The Sky There'll Always Be
(Muso Entertainment)


For his 2013 CD release, The Sky There’ll Always Be, Italian guitarist / composer Marco Iacobini is joined by some esteemed jazz-rock fusion musicians including Tony Levin, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Carl Verheyen, Dave Weckl and more. Members of Marco’s core band, including keyboardist Stefano Sastro, are also featured on this outstanding CD. Even with inviting such well regarded fusion names on his CD, the main focus is still on Marco and his daredevil electric guitar pyrotechnics. While the majority of tracks are full blown instrumental guitar-based fusion workouts, some tracks, such as “Red Sunset On L.A.” and “Sunny Day With You”, the former including Verheyen and Hamm along with drummer Phil Maturano, are filled Iacobini's atmospheric, majestic and quite melodic approaches to 21st century instrumental guitar based fusion. Filled with an impressive range of jazz-rock stylings, The Sky There’ll Always Be is a most impressive step forward in the progressive guitar world of Marco Iacobini. / presents an interview with

: Why do you call your CD The Sky There’ll Always Be and what did you set out to achieve musically and guitar-wise on your new CD?

MARCO IACOBINI: These last six years have been been full of hard work and difficult moments. I have lost some very important people for me. The music market has changed quickly, the economic crisis has destroyed a lot of investments in this business area. One day, while I walked here in Rome, I raised up my head and I saw the sky. It was a sunny day and I said okay, there're a lot of problems to solve, but the sky there'll always be and at once there was a smile back on my face.

My first target to reach for my new album was to create an instrumental album full of music. Often, in these recent years, a lot of guitar oriented records have been too similar to the books of exercises. I love the guitar, but if I work on a new album, I should have new ideas, not only new guitar licks. Often guitar players, they forget the most important thing: the music.

mwe3: Where was The Sky There’ll Always Be mainly recorded? It’s interesting you had the album mixed and mastered in New York City. What did that add to the overall sound and presentation of the CD?

MARCO IACOBINI: The new album was recorded ninety percent here in Italy, except the drums of Keith Carlock. His drums was recorded at the Avatar Studios, in New York and the drums of Dave Weckl. His drums was recorded at his studio in California. Also the drums of Thomas Lang were recorded at his studio near L.A.

For this project I had the great honor and pleasure to work with two great engineers. Mr. Roy Hendrickson and Mr. Randy Merrill. Roy, now we are good friends, is an incredible sound engineer. His mixing work is great. Roy is always careful on all details. The sound of guitars is incredible and everything sounds amazing. Roy asked his friend Randy Merrill of Masterdisk, if he would be interested to be involved in this project for the mastering. Randy sent a positive answer and after few days, I have received by Roy, one song mastered by Randy. The sound was great! My decision was to call on Randy for the mastering of the album. Good decision.

mwe3: How did you decide who you wanted to play on The Sky There’ll Always Be? The way it looks to jazz-rock fans, The Sky There’ll Always Be has a dream band on there.

MARCO IACOBINI: After the first steps, the song writing, I was sure I needed some different musicians to play all the songs of my new album. The songs are so different between them. When I ask a musician to be involved in my project, I'm not interested to call for a music star. I need this specific musician, because I'm sure that he's the best solution to play this specific song. So I was very lucky, because all musicians I called to play on my new album, gave me a positive answer. It was so funny to link Tony Levin and Mike Terrana, Stu Hamm with Dave Weckl. It was an incredible experience. Yes, you're right. A dream band!

mwe3: Who else plays with you on the new CD that you could mention? The CD also features members of your band, some of who played on your great 2007 album In My World. Can you say something about your core band and other musicians your work with in Italy?

MARCO IACOBINI: Of course! I'm a very lucky person, because I have the great pleasure to work with my great friend Stefano Sastro. Stefano is a fantastic player. He's a guy with an incredible talent and he uses his talent to make music, only great music. I think that Stefano is an incredible keys player. He has a great technique, great phrasing. He plays acoustic piano, Hammond, Fender Rhodes, he writes the string arrangements and he does all these things as well as only a few can do.

