Renato Zero: "Music today is so homologated"

Renato Zero: “Music today is so homologated”

“I'm reluctant to stay at home, I prefer the dressing room”. In this short and simple sentence there is all the unstoppable spirit with which Renato Zero kicks off his career new series of concerts at the Mandela Forum in Florencewhere from March 2nd he is the protagonist of six shows before arriving at the Palazzo dello Sport from March 13th Rome for another eight shows. Subsequently, as announced on the occasion of the first Florentine date, the 73-year-old Roman musician will perform on June 14th at the Arena della Vittoria in Bari and June 21st in Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples.

On the eve of the first date in Florence, Renato Zero tells the press via Zoom about his emotions related to the “Autoritratto – The concerts event” tour and how he decided to build the show lineup. On stage with him, there are a band made up of 11 musicians (Danilo Madonia – musical direction, keyboards and piano; Lorenzo Poli – Bass; Lele Melotti – drums; Bruno Giordana – keyboards and sax; Rosario Jermano – percussion; Giorgio Cocilovo – guitars; Fabrizio Leo – guitars; Stefano Bergamaschi – trumpet; Emanuele Feliciani – trumpet; Elisabetta Mattei – trombone; Fabio Tullio – sax), a 10-voice choir and thePiemme Project orchestra coordinated by the first violin Prisca Amori.

“I want to say that this tour starts above all in the name of music”, explains Zero to journalists, who on stage sets himself the task of focus on a visually minimal show to present the songs from the latest album “Autoritratto” live, next to some of his own classics and above all lesser-known pieces of his (over)fifty-year musical career. In the lineup (here on of the first Florentine date of almost thirty pieces there is no space for songs like “Il cielo” or “Il carrozzone”, but there are “Salvami” and “Il grande mare”, for example , alongside the most recent songs.

“I recognize my audience despite their years and wrinkles”, confides Renato Zero at this point, underlining that the fact of putting his hand to the concert lineup is “so as not to leave anyone at home because there are some songs I must say that have had a slightly more obscure life.” For this reason, the artist is also happy to find himself on stage with a large group of musicians: “I somehow took over the story and I therefore strongly wanted not to change the team because I find that the example of these great interpreters of music should also be a bit of an incentive for young people: seeing Lele Melotti, who is no more than 18 years old, playing the drums, as if he were twenty, is stimulating.” And he adds :.

“We are here to establish that we don't want to retire and that at the age of 73 I still allow myself a few dance steps and not to run out of breath after doing three pieces in a row, the kind that don't let you breathe. And it is first and foremost a challenge to prove to myself whether I still deserve the center of the stage.”

The show will be a sort of self-portrait“, says Renato Zero, who on stage will leave more space for music than for glitter and sequins, where he is protagonist with his songsstrong in charisma and irony: “This self-portrait is a bit of a coupon which each of us is required to do every now and then.” He adds: “Having written and done a bit of everything, from Dixielandto the rock'n'roll, also focusing on funky, I never missed anything and I never ran the risk of feeling lacking in colors, shades and combinations. Obviously I bring this baggage onto the stage, which in my opinion always manages to be innovative. And I also always bring to the stage realities that fit well with today.” It's still:

“More than explaining what we will see, I would say what we will hear on stage. I believe that in recent times the ear is a bit at a deficit because we hear music that is so standardized that when you hear one song it seems as if it has heard them all.”

Renato Zero then states: “My concern is therefore to leave a participation and growth of the music itself”. And he confirms: “So we won't see much at my new concerts: my costumes have occupied such a strong epochal space that today I demand a certain novelty from myself: I do without feathers and sequins, which perhaps in the past helped sell a few more tickets and records. But with only feathers and sequins I wouldn't have moved forward.”

About the current musical panoramaRenato Zero subsequently narrates: “The panorama is not exactly sparse, there are vocals, there are intuitions. I would pay a little more attention to what the dress is, to what the musical and artistic choices are regarding these characters. Often a song, like a dress when you get the wrong size, can be an indicator of the progress of a career. But however, the choices are not made by the artist himselfwhich is even more serious as what because what in my opinion is missing today is above all the training of musical assistants. The artists need to be helped, and the kids are young, they don't have the experience yet, so they need reference figures”.

During the chat Zero doesn't mention the names of young artists, but he doesn't hold back when asked to share a thought on Saint John, who recently decided to take a break claiming that he doesn't have “the physical and mental energy right now to” carry on with his project. “It was a decision that I found unsettling, in some ways. This boy had the courage to remove himself from the banquet, to say thank you 'it's okay'. To take his time, maybe he'll come back, maybe he won't come back. AND a decision that honors the artistto the person and does honor to a young person.”

Renato Zero doesn't even shy away from the question about Claudio Baglioni's decision to retire from the scene by 2026: “Do I believe he will keep his promise? If one tosses a coin in the air, it must be heads or tails, there is no third possibility. The most elegant thing, for me, would be to get off the stage on February 24th 2027 or 2028 to greet everyone in the audience… and then Renatino is no longer there. This way you leave a beautiful photograph. This fairy tale must have a sweet, happy ending and I won't say when I'll leave.”