Psychedelic, garage rockers from Italy? Surely not. Time to Get Up, Get Out and Get…..


Interview by Conan Troutman

Gravy:  So who is who in Loose?

 Max Loose: Mmmhhh..... 1st question is already difficult....

Loose's latest line-up consisted of:

Gianvincenzo Lombi - Keyboards
Luca Giustolisi - Bass
Andrea Taddei – Drums

Me (Max Contigiani) - Lead guitar & (some) Lead vocals

Paolo Petrini- Guitar & (the rest of the) Lead vocals


But the line-up is undergoing a rearrangement since lately the band seemed to be getting into a cul de sac

Gravy: Can you give us a brief history of the band. 

Max Loose: Back in 1873 my father's grandfather used to hang out in bars drinkin' absinthe and talkin' about revolutionary music when, one day...........

All right, I'll make it short:

In Feb. 1996 Paolo, Vincenzo, Maurizio (Porcarelli) and the Gradozzi brothers (Cristiano and Giacomo) join forces and form "Paperoga (Donald Duck's hippy cousin) & the Fuzz Ducks, a band based on 60s and mid 80s garage punk covers.

In June 1996, the Deniz Tek Group comes and play for the second time in my little hometown (let me say, here, that I proudly organized both events!), Paolo comes at the show, we meet and by the next August I'm in the band.

In 1997, we record a bunch of songs on a four-track tape recorder and start looking for a label; we decide to change the name of the band and Maurizio comes out with the name Loose and we all go : Yeah! (Only later we'll find out that he didn't know that it was a Stooges song!)

In 1998, "Be Loose", a three-track 7" Ep is released. So the first line-up is:

Paolo Petrini - Lead vocals or Guitar, Maurizio Porcarelli - Rhythm and Lead Guitar, Gianvincenzo Lombi – Keyboards, Cristiano Gradozzi – Drums, Giacomo Gradozzi – Bass, Me (Max Contigiani) - Lead guitar or Lead vocals. Ruffino Gobbi is the great mouth-harp player featured in the 7" b-side "Sunday Blues"

In 1999 we take over our friend (R.I.P. Leo) Ramadori Leo's recording studio for about six months and slowly record "Kiss Your Ass Goodbye!" Our future new drummer Andrea Taddei is featured in the song "Shroud" on that LP.

Meanwhile, we make friends with the Ballbusters from Worcester, USA, and will be soon touring Italy together.

In 2000, we record a song for a Batman tribute LP (on 442eme recs, Paris) and the four songs for the "Untamed!" 7"Ep  (which will see the light only two years later!!...) these will be the last recordings with the six-member line-up. Maurizio is, in fact, withdrawing from the music scene.

In early 2001, Cristiano quits and Andrea fills in. Soon after Giacomo quits too and we get Luca Giustolisi on the bass. We record "Sheena...." for an Italian "Tribute to the Ramones" CD comp and go touring in the States with the Ballbusters

For yet unknown reasons, just about a week after we played NYC, the city undergoes the 9/11 strike. I've, ever since, been hoping that it had had nothing to do with our performance!.. ;-)

In 2002, after the Nth Italian tour with the Ballbusters, we go into a studio and live record "Rock The Fuck On!" which will be self-released only a year later after several unsuccessful attempts in finding a label. A tour with our new friends NY City's "She-Wolves" (great fuckin' people!) occurs late in the year

In 2003 we release the above mentioned CD and do another (little) tour with She-Wolves. Later in the year a chance of opening for Sonny Vincent 2004 European Tour gets eventually called off....So 2004 rolled by unnoticed....

Gravy: How would you describe your sound?

Max Loose: How about:  Emotional Farts? Or more seriously (?!?) - hi-energy, post-millennium retro-mix of Motor City garage, late 70's Aussie punk-rock’n’roll & mid 80’s psychedelia


Gravy: In my review of Rock The Fuck On I described you as a mix of garage punk rock and psychedelia; would you say this was a fair summation?

Max Loose: Yep, that’s it! That’s what we love to and (think we) can play. Of course anyone in the band has his own preferences and listen to all kind of music: from blues to ska, from jazz to metal punk, from power pop to paisley, from Einstürzende Neubauten to Thin White Rope and on and on….But when it comes to play it’s Detroit and Sydney (and little else....)!

Gravy: What ‘s the inspiration for Loose’ lyrics?

Max Loose: Self contempt, personal issues, teenage-ish rants about hate and killing, love, small town life, boredom, disenchantment, presages, Detroit......All in perfect non-English!

Gravy: You seem proud of the fact that the album was self produced and released; are you anti music industry?

Max Loose: Yes, we are proud of having self produced and released our album because we believe it’s a great album and it deserves to be out there for the people to listen to and, since it doesn’t seems to have aroused enough interest in the labels we’ve proposed it to; we had to release it ourselves. So, we’re not particularly against music industry and we would love to enjoy the advantages of a serious label with world wide distribution and tour management. I take it, though, that you’re not talkin’ the BIG music industry since in that case we all know that THOSE guys have “other bands” to invest their money on. Actually, I don’t believe any of them will ever get to hear a single Loose tune. (this said, I’m not saying that Loose deserves the attention of a major!...) The point is: how comes that the greatest band of the last 25 years, The New Christs, was left to fall into oblivion? 

Gravy: What are your goals?

Max Loose: Seeing how things are now, I’d say: “Get a new line-up together.” But my personal goal in R’n’R is to JUST DO IT!!!  (Try to) make great songs, go on the road, town after town, club after club, meet new people, drink new beers, get laid (yeah, right.....I wish!....), get paid.......Believe me, that’s already hard enough, nowadays

Gravy: You are due to feature on Volume 13 of the ‘Fistful of Rock and Roll series; how did that come about?

