An Interview with Franco Limido
of Family Style
by Mary Roby June, 2005
I'm talking with Franco Limido, lead singer and harmonica player for Family Style. Family Style is the top Blues band in Italy.
Mary: Let's jump right into the new cd, which was recorded live. Tell me about the cd Franco, why did you decide to do a live album?
Franco: After 5 years of touring Europe and promoting our previous stuff, Blue Flame Records years included, we started to feel we needed to record what we were actually doing live in those concerts. The UK has always been a very important place for the Blues and for music history in general. For guys like us in Continental Europe, it was thanks to this country with all the players like Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac etc... had a kind of "filter" role for this music to get here!
Mary: Blue Flame Records was your record label for a time, right?
Franco: Yes it was and we're all very thankful to the Big Boss, Mr. Romano Grossi, for everything he did for us. We had great moments together.
Mary: You put out some excellent music with Romano. Your cd "Live Style" comes to mind.
Franco: There was a very good vibe between Romano and the band.
Mary: Just so everybody knows, the name of your new cd is "Live In Nottingham". Tell us when and where the live show took place.
Franco: We recorded the album on Saturday, September 18, 2004 at the famous venue, "The Running Horse", in Nottingham, England UK.
Franco and Family Style performing live
Mary: There's one song on your cd written by Peter Green, of Fleetwood Mac, you guys did a tribute cd to Fleetwood Macs early music, which was much more Bluesy than their later music. Obviously they influenced your sound. Other than the bands you previously mentioned, are there any other bands who influenced you?
Franco: Oh yes, of course. All the Blues masters like Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Little Walter. Sonny Boy I&II etc.. Later I personally got very much into the Tom Waits stuff, and my first visit to New Orleans, LA really change my approach to music and playing.
Mary: In what way did your first visit to New Orleans, LA change your approach to music and playing?
Franco: I had been dreaming about this place for years and finally in 2001 I was able to go there, also thanks to my friends and great musicians Billy Gregory and especially Andy J Forest, who put me up in his house in Piety Street in the 9th Ward. Billy was playing guitar in the Bourbon Street Blues clubs and asked me to join his band during my stay...it was so cool! Together with Billy I spent a lot of time hanging out with the musicians I met both on and off stage, who got me into that kaleidoscope of music, cultures, colors, tastes that is... New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans' particular "gumbo" approach and the laid-back atmosphere that stayed with me ever since got a kind of voodoo spell on me Mary, and I have been able to start stretching out my music feelings.
Mary: On "Live In Nottingham", there is a song titled "Lookin' For A Woman", before one solo in the song, you say "Take me to Chicago". What was your impression of Chicago when you visited?
Franco: Chicago was everything I had always expected: Huge, Windy, Cool, The Real Home Of The Blues baby! The live Blues scene really impressed me and I was lucky to meet Buddy Guy in person, at his own club "Buddy Guy's Legends".
Mary: I believe you and I just missed meeting at Legends that night, I was in Chicago around the same time you were there.
Franco: I remember you wrote me so years ago!
Mary: But you and I did finally get the opportunity to meet when you visited the US a year or so later.
Franco: We did and it was extremely nice! Baltimore, MD is a cool place too.
Mary: You also met The Blewzzman (Blues Editor for Mary4Music.com) in Florida while you were in the US. Wasn't he responsible for getting you onstage for the first time in the US?
Franco: He was... First we drove to Lake Worth, Florida to see Joanna Connor live at "The Bamboo Room" (great club) and then I was able to get onstage and lead the house band at the Saint Lucie Blues Night. The cool thing is that I went down to Key West, FL after staying at The Blewzzman's place, Joanna Connor was playing at "The Green Parrot" and she wanted me to join her for an entire set one night!
Mary: That must have been exciting for you.
Franco: It was definitely a very important moment in my career.
Mary: Your previous release was a studio album, "Walk". What inspired the title of that cd?
Franco: This one was actually a concept album. After the Blue Flame Records years, we were taking a step further in our own music path, every song on the album is related to the others somehow and I consider them all "the steps" of that "Walk"... And the first song "Pocket Full Of Nothin'" was actually born during a long, lone night walk.
Mary: You recorded a Blues album with Robert Palmer shortly before his sudden death. How was the experience of working with Robert?
Franco: Wow...AMAZING! Robert was a real gentleman and such a fantastic musician. He really loved to put that album "Drive" together and everything was just flowing in the studio. I mean flowing as all the musicians felt very comfortable with him and everybody added his own ideas to the final result!
Mary: I spoke with you during the recording of "Drive", you sounded very excited and happy about how the music was coming together.
Franco: I immediately fell in love with his idea of this cocktail of raw Chicago and Southern Roots blues mixed with some modern ingredients. He was a very, very, very nice man..we miss him.
Mary: Everyone was shocked and saddened by his death, he was taken in his prime.
Franco: We were all shocked, definitely.
Mary: What's next for Family Style? Are you touring now?
Franco: We completed another UK tour last April for promotion of the CD and everything was fantastic. Now we have gigs here in Italy and Switzerland for the summer...we had to slow down a bit as my brother has a broken knee, so we'd better take it easier!
Mary: A broken knee! That sounds painful. Your brother is Marco.. Marco plays lead guitar for Family Style, right?
Mary: We wish him a speedy recovery.
Franco: He's getting better and better but it takes plenty of time. We're also playing duo gigs here in our area (Milan, Italy) and who knows we might record something this way. We recently wrote a couple songs for this situation.
Mary: We need to get you guys here to play some gigs in the States!
Franco: It is our dream to come and play in the USA Mary. It'd be such an honor to come and play our music in America.
Mary: Hopefully that will happen for you soon.
Franco: We keep workin' on it.
Franco: A good thing is that both "Live In Nottingham" and "Walk" will soon be available in the USA thanks to DWM Music Company https://www.dwmmusic.com/
Mary: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Franco. Is there anything else you'd like to say to the folks?
Franco: Keep supporting live music (Blues especially), be yourselves and let your love fly high people! Peace and love to everybody!
Mary: Very well said.
Franco: Thanks a billion for this lovely interview Mary.
Mary: The pleasure has been all mine, as you know your band is one of my favorites, I love you guys.
Franco: Oh and of course keep checking out www.mary4music.com, I do it constantly.
Mary: Thanks again and good luck to you and the band Franco.
You can visit Franco Limido and Family Style on the Net at: www.familystyleband.com
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