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Roy Bianco & The Abbrunzati Boys: Who are they rooting for at the European Championships?

Roy Bianco & The Abbrunzati Boys: Who are they rooting for at the European Championships?

Roy Bianco & Die Abbrunzati Boys talk in an interview about their new Italo-Schlager album and their wish for the Schlager world.

The Aperol Spritz is chilled, the Italian flags are flying: Roy Bianco & Die Abbrunzati Boys (RB & DAB) are releasing their third album on May 31st. With “Kult” they are taking their fans back into their world of Italo hits. “On the one hand, it is an extremely meaningful term that is religiously and spiritually charged, but on the other hand it can be totally meaningless and trivial,” explains Roy Bianco in an interview with spot on news about the album title. The singer, who always sticks to his stage name, adds: “It’s a super exciting field of tension that we find ourselves in. Our group itself moves between religiosity and triviality, between funny and serious. It’s polarizing.” The word cult can “stand for an incredible love, other people vehemently reject it – there is no better title for one of our albums (laughs).”

In addition, the band is “of course always ahead of the press,” adds Zanti. The guitarist and singer, who is behind the second part of the band name, the Abbrunzati Boys, explains: “With our first album, we already knew that it would be our ‘Greatest Hits’. And now, of course, we also know in advance that we are a cult band. Before someone else writes that about us, we’ll write it ourselves.” RB & DAB have always played with self-irony, and this not only includes the fact that there is only one person behind the plural “the Abbrunzati Boys”, the guitarist, but it also begins with their fictional band history and their alleged founding in 1982 in Sirmione on Lake Garda. After the “dissolution” in 1997, the surprising “comeback” followed in the summer of 2016. In 2020 and 2022 they released the albums “Greatest Hits” and “Mille grazie”. The band from Augsburg and Munich, which also includes the sonorous names Ralph Rubin (keyboard), Eisensepp (bass), Bungo Jonas (drums) and Blechkofler (trumpet), draws “significant inspiration from pop luminaries” in their music. You only think of Udo Jürgens, Vicky Leandros, Caterina Valente or Peter Alexander, who kept our place warm until our ‘comeback’ on the pop Olympus,” says Zanti with a grin. “But there are also several bands from the Austro-rock area that paved the way for us. You just think of Bilderbuch or Wanda, who can now claim to be cult. Of course, we are happy to join them.”

In the footsteps of Udo Jürgens

In addition to the pop music, the love of Italy is an important part of the RB & DAB overall concept. Where the band likes to spend time in the country “is very different and of course always changes because Italy is such a diverse country with its landscapes, history, culture and food,” says Roy Bianco. “But basically we are yin and yang, like Italy itself. The Abbrunzati Boys like to spend their time in the south of Italy, everything that happens under Rome. I’m more drawn to the north.” For the real Dolce Vita, every trip to Italy should of course include the Aperol Spritz, to which the band even dedicated a song, “Sprizz.” RB & DAB, who normally sing about “Bella Napoli”, “Vino Rosso” or “Dolce Vita”, traveled to Greece and Great Britain for the new album with the songs “Santorin” and “Goodbye, Arrivederci”. “Of course, there can’t be a cult album by our group without us daring to take this trip to the Cyclades and following in the footsteps of Udo Jürgens or Vicky Leandros,” says Zanti. “German pop music, especially in the 60s and 70s, sought its longings not only in Italy, but also in Greece.” The band chose London primarily for visual reasons, says Roy Bianco. “The city only appears in the video, not in the song. We had the opportunity to record our song live again in Abbey Road Studios. What musician wouldn’t take a plane to the island and to the place where pop music was invented, namely by the greatest group in the world, the Beatles?” Being able to stand in the same place as John Lennon and Paul McCartney was an “overwhelming experience” and “a privilege,” says the singer. On their trips, the musicians also adapted their fashions; in London, the Britpop style dominated, in Greece they slipped into pastel suits, as they often did. “Fashion plays a very important role in Italian pop music,” says Zanti. “We dress according to the themes in our songs. We have to highlight our Bungo Jonas, who is very fashion-savvy, and through our collaboration with the Volkstheater in Munich we have now been able to build up a large collection for stage performances. We are very happy about that.”

