Hello guys, I've listened to the amazing Chicanery album in its entirety and all I can say is that here at duranasty.com we are all enthusiastic about the new stuff so we’d like to know more about the project that brought Warren Cuccurullo and Neil Carlill to work together.
Salvo at duranasty.com: So guys, you met in London in the late 90's when Neil laid down some vocals on the ‘TV Mania’ project, can you remember how did you actually meet?
It was a real suprise to arrive at Warren's house [Known as Privacy] in Octavia Street London , the windows were blacked out and heavy security bars were in evidence. This was of course the studio and I went in drank some cider and started singing ‘Big Stress’.
Warren: Me & Nick [Rhodes] were in the process of finding a lead singer for the 2nd part of the TV Mania project, we had the first albums worth of stuff mixed already at that point which was 1999.
I was in the studio and the track we were working ended and I was able to hear a song playing from the tv in the kitchen... the voice was perfect for what we were doing, I ran inside and caught the end of ‘Monkey Suit’ by Delicatessen, that was it!
tracked him down through the label and he came by Privacy to hang and
lay down some ideas, it went really great, and things progressed, then
stalled from there...
"So many things have happened to both of us, and all through it the machiavellian schemes of others have never stopped the music"
duranasty.com: guys, why did you choose Chicanery as name for this band?
Neil: Oh it's such a perfect name for the times we live in. Isn't the human condition a deceptive and manipulative one? Chicanery is all around us, and the album we made is a reflection of everything we felt in all the years we've known each other. So many things have happened to both of us, and all through it the machiavellian schemes of others have never stopped the music. We're still here which is chicanery itself.
I loved it as soon as i heard it, I think it was Neils wife Gwens idea...
duranasty.com: Neil, your lirycs are poetic, dreamy and visionary at the same time, would you describe them as a reinterpretation of reality or just pure surreal poetry? What’s your main infuence in writing? Are themes like psychology and the human condition sources of inspiration for your introspective lyrics?
Neil: They are a re-interpretation of my own reality which is all coming directly from my sub-concious. I love James Joyce, I love Captain Beefheart, you have to make the words count, but the order in which you put them is the really fun time. It's all code, puzzles, concentrated meaning. It has a surreal coloring but it's much less random than you'd expect. Alfred Jarry, the Dada poets, Kurt Schwitters, Hannah Hock, Max Ernst and Georges Perec are all friendly words for me.
"Neil is a complete genius, he can write a captivating melody to a squeeky door, his stuff hits you in a way that catches you off guard"
duranasty.com: Warren, after some beautiful guitar-oriented solo records [I didn’t miss any of your solo works!], it’s great to see that you are back doing some band-orientated music. I guess the core of these songs were written back in 2005, maybe finished more recently, correct me if I’m wrong. Can you describe the writing process for these 13 tracks? Did you have writing sessions with Neil or did you just compose the music and then you got Neil involved who laid on his vocals?
Warren: Neil is a complete genius, he can write a captivating melody to a squeeky door, his stuff hits you in a way that catches you off guard... so, when I send a cd of ideas to him, I have no clue as to what he's gonna do with it, that said, we can write in any way, ‘I Came Back To You’ was a live jam.
This project had a good deal of long distance/internet sessions, and then we all got together for a few weeks and finished it off.
"Chicanery is an International album crossing time and Duty Free zones"
duranasty.com: Guys, where did you record the album? Did you use a a proper studio from day one or you recorded all in your home-studio [do you still have one like ‘Pricacy’ there in LA?]
Warren: tracks came from me or Neil then went to Simone [Sello] then into the big studios for final recording and mixing. These days everyone has some kind of hard disk recording with their computers...
Neil: I recorded some of the time in my attic studio in Salem, Mass, then of course in L.A. with Warren, at Red Rum Studios, I Came Back To You was a live Jam at Warren's house, just the two of us, we recorded a lot of material like that [which will see the light of day at some point]... We recorded ‘Cut me From the Mirror’ back in 1998 at Privacy, an International album crossing time and Duty Free zones.
duranasty.com: Neil, your biography reports that you also play acoustic guitar and keyboards, so are the keyboards in this records all yours?
Neil: No i only played Keyboards on 'Hit the Wall' and 'I.O.D', I played acoustic on four songs. A little bass. A haircut here and there...
duranasty.com: Warren, in this album you collaborated with Terry Bozzio, Duran-friendly Joe Travers and Ustad Sultan Khan. This is not the first time you got an indian instrument in your recordings, I remember you playing a sitar during the ‘Medazzaland’ sessions… How did you get the Sarangi virtuoso involved in the project?
he was in London in july 1998 and we spent a good deal of time recording
a bunch of material together, [the infinite spirit on my myspace was another
one of the pieces we did] He loved the chord changes and wanted to sing
and play over what was to become cut me from the mirror. Neil
got involved a few months later...
