Premiata Forneria Marconi is arguably the most popular and representative band of the Italian progressive rock groups.
P.F.M.'s genesis goes back to the 1960's during the beat club era with a group called- "Quelli" ("Those ones"), which composed of: Pino Favarolo (guitars), Teo Teocoli (vocals), drummer Franz Di Cioccio and Giorgio Piazza at bass. They were later joined by keyboardist Flavio Premoli and Alberto Radius and Franco Mussida on guitars.
The Quelli built up success in Italy by covering foreign songs and because of their musical skills, they were in-demand as session musicians.
Teo Teocoli left the group in 1970, to work in a cabaret. Radius left to form the Formula Tre and finally Di Cioccio left for a few months to play with Nuova Equipe 84.
At the end of 1970 Di Cioccio, Mussida, Premoli and Piazza formed the Premiata Forneria Marconi; (Sometimes shortened to PFM ), the name came from the place where they played, an old pastry shop in Brescia, Italy. Shortly afterwards the group was joined by Mauro Pagani (ex Dalton).
The band debuted in 1971 at the Lyric Theater in Milan, supporting Yes' first Italian tour. Showcasing their musicality, they garnished much-needed experience... people started to take notice, including Mogol (one of the most famous Italian songwriters and producers), for the label Number One and decided to produce PFM's first album.
With PFM supporting bands such as: Black Widow, Deep Purple and Procol Harum, their debut album- `Storia di un minuto' was influenced, by the English style. The rock music included classical tones and Mediterranean influences.
The album was well received and influenced many Italian Prog bands.
In the 1972, the band released their second album- `Per un amico', that illustrated the group maturing and polishing their complex arrangements.
`Photos of ghosts', the bands next album (and my favorite), went to the top of the charts in Italy and even entered the charts in the US.
In the 1974 `L'isola di niente', showcased bassist Jean Patrick Djivas in replacement of Giorgio Piazza (who went to the Crystals). The album, released out of Italy with the name `The world became the world', was the most sophisticated album to date. PFM toured the US supporting bands such as: Poco, Santana, Beach Boys and others. The tour gave the band a live album- `Live in U.S.A.' (titled- `Cook' in Italy).
When Bernardo Lanzetti, ended his relationship with Acqua Fragile in 1975, he joined PFM to release- `Chocolate Kings', an album that slowed their growing popularity in the US. After touring in Japan, Mauro Pagani left the band.
`Jet Lag', released in 1977, was a more jazz-rock oriented album and included guest musician- violinist Gregory Bloch. In the same year, they released a collection of there best work- `Antologia'.
In 1978, the album `Passpartù', was released (lyrics by pop songwriter Gianfranco Manfredi). The album was a disappointment. Shortly, Lanzetti left the group for the solo career. Violinist Lucio Fabbri joined the band.
In 1979, PFM (with Roberto Colombo on keyboards), went on tour with Fabrizio De André (one of most famous Italian pop singers). They recorded the tour and released a live LP- `De André e P.F.M. in concerto', with solid success, and followed up with `De André e P.F.M. in concerto - Vol. 2'.
The eighties showed a different musical direction for PFM. `Suonare suonare', released in 1980 (like Genesis' `Lamb Lies Down on Broadway), showcased rough city atmospheres; the tossed away their symphony rock roots.
With Flavio Premoli leaving the band, the next album continued the direction as the last album, hence `Come ti va in riva alla città' was released.
In the 1982 the group toured and produced another live album- `Performance' and then released a new studio album- `Pfm ? Pfm !', which contained a single that garnish good success- "Capitani coraggiosi".
After a long break, PFM released `Miss Baker', in 1987. The music is closer to dance music than to rock.
After little success Premiata Forneria Marconi stopped recording and touring, though there was no declaration of a break-up. More best collection albums are released in the next several years.
Ten years after the last album, Di Cioccio, Djivas, Mussida and Premoli, got together and promoted at the end of the 1996 a 4 CD boxed set which documented their live activity from the 1971 to the 1981 (`PFM - 10 anni live 1971-81'). Franz Di Cioccio released a book about h the history of the band (`PFM - Due volte nella vita', Ed. Mondadori), and the group reunited again and recorded a new concept album, released on April 24 1997- `Ulisse'. The album concentrates on more of a pop than old P.F.M. style, but it was well-received. During the Italian "Ulisse Tour" which occurred from the end of 1997 to the begin of 1998, PFM recorded a new live album: `www.pfmpfm.it (il Best)'.
PFM's latest album is- `Serendipity' released in 2000. Their 2001 tour line-up is: Franz Di Cioccio, vocals; Franco Mussida, guitars; Flavio Premoli, keyboards; Patrick Djivas, bass; Roberto Gualdi, drums; Damiano Della Torre, keyboards.
PFM had to cancel their USA performance at the NearFest 2001, a multi-artist prog festival that is held every summer in Pennsylvania, due to a bad injury suffered by Flavio Premoli.
In 2002 PFM, has returned to their finest progressive form and released a live double CD album from Japan which (IMHO) is excellent.
Storia Di Un Minuto Numero Uno, 1972
Per Un Amico Numero Uno, 1972
Photos of Ghosts Manticore/Numero Uno, 1973
L'Isola Di Niente Numero Uno, 1974
Thw World Became the World Manticore/Numero Uno, 1974