by now the Midnight Blues have long been considered not only “one of the longest playing Bergamo’s bands around” (as the Eco di Bergamo newspaper wrote 20 years ago), but one of the most legendary, respected, and original bands to have come out of the stagnating and always too standardized European blues scene.

In spite of having produced only four (truly independent) records, doggedly self-produced over three decades, in 2000 even the influential American magazine Living Blues had already noticed them and wrote that “Marco Valietti’s raspy vocals and stinging guitar are enough to convince us that this is real blues and that it’s time to seriously consider to take European blues artists.”

This is how Antonio Gramentieri described the quartet’s concert in the Music section of La Repubblica in 2001: “Marco Valietti’s voice is a punch that hits you in the gut more than a high-octane cocktail.   Jabs from his Gibson guitar break the flow of a restless, deep, and static talkin’, that mixes Hooker and Waits without surrendering to a desire for quotation for its own sake. The band, exemplary for its drive and sense of measure, builds raw, essential structures. The result is a mixed, threadbare kind of blues, that flaunts its imperfection, wicked and intriguing. Indolent pieces, barely held back anger, tensions without resolution. We walk a thin, ambiguous line. You need the courage to look out into the void, hanging on to a few notes. A challenge, both for those who play and for those who listen, a challenge that Midnight Breakfast have been issuing every night on stage for the past 15 years, waiting for someone to take it on.”

Fifteen years and several hundred concerts later, with the release of their new album Close to the Wall the Midnight Breakfast are taking some grown-up steps and raising the bar of a challenge that is now only asking for the longest hidden (or, if you prefer, best kept) secret of the contemporary blues rock scene to be revealed.

Recorded live in studio (because that is how some music best expresses itself, without tricks or gimmicks) during a single four-day session at Master Chord Studio in London and expertly produced by Paolo Legramandi (and then mastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studios), Close to the Wall includes 10 original tracks that, even just from a compositional point of view, often push the boundaries of the narrow canons of the genre. Perhaps Chicago blues’ classic tradition can be felt in the language, the attitude, and a certain sound aesthetics, but the secret and magic of this can are in the deceptively minimalist balance between groove and psychedelia, in the enthusiasm and interplay among the musicians.

Midnight Breakfast on Close to the Wall

This is the first time we have gone into a recording studio with new pieces without a test run, without having tried them out in our live performances, and without being able to fine-tune or rework them to reach a certain balance, which would allow us all to have every detail under control.

We decided to do this so that a certain interpretive freedom that emerges in the specific moment wouldn’t be lost and thus try our luck … take it or leave it. A great challenge, but we were sure that the experience we had gained over the past 30 years of concerts would undoubtedly help. We were taking a big risk and that is why we have enlisted the help of a professional for the first time, a producer who could accompany us on this trip, who would translate for the sound engineer the sensations and the sound that the band can convey in live concerts.

A difficult journey, physically but above all mentally, in order to stay very focused especially in the slow pieces, in the ballads, but also so that the pathos of Marco’s voice would shine through, and above all the pauses, the silences, to accompany the audience inside the piece, together with us who are playing it, to go on this journey together. We have decided and agreed to always journey on the edge of the abyss, with the fear of falling, but knowing that we would get our adrenaline pumping … focused, but calm … alert, but loose.

Mistakes were made, some indecision, notes that were not perfectly in tune, but we had taken that into account … then again, we have never wanted to be at the service of the instrument for its own sake, without having to “trade” the right note at all costs, risking losing pathos and soul.

Our belief that we have reached both a personal and musical maturity has made us feel like putting ourselves on the line for the umpteenth time, translating emotions and sensations into a language, the blues, that we believe we have made our own. At a certain point you must have the courage to open yourself up, because if you say you believe in something, you also have to be able to prove it by your actions.