An Interview with Fabio Lione - by

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Alex: Hi Fabio, thanks for taking the time for this interview! How are you and the band doing right now?

Fabio: Thanks to you!!! Well, at the moment we are planning a new European tour and I'm sure everything will be great!!! Our fans will see and hear something really great and as always we just want to give them the best we can.

Alex: How is it going with the new line-up? Did the three new band members already manage to get settled in? And did they maybe bring something like a new fresh air into the band?

Fabio: Mmm ... I have to say that they are both great guys and they fit very well into the band ... Oliver is a great bass player and I think everyone knows him because of Blind Guardian, Sieges Even, Tarja etc. He's really happy 'cause he loves the band and of course it will be great for him to play with his brother like back in the "Sieges Even" times. About Tom, well ... I know him for many years. He is a great guitar player and more than this a real friend for us! I'm so happy to have him with us. Same thing regarding Roberto. He is a good friend of Alex and Luca (Turilli). I think they played together in the past ... something like 15/16 years ago. And he's a great guy! Fresh air!?! Well ... I'm sure they will give positive feelings and a nice attitude to the band. Everyone will see this on our next tour!!!

Alex: How did you chose the new band members? How do you “find out” who is qualified for the job and – even more important – who also fits the band if it comes to personality? What can you tell us about this “integration process”?

Fabio: Easy, first we (me and Alex) want nice people, good players and more important someone that can give and bring good things to the band, ideas, feelings etc. ... you can only have this with people who love music and have experience. All the 3 new guys are our friends and good musicians, that's the most important thing.

Alex: After Luca Turilli and Patrice Guers left the band last year, did Alex Staropoli ever think about dissolving Rhapsody or maybe put it on hiatus? Why did he decide to carry on after this huge split-up?

Fabio: Well, to be honest I think I was the last one that knew about this split-up. And I can't really say a lot about it. They prefered and decided this and I'm not the one to say it was a good or wrong decision. They just prefered this way and it's fine to me. I don't think Alex will ever think about dissolving Rhapsody or something like that. He loves music, this band and I'm sure he'll always do his best for it. Carry on!?! Well, we sold more than 1.200.000 records so far. After many years of good work, we love what we do, we love our fans and that's why we have to carry on. You are right anyway, this was an huge split-up and I think people can get confused or have different opinions regarding that. My opinion is that now we have 2 great bands that can offer good, talented music to the market and to the people. And who cares about who plays with whom? Music is the key to open hearts and souls. And this is what I and Alex and Luca always wanted to do. And I'm sure we will always do!!!

Alex: In what direction will the band head stylistically, now that you have finished to tell your ten albums lasting tale?

Fabio: Good question! I think with the new guys we can search new "places" and directions. Of course we'll never change the sound of Rhapsody of Fire completely, but we can have more and more directions to take. I'm sure people will be surprised!!!

Alex: Are the new members going to take part in the songwriting process?

Fabio: Of course they will bring good ideas and their specific style to Rhapsody of Fire, but I can say that me and Alex will do most of the things, probably. If someone in the band has a great song ... well, everyone is happy. So the goal is to have great new songs and music. Alex: How do you feel about Turillis’ „Rhapsody“? Is it some kind of disturbing factor for you? Some kind of rivalry that may take away some of your fans in the future?

Fabio: To be honest I think the hardest thing for a Rhapsody fan is to see Luca in one band and probably the singer in another one. I mean, after many years is not so easy to understand that. I like to think that both bands can write and play great music without disturbing each other. We still are good friends anyway and I don't see such a great rivalry between us. I think our fans probably will love both sides. Luca is a very good composer, a great musician and of course a great guy. He'll do great!!! I like to think that we can have a new challenge this time, reach new goals and make people happy.

Alex: You just confirmed the first leg of your World Tour 2012. What are your expectations for these shows? Are there any countries you are especially looking forward to visit?

Fabio: Of course! We want to be back in Europe because we love Europe!!! He, he.. I have to say that this one is a very important tour for us. Of course after the split-up we can see and feel the reaction of the people about the new Rhapsody of Fire and I'm sure we'll do great. We love all places in Europe. Italy is a great country for Rhapsody of Fire. France and Germany, too! Belgium, Spain etc. ... we want to give a great live performance everywhere!

