The first years (1992 - 1997)
Distillery was an idea that was rambling
in my mind since a long time when in 1992
I started to act it.
I had written some new songs while I was
travelling around Europe at that time: long
runs by train, pictures of many different
ways of life seen by the train window, plenty
of people of different countries known as
well as they are in their daily life, maybe
met in the subway station or sat on a barstool
late at night...This is what you really
need to write out something good!
I felt it was right to put those experiences
on a tape (we were still far from these "digital
years"....) but I meant to do it in
another way, far from what I had done since
Casually, I met a NY guitarist and songwriter,
Beo Morales, and I invited him to my studio
to record some guitar overdubs on my tracks.
It was September 24th, his birthday's eve,
and after we stopped working, we kept on
talking (and drinking beer...) till the first
light of dawn: maybe a cooperation was what
I needed the most to develop better my ideas.
After that I decided: "Distillery"
would have been the name and it would have
included everyone who eventually had played
All the stuff, called "Back in a while
and other songs", was finished the following
March, also because I fell ill on December
and had to stop working for a couple of months.
Then I started travelling again to promote
it in all western Europe countries radio
station and things seemed to work out right until Beo decided to go back to USA
and left me in the trouble to replace him. Luke,
a powerful rhythm guitarist, good
harp player and a nice background vocalist, was the choice, so we started
working hard. In September, Princess Angela von Hohenzollern required us for her
private party in one of the best clubs of the Italian Riviera: after that gig,
she was so impressed that invited us for another private party in Monte Carlo.
The party was on October 11th and, when we reached the place with our old "faded
grey" Ford and took a look around, we immediately noticed that the less
expensive car in the neighborhood was worth about 50.000$: a couple of hours
later, we were in front of dozens of V.I.Ps, also famous singer Shirley Bassey
was among them. Great! All that was unbelievable... That's why we continued our
work, playing around and releasing the single "Care of you/If you look up in the
sky", presented during a radio interview in February 1994.In April 1994 I
started thinking about a new CD because I thought was the right time. I had
still several songs to be recorded so I told Luke that I was going to do it but
he replied that he was not sure to go on: playing with Distillery was a great
engage and he wanted to have more time for himself. There I was in a trouble
I quit the idea of a
new CD because summer was beginning and I had just a little time to find a new
rhythm guitarist and Lu was the perfect guy for that.. I knew him since a long
time, he was a great friend of mine and he knew perfectly every song that I used
to play, so it was not difficult to fix a new line-up with him.
We went on playing together till the spring of 1996 and nothing notable happened during that time even if I recorded some new demo. He was engaged also with other bands and I had plenty of work in my rec studio but I remember those days with a great pleasure, the only rule was "no mess, no stress" and these words often remind me the laughters you could hear during our car trips. I knew it was a great engage for Lu and I still thank him for having brought me out of that matter, so I promised him I started looking for a substitute as soon as possible. It was a lazy mid-July night, I was sitting in a pub of the town where I used to live, drinking beer and reading the sport news, while, through the window panes, I thought I saw a "faded grey" Ford car... That was reminding me a guy I knew very well... Actually, a couple of minutes later, Luke jumped laughing into the pub!
He told me about his trips around central Europe, people he met and worked with, after that I purposed him to play together again, explaining what had happened during that period: after three or four trials we were back on stage. It was not bad, sure, we had a lot of fun and his musical level was a little grown up but I thought we could have done it better. In October 1997 many changes occurred in my life and had a mess in my head. Working became really the most important thing in my life: I wanted something more for Distillery and Luke was a good boy but he didn't like great engagements at all: 1998 new year's eve was the last gig we had together.
The new deal (1998 - Today)
I was fed up of continuous changes, and I thought I'd better play alone, but one night I met an old high-school friend in a pub (you can realize I'm a great beer drinker... :-) and when I told him what was happening to me, he replied: "What about Dave?". Dave (Daddy, for everyone of us) was another high-school friend of ours, I didn't see him since a long time but I remembered he was a great background vocalist. I called him the following day, it was the middle of January 1998: that was the most important phone call in the history of Distillery: I realized immediately that Daddy was what Distillery really needed. We tried hard two or three weeks then we were on the road. In the fall of the same year we recorded two songs: "God's sultry summer", written by Daddy and "Too soon" written by me. I invited Daddy's wife, Alex, to overdub a piano track on "Too soon" and we decided to go on performing as a trio, that line-up lasted till the summer of 1999, then we went back to be a duo. The death of my wife Paola on December 23rd, 1998 shocked me a lot: it took a long time before I started writing songs again. In March 1999 we started a cooperation with "Rollo Blues Band". Daddy (as bassist, vocalist) and I (as guitarist, vocalist) have been in tour with them for quite a long time but never fogetting we are Distillery, first!
In October 2003 we released "Family Tree" an album that runs along our band history from the beginning until that time and in January 2004 Chuck, a young pianist that I used to know, joined the band.
In March, after a concert in Genoa, Italy, we met the band that influenced us the most: America, Mr. Gerry Beckley and Mr. Dewey Bunnell. We gave them a copy of "Family Tree" and I was really impressed: they were very pleasant and polite guys, simply a couple of real gentlemen that sold million of records over the years and all around the world.
We went on performing a lot during these years and in the spring of 2007 we met America in Mantova, Italy, again. Gerry Beckley, Rich Campbell, Willie Leacox and Pete Leonardo were very kind with us and we gave Rich a demo of our new album in project.
So, finally, this summer, we felt something was going on and we started recording it, hoping that many more will follow, after a long time of "silence" we found out we really want to grow up again: all in all we're just a couple of 40 years old kids, aren't we? ;-)
This new work's come out on September 24th, and for more details click HERE.
After over 1200 live gigs as DISTILLERY, we want to thank a lot our fans for having supported us during these years and everyone of you for having read these pages.
Beckley, El Lobo and Dewey Bunnell Gerry Beckley and Chuck
El Lobo and Gerry