| This interview
to Peter Boom was shared by John to the
Movie Music Italiano mailing list (MMI) and he granted me permission
to post it here. Thanks John!
Please note that there is a book in
progress with this and many other interviews. When there is
any information on the release of this book I will place it
here. Now, let's start the show!
Photos are taken from Peter
Boom's official site, take a visit!
Boom: An Interview to the Singer/Songwriter Actor
(c) 2003 John Mansell
Vocalist Peter Boom appeared on the soundtracks to many Italian productions, his distinct voice gracing the credits of many an Italian western movie. But there is certainly more to this multitalented man as I found out when I spoke to him during May and July in 2002.
I began by asking him, Had you always wanted to be a singer/songwriter ?
Oh, No, when I was in my early teens around 13 or 14, I thought about studying
theology, but by the time I reached my fifteenth birthday I had changed direction in my studies and moved onto psychology, I thought that this was more modern, and then at eighteen I left school to start my studies of BEL
CANTO (Shubert Leiber Opera).
So what was the performers first encounter with singing on a film soundtrack ?
Well, I first did a test or audition for RAI, which is the Italian TV and Radio service, this went very well, in fact the members of the selecting
committee that were auditioning me all stood and applauded my trial performance, which if I remember correctly was two songs ALL THE WAY ROSE and OLD MAN RIVER. Unfortunately I did not get any work out of this success, RAI worked on a
recommendation system, and as I did not really know that many well placed people at the time like politicians or Cardinals, I found it very difficult to get anyone to sponsor me. It was actually some six months after my audition for RAI that I was asked to do another test, this time for CAM record an alternative version sung by the star of the movie Tomas
Was this originally destined for the score?
No, Milian insisted on recording a version of the song, I felt really bad about this, as I thought that he did not sing it well.
You also performed a song for the first SABATA movie, which had music by Marcello Giombini, but this was cut from the film, and has only just re-emerged on the new CD version of the score, why was this cut ?
I don't actually recall the song for SABATA, I think it was something in German, the producer of the new compact disc Lionel Woodman assures me that it is me, but I still am not 100% sure, maybe I should ask Alessandro Alessandroni who also worked on the soundtrack, or Giombini
Have you kept in contact with Giombini because you did work with him on a few projects for the cinema ?
We lost contact a long time ago, but I am glad to say have recently got in touch again, we both keep promising to meet up but as yet this has not been possible, he now lives in Assisi in Italy, and concentrates on the writing of sacred music, he also writes books, which is something that I also do, so we are a strange pair of
At the beginning of the SABATA main theme there is a mischievious laugh, was this you can you recall ?
You know I honestly do not remember, by that time I had sung on so many soundtracks it was hard to keep a track on
Did you prefer working with any in particular composer or composers ?
Trovajoli was very nice, I did three songs with him on a film called IL GIOVANE NORMALE, which turned out to be the only film made by Dino Risi that did not do well at the box office. I must say that I found it very enjoyable working with all of the
So were you as a singer, under exclusive contract to CAM?
Yes I was, but they would only ever pay me an advance for each song, which was about 50,000 lire. I never got a percentage of the sales or the total monies that the record made, and royalties were never passed onto me. In fact CAM did not even inform me that CORRI UOMO CORRI had been re-issued onto CD. Guisseppe Giacchi who was one of the main people at CAM during the early years told me that my records sold particularly well in
I have always been curious about Giusseppe Giacchi, his name appeared on nearly all of
CAM's early releases I think as producer, did you have much contact with him whilst under contract to the company ?
Count Giusseppe Giacchi, was the driving force behind
CAM. It was he who built up the companies immense repertoire of soundtracks, which is a real treasure trove of music. He parted company with the label in the
1970's I think, I am not sure why, but the parting was a little sour, I met him again recently and he now produces programmes for television. I am
thankful to him because it was he who initially approached me to go and work for
Would you like to see the CAM western songs LP re-issued onto CD?
Oh yes, of course I would. It would be good to have a re-edited and re-mastered version available on compact disc. But I
don't think that this will happen.
Could you tell me what was your most successful record in sales?
I was never informed as to how many copies of a single or LP had been sold. But my own personal
view is that CORRI UOMO CORRI must be the most popular, but as for actual figures I do not
Have you ever given any concerts ?
Yes, I gave many concerts, and also worked as a master of
ceremonies on many occasions.
As an actor did you ever have a part in a Spaghetti western ?
No, surprisingly enough I never worked on any
I do not know if I am correct or not, but I understand that you once worked as a Private Investigator.
You must be a good investigator yourself if you unearthed that information, Yes I did work as a PI, this was in Rome and
Milan, I did this to finance my studies, and later especially in the early 1970,s I had many, many
professions to try and fill in all of the financial gaps, which is something that I am still doing
You also dubbed the Italian voice of Ron
Moody's Fagin character for the film musical OLIVER, did you do this often on other films ?
Oh, yes that was a job that I enjoyed immensely, I liked to do this the most I think. They had tried out so many Italian actors/singers for this part and I was the one that they selected. I did on other movies but cannot remember the titles,
again this was because I was very busy.
Many composers who wrote for the Italian western, have in recent interviews admitted that maybe their music has not stood up to the test of time, a few of them saying that they are a little embarrassed by their efforts on certain movies, how do you feel about your contributions to the genre?
Well certainly not embarrassed, this was a very positive and nice period of my life and career. I feel very positive about my contributions to this genre of films. My career did however take a down turn in the summer of 1972, this was when I produced and sang 'COME OUT AND LOVE HIM ' which was the first ever gay record in Italy, it was this that really cost me my career as a singer. For me this was a big tragedy, caused by marginilization, that effectively spoilt more than half of my
Did the singer ever use an alias on a film ?
I did at certain times use an alias, but there again so did many Italian film music composers, but on many
occasions I never received any type of credit for my performance, on OLIVER for example and on a RAI TV film NOAH, the technicians were credited but not any of the
singers, disgraceful I think.
John Mansell © 2003