Max Loose: Well, that followed what I guess is the usual procedure: When our “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye!” album was ready we sent out some promos to various fanzines and one of them must have passed it on to Sal who contacted us asking if we could send a copy of the album because he was putting together a comp series. Once he got the album and listened to it, he made us compliments and asked if it’d be ok with us if he picked a track from the album to include in the comp. The answer was obviously “Hell Yeah”! Later on, when we released “Rock The Fuck On!”, Fistful Of Rock vol.13 (the one we’re in) hadn’t been released yet, so we sent Sal the new CD asking if he could replace the track he’d picked from “Kiss Your Ass....” with one from the new work and so he did.

Gravy: You have appeared on a couple of tribute compilations albums previously though right?

Max Loose: Yep, there’s a James Bond tribute, released by 442ème rue recs in France, in which we Loose-ized the A-ha’s (!?!?!) “Living Daylights”. Then we covered Radio Birdman’s “Anglo Girl Desire”, for an all Italian tribute released by Living Eye recs titled “Where The Action Is”, and RamonesSheena Is A Punk Rocker” for a Ramones tribute released by the R’n’R Magazine “Metallic KO” .Beside that, other songs from our production appear here and there in other comps

Gravy: Why did you decide to cover MC5’s ‘Kick out the Jams’ and the Stooges’ ‘TV Eye’? Haven’t they been covered enough times?

Max Loose: Well, think about how many time has Louie Louie been covered, and they still doin’ it...But that’s not the point. If you’re into a particular sound you NEED to play the songs that inspired you and recording them is like stating where you belong, is like acknowledging that you owe something to the people who wrote them and is also trying to establish a spiritual bond with those people. Plus, on a more earthy side, there’s comparison: you wanna test yourself and see what you can do with those songs. Like filling your car tank with rocket fuel and see how fast you can go or rather like actually trying and drive a Dragster: if you don’t blow yourself up it’s already a success. But if the question is: do people still wanna hear them? The answer is: Hell Yeah! If they are played with blood and guts like we did!! Or should we be content with Rage Against the Machine’s version of Kick Out The Jams?

Gravy: If there was one artist from any era you could record a split ep with, who would it be and why? 

Max Loose: Do you prefer the list to be in alphabetical order? ;-)Really, too many to mention only one: (in chronological order) MC5 – Stooges – Sonic’s Rendezvous Band – Radio Birdman – New Christs........Why?  Because they’re the greatest R’n’R bands of all times! 

Gravy: Rock The Fuck On was recorded back in 2002 right? How come it took so long to release?

Max Loose: Jinx? We finished recording at the end of May 2002 and the guy at the recording studio said: “This work is so good that you’ll find a label to release it in no time!” Eight month later I’m calling a pressing company and ask them a preventive of costs for the pressing of 500 CDs..... 

Gravy: So are you currently working on new material?

Max Loose: Yes, there is new material to be worked on, but at the moment I can’t say who’s gonna work on it. I got a few new things that I think are worthy to be recorded and also plans include the recording of a couple of not so inflationed (?) covers        

Gravy: Is there a strong garage punk rock n roll scene in Italy?

Max Loose: As far as I know there’s NO R’n’R scene of any kind here!

But, is there one anywhere else? There are plenty of R'n’R bands (or at least that's what they like to be referred to as..) spread out over the territory and a bunch of them are really good, but nothing you can call a scene.

Gravy: Have you toured much outside of Italy?

Max Loose: Nope. Unfortunately, we counted a lot on the effect of the release of “Rock The Fuck On!” to broaden our field of action. It obviously didn’t work!....We played NYC, Boston and Richmond in the USA though, back in 2001, plus a great gig at “The Kobus” in Marlenheim, France in Dec 2003. As mentioned above, a European tour as support for Sonny Vincent remained a wish.......It’s all fuel to the fire!!!

Gravy: Where were the best gigs? And the worst?

Max Loose: I couldn’t really say there’s a best or worst, since we really enjoy playin’ everywhere, but sometimes circumstances play a lead role. I remember being invited by one of the (used to be) most famous R’n’R venues in Italy for a gig. I still recall the excitement that such an opportunity aroused in all of us........only to find out the night of the show that we were set to play in a side room of the club with a “ohhh-sooo-shitty!” PA System and no advertisement at all (they hadn’t even hung at the door one of the flyers we had sent them!).That night we played 3/4 of the show for the mixing board man! Towards the end of the show a couple of other people that was crowding in for the Disco night in the Main room of the club popped in into the room....On another night we played a festival and I remember this guy that at the end of the show came almost running toward us, with a copy of our first 7” and a marker, asking for autographs!!!!!

Gravy: Which question would you like to be asked?

Max Loose: Mmmh....lemme it is: “Would you sign this contract for, guaranteed, all expenses paid for, yearly world touring?”

Gravy: Which question do you hate being asked?

 Max Loose: That’s undoubtedly: “Could you turn the volume down?”

 Gravy: Future plans?

 Max Loose: Rock The Fuck On! And On And On And On......

 Gravy: Parting comments?

 Max Loose: Wisdom pill: Everybody should believe in something, I believe I’ll have another drink

Gravy: How can you be contacted?

Max Loose: (it hasn’t been updates lately, but it’s still way too cool!...)

E-mail: or

Many thanks to Max for taking the time out to do this. Rock The Fuck On.