The debut album of the same name, produced by Giorgio Canali, had established them as idols of all the young people of those years who were in love with rock. The following “Solo un grande sasso”, produced by Manuel Agnelli, had broadened the scope, veering towards an elusive psychedelia. The brothers Alberto and Luca Ferrari and Roberta Sammarelli then found the synthesis of the first great block of life of the Verdenas in “The Suicide of the Samurai”, released on 5 February 2004. Twenty years ago. An album conceived for the first time in the former home chicken coop converted into a recording studio and with the entry of a fourth element, keyboard player Fidel Fogaroli. Eleven pieces of “compact rock”, as Luca told us, in which tracks that are still very powerful today stand out. One above all: “Moon”. One of the most visceral Italian rock songs ever written, poised between glory and desperation, the eternal and magical balance in which Verdena still move today. We spoke with drummer Luca Ferrari about the history of that recording jewel and that historical period.
Luca, what do you remember about the making of that album?
“It was the first album recorded and produced in our studio (the legendary ‘chicken coop’, the Henhouse). I remember the physical construction of the space where we would work, and the doubts we had at the time. We kept repeating to ourselves: will we be able to do it? Will we be able to make a record on our own? My uncle once came to check on the set-up work in the studio, just to make sure that something sensible, a sound, came out of the speakers. It was the only album worked on by four people: Fidel Fogaroli was also with us at the time on keyboards. Davide Perrucchini was there to help us with the recording.”
What period was it?
“A great period, full of experimentation and jamming. From 2004 to 2012, or until the album “Wow”, we never stopped discovering and discovering ourselves. Not that it’s not like that now, but at the time I remember that we rehearsed with Verdena all day and in the evening we jammed with friends. It was a continuous improvisation that led me to say: ‘ah ok, I know how to do this’. I always found something new in myself.”
Your first album was produced by Giorgio Canali, the second by Manuel Agnelli, while this third, as mentioned, by you. Were you prepared?
“There were doubts, but in fact some precedents were on our side. We had produced and recorded some EPs at home, my brother Alberto had worked on them, between one record and another, and several people who followed us had told us: ‘well, they have a good sound’. This had pushed us to try to take our own path.”
“Suicide of the Samurai”, musically, how would you describe it?
“In some respects it was the beginning of the sound that would later find fulfillment in ‘Requiem’, even if it doesn’t seem like it. There was the idea of making a certain rock: pieces like ‘The Suicide of the Samurai’, ‘Elefante’ and ‘Logorrea’ move towards that idea, a compact sound without secondary roads”.
“Luna” has become a symbolic piece of your discography. The video was constantly broadcast on MTV, it was a success.
“We know that it has remained and that it is in the hearts of many, and in fact we still play it live. Yes, the video went very well. I remember we had to play back to make it happen…”.
Did it bother you?
“Well, actually we had already done it for the ‘Valvonauta’ video. Then, you know, I never really play in playback: I had put some tape on the turntables, a pedal was missing, but in reality I made some sounds. Yes, if I did them. And in fact in the video you can see that I’m not pretending…”.
Other songs you are linked to?
“’Logorrhea’ and ’40 seconds of nothing’, definitely. They are the ones we still bring live. There would also be others, but…”
Can’t you agree?
“Eh, we’d like to play ‘Phantastica’, but Albi really doesn’t want to (laughs, ed.). There are some parts of the piece that he can’t stand. ‘Mina’ is also beautiful, we wanted to put it in the stable set list in this last tour, we tried it again and again, but it has a long chorus that seems to never end. It’s pompous. We are no longer like that, we are faster, that way of playing no longer belongs to us at all…”.
“We really like it, but it’s difficult to bring live.”
Many fans believe that you named the album in memory of “Suicide samurai” by Fecal Matter, Kurt Cobain’s first band, or that “Glamodrama” is a corruption of the title of the novel “Glamorama” by Bret Easton Ellis. But is it really like that?
“We were in a period where we invented a lot of stupid and random words, you know, we named a song ‘17 trucks in the courtyard…(laughs, ed.). In reality it was all very dictated by the moment. The title of the album came out like this, naturally, only later they told us about the reference to Cobain, same thing for ‘Glamodrama’. It was our manager at the time who told us ‘this piece is a bit glamorous, why don’t you call it Glamodrama’? And we replied: ‘ok’. And so it was.”
Do you remember the tour linked to the album?
“Yes very nice. Little production, almost no sophisticated lighting. It was all very punk, direct. Furthermore, in those years Italian rock was experiencing a good moment. I believe that from ‘The Suicide of the Samurai’, forever, we will carry with us the memory of the ‘first album produced and recorded by us’. From then on we never stopped working that way. And also that joy and freedom… it all came from the jams in which we discovered new music and pieces of ourselves. Yes, it was a really good time in our lives.”