70's Italian Prog Rock bands: Semiramis


Michele Zarrillo (guitar, vocals)
Maurizio Zarrillo (keyboards)
Marcello Reddavide (bass)
Memmo Pulvano (drums)

Pulvano replaced by Paolo Faenza (drums, percussion, vibes)
Giampiero Artegiani (acoustic guitar, synth)

Semiramis was one of the many one-album 70's Italian prog rock bands. It was a teenagers five-piece from Rome mainly based on the guitar of Michele Zarrillo and the twin keyboards of Giampiero Artegiani and Michele's brother Maurizio Zarrillo. The basic nucleus had been formed around 1970 by Maurizio Zarrillo and cousins Marcello Reddavide and Memmo Pulvano, all of them being 15-year old, and their first singer was Maurizio Macos (real name Macioce). In 1972 they were joined by Michele Zarrillo, younger brother of keyboardist Maurizio, that had previously played with I Piccoli Lord and he was considered a gifted guitarist. The name Semiramis was chosen from a queen of Babylon, and the group even played at Rome's historical Villa Pamphili festival in 1972, but the original drummer Pulvano had to leave the musical career. He was replaced by a long time friend of the group, Paolo Faenza, who brought with him another keyboardist, Giampiero Artegiani, to enrich the group's sound. Released in 1973 by Trident label the album, Dedicato a Frazz, had a gatefold cover designed by Gordon Faggetter, an English painter based in Rome and working with RCA. Complex rhythm changes and a good guitar/keyboards interplay are the main ingredients of this album, not perfectly produced, but still regarded by many as one of the top Italian prog LP's. It combines elements of Italian folk, heavy progressive passages (especially in the middle of the album), baroque church music, jazz and classical. Michele Zarrillo was only 16-year old when the album was recorded. The band had an intense live activity in most of the major open-air festivals of the time, and kept playing even after the album release until 1974, with a few line-up changes, preparing a never released second album.

Per una strada affollata

Dedicato a Frazz (1973):

1. La bottega del rigattiere (6:01) 
2. Luna Park (5:58) 
3. Uno zoo di vetro (4:28) 
4. Per una strada affollata (5:00)
5. Dietro una porta di carta (5:42)
6. Frazz (5:05) 
7. Clown (4:34)

Dietro una porta di carta

After the band's demise Michele Zarrillo was briefly in a later incarnation of Il Rovescio della Medaglia, and around 1980, he started a successful career as a melodic pop artist. He became a very popular singer in Italy during the 80's, he's still active and he was followed by Giampiero Artegiani that had a series of solo releases in the same vein along with a production work. Original drummer Memmo Pulvano still plays in the Bowie cover band The Allad Insane.