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Interview with Sangy (from The Armed Gang)

From Italy came some very good boogie records with a typical 'italian touch'. Among the biggest funk producers at that time was Maurizio Sangineto a.k.a. Sangy who was the producer of the Armed Gang, a liasion between italian and american musicians. Their single 'All I Want' was released as a 12 inch on Chaz-Ro Records in the U.S.A. and also a canadian 12 inch release exists on Black Sun Records. Other 12 inches by The Armed Gang are 'Love Shot' from 1983 and 'Everybody Celebrate' from 1984. Their only album including 'Are You Ready' came out in 1983, having moderate success in Italy but rocking the clubs in Brazil. 'All I Want' was not featured on the LP and the 12 inch is easier to find in comparision with the album. 'All I Want' was re-released as a cd single somewhere in the 90's. Read the short interview with Sangy below.

Hello Sangy, how are you? Very cool to have one of the greatest italian boogie producers from the 80's on the site. You were the man behind The Armed Gang, and also the driving force of Firefly. What other bands were you involved in?


I'm fine! Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. Yes, I was very involved in italian music productions until about 1990. During that period I produced a lot of records. Firefly has been the first project I worked on, and it has been a big satisfaction for me. It reached the top of the U.S. official charts in '81 with the single "Love". Nobody could believe that it was totally an italian production. But it was. The only one American touch has been the special remix made by Roy B., one of the most important N.Y. remixers at that time. Then I produced the Armed Gang, a black oriented band, with american singers, but totally italian for the musical part. I also produced many other bands in the eighties, such as The Passengers, Amanda Lear, The Creatures, Valery Allington and others.

When and how did The Armed Gang form and how long was the band together?


The Armed Gang was my second project after Firefly, around 1982. I was very "funky" during that period. The band was created in Italy, with very, very talented american singers, but, as I said, completely italian for the musical aspects. I was the composer and the main musician in the studio. The singers, Kenny Claiborne, James Otis White Jr. and Joe Bunch were living in Italy. They were U.S. soldiers who were located at the American base of Vicenza, my city. They were highly talented, especially James Otis White Jr., a real "master" in singing. I still don't know another singer such as good as him. He is not on the album picture but he worked on the project as a special guest. The band had a short life, about 2/3 years, because of its "internationality". It turned out to be too difficult to keep the italian and american bandmembers together.

That's interesting, James Otis White Jr. had a solo release on MUSIX Records titled 'Baby Come On', also written by you. The Armed Gang released a few 12 inch singles and the earlier mentioned 7 track album 'Kenny Claiborne And The Armed Gang' in 1983. Did you know that your LP is much indemand? I've seen it go for $ 300 a couple of times on eBay.

James Otis White - Baby Come On, produced by Sangy


I didn't know about Armed Gang records fetching so much money, but this is good to know. It means that we have done a good job. The album was released in Italy, and then licensed to another label controlled by me (MUSIX Brazil). Few people know that "Are You Ready" has been a very big hit in Brazil, competing with Michael Jackson during that period. It was one of the most programmed songs on the brazilian radiostations.

Why wasn't 'All I Want' on the LP as well? It seems that it was never released as a 12 inch single in Italy.


"All I Want" was produced mainly for the U.S. market, remixed in the States by Roy B, who also remixed tracks for Firefly. It was a product created for that market and also for the canadian market.

Your career with The Armed Gang and Firefly was pretty much happening at the same time. How did you manage to write so many great songs for both projects? It must have been a very inspirational time.


Yeah, 'Inspiration' is the title of another song of mine... :)

'All I Want', 'My Desire' and 'Are You Ready' are among my favorites. What is your personal favorite?


I don't have a real favorite but I think that "Are You Ready" had the chance to be a planetary success. But unfortunately the music alone is not enough..

The Armed Gang in 1983

Do you still make music sometimes?


Not a lot, but I'm still in the field. Today I produce music for images. I'm specialized in communication and multimedia. More about my activities and my company can be found on my website

How do you look back at your time with The Armed Gang and Firefly? Is it something you miss? And what about the other members, do you still have contact with Kenny, James Otis and Joe?


It was a great time and I look back with satisfaction. Unfortunately I don't have contact with the other members anymore. But Sangy is a person who, from the past, looks to the future...

Wise words. Thanks a lot for your time Sangy. I hope you will succeed in all your future projects, as you did in the past. Many thanks for the wonderful and funky music you gave us. Do you want to say something to your fans?


It's a pleasure to know that there are people who still appreciate my works. Thanks a lot!

Maurizio Sangineto a.k.a. "Sangy"

August, 2005

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