Interview: Massimo Izzizzari

Dan McAvinchey: Massimo, let's get into your instrumental solo album, "Unstable Balance". How did you come up with the idea for the record?

Massimo Izzizzari: I have always wanted to record a purely instrumental album. Unfortunately, I was pretty busy working for a pop-rock band called Misturafina. In 2003 I started to write some of the tunes that ended up being in this album. The main idea was to make an album with instrumental tunes which contain a strong melody and a nice groove.
Both the melody and the groove are extremely important to me. With this album I
attempted to express all my musical influences throughout the years. I expected the
album to go straight to the listener without being too simple.

Dan McAvinchey: What techniques did you use to become the guitar player you are today?

Massimo Izzizzari: I analyzed very carefully many guitar instructional videos and studied with different books. Most of all, I worked on transcribing tunes. I spent a long time working on technique as well, but also on great solos and harmonic progressions used by the
greats. I have always focused on melody and rhythm as well, which are two important
aspects of Italian music.

Dan McAvinchey: What are the elements of a great guitar solo?

Massimo Izzizzari: Generally speaking, I believe that a great solo is the final result of a balancing process which involves many different elements such as melody , technique and a big heart. They are all important elements that can become a perfect mixture only
throughout a musical experience. By musical experience I mean hours of practicing,
listening, and playing. A good musician has to know how to balance all the components
throughout his/her experience.

Dan McAvinchey: What are the killer tracks on the "Unstable Balance" album?

Massimo Izzizzari: One of my favorite tracks on the album is "Access Denied" for its technical difficulties. I am also proud of "Wordgame", in particular, for its nice groove and
solo. Finally, Teresa the tune I composed for my daughter. However, I have to say
that I am somehow tied to any track of the album since I cared about every track
during the record making process. Each phase of the process from recording to
mastering was studied very carefully.

Dan McAvinchey: How did you hook up with Lion Music?

Massimo Izzizzari: I hooked up with Lion Music through Mistheria. Then the Lion Music staff listened very carefully to my demos and started to promote my work to Lasse. I am thankful to Lion Music and I express all my admiration to him for both as a musician and as
a friend.

Dan McAvinchey: Would you like to showcase your instrumental music in a live setting?

Massimo Izzizzari: Yes, I definitely want to play in a live setting, and I hope that there will be many upcoming events here and abroad. I am craving for nice live performances. By the way, my website is On the site you can find information, the latest news and my concert schedule.

Dan McAvinchey: How would you describe the feeling of completing your first solo release?

Massimo Izzizzari: Making "Unstable Balance" has been really satisfying. As I said, I paid attention to every phase of the album making process and all this work has been paid off with the contract with Lion Music, which is certainly one of the most important labels in the
world when it comes to promote new talents. I hope that all the guitar aficionados
will appreciate my work and I thank for this interview.

Dan McAvinchey: Are there other new guitar players out there that have attracted your interest?

Massimo Izzizzari: No. There are lots of good players out there and sometimes it's hard for me to recall their names. I think it's not really their names that make the difference but
their music. The name is just a consequence of a good guitar work. I composed all
the tunes by singing the melody while strumming the chords. I used the same process
that many songwriters use in composing their tunes. Sometimes this doesn't happen on purely instrumental albums because the player is more focused on his/her technical capabilities.

Dan McAvinchey: What other kinds of music do you listen to?

Massimo Izzizzari: I listen to everything regardless of the style. I love Sting pop music, the rock of Foo Fighters, the jazz of John Scofield, and the blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan, just to mention a few. I absorb elements from any style of music - especially from the ones that have influenced my guitar playing path.

interview pic

Dan McAvinchey: What are you working on now?

Massimo Izzizzari: At the moment, I am working on the tunes that will be on an instrumental album that I will start to record this summer. I find composing really stimulating, and right now I am going through a really inspiring stage of my life as a composer. I
feel very creative at the moment. One project I would really like to work on is an electric guitar method. I have been teaching for quite a while, and I wrote many lecture notes for my students. Therefore, I would like to reorganize those lecture notes into a book with a CD.

Dan McAvinchey: If you could do a once-off album project with any guitarist in the world, who would it be?

Massimo Izzizzari: I would like to get involved with all the guitarists who have somehow influenced me. Greg Howe would be the first name on the list since I believe that he
is a modern and revolutionary rock guitarist. I would say the same for John Scofield
even though he is a jazz guitarist. I would definitely enjoy working with them on my
next record. I thought of having a special guest on "Unstable Balance" but when I gave
the record to Lasse everything was done already.

interview picture
Zzzzzzzz! With all those z's in his name you might expect his music to help you to fall asleep. Quite the contrary. Massimo Izzizzari's solo CD "Unstable Balance" is a shred rock/funk oriented guitar album that gives the listener more jolts than a triple expresso.

Dan McAvinchey recently asked Izzissari to discuss his unashamedly purely instrumental debut album.