The origins of my passion for this craft.
This passion of mine was born since I was a boy when my family had a hotel in Milan in the Garibaldi area, the Piccadilly Hotel, a simple three-star hotel with enormous dimensions (140 rooms) in the city centre. Most customers will remember the Arrigo brothers, Roberto and Vittorio Binda as the owners, as well as my dear friend, our Rag. Franco Fara. Describing those years between 1975 and 2001 is an arduous task and perhaps one day a book will be dedicated to it. Once I finished school, my passion for Music made me see the possibility of bringing the best Italian Artists to the Hotel and serving as a base for the greatest shows realized in my, then old, Milan. The city at the time was vibrant and it was Milan that made you dream. In our hotel we hosted all the work that followed. The story begins when an elegant and refined man (and I write the name with emotion) Renzo Ramusani, former tailor of great Parisian names, after several jobs including the Head Reception of the Hotel near the Ariston Theatre in San Remo, comes to us as a night porter. From here begins the frequentation of our Hotel by musicians of great caliber his former clients and friends. Fabrizio De Andrè opens the list and begins to introduce his circle of musicians and collaborators to the Hotel, it was easy to find them at night talking with the old Renzo. The list of events and shows in which the Hotel has done an incredible job is endless and the logistical and operational difficulties were unparalleled. The coming and going of artists created moments that for many of you who read now will be indelible memories. Giorgia one evening at the Emerald Theatre said to me: <<Erminio, I’m sorry I didn’t know you before, Italian music has lived many years inside your house and I wasn’t there, I was still small>>>. The great productions started in 1982 in collaboration with the Emerald Theatre through the friend of always Paolo Duranti starting with “Jesus Christ Super Star” up to “Chorus Line” productions by the great Wolfgang Bosch. Then they continue with “Brasil Tropical” in Tour on us for 11 years, with the production of Edvaldo Carneiro at Teatro Smeraldo and Teatro Nuovo with “Amazonas” with world singers such as Salomè De Bahia and Watusi (third in Brazil after Toquigno and Gal Costa). Followed by other shows around the city, between Palatrussardi and other theatres tent performances of “Holiday on Ice” and the “Chinese Circus”. The success of the Hotel remains ever linked to the De Andrè family, where Fabrizio, after the union with Dori Ghezzi from which the birth of the new record company “Fado” derives, decides to use the Hotel as a base for his commitments. At the same time was born my friendship with his son Cristiano who creates with Carlo Facchini and two other friends the group “Tempi Duri”. The group follows Fabrizio De Andrè and PFM on tour all over Italy (arrangements by Mark Harris, 1982) and dissolves in 1985. Cristiano continues his journey alone and then begins his collaboration with Massimo Bubola, a great collaborator of his father. The album “Chiamali tempi duri” is recorded in the recording room “Il cortile” behind the Hotel in via Borsieri. The clientele increases dizzily inserting new characters, producers of the biggest shows of those years: Bruno Sconocchia then great puller of the situation De Andrè, brings to us prominent names including Pepi Morgia. In these years great realities such as the PhD created by Bruno in 1984 to support various artists, among them: Mia Martini, Ornella Vanoni, Gino Paoli, the Pooh, Lucio Dalla, Cristiano De Andrè and so begins the success of Zucchero Fornaciari. Pepi Morgia assiduous frequenter of the Piccadilly Hotel expands our clientele creating unforgettable moments and being the most important light designer of the time makes us participate in the services provided to his productions. Born in 1984 “Cose di musica” and always through Bruno Sconocchia we receive the artists (thanks Monica you were an incredible coordinator!). The atmosphere becomes very warm with the arrival of Ivano Fossati among the clientele who, with his great entourage of Genoese musicians linked to Fabrizio, makes the importance of the Hotel take off.