"Warren Plays music with his whole being... He breathes the notes into the room... There is an effortless grace about the way he approaches music, it's not a conscious thing, it comes straight from his soul".
duranasty.com: Neil, I know Warren from a long time, he’s a tireless precise virtuoso musician and songwriter. Share your thoughts about him from a professional point of view. What did you learn from him?
Neil: I tried to pick up some guitar tips from Warren but quickly decided I was too old to even try and play that well.
Warren Plays music with his whole being, he played all the percussion on ‘Midnight Owls’ with his hands and his body. He breathed the notes into the room, it was extraordinary to watch.
He played electronics on 'Luminal Dark' and he played the pedals and the wires, I have it on video and anyone who sees it will have a better understanding of what I mean.
There is an effortless grace about the way he approaches music, it's not a conscious thing, it comes straight from his soul, you have to stop thinking and connect with that spirit if you want to be a part of his musical experience.
We can compose from a distance [East and West coast respectively] or we can sit down in a room and play with no preparation. It's a very rare thing to find that in a musical partner. He's Uniquely rare [which is double-plus Uni-rareque]
duranasty.com: Warren describe Neil using three adjectives?
Warren: artsy, tartsy, lovely...
"today’s music industry is already in the toilet"
duranasty.com: Warren, you have been in the music business for 35 years, you have been writing and recording with and for some of the greatest names of the rock/pop scene being a creative force in successful bands. The music business has changed a lot in the latest 10 years or so, and it’s quite difficult for young talents to emerge, it’s even more difficoult to get a record deal these days, even for established musician and artists like you. So I just find great that someone at Universal still has ears for good original music and had signed Chicanery. Also your most recent album ‘Playing in Tongues’ has got a good distribuition in Europe through Edel. Please share your thoughts, from your point view, of today’s music industry, where is it going?
Warren: It's already in the toilet. Cd sales are virtually non existent, good luck making a decent living in music, it's pretty much impossible...
invested over 100k doing these records [Nliten, Chicanery, Playing In
Tongues] and have only seen 6k back, not really financially feasible.
says: "the shadow of a hand on my face is the shadow of Warren's
"Chicanery must be the only band in the world whose members do not own a cell phone!"
duranasty.com: Neil, I see that you are more inclined to interact with the world through the social networks and the web in general. What do you think about the way the music circulates on the web? Do you think illegal downloads damages the artists, from a profit point of view, or is it all positive since it’s just a way to make the music [as form of art] more accessible to the public? Share your thoughts.
Neil: Well, things have changed so much since I first released a record [in 1994]. I try to embrace what I need to these days.
I think illegal downloading damages the artist, just like tape copying did before, but i still think music lovers will try and buy music.
The internet business model for music is depressingly similar to the way it always has been, there are a few big sites which control most of the sales.
They will dictate the success of the artists. There is a tremendous amount of data to sift through these days so it is as hard as it ever was to get noticed.
Still, we must use the tools and adapt. Social networking sites make it possible to know people without ever really making a real connection. It's like a big virtual reality board game.
I think Chicanery must be the only band in the world whose members do not own a cell phone! Land lines forever! But please join the Facebook Chicanery page and follow us on Twitter
[That's Chicanerymusic] ...eeek! cheek!
duranasty.com: Neil, what do we have to expect from Chicanery besides the album that will be released on may 11? Are you going to support it with a string of live dates? Are you doing some kind of videoclip for any of the most representative songs of the album?
Neil: Yes live dates, we have archive video of us playing and running up walls so expect a video for the second single... ['Ice Page Repo']
duranasty.com: Do you guys think this collaboration will bring more fruits or is it just a one-off?
Warren: It would be quite a one off... thing is, we have at least an ep's worth of material left over from uncompleted tracks, they will be finished off for future release, I'm already shopping for new toys to make new Chicanery music.
Well, we've been collaborating for 12 years now so we know there's more
to come. We're 5 songs into a new album already so watch some space to
be specifeid later this year, We'll be playing the Seniors Tour for some
time to come.
duranasty.com: Warren, I hope you are conscious that
you still have a special place in the heart of all the Duran Duran fans
for the great contribution you brought in the band with your talent as
musician and songwriter and for the great human side of your personality.