Alex: On your website, you say that instead of arranging classical Meet & Greets, you want to keep the fan contact in another way and in a greater scale. However, that sounds quite blurry and indefinite. Can you tell us something about those plans?

Fabio: Sorry, I want to make it indefinite! He,he ... people like this!!! I can say that we want to share moments, time and smiles with our fans and make some of them very happy! They can see a great show and have great time with the band and this is something that will remain in their minds and make them and the band happy. Anyway, in the next days we'll tell them more about that!

Alex: After these dramatic line-up changes in 2011, will you be forced to change your show on stage due to the differing capabilities of the new guys, or will it stay the same as usual?

Fabio: Well, I don't really think the show will change so much. All the guys in the two bands are great musicians, so no problem! I can say that we'll play new songs in this tour and with some good ideas we can offer a great live show!!! But I would not talk about a "dramatic" line-up change regarding live performances. The band at the moment is even stronger than before and everyone will know that soon. In my opinion, what will be really interesting is to hear the new materials of both sides, when we'll release new things! And of course Luca's new singer. But regarding our show on stage, I don't see any problem for us ...

Alex: What would you say are the main aspects of your concerts? Is it for you like just doing a job one day after another or do you try to make every concert something special and unique?

Fabio: Of course every show is unique and every night you have to feel the people and give them a great experience and performance. What I love in all this matter is to feel this "magic" feeling in the air between the fans and the band, and not to think about it. Give yourself to people and take back their feelings and energy!

Alex: You’ve been on the road with Kamelot for quite a long time, replacing their former vocalist Roy Khan. How did you feel about that tour? Did you make any experiences you can now use for Rhapsody, too?

Fabio: Great!!! Kamelot is a great band and this new experiences make me stronger. We did many shows in all the world (Europe, South America and North America) and every night was fantastic!!! Every show was something that we'll never forget. Use!?! Not really. What I like between this two bands is that you have a different attitude, a different approach with the stage, the people, the music. And this makes me really happy. I can sing, be and act in a different way. This tour was one of the best experiences in my life!!! And these guys deserve the best. I'm happy to see that people liked me a lot replacing such a great singer as Roy!!!

Alex: When we talked to Thomas, he said you had been recommended to him as a tour vocalist by Sascha Paeth because „you can basically sing anything”. How did you manage to get this impressive mutability in your voice? How much of a preparation did you need for taking over Roys position on stage?

Fabio: Honestly I don't do that much of a great preparation for the stage. And everything that I do is something natural to me. What makes me bored listening other singers sometimes is that they sound similar most of the time. It's not easy to find someone versatile with the voice, someone that gives emotions and everything with a nice, personal, elegant style. I think that after many years I just know my way and myself better and this makes me more confident, versatile and even havin' fun sometime singin' completely different things.

Alex: Generally, how do you prepare for an exhausting tour?

Fabio: Just have some rest, some days free and without thinkin' too much about the tour. You have to take it easy to make it easy!!! He,he ... Singin' and being with the band on a tour is like "food" to me! And usually I feel more tired when I'm not doin' something at home. I will never consider something as being an "exhausting" tour, I love to do that and every night I feel more motivated and ready.

Alex: As we can read on the RoF-Website, one of your hobbies is to play video games. Which game are you currently playing? What’s your all-time favorite? And how do you find the time for that with all the touring, working on an album, touring with another band et cetera?

Fabio: Yes, I like them!!! I don't think a lot of people know my favorite ... he, he... Anyway, I really like Ninja Gaiden black, Ninja Gaiden 2, Shenmue and many others! At the moment I don't play games he,he ... I just like to play a little bit, sometimes. But I don't have so much time and I prefer to do other things.

Alex: What else are your plans for the future of Rhapsody? What can the fans expect?

Fabio: First of all we have to do this new tour. That will not be only in Europe but we'll have more shows to come! Then, of course we'll think about and write new materials. Just play and write good music!!! This is the plan.

Alex: Do you have any final words for all the fans out there?

Fabio: I wish a great new year to everybody and hope to see and meet all our fans soon in the next tour! Ciaooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

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