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Omar Pedrini: Interview

by AdminAg

At the crossroads of anger and philosophy

Written by Artemide De Blanc

In songs, grandmothers make noodles and are called Pina. Omar Pedrini’s grandmother was called Nina, she was a guitarist (iconoclast) and at the age of five gave him the instrument with which he would sublimate his lifelong rebellion: a guitar.

“The instrument with which I exorcise every problem. My machine gun is a contrabass that shoots air and words in your face’.

The anger, the working-class environment, the poverty. The neighborhood of Brescia where becoming an ultras leader was seen as an alpha male goal. But his DNA rolled out musical proteins by family vocation: the great-grandfather was a clarinet teacher and director of the village band, the grandmother was a guitarist, grandmother’s sister a mandolin player. The primary instinct to perform in concert pulsated from the age of eight.

Guitar or moped: you always have to choose…
“Mine was a working-class family, my mother went to work when she was 10. Then my father redeemed himself from this poverty and at 16 he put me in front of the crucial choice: guitar or moped? I chose the former, of course. I was wild, I would stay up late rehearsing, surely this aut aut aut prevented me from further problems with the motorbike. Our band was experimenting, at the time the pretence of making rock by singing in Italian was ridiculous according to common thinking. Decibel and Timoria opened the way, so much that today rock, here, is preferably done in Italian’.

What’s the life of a rock star like?
It’s so beautiful. You make a lot of money, you take your music everywhere, the audience is in an osmotic relationship with you. But you have no time for yourself. In the nineties we did about 230 concerts a year, two on Saturdays and two on Sundays. Those two hours in the dressing room became the only escape between concerts.

The famous reckless life?
These are excesses that occur almost fatally. There were always those who drank, those who offered you drugs, the stress was very high, none of us had any time left to spend with friends. The next day you would leave for another gig. It wasn’t perdition, it was leisure time. I had no idea I was walking on thin ice….

Was the razor wire the disease that ‘stopped’ you?
I didn’t know I had a congenital heart problem. I was 36 years old when life stopped me. After all my years of living dangerously, the cardiologists were amazed that I was still alive. I had undergone six operations, three by endoscopy.

And did you suddenly turn from storm to sun?
The real asset was the son I had at the age of 24. He was metaphorically the petrol light that goes on when the level of wisdom drops. At 3 a.m. I was able to think ‘I am going to bed now so I can take my son to lunch tomorrow’. Later, with the arrival of a heavy health problem, my vocation for transgression turned into something different.

Regretful?
No! I would do it all over again. My nature is and always will be rebellious. Now, however, the fact that I have had everything in life, the love for my family (in the meantime two more small children ) have led me towards more philosophical desires, let’s call them that. I like to go to cellars, I don’t stay up until 7am, when I drink I stop at two gin tonics.

Hard to think of you as a Buddhist at the stadium…
I am actually an activist for a Buddhist monastery, I always go to watch the Brescia football team but without any violence. And then I have my monks. Now they are the pushers I go to when I am in crisis.

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