Warren: I'm seriously loving life, I still practice daily on guitar... I do want to go out and play music live again, fingers crossed for Chicanery!
Also, I'm really enjoying playing with my old Zappa bandmates twice a month, we call ourselves Theoretical 5. We might start doing live streaming improv jams, there are some clips on youtube already. Regrets??? not really. I'm here for the ride...
duranasty.com: With a 35 year long career on your shoulders, starting from playing drums and guitar as a young child in Brooklyn to working with Frank Zappa and Duran Duran, I’m sure you would have more than one story to tell; did you ever consider to write a book about your intense life and music experiences? Have you ever been approached by any book-editor to write the story of your life in the music business?
Warren: I'll do a book if i get approached… believe me, it's beyond much of what's been out there before, no drugs or booze necessary...
not really. I'm here for the ride...
Emi's project to reissue most of Duran Duran's back-catalogue is going
on with Big Thing wich is scheduled for a September 2010 release. This
is probably the first Duran album were you could contribute some great
experimental guitar work, even if you weren't a proper member yet, [in
old interviews the band said nice things about your contribution in
the creation of songs like All She Wants is].
Warren: and Pop Trash...
duranasty.com: Yes, of course Warren, but that was on Hollywood Records [Edel in Europe], that's why I didn't mention. I guess you guys own the rights of that album [PT] so you can do whatever you want with it? Correct me if I'm wrong.
Warren: that’s right!
re the Pop Trash masters, yes we do...
duranasty.com: So, returning to the question, Have you been somehow involved in the 'Big Thing' reissuing and, more interesting, would you like to be involved in this whole Emi-Duran Duran reissuing project when they'll release the albums of the 90s?
"As we speak right now, Tv Mania is being mastered and the artwork is almost complete... so, 14 years later, it will come out... on vinyl as well!"
Warren, I remember the enthusiasm you guys had when you were working on
the TV Mania project back in the 90s. It was announced as a three act
Rock-Opera, you even talked about bringing it to Broadway, there was also
a catchy title, ‘Bored with Prozac and the Internet’,
and beautiful songs like ‘Camouflage’ that
I had the pleasure to listen in the late 90s in your home studio.
Warren: you remember that energy don't you???
Yes broadway was something we were aiming for with it, we were always planning to come off the back of a Duran hit... that, unfortunately never happened, so it didn’t get released, however, as we speak right now, it is being mastered and the artwork is almost complete.
14 years later, it will come out, on vinyl as well!
duranasty.com: Last but not least, Warren, we’d like to know more about your collaboration with Steve Ferrone, Anthony J Resta and Eric Alexandrakis [the owner of Minoan Music]. We only know that it’s a production company called ‘The Composers’. I have been told that you were going to make an album last year, what happened? What kind of plans have you got in the future? Any soundtracks for films or television projects in the works?
The composer project has been in the works for a while now, hoping to
have some news soon regarding scores or adverts landed.
duranasty.com: Ok Warren, we are the end of the interview, this last one isn’t actually a proper question, I like to call it the “answering machine question”, it’s your space to leave a message to all your fans around the world, so leave them a message.
The mainstream media is lying to us all of the time...
so, switch them off!!!
kill your television!
Guys, It was a pleasure to interview you. Best of luck with Chicanery and all your future projects.
Download all the lyrics of Chicanery's album exclusively on duranasty.com
Special thanks to Warren Cuccurullo and Neil Carlill for the great interview, the exclusive photographs and the lyrics
All Art and photo-manipulation by Salvo
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Listen clips of the 13 tracks
Review by dpulsedigital.com
eclectic pairing of experimental music veterans Warren Cuccurullo and
Neil Carlill, the eponymous debut release from Chicanery figures to be
one of the most talked about albums of the summer.
The first digital single from the forthcoming self-titled debut album from Chicanery [Warren Cuccurullo and Neil Carlill], 'Hubert Selby Song' is a literate gem of the first order. Showcasing an irresistably and infectiously dark vibe, sparkling hooks and tight-as-a-drum production 'Hubert Selby Song' is a terrific introduction to the coming album. Perhaps best known for his work with Frank Zappa, Duran Duran and Missing Persons, Warren Cuccurullo plainly stakes his claim as one of the leading forces of contemporary prog-pop with Chicanery. Carlill's gripping, sometimes other-worldly vocals shine throughout, imploring the listener to embark on a singular journey like no other on the scene today. Flip-side 'Gold Pavillions' reaches for an altogether different approach - very nearly digging into a funky downtempo vibe and is worth the price of admission itself.