Release shows at home

The band will be presenting “Kult” in various ways in the coming weeks. On June 3rd, it will be performed in Dolby Atmos quality at the Mathäser Filmpalast in Munich. “If we’re going to record an album in high quality at Abbey Road Studios and Trixx Studios in Berlin over a year, then a wonderful gala evening is very fitting, where we can really enjoy the album in the highest quality with our fans,” says Zanti. The band will also be giving two release shows in Italy on June 7th and 8th, at a location that the guitarist describes as “befitting and worthy of an Italo-Schlager cult release show.” The fact that the concerts in the gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle near Merano were sold out within a few seconds “astonished” the band, despite their cult status, says Roy Bianco. “That is definitely a level of loyalty that our fans show in advance, and we are always surprised by it.” In the fall, the musicians will be going to the big halls, including shows planned at Munich’s Olympiahalle and the edel optics Arena in Hamburg. What makes a perfect RB & DAB show? “Our concerts are a 50/50 event. If the audience performs well, then we can perform too,” says Roy Bianco. “If the audience performs exceptionally, then we do that too. It’s perfect form when both come into symbiosis. And that’s the most important thing for us, that we all create a wonderful moment together that will remain unforgettable.” The band’s concerts also follow the motto “entertainment with attitude,” which the musicians also want from other pop artists. “There are always people who show attitude, like Helene Fischer, who also clearly positions herself against the right, which is extremely important,” says Roy Bianco. “Pop music, precisely because it is very socially accessible, must try even harder to take a stance in the right places and say that some things just don’t work. You can’t hide behind platitudes or the genre itself, which is perhaps more low-threshold and doesn’t really demand it. But it is important, especially as a great artist, to live up to your responsibility in society to some extent.” On a musical level, too, they want to “give pop music more dignity,” says Zanti. “We see ourselves in the tradition of real musicians, handmade music. That is something that has been somewhat lost in pop music, especially since the 80s and 90s, that music is actually only produced electronically, comes out of a can. And we see ourselves more as traditionalists in this field.” At RB & DAB everything is “handmade and live, whether on an album or at concerts. It is very important to us that we are more of a rock band than a pop group.” The band doesn’t take genre specifications too seriously, “but rather stands behind the term Italo-Schlager as an umbrella term for everything that has ever been done by Roy Bianco & Die Abbrunzati Boys,” adds the guitarist. “It’s a wide field of possibilities, we’ve done one or two rock anthems, there’s also a samba, a glimpse of Brazil. And then there’s also one or two classic hits from the 50s.”

Will the “Fernsehgarten” be calling soon?

Away from the live stage, the band, which performed at the last ZDF New Year’s Eve show, is also ready for more TV appearances. “We are open to a variety of show formats,” says Zanti. “I would really like to do the Fernsehgarten this summer. Maybe Kiwi will call through (laughs).” Roy Bianco adds: “We are definitely capable, due to our moral mechanisms, of turning things down and choosing wisely what we want to do and how we want to do it. We don’t accept everything, we don’t need to. But I agree with you there, I can definitely see us in a Fernsehgarten.”Would the band also be up for the big TV stage if they took part in the Eurovision Song Contest? “It might be a possibility, but I think we are already so well booked with dates that we are happy and are now refraining from doing such things because they are very time-consuming,” says Roy Bianco. “Even though we obviously believe extremely in our music and our emotions and think that it would also be heard in Europe.”

Are you rooting for Germany or Italy?

And what about the Italian fans at the European Football Championships at home? Will they cheer for the Squadra Azzurra or Germany? “For me, the last international football tournaments have always shown that I enjoyed the preliminary round the most,” says Roy Bianco. “When smaller nations, let me put it quite casually, play against each other, whose games you wouldn’t otherwise watch. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most, more than a national team per se.” His bandmate emphasizes about the European Championships at home: “I think we can keep our fingers crossed for the German national football team this year after these long years when nothing at all was happening. The Italians only won the European Championship in 2021. That’s why we can support Germany with a clear conscience.” Does the band have time to watch the European Championship games? “I think we have one or two festivals during that time. But when Germany plays, we’re not on stage,” says Zanti. “Our booking was a good fit.” RB & DAB even had a European Championship song in the pipeline for their new album, “but it didn’t make it onto the record because of the large number of songs,” reveals Roy Bianco. “In an alternative world, in a parallel universe, it’s almost certainly already on the radio. But the World Cup is in two years, so maybe we’ll bring it out again then.”

Source: Stern

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