Another great guy is my friend Cristiamo Micalizzi, incredible drummer and cool guy. This time he has recorded on only one track because the album is full of drummers. Great drummers like him. Also Fabio Trentini has recorded his bass on one song. Great musician and great guy.

mwe3: Which tracks stand out in your mind as being key on the new CD? I’m sure everyone who hears it will find several for favorites but “Smoky Club’s Blue Light” and “Red Sunset On L.A.”, with you sharing the guitar sounds with Carl Verheyen on both tracks, is really cool. What was the inspiration for those tracks and can you tell us about working with Carl?

MARCO IACOBINI: I don't have favorite songs on my album. It’s very hard to say what song is my favorite. I love all songs in the same way. But the first song "The Great Rush" was great fun to record and maybe the song closer to my heart is the second song "Where The Angels Come Down " because this song is dedicated to my Grandmother, who passed away 5 years ago.

My first inspiration to write "Red Sunset On L.A." was 3 years ago, I was in a car in Santa Monica and I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets in all my life.

My first inspiration to write "Smoky Club’s Blue Light ” was totally different. In the same period I was with some friends in a strip bar near Las Vegas. In this club there was a smoke machine, with a big blue neon sign. It was very funny.

Carl is an incredible player, he's one of my favorite guitar players of all time. I love his phrasing, his music, I have his entire discography. He's a great person, a very kind person, always. To work with him was great. He's always busy, but he has found enough time to record his incredible solos and after he sent them to me by internet.

mwe3: Among the highlights, “Smoky Club’s Blue Light” features Tony Levin on bass while “Red Sunset On L.A. features Stu Hamm on bass. Those guys are legends, what did Tony and Stu bring to the CD?

MARCO IACOBINI: Tony Levin is a living legend. I love Tony, always, with King Crimson, with Peter Gabriel, with Liquid Tension Experiment. In 2006 I had the great pleasure to play as opening act at the first gig of the European tour for the Tony Levin Band. It was in those circumstances that we met.

After, I asked for him to play on my album and Tony has been willing to play. He has recorded two songs here in Italy, one with bass and one with stick.

Also Stu Hamm is great. I love Joe Satriani and if you love Satriani, you must love Stu. I contacted Stu by email and he was immediately interested to play on my new album.

He was here in Roma and he has recorded his bass on a lot of songs. The second time that he was here, he introduced me to Joel Taylor. Incredible drummer. Another bass legend on my album is Billy Sheehan. Yes, you're right. These guys are legends.

mwe3: How did you meet the Muso Entertainment and describe your impressions of working with them on your new CD.

MARCO IACOBINI: The first time I heard of the name of Muso Entertainment was when my friend and co-producer Francesco Desmaele, a great photographer, told me that he was going to the U.S. to take some photo shots for Thomas Lang. Muso is the label record owned by Thomas. At the beginning, I didn’t have an idea if Thomas was interested but after, he gave me a chance to sign a contract with his company. During the NAMM show of this year, I met Thomas with his wife Elizabeth and I can say only that they are great persons and I would like to thank them for the incredible promotion of my new album. To work with them is fantastic. Thank you guys!

mwe3: What guitars are you recording with on the The Sky There’ll Always Be and what’s new and interesting in the guitar world for you these days?

MARCO IACOBINI: On my new album, I have used my new Carvin custom model and some other vintage guitars like Fender Strats from 1961 and 1979.

About my Carvin guitar, in May 2008, Carvin gave me the chance to build my custom electric guitar on my specs. My signature model. It was a great honor and pleasure for me to be an endorser of a great company like Carvin.

With great support of Joel Kiesel and Alan Colquitt, I received the first prototype the first week of May 2008, after three months of hard work about designing and building.

The guitar is a bolt-on plus, custom model, to my specs. The body is consists of two parts of wonderful swamp ash from Southern California with a quilted maple top, attached to a Hard Rock quarter sawn maple neck and bird’s eye maple fretboard. The electronics have been designed by Carvin, pick-up configuration H, S, H. Floyd Rose, with locking nut and sperzel tuners. Headstock reverse. Black hardware.

