Demetrio Stratos (vocals, organ, percussion)
Paolo Tofani (guitar, synth)
Victor Busnello (sax)
Patrizio Fariselli (keyboards)
Patrick Djivas (bass)
Giulio Capiozzo (drums, percussion)
Busnello and Djivas left, added:
Ares Tavolazzi (bass)
Area were in fact an "international popular group",
as the cover of
their first album says, with greek singer Demetrio
Stratos coming from the beat group I Ribelli, French bass player Djivas and
belgian sax player Busnello.
The first line-up, in 1972, also included pianist Leandro Gaetano and the guitarist of hungarian origin Johnny Lambizi, the latter soon replaced by Paolo Tofani, a musician with the longest experience in the group, having played in 60's bands Samurai along with Formula Tre keyboardist Gabriele Lorenzi, I Califfi and for a short time with Noi Tre, that also included future Triade bass player Agostino Nobile.
Arbeit macht frei was an essential album in the Italian rock of the 70's, full of different influences yet totally original in its sound. Stratos' voice is stunning, used like an instrument, and the backing band is powerful, formed by top quality and inventive musicians. Some jazz and eastern folklore influences are easily distinguished, and the music is not easy to categorise. The group image was characterised by the style of Cramps label designer Gianni Sassi, that added a distinctive visual style to their music.
Second LP, Caution radiation area, was more
experimental with tracks like Lobotomia and ZYG (Crescita zero) that
show strong free-jazz influences.
The following album, Crac, released the same year, returned to a more prog style, with some of their best rock tracks in Gioia e rivoluzione and L'elefante bianco, yet retaining the long instrumental parts that were the group's trademark.
The strong political influences in Area music emerged in their rendition of the popular socialist hymn L'internazionale, released as a single in 1974 and a concert classic, as demonstrated in the 1975 live LP Are(a)zione.
1976 saw a radical turn in the group's style, with the
help of external musicians such as sax player Steve Lacy and percussionist Paul
Lytton, playing in Maledetti. The band was turning toward jazz and even the posthumous live recordings from 1976
concerts seem to
Maledetti was the last chapter in the long Area/Cramps connection, with the group signing a recording deal with Ascolto and releasing less successful albums at the end of the 70's.
1978, gli dei se ne vanno gli arrabbiati restano, their first on the new label, contained a couple of interesting prog-inspired tracks, like the opening Il bandito del deserto and Hommage à Violette Nozières, mixed with others in a stronger free-jazz direction.
Demetrio Stratos died in 1979, probably one of the most important singers and music researchers of all the Italian (and probably european) musical scene. The day after his death a big concert, with 60000 people, was held at the Arena Civica in Milano to honour him (this had been originally organised to collect funds to support Stratos expensive medical therapy), and a double album was taken from the event.
Another group called Area II appeared in the mid 80's, this was in fact a
group built by original Area drummer Giulio Capiozzo with session musicians.
Much closer to jazz than any previous Area incarnation, the group lasted for two
albums in 1986-87.
A new CD by Area, Chernobyl 9771 was released in 1997, the line-up included this time another original member, Patrizio Fariselli, along with Capiozzo.
This was probably the last time the Area name has appeared on an album of new recordings, the group kept playing until 1999 then split. Drummer Giulio Capiozzo has sadly died in August 2000.
The name Area has been resurrected by Patrizio Fariselli, Ares Tavolazzi and Paolo Tofani with Tuscan drummer Walter Paoli for a series of concerts since 2010, including dates in New York and Japan. This line-up produced a double CD, entitled Live 2012, featuring a guest appearance by singer Maria Pia de Vito. The quartet continued the long reunion tour in 2013.
