Tooth, love is a beautiful thing

Tooth, love is a beautiful thing

On Valentine’s Day 2009, Dente published “L’amore non è bello”, an album full of crumpled and romantic photographs, recorded directly on tape, intimate and at the same time ruthless, which sowed more than one seed for a new singer-songwriter generation. Fifteen years later, it’s time for celebrations with a quickly sold-out tour and a special vinyl edition with home auditions and a completely new vintage song. Here is the story of a truly emotional birthday.

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What does “Love is not beautiful” mean to you?

It’s a very important album for me, for my career and for my life. It made me stand out and had good popularity at the time, even if today we imagine popularity to be something else. Furthermore, it was the first one I recorded in a real studio, in a period of very intense changes. Which I remember little, but of which I have very fond memories.

It is an album that behind an apparent lightness actually hides intimate, even dark, feelings. Do you think it was a precursor of a new way of describing everyday life?

Yes, but I didn’t do it on purpose.

As I still do today, when I have to get rid of something that weighs me down, I am lucky enough not to be forced to punch the wall, but to use a guitar to let off steam. Which if everyone did, we would certainly live in a better world, with lots of songs and fewer wars. However, it is part of my character to say terrible things without shouting. Because it has always seemed very obvious to me to say “fuck you” while shouting, when instead doing it softly is much more powerful.

Would you do everything the same way again?

I gave my best in those times, both humanly and technically. Despite its imperfections, I wouldn’t change a thing. And so also in the lyrics: when I sing those songs I still firmly believe in what’s inside. They continue to impress me and continue to be songs that I sing with pride.

So do these songs continue to have the same emotional impact for you?

Yes, obviously in a different way because fifteen years have passed and at the time the stories were fresh and also very painful. However, I found myself there as a listener who hears these songs for the first time would. I felt the power they still have. At least for me.

As in your last “Hotel Souvenir”, you often found yourself dealing with the passing of time. What was it like reopening this chapter of your life?

I reopened it while also trying to close it as soon as possible because I don’t like revivals too much.

I don’t want to insist too much on what worked, on a theme or on an exaggerated birthday. However, there was a desire to reissue the album because it hadn’t been available for a long time and I wanted to add some more things, including an unreleased piece from the period and the auditions. If the record is genuine, you can imagine what the homemade auditions might be like, with very different versions from those that ended up on the album. I wanted to celebrate a nice birthday, but in a short one, without dwelling too much on what happened.

Can you tell us about the unreleased song, “Domenica d’August”?

I had a lot of material, actually. In particular, “Domenica d’agosto” is a piece from those years, even before, perhaps from 2007. In Fidenza there is a place where I often went to play the guitar on summer afternoons and one day I came up with this piece after a phone call. It was a Sunday in August, in fact. I remember very well the place, the moment and the reasons for this slightly bizarre song that I have always dreamed of releasing.

What effect does seeing the photos that accompany the re-release of the album have on you?

They are all photos by Beatrice De Giacomo. We were both at the beginning of our careers and also a bit of experience runaways. Unthinkable for anyone starting to make music today, because there is so much professionalism right from the start. Inside these photos and inside these eyes I find the naivety of those times and that desire to do things like this, because it was nice to do them.

What remains today of the Tooth who asked to go and live with him?

The reason why I write songs has not changed, I always need to live, to have experiences that can then lead me to write songs. Sometimes I see myself as changed because I’m definitely not the same person I was in 2009, but due to many of my mechanisms I still remained very childish and naive. So, for better or worse, I haven’t changed much.

The 15th anniversary of “L’amore non è bello” is also celebrated with a tour which has already recorded several sold-outs…

Yes, it was a big surprise. I expected some attention for this tour and this reissue, but not this much. It had never happened to me that I had to double the dates. However, I wanted a celebration that wouldn’t take too long, but when we realized that there was the possibility of opening new dates and we could make a few people happy, we did it. I didn’t expect it and now even the last remaining dates are selling out.

Many of these songs are now a fixed part of your live performances. What effect does it have to bring these songs to the stage?

I’ll do the whole “L’amore non è bello” straight away, and a saxophone has been added to the band that accompanies me to give further colour.

Some songs are inevitably a little soothed by time, however a piece like “La presumed sanctity of Irene” which I have played very few times live is always very emotional. Even “Solo gone”, guitar and voice, which I will play alone will be a very special moment. It’s a song that I remember very well the first time I did it live, in a bar in Brescia, next to the cured meat counter. So singing it now, in front of a different audience, on this quite triumphal tour in terms of ticket sales, will be really special.

After 15 years, love is still not beautiful?

As I said then, I think it’s a beautiful thing, but when it turns upside down it can become terrible.