REBEL ON THE RUN is the title of the Italian melodic hardrock/classic rock duo Moonstone Project brand new studio album. The duo is led by Matt Filippini and I immidiatley booked an interview when I heard the new album. The album is jammed with guest appearances by James Christian (House Of Lords) and Glenn Hughes to mention a few. I was really blown away by this masterpiece and felt that I had to share this with the ones who haven’t heard about the album or about the Moonstone Project. So here it is, my interview with Matt Filippini.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Lars Chriss at Blistering Records for setting up this interview.
Thanks to Blistering Records for providing the promo pictures of the band.
Hi Matt, I have a bunch of questions lined up for you about Moonstone Project, are you ready to begin?
Yes I’m let’s go.
The new Moonstone Project album is titled REBEL ON THE RUN and it’s your second album. Tell us what the album is about?
Yeah..Rebel is my 2nd album…It’s not a concept album, but if we wanna find a common line about the lyrics, i would say…love, blues and difficult life experiences…
How long did it take to write the music and the lyrics? And what are the lyrics about?
The music came along in a very natural way…I usually write the music then I send the demos to my buddy Alessandro Del Vecchio who works on the lyrics…as I told you lyrics are about normal life experiences about love, happiness, disappointments…all very simple…all very true…
The legendary Voice Of Rock Glenn Hughes makes a guest appearance on the album, how was it to work with him? And how did he end up on the album?
Glenn is a dear friend of mine…He already sung 2 songs on my 1st album 3 years ago. Last year I was guest at his beautiful house in LA…one morning we were watching some TV then suddenly we decided to jam a bit in his studio and this song, "Closer Than You Think" came along! I think it’s a very different song…almost a pop song, but it has this 70s vibe which I think it makes it perfect to fit with the rest of the material on the CD!
You have also featured a cover of the John Tesar/Tommy Bohlin song “From Another Time” why did you chose to make a cover of that song?
I’m a huge Tommy Bolin fan…and I really love his 2 albums he did with James gang! So it’s my little tribute to this great musician!
Were there many songs that didn’t made it on to the final edition of the album?
We have one song, "One Dollar Baby"…it features James Christian on vocals and Ian Paice on drums…it’s a straight rocker with a cool jam in the middle…possibly we will use it in the near future.
The album is jammed with guest appearances from famous names like Ian Paice, Ken Hensley and Robin Beck, how come they all ended up on an album with Moonstone Project? Are you all old friends?
They are all friends of mine…I just asked them to play on my album; they loved the songs and said yes!
As always it’s been a great pleasure to have some great musicians playing on my own stuff, bringing their unique touch!
The famous James Christian (House Of Lords) sings on all of the songs except for one, was it clear from the start that it was Christian that was gonna sing?
James was just the PERFECT singer to sing on Rebel On The Run! He was my 1st choice!!!! He’s got this unbelievable bluesy rocking voice!! I’d really love to work with him again.
Where does the title REBEL ON THE RUN come from?
It’s…me….:) that’s what Alessandro says. He says that I inspired him to write those lyrics…I’m kinda rebel…I have a very rocking and wild life sometimes :)))
Who has done the cover art-work of the album? What do you think of it?
C. A. Beckston did it! His company Monowasp worked for lots of great artists….I really love the artwork…simple…and perfectly represents the spirit of the album!
Do you think that Moonstone Project have developed anything music wise on this second album compared to the debut disc?
Absolutely! I think it’s a great step forward…the song writing and the production are way better. I’m really proud of it.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Moonstone Project plays?
That will be Classic rock. Simply!
Have you read any reviews of REBEL ON THE RUN yet?
Yes…we got a lot of positive reviews…I’m really happy about that! Not only because we got positive reviews BUT also because, reading them, I really think a lot of writers understood the spirit of the music! That’s important!
You have switched record label into the US/Swedish Blistering Records, why? And how do you think the co-operation go between the band and the label?
I’m really happy about Blistering…they are serious people…and treat their artist in a friendly and professional way. I really hope we can keep working together!
What are the biggest differences between being signed to Blistering Records and to your old label?
Blistering is serious people. My 1st record company was a bunch of beggars!
You come from Italy but your label isn’t based there, do you see any problems with that?
No problems at all.
Do you have any favourite track or tracks on the disc? If so which ones?
Cosmic Blues is my favourite song….it’s a sort of musical manifesto of Moonstone Project…very emotional, bluesy, groovy…
You shot a video to the song “Shooting Star”, what can you tell us about that video and have it been aired on any TV-channels?
It was a lot of fun to do. James was in Europe for some business, so we flew him to Italy and we shoot the video in some hour….I think it’s dynamic, simple and cool video and I hope to have it on some rock TV around in September/October.
You did record the album in different studios this time, like Solid Groove Studio as well as Giant Cave Studio, why not only record everything in one single studio?
It’s cheaper to work in different studios…otherwise we should fly everyone in the same place!
Did all the guests came over to Italy to record their parts or how did you solve that?
Paice, Clive Bunker and Ken Hensley came in Italy to record their contributions….James, Glenn and Robin recorded their vocals in USA…I told you…it would be so expensive to fly everyone in the same studio!