I thank those who have made my home, my hotel, my pride and my music that I will never forget having lived. I start with the greatest Italian pianist Gilberto Martellieri, pianist of Mia Martini for years and even before Ornella Vanoni, Ivano Fossati, De Andrè and Loredana Bertè. None of us, then boys of the ’70s and ’80s can say that we did not love Gibo, his piano and his hands have realized the breath of many Italians. The crazy evenings with him were history, I will never forget that night where we slept at my mom Fernanda’s house because the hotel was full and I found you while you were eating with her at three in the morning. Mauro Culotta the great guitarist of the historic Gens group (always linked to the De Andrè group) and his historical friend Beppe Quirici awarded by the Club Tenco. The craftsmen who passed by and made us home, Francesco Penolazzi the great and sought-after sound technician who modified and personalized the famous Fender guitars, Lino Fiocco and his agency that brings us to collaborate with Claudio Trotta’s Barley Arts company. Many of the artists who stayed at Piccadilly in those years had entrusted their tours to Barley Arts. I would like to thank another personal and historical friend of the Hotel, the great Gianna Nannini, still at the dawn of her European career with her group at that time composed by Claudio Cattafesta and other Swiss friends. The Swiss Manager Peter Zumsteg, and the resulting collaboration with Cose di Musica. Always of the same musical entourage other musicians who came from the same circuit “De Andrè”: Guido Guglielminetti, Marvin Johnson, Aida Cooper, Claudio Pascoli (the real number one of Italian saxophones) who, together with Martellieri and Beppe Quirici, were suggested by Ivano Fossati to Loredana Bertè for her tour in 1983. In the same year almost all of this group of artists came into contact with the one who made my hotel great, Mia Martini, who with infinite charm led this group on a tour of Italian theatres with devastating success. Other names such as Umberto Bindi also frequented the Hotel for a short time, but the greater presence was always due to everything that passed through the Teatro Smeraldo owned by my friend Gianmario and the Teatro Nuovo in San Babila then directed by Sauro Pari. Writing all this is like writing a novel about life and remembering all these men fills your heart with joy. Imagine that one evening a girl at the hotel reception called me and told me that she couldn’t make a bill because the emotion was too strong, the bill was for Sottotono and the credit card for the charge was for Giulio Repetti, aka Mogol.
While drawing up the bill he asked me for a ride to Alcatraz, a well-known Milanese restaurant in the area and during the journey we talked about these 30 years of hotel life. His listening was attentive and I explained that I was selling the hotel and that I felt like betraying all those people who had it and were using it by taking away one of their many houses, sometimes the real and unique one. Mogol with a mild air said <<Erminio, the dream of bringing your children Chiara and Annalisa to live on Lake Garda is difficult and will require a great effort, but what we lived here was not just a hotel but our home and here were born the notes that have never been written, so they will remain only in our hearts, realize your dream and we will understand>>. Mogol was right, the Milanese House of Music had ceased to exist, the real cause of all this, as it was now known, was the loss of Mimì and later the disappearance of De Andre’. I want to apologize to the many artists not listed and remember in this page not for laziness but for the impossibility to tell them all; at the same time I want to say thanks to all my staff that for years helped me and made all this possible (81 people in 26 years). I owe a special thanks to a friend who at the end of this period bought the Piccadilly Hotel in Milan in 2001, transforming it into a luxurious reality, today a Hotel of the Holiday Inn chain, Roberto Ciapparelli. He knew what he was buying, but above all he knew that I could not stay there, because my dream was Garda. When you don’t accept that a sunset is coming, you have to interrupt the day before to have a new dawn. Many times it is painful and it seems impossible, but we know what we were capable of. When we signed, we cried and hugged each other a lot. Thanks again barracuda!
To Fernanda my mother I say, don’t be more jealous of the ruined armchair on which Mimì sat, there in paradise there are many armchairs and the words of your music will never end up in the drawers of our hearts.
This page is written and edited personally by me, dedicated to the memory of Maurizio Marsich, the Friend that many would have liked to have. Prohibition of even partial reproduction of the deposited texts/rights – www.adriaresort.it – 2010
Erminio Binda/ PICCADILLY HOTEL MILANO / 1975-2001 /