Elio e le Storie Tese (Italian: [ˈɛːljo e lle ˈstɔːrje ˈteːze]; literally "Elio and the Troubled Stories"), often abbreviated EelST, is an Italian band from Milan, formed in 1980. Its leader is Stefano Belisari, better known as Elio.
Elio e le Storie Tese acquired national notoriety after their second-place finish at the Sanremo Music Festival 1996 with the song "La terra dei cachi", a humorous take on Italian lifestyle. They also won the Critics' Award "Mia Martini" for their performance.
In 1999, they were awarded as Best Italian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards, and in 2003 they won the Best Italian Videoclip award at the Italian Music Awards of Federation of the Italian Music Industry for "Shpalman®". In 2001, they were elected as the best group band of the 2001–2010 decade through a referendum announced by the website Rockol. In 2012, the album Elio samaga hukapan kariyana turu has been ranked the 15th best Italian album of all time by the magazine Rolling Stone.
The group participated to the Sanremo Music Festival for the second time in the 2013 edition with the song "La canzone mononota", achieving again the second place and winning the Critics' Award "Mia Martini" for the second time, the award for the best arrangement and the Radio and TV Press-Room award.
The origins of Elio e le Storie Tese go back to the 1970s, when Stefano Belisari (Elio), Luca Mangoni and Marco Conforti (Sergio's brother and future manager of the group) were classmates in a high school in Milan.
The first line-up made a debut in Milan in 1980, and it was composed by Elio on guitar, Paolo Cortellino on bass and Pier Luigi Zuffellato on drums. Cortellino was then replaced firstly by Fabio Gianvecchio (Chiosco), later by Dario Mazzoli (Scaffale), and finally, in 1986, by Nicola Fasani (Faso). In the meantime, Zuffellato had left the group, and was replaced by Vittorio Cosma until 1982, when, after EelST were joined by the pianist Sergio Conforti (Rocco Tanica), the role of drummer was filled by a Drumulator operated by Rocco Tanica himself until 1988, when a Swiss drummer called Christian Meyer joined the group.
At the beginning, Elio was singer and guitarist, but in 1983 the group hired the rock guitarist Davide Civaschi (Cesareo). From that moment on, Elio could focus on being the front-man, and, sparingly, play the Western concert flute, for which he had passed the music academy's examination. In 1988, the group was also joined by the multi-instrumentalist Paolo Panigada (Feiez), who died ten years later.
In 1992, Elio decided to include the architect and former classmate Mangoni in the band. Mangoni, described in the official website as "artist and architect", will have various roles, such as dancing and singing during live performances.
The first studio album, Elio samaga hukapan kariyana turu