Acoustic guitars? No samples or loops? Sounds a bit like an anachronism for the year 2000, doesn’t it? But what is provided by Ezio Lunedei (singer/guitarist) and Mark “Booga” Fowell (guitarist), is nothing less than an anachronism, but one of the most innovative and freshest phenomenons of the music market.
1990 in Cambridge: Ezio whose musical roots are somewhere between Van Morrison and Jeff Buckley, looks for the ideal partner. When he met Kenyan born Booga, next to 2 Metres high and nearly that wide, it was only a matter of time before a musical union of unprecedented quality was formed.
Looking at these two guys you see two totally different types of men, but when they start to play, they play with a rythmical power and unity that’s hard to produce with a full rhythm section!! Booga’s spontaneous fluid touch is the perfect complement to Ezio’s emotive songs, imaginatively adding to the moods they invoke but never swamping them or being flash for the sake of it.
Once having met, the duo were playing over 200 hundred concerts all over the British Isles. They attracted much record company interest with Arista/BMG being the front runners, eventually signing them. In 1994 they signed their first and long awaited record deal. BMG really took care of their young artists: “Black Boots on Latin Feet” their debut album was produced by none other than Rupert Hine (Stevie Nicks, Tina Turner, Noa, Duncan Shiek).
The highly acclaimed album resulted in support tours with a few of the big names of the business: Paul Young, Les Negresses Vertes, Joan Armatrading, Big Country etc.
Not only in the UK but also in South Africa and other territories, EZIO’s music found new audiences, who appreciated their original style and attitude. After they started touring Germany it became one of the most important markets for them. Since the first shows there in 1995, they played more than 150 concerts and have increased their audiences 5 fold with similar results in The Netherlands and after a few club shows they were invited to play the nation’s biggest event, The Park Pop Festival!
One of the main reasons for all of this success is their incredible live show, which often leaves the audience with shiny eyes and in an unbelievably enthusiastic mood. But far from this being a dreamy introverted songwriter show, you need to imagine two mad men playing Rock ‘n Roll on acoustic guitars!! This powerful and exciting show is tempered with beautiful ballads, tales of longing, aching love, which have the disconcerting habit of catching you unaware with a line you could have written yourself, had you been able to put these deeply buried feelings into words.
In 1997 their second album “Diesel Vanilla” was released on MCA/Universal. It was produced by Rod Argent (Tanita Tikaram) and Peter Van Hooke (Van Morrison, Mike and the Mechanics). They provided a more band orientated environment for the duo to work with leading them to new directions by allowing two to become four, introducing drums and base in to their live performances. Working with such legendary musicians and producers, and appealing to a growing fan base, could only spur this duo on to greater things.
In 1998 EZIO followed this path further on and so they began to play their shows in the band line up, with their producer Peter Van Hooke on drums and Lidia Cascarino on bass. Ezio and Booga felt very comfortable to be supported by two musicians as great as these, and the incredible fun they had on stage lead to EZIO’s 3rd Album “Higher”. It was produced between September and December 1999 in Peter Van Hooke’s Studio, and was recorded nearly fully live in the same line up (with Lidia and Peter) EZIO had been on tour with for so many month. To record the album with a full band, to use nearly the same arrangements they play live finally made it possible to close the gap that always was to hear between the intimate mood of former recordings and the incredible power of their live performances.
“Higher” is a typical great third album. An album of a grown up band, that already have seen most of the ups and downs of the music business but never lost their way through it. An album that is not copying the style of the former ones, but developing it to a higher musical level.
“Higher” was released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland at April 10th, 2000, supported by a 28 show tour through all Germany and a big marketing campaign. The UK and Netherlands followed in early summer 2000.
In 2003, EZIO continue their musical development towards a “true studio album”. While “Higher” was still paying tribute to the band-lineup that fans are used to when seeing them on stage, their new album “The Making of Mr Spoons” has been enriched by a lot of grooves and subtle effects. And the magic is: It is still as authentic and direct as ever.