|Arbeit macht frei||Cramps (CRSLP 5101)||1973||gatefold cover with lyric inner
first copies include a cardboard revolver - early copies distributed by Ricordi, later by Baby Records
|Cramps (5205 101)||1978||as above, but with no insert|
|Get Back (GET 5101)||2000||same as the original with insert|
|Akarma (AK 394)||2011||as above|
|Sony/BMG (88883 77543 1)||2013||numbered box set with LP, CD, poster and gun insert|
|Caution radiation area||Cramps (CRSLP 5102)||1974||single cover with lyric inner - early copies distributed by Ricordi, later by Baby Records|
|Cramps (5205 102)||1978||same as above|
|Get Back (GET 5102)||2000||same as above|
|Akarma (AK 395)||2011||as above|
|Sony/BMG (88883 77555 1)||2013||numbered box set with LP, CD and 5 cards|
|Crac||Cramps (CRSLP 5103)||1974||gatefold cover - first copies had a sticker on the shrinkwrap - early copies distributed by Ricordi, later by Baby Records|
|Cramps (5205 103)||1978||same as above, no sticker|
|Get Back (GET 5103)||2000||same as above|
|Akarma (AK 396)||2011||as above|
|Are(a)zione||Cramps (CRSLP 5104)||1975||gatefold cover with inner|
|Cramps (5205 104)||1978||same as above|
|Get Back (GET 5104)||2000||same as above|
|Akarma (AK 397)||2011||as above|
|Maledetti||Cramps (CRSLP 5105)||1976||gatefold cover with inner|
|Cramps (5205 105)||1978||same as above|
|Akarma (AK 1009)||2000||same as above|
|Akarma (AK 398)||2011||as above|
|Anto/logicamente||Cramps (CRSLP 5106)||1977||compilation - single cover with inner|
|Cramps (5205 106)||1978||same as above|
|1978, gli dei se ne vanno gli arrabbiati restano||Ascolto (ASC 20063)||1978||rough gatefold cover|
|BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM 142LP)||2009||as above|
|Event '76||Cramps (5205 107)||1979||gatefold cover with inner - recorded live in 1976|
|Akarma (AK 1038)||2002||gatefold cover|
|Tic & tac||Ascolto (ASC 20224)||1980||single cover with inner|
|BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM 141LP)||2009||as above|
|Area '70||Cramps (9279 594)||1980||compilation - single cover - released in the Polygram "Successo" mid-price series|
|Arbeit macht frei||Artis (CRSCD 001)||1989||reissue of 1973 album|
|EMI/Cramps (72438 57424 2)||1998||as above|
|Edel (CRA 0136472)||2002||as above - digipack cover|
|Cramps (CRSCD 001)||2009||new reissue with mini-LP gatefold cover and revolver insert|
|Caution radiation area||Artis (CRSCD 002)||1989||reissue of 1974 album|
|EMI/Cramps (72438 57425 2)||1998||as above|
|Edel (CRA 0136482)||2002||as above - digipack cover|
|Cramps (CRSCD 002)||2009||new reissue with mini-LP cover|
|Crac||Artis (CRSCD 003)||1990||reissue of 1974 album|
|EMI/Cramps (72438 57425 2)||1998||as above|
|Edel (CRA 0136492)||2002||as above - digipack cover|
|Cramps (CRSCD 003)||2009||new reissue with mini-LP gatefold cover and sticker|
|Are(a)zione||Artis (CRSCD 004)||1990||reissue of 1975 album|
|EMI/Cramps (72438 57427 2)||1998||as above|
|Edel (CRA 0136502)||2002||as above - digipack cover|
|Cramps (CRSCD 004)||2010||new reissue with mini-LP gatefold cover|
|1978, gli dei se ne vanno gli arrabbiati restano||CGD (74033-2)||1992||reissue of 1978 album|
|Warner/CGD (9031 74033-2)||90's||as above|
|Tic & tac||CGD (74033-1)||1992||reissue of 1980 album|
|Warner/CGD (9031 72211-2)||90's||as above|
|Maledetti||Artis (CRSCD 005)||1993||reissue of 1976 album|
|Akarma (AK 1009)||2000||as above - mini gatefold cover|
|Edel (CRA 0136512)||2002||as above - digipack cover|
|Cramps (CRSCD 005)||2009||new reissue with mini-LP gatefold cover|
|Anto/logicamente||Artis (CRSCD 006)||1994||reissue of 1977 album|
|Edel (CRA 0142032)||2002||as above - digipack cover|
|Cramps (CRSCD 006)||2010||new reissue with mini-LP cover|
|Event '76||Artis (CRSCD 007)||1994||reissue of 1979 album|
|EMI/Cramps (72438 57430 2)||1998||as above|
|Edel (CRA 0136522)||2002||as above - digipack cover|