I was very happy and proud to play my custom guitar on my new album. The sound is cool, amazing, great feel, incredible playability and the look is wonderful. Thanks Carvin for having built, for me the best guitar in the world. It’s very hard to say what's new and interesting in the guitar world, now. The market is full of everything. But now I'm interested to look back at the vintage.

I use always my Lexicon PCM 42 delay, Dynatronics tri-stereo chorus, Lexicon PCM 70, TS9 from 1981 and other vintage toys.

mwe3: What amps and other new effects and pedals are you using on the new CD? You’re renowned for getting all these cutting edge sounds on your CDs. What do you like best about all this new guitar technology and where is it all going?

MARCO IACOBINI: The set up of my gear is not easy to explain. Often, I use 4 different Marshall amps:

Marshall Plexi 1959 of 1971
Marshall Plexi 1959 of 1973 modded
Marshall JCM 800 of 1982 modded
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100 of 1998

These amps are for crunch and lead sound.

Fender Princeton Reverb for clean sound.

Bogner Ecstacy 101B also for crunch and lead sound.

CAE 3+ preamp modded SE by Bob Bradshaw for other sounds.

Carvin V3 amp and VT50 amp.

Like pedals, I often use the Visual Sound pedals.
Visual Sound is a great company made by great people. I love the Visual Sound pedals. I would like to thank my great friends Steven Bliss and Bob Weil for their incredible support and friendship. Thank you guys, you're very special people, always in my heart.

For the recording sessions, I use also my rack with CAE preamp and amp selector by Bob Bradshaw. With this unit I can engage and select my amps by foot controller via midi.

I love the technology, but today, I'm not sure that all this new guitar technology is good for the creativity. I remember when with two pedals and one amp head, you could play a lot of great things. Now, If there are no good musical ideas, all this new guitar technology is nothing.

mwe3: What do you like best about Rome’s music scene and history these days? What do you think of the rest of the Euro guitar fusion scene of 2013?

MARCO IACOBINI: The Italian music scene is very rich, even if the recording industry is disappearing. In Rome, like in other towns, there are a lot of good musicians.

For example: Marco Sfogli, Giacomo Castellano, Andrea Braido, Fabrizio Leo Bicio and other guys.

The musical offering is good, but here in Italy it’s not ever easy to produce good music. The people listen only to pop music, often, low quality music. We have some very great pop music artists, but they are not many.

mwe3: It seems your audience is spread all over the world. What do you like best about music in the age of the internet?

MARCO IACOBINI: Internet is cool, but the total absence of rules about the legal downloading of music contributed to the total destruction of the music market.

I'm very happy to have a lot of people interested to buy and listen my music in all the world, but every day I fight against the illegal blogs where it’s possible to share and download the music for free.

My new album, after only two days from his release, was on two guitar blogs available as a free download. Terrible. To produce a new album is very hard. To produce music takes time, energy and money. A lot of time, energy and money. It’s not correct to steal the music. Without money it’s not possible to create investments for the music business area. I hope that in next ten years, there will be the rules necessary for the protection of copyright.

mwe3: How would you say your music and guitar playing has improved or changed over the past ten years? Do you have have new impressions of your first two solo albums Spaces and In My World?

MARCO IACOBINI: Surely my music and my guitar playing has improved over the past ten years. I spend a lot of my time to practice everyday. But for me, the most important thing is the music. To write good music, this is the reason why between my new album and the previous album passed many years.

As in life, if you don't have interesting and new things to say, maybe is better to remain silent. Spaces was an album unripe, born on the wings of enthusiasm, a good album but now I smile when I listen to it.

In My World was an album that was more mature, full of a good things and good ideas, but my phrasing needed more elements. Now, with my new album, I think that I’m moving in the right direction.

mwe3: What’s coming up for you musical this year and next year do have any early ideas for your next album? Where are you looking to take your guitar sound next?

MARCO IACOBINI: I try to find my inspiration from my life, to find the inspiration only from the music would be reductive. I'm working on the new ideas, harmony and rhythm, more complicated, but with easy melodies. It's only an experiment. I try to take my guitar sound next from my head, from my heart and from my hands, as always.

Thanks to Marco Iacobini @


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