Pikes in Panic story begins with the Siennese band Rumble Fish (1983/84)
founded by Lorenzo Carlucci (guitar and vocals), Roberto Censi (bass),
Gianni Bertacchi (guitar and vocals – then with Barbieri), Marco Pallassini
After two years and two self produced
cassettes Marco Pallassini decided to leave the band and move to London
where he later joined the Cannibals of Mike Spenser, in the early 1980’s
one of London’s Psychos most followed bands.
Andrea Brogi(then with Psychomotor Pluck)
took Marco’s place and Marco Sammicheli became lead guitarist, at the same
time he also played with Arco e I Bizzarri, a band founded by Luca Losi
(vocals), Michele Landi (drums) and Claudio Maccari (bass). The Bizzarri
were working out a sixty’s sound with various influences and the next step
was the obvious merge of the two bands with the addition of the keyboard
player Angelo Giallombardo who had already played with the Rumble Fish
in the self produced cassette “Garage Band”.
new merge produced an infernal array of sounds ranging from the most diverse
musical genders that went from Punk-Psychedelia-Sixties Punk- Hammond style
(the first Deep Purple)-Hendrix-Soul Stax and Motown and these influences
where clearly perceivable in their songs.
The Band’s original name Pikes in Panic
(invented by Luca) was inspired by Marco and Roberto’s passion for fishing.
The band quickly tried to develop its
own unique sound and they tried to achieve this with their instruments
. Just before their first recordings and concerts they roamed across Italy,
sacrificing time and money, in search of original instruments (at the time
the word “vintage” was unknown and the prices were not as exorbitant as
Lorenzo: a 1966 semiacustic Rickenbacher
and Vox ac30 amplifier found at a knock out price in a shop in Siena and
a 1964 Fender Jaguar;
Marco: a 1966 country gentlemen “Chet
Atkins” Gretsch all the way from London (carried through customs
by two trustworthy friends), a Fender super reverb and twin reverb Fender
amplifier. During the recording of the album he also played a 335;
Angelo: the most perseverant: he managed
to get his hands on three Farfisa compacts, a Farfisa professional, two
Vox, a very heavy Hammond that caused back ache at every gig (three flights
of stairs in Naples at the “Riot” in S. Biagio dei Librai won’t be forgotten
in a hurry!), a Fender Leslie amplifier with a powerful ventilator;
Michele often used to play a Luca’s
a set of Hollywood drums with trolley;
Roberto never abandoned his Ibanez bass
from his punk origins.
powerful and relentless rhythm of Michele, Roberto and Lorenzo (the overwhelming
punk energy), Marco’s cutting guitar riffs, distorted and pure, Angelo’s
melodious arrangements, his solos on the Farfisa, on the Hammond and on
the electric keyboard are a few of the Pike’s characteristics that made
them stand out from all the other bands.
Finally we can't forget Luca’s deep, black
vocalist voice that so distinguished itself.
An important presence for the band was
Marco Begani, their manager. He offered his friendship but also searched
for gigs, record labels, distributors and maintained contacts with other
aficionados up until his departure,
He produced (together with Massimo Mini)
the first e.p. Chiavoni Day (Microbonf 1985), four songs mixed and recorded
in just one day ! The 1000 copies were quickly sold out.
This period was characterised by enthusiastic
reviews and articles in fanzines (the real source of the underground scene),
in specialist magazines (Rockerilla, Il Mucchio Selvaggio, Buscadero) and
nights spent playing and listening to the music of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
An important acknowledgment and a great
satisfaction for the band was a letter from Jello Biafra (singer of the
Dead Kennedys, an expert of sixties punk and a legend for all generations)
that spurred the band on to continue and asked for information on the band’s
The band was constantly supported by a
group of wild aficionados that were musically very up-to-date going to
all their gigs wherever they played: in and around Siena there was a movement
of people, ideas and music that made this Tuscan town one of the liveliest
places in central Italy for the sixties-oriented music scene.
ep “Chiavoni Day” was recorded at the Gas studios in Florence that later
proposed a contract that brought to the recording of the album Keep it
cool and dry (1988) and taking part in the Eighties colour vol. 2 (a compilation
edited by Claudio Sorge for his label Electric Eye)
The tiresome wait for the debut album,
with months and months of delay and the diverging ideas regarding the production
became a real burden for the Pikes. The aims of the record label were a
far cry from those of the band and so were the different ideas on just
about everything (sound-gigs-photographs). The 2 record producers insisted
on separate recordings for each instrument the Pikes were totally against
this (in fact all went well when a live recording was decided) and apart
from the excellent relationship with the sound technician (Mario Fani)
and the less than poor results of the recording, the year and half delay,
the long time spent in the recording studios, that was so far from the
Pikes’ concept of live band, and lastly the horrendous album cover led
to the first real crisis.
after this, Roberto Censi, who wanted a much harder musical approach whilst
the other members were listening to more and more rhythm & blues, left
and Paolo Migliorini, who definitely preferred this kind of music, took
his place (he had played with a rhythm & blues cover band at the same
time as the Pikes: Fat Peep Combo where every now and then Luca and Marco
The band took part in a compilation “Lose
your mind” (with a demo version of Summer Girl) together with the best
Italian psychedelic/garage groups.
more than 50 concerts throughout Italy those that will be mostly remembered
are as support band to the Prisoners (one of the Pikes’ members favourite
groups – James Taylor played with Angelo’s farfisa and leslie-fender!!!!!!)
and to the Lyres of Jeff “Mono-man” Connolly.
The Pikes like to remember and greet the
great bands of that period of the Italian music underground scene with
whom they had the pleasure to play: Birdman of Alcatraz (the group that
the Pikes most admired and were tied to through mutual respect and friendship)
– SteepleJack – Kim Squad & Dinah Shore Hearthbangers – The Storks
– The Liars – Gli Avvoltoi – Funhouse – Joe Perrino & the Mellowtones
– Double Deck Five – The Gift – The Lager – Psychomotor Pluck.
Once the Pikes broke up:
Michele has sung and played in Barbieri,
Goldfingers. Quarrymen, Ray Daytona & The GooGooBombos and now in the
Luca has sung and played in Ghostrider.
Roberto has played in Wilderness Underground
and in Modulo 101.
Angelo has played in Goldfingers.