|Akarma (AK 1038)||2002||as above - mini gatefold cover|
|Cramps (CRSCD 007)||2010||new reissue with mini-LP gatefold cover|
|Concerto Teatro Uomo||Cramps (CRSCD011/12)||1997||2CD - recorded live in 1976|
|Edel (CRA 0153222)||2004||as above - digipack cover|
|Parigi-Lisbona||Cramps (CRSCD018)||1997||recorded live in 1976|
|Edel (CRA 0138582)||2002||as above - digipack cover|
|Chernobyl 7991||Sony (486862 2)||1997||new studio album from 1997|
|Live concerts box||Akarma (AK 1033/3 CD)||2002||3CD box set including Concerto Teatro Uomo and Parigi-Lisbona, both with mini-LP gatefold covers|
|Revolution box set||Akarma (AK 1036/4 CD)||2002||4CD box set including Arbeit macht frei, Caution Radiation Area, Crac, and Are(a)zione, all with mini-LP gatefold covers and also sold separately|
|Live 1977||Akarma (AK 1042/2 CD)||2002||2CD - unreleased live recordings in Turin|
|Live 2012||UpArt (UPA CD003)||2012||2CD - live recordings from the Reunion Tour 2011/2012|
BOOTLEG CD (relevant issues)
|Acrostico in memoria di Demetrio||Le Matango (LM 97003)||1997||live recording from Florence, 1978|
|La mela di Odessa||Black Hole (BH 001/2)||1998||2CD - live recordings from 1976 and 1977|
VARIOUS ARTISTS COMPILATIONS
|Laboratorio (LB/LP 201)||1976||live recordings from the 1976 Parco Lambro festival - also features Sensations' Fix, Ricky Gianco, Agorà, Canzoniere del Lazio, Toni Esposito, Paolo Castaldi, Eugenio Finardi.|
|Stampa Alternativa (RP 02)||2005||CD reissue of the above with different mini LP cover - only sold with the book Area/Musica e rivoluzione by Gianpaolo Chiaricò|
|1979: Il concerto
(with Danzanello and L'internazionale)
|Cramps (5203 001)||1979||2LP - gatefold with inner - from the Demetrio Stratos tribute concert - also features Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Angelo Branduardi, Francesco Guccini, Antonello Venditti, Roberto Vecchioni, Roberto Ciotti, Eugenio Finardi and others|
|Edel (CRA 0136532)||2002||single CD reissue of the above - digipack cover|
|Akarma (AK 1026)||2002||single CD reissue of the above - mini gatefold cover|
|Cramps (CRS BOX001)||2009||2CD + DVD box set with 40 page book|
SINGLES (with picture cover)
|L'abbattimento dello Zeppelin
Arbeit macht frei
|Cramps (CRSNP 1701)||1973||both tracks from Arbeit macht frei|
Citazione da G.L.Jackson
|Cramps (CRSNP 1703)||1974||unreleased tracks
PROMO-ONLY AND JUKEBOX SINGLES (with blank covers)
|Luglio, agosto, settembre nero||Cramps/Bla Bla (JB56)||1974||jukebox single coupled with Aktuala/Miña|
|L'internazionale||Cramps (CRSNP 1703/1802)||1976||jukebox single, coupled with Eugenio Finardi/Musica ribelle|
|Diforisma urbano||Cramps (CRSJB 5105/1602)||1977||jukebox single coupled with Alberto Camerini/Gelato metropolitano|
|Hommage à Violette Nozières||Ascolto (YD 521)||1978||jukebox single coupled with Pierangelo Bertoli/Rosso colore|
|Area II||Gala (GLLP 91005)||1986||single cover with inner|
|City sound||Gala (GLLP 91011)||1987||single cover with inner|
|Area II||Duck (PLCD 020)||90's||reissue of 1986 album|
|City sound||Gala (CDGLP 91011)||90's||reissue of 1987 album|
|Duck (PLCD 021)||90's||as above|
All the albums by Area are still easy to find in Italy, as they have been issued in large quantities. Around 1977-78 the Cramps label changed distribution and adopted a different numbering system replacing the CRSLP-5 prefix with 5205 (CRSLP 5101 became 5205 101 and so on). Many of the albums released until then were reissued with the new catalogue numbers, but are easily identified for this reason.
Hardest to find are the first album in original form
with the gun insert, and Crac with the sticker. The first issue of
Arbeit macht frei, Caution radiation area and Crac have a "Distribuzione Dischi Ricordi Spa"
credit on the back
cover, they were later distributed by Baby Records.
