Taxi Driver Records
Our next guest to unveil 3 of their favourite books, movies and albums is Massimo Perasso
Massimo is one of the most competent and active members in the underground music community, having not only funded but also running Taxi Driver, which one of the most important and well respected cross-genres labels around releasing throughout the years some amazing artists including Vanessa Van Basten, Sator and Petrolio just to mention a few.
He also works at Flamingo Records Store in Genoa where you can find him dishing out the best music recommendations to people and customers like in ye ol’ good days, and he collaborates as editor and writer for many important paper fanzines like Isterismo, Slerfa and Up, as well as Tomorrow Hit Today webzine.
I loved Nofx when I was younger, but in recent years I’ve been following them much less. Working in a record store that is mainly punk-oriented (Flamingo Records Store), Nofx are among the best sellers and it’s always a pleasure to listen to them. But I mention this book because after I had a heart attack a few years ago, my dear friend Diego Curcio gave it to me as a present while I was still in hospital and it not only improved my mood, but it gave me the strength to get back on my feet. I used to read a book every now and then, but now my desk is full of them and I’ve become quite voracious. So, it’s more of a sentimental choice; but even if you don’t like the band, I recommend you read it because it’s very educational about what it means to keep a band going and not get destroyed by success.
An essential book to understand the birth and development of American hardcore, which is the music genre that has taught me the most about life. Ethics, passion, hard work and intelligence are at the heart of a genre that is only apparently made of noise and kids screaming their frustration.
It’s not the best book ever, but the main character works in a record shop and is obsessed with top5 charts. In addition, it inspired a great film and a nice TV series (much abused: go and catch up on it). What more could you ask for? If I ever write a book in my life, it will be because of Nick Hornby.
I consider myself a good cinephile but not a hardcore one: I see a lot of films but my range varies from the most ignorant genre (for example “Le Notti Del Terrore” aka “Burial Ground”) to more or less committed directors who are not too demanding. Taxi Driver is my favourite movie, although the reasons why it has become so have softened somewhat over time. When I first saw it, I felt exactly like Travis Bickle and as I’ve grown older, fortunately or otherwise, I’ve lost some of that character. Nevertheless, it’s a perfect film and I don’t regret naming many of my creations after it. Taxi Driver is the name of my webzine, which I’ve been running since 2000. I named my now-defunct record shop and my active independent label after it too. But if I’m no longer in tune with Travis, I’m still connected to that New York, which is so similar to Genoa in some ways. Or at least, that’s what my imagination leads me to think.
I’ve been enjoying Jarmusch for the last few years, one film at a time, now and then. I love his slow pace, the stories he tells and the world he sets them in. It’s hard to say which is my favourite movie; tomorrow I’d probably say Ghost Dog, Dead Man, Mystery Train or Night On Earth. Jim is a cool guy and he also passes on his “coolness” to the characters in his stories. So cool and yet such losers. Kind of like me (pause for laugher..). On my recent solo album ‘News From Home’ I dedicated a song to him and I hope, sooner or later, he will listen to it.
I chose this film by Sion Sono just to let you know that I love Oriental Movies. They manage to put on screen things that are hidden in my neurons, and when I see them I say ‘ah ok, it’s not only me who’s so weird’. Strange Circus is absurd and impossible to explain. I don’t even recommend watching it because you’d see things you probably wouldn’t like. Just bear in mind that it exists. And you should also know of the existence of a director like Sion Sono by whom I recommend, besides the “more common” Love Exposure and Suicide Club, the magnificent Antiporno, the funny musical Tokyo Tribe, the absurd Tag.. well, whatever you can find, actually. I don’t think they are on Netflix or Amazon Prime anyway.
One of the most legendary records ever. Three geeks get signed to a major label that showers them with cash. They smoke the whole advance payment and waste a lot of time fucking around. They finally hand the label a single 60-minute track, with about three riffs. Of course, the label says ‘Get out of here and don’t come back’.
Sleep disbanded after a few months, but the legend surrounding the record began to grow year after year.
Anyone calling themselves stoner-lovers should give a full listen to this stoner metal – doom – sludge tour de force. There are three or four different versions. They’re all wonderful, but I’m fond of the first one entitled Jerusalem, which actually ends a few minutes earlier than the other versions. A sonic and attitudinal manifesto, but a masterpiece too.
I know: Badmotorfinger is better, but I grew up with this record. It includes so many genres that coexist and gave me the imprinting to understand and listen to them: punk, psychedelia, metal, doom, odd times, alternative rock, alternative metal. But above all, incredible songs and a stratospheric band. Grunge? Yes, you won’t find such a similar depression in any funeral doom and suicidal black metal record. In a nutshell, it’s my favourite record of all time.
Lingua Ignota has already been mentioned by Ron Ben-Tovim in this column, so as a second choice among my current favourites I mention Big Brave. Although they have made awesome records, in my opinion their best was released last year. It’s their collaboration with The Body entitled ‘Leaving None But Small Birds’ in which they reinterpret and revisit Canadian, English and Appalachian folk classics. Vocals in a state of grace, delicate but sharp drones and classy arrangements; this album is my favourite from the last five years.