You and Alessandro Del Vecchio have produced the disc, how is it to produce your own album? Isn’t it hard to stay objective?
Yes…sometimes it’s hard…but me and Ale exchanged our ideas…sometimes even in a very violent way hahaha :))
I think we are a winning team together…sometimes we have very different points of view! But…it works!
What do you think is your strongest feature as producer?
Mmmm….maybe to try to keep everything simple…sometimes I record 30 different guitars for a songs…or we have…let’s say 5 different keys etc. etc….at the end, I will use only one!!!:)) to keep it simple is the key! If a song works…there’s no reason to keep adding stuff to it! Listen to the Beatles…they just wrote GREAT songs…they work both if you play them with a guitar or a symphony orchestra, isn’t it?
Do you enjoy producing? Have you produced other acts besides Moonstone Project?
I love producing….but sometimes it can be…really boring! Anyway…i really hope to produce some band or artist in the future!
Were you also part in the mixing process or was it only Del Vecchio that took care of that?
Yes…we both mixed the album. Ale is the man who knows how to move the knobs:) but I’m always in the mixing room with him!!!
In retrospective what do you think of your debut album TIME TO TAKE A STAND that came 2006?
It was a pretty good album and lots of fun to do it. I love the songs…but these days I would re-mix it. I would mix it with Ale and I’m sure it would get better! Rebel is way better sounding!
When was Moonstone Project originally born?
Back in 1996…as I started to demo some idea of mine.
Which other members is a part in the project besides you?
Alessandro is the other guy behind the project. As a live band…Nik Mazzucconi on bass, Roberto Tiranti on vocals, Alex Mori on drums….we played lots of shows with special guests like Ian Paice, Glenn Hughes, Carmine Appice and Bernie Marsden….so different line-ups sometimes:)
Who sings lead vocals on the debut album?
Different singers…Glenn, Steve Walsh, Eric Bloom, Graham Bonnet, Kelly Keeling and more! It was more a "studio project" thing!
You did re-release the debut album in 2008 under the name HIDDEN IN TIME, why?
Because the original record company went bankrupt so we re-released it under a different title/artwork with another company!
The re-release featured three bonus tracks, what can you tell us about those tracks?
One was a piano version of Where Did You Hide The Blues You’ve Got…only Ale on grand piano and Glenn on vocals…the other 2 were one live track with Paicey and a studio song called Silent Hunter featuring Tony Franklin on bass and Ian Paice on drums.
Where dose the name Moonstone Project come from?
I love the Moon…it always influences me…I love to write music by night….
Is Moonstone Project a band or a project?
Mainly a studio project but even a live band with different line ups!
Did you do any live shows or a tour on the first album?
Yeah we did several shows in Europe with Glenn and Paicey…lots of fun!
Are you involved in any other bands or projects besides Moonstone Project?
No….sometime I jam with friends but no other projects at the moment!
You had a few shows scheduled now this summer but they were postponed to September, what happened?
I think we r gonna play those shows in 2010…unfortunately with that economical crisis it’s getting harder! So…let’s hope to play more shows next year! In 2009 we just played some show with Glenn and a special show with Ian Paice and Bernie Marsden, reunited on stage after a long time ago!
Are you gonna do more shows than planned do you think?
Which members are gonna be on stage when you perform live? Any guest appearances?
We will see…we have some great idea for next year!!!
Are you big in your native country Italy?
Pretty well know in the rock scene…but I wouldn’t say "big"!
If you’re going out on tour, are you going out as a headline act or as support act?
Both are OK for me! I’m quite selective…I prefer to play few shows but quality shows!
Where in the world do you think you have got your biggest fan base?
Italy…but I receive appreciation from different Euro countries….Germany, UK, Holland, Spain…
Are you active on MySpace?
Yes…my Myspace site is www.myspace.com/moonstoneproject
In your blog on MySpace it can be read that you already have begun writing songs to the next album, three songs are already finished. In what musical direction does the songs point in?
Very straight and simple rocking stuff!
I’d love to record this new album live in the studio!
What’s the most common question you get from fans?
How can you work with Ian Paice, Glenn Hughes etc.???
You have worked pretty long on this album, when can we expect to find the next Moonstone Project album out in stores?
I hope soon!!! 2011 maybe???
What do you have to say to those who haven’t discovered Moonstone Project yet?
Searching for a classic rock album that sounds like a classic rock album??? Get it now!!!!
What are the plans for Moonstone Project for the rest of 2009?
To write new songs and possibly record them soon!
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy REBEL ON THE RUN?
Just one reason is enough: if you are into classic groovy bluesy hard rock music, buy Rebel On The Run now!
Thanks a lot for taking the time to doing the interview, good luck with Moonstone Project in the future. I really hoping you’re coming up to Scandinavia to perform live in the near future.
Thanks a lot my friend…I hope to play Scandinavia as well…never been there before and I know it’s a great place for rock and roll music!!
Do you have any final words of wisdom for the readers and fans?
Believe in your dreams…always…and just follow your heart!
More info about the band