Some say that early copies of Caution radiation area contained a cardboard insert reproducing the radiation danger sign that's in the cover picture.
The shaped revolver insert included in the debut album has been seen in two different versions, with text "Corpo DI reato" or "Corpo DEL reato" and it seems impossible to determine which was released first.
The same insert was present in the various reissues of the album, but can be identified by the back colour of the insert cardboard (the original was grey and rough, copies are white and smooth), the green coloured parts are darker (the original has pale colours) and the slimmer shape of the revolver's hammer (see pictures below).
A vinyl reproduction of the first album was released in late 90's and also included the
gun insert, this is very similar to the original but can be identified with a
side to side comparison, having a slightly miscoloured label and different
matrix writings on vinyl. This reissue was released in 500 numbered copies for
Italy and 500 non-numbered ones for abroad. Even the vinyl reissues made by Get Back and Akarma included the shaped gun insert.
A vinyl reissue of Caution Radiation Area was released at the same time as the one of Arbeit Macht Frei.
SonyMusic issued in 2013 two numbered edition box sets containing the LP and CD versions of Arbeit macht frei and Caution radiation area along with various inserts.
The single L’internazionale/Citazione da G.L.Jackson contained two tracks unreleased at the time of its release. Both tracks later appeared on compilations, L’internazionale on Area 70 (the same track appears on other compilations, but always in the live version taken from Are(A)zione) and Citazione da G.L.Jackson on Anto/logicamente.
A very rare promotional compilation featuring a track by Area (Antes de hablar abra la boca, taken from Tic e Tac) is SIM Hi-Fi (CGD 15049), promoted by Radio Studio 105 and issued to launch the 1980 hi-fi and electronics exhibition in Milan.
Japanese issues exist of Arbeit macht frei (Pioneer-Warner
P-10286C), Are(A)zione (Pioneer-Warner P-10393C), 1978, gli dei se ne vanno gli
arrabbiati restano (King GXF2053)
and Tic & Tac (King K22P116).
A French issue (on Cramps, distributed by Barclay) exists of their 1974 single L'internazionale (no.640 068) and their albums Crac (no.940.512), Are(A)zione (no.940.528, with glossy gatefold cover) and Maledetti (no.940.803, with liner notes in French), and it's likely that other Area records have been issued in that country.
Anto/logicamente (Cramps P5205 106 - single cover with inner) and 1978, gli dei se ne vanno gli arrabbiati restano (CBS 83142- gatefold cover) were also issued in Portugal.
Both Area II albums are not easy to find, though their value is low. They have
been reissued on CD by Duck Records, the first one with a different artwork.
An odd version of Area II is the original cassette, containing an extra track not on the LP, Play the music.
Arbeit macht frei - front cover
Arbeit macht frei - inner gatefold and gun insert
Arbeit macht frei - gun insert, original (top) and reissue (bottom)
Arbeit macht frei - gun insert comparison, revolver hammer detail, original (left) vs.reissue (right)
Arbeit macht frei - another original gun insert, with different text "Corpo di reato"
Caution radiation area - front cover
|Crac - front cover||Crac sticker|
|Are(a)zione - front cover||Maledetti - front cover|
|1978: gli dei se ne vanno, gli arrabbiati restano - front cover||Event '76 - front cover|
|Tic & Tac - front cover|
|L'abbattimento dello Zeppelin - 7" single||L'Internazionale - 7" single|
|Hommage à Violette Nozières - promo single|
|Area II/Same - LP|
|Area II/Omonimo - CD and cassette version|
|Area II/City Sound - LP|
|Area - Live 2012 CD|
Click on the pictures to enlarge
|Area 2012/13 - Promotional photo|
|Live at Trasimeno Blues 2013
Castiglione del Lago, Rocca, 20-7-2013
The official site of Area is www.area-internationalpopulargroup.com/
Area's keyboardist Patrizio Fariselli has an official website at www.fariselliproject.com that contains lots of information on both Area and Fariselli solo career.
The website of Paolo Tofani is www.paolotofani.com
Thanks to Massimiliano Chiarini, Luigi Papi, Alessandro Ciuti, Manuel Da Achada, Annunziato Cangemi, Ubaldo (Franco) Cibei, Pierre Tassone, Nicola Benelli, Silvio Teot, for some of the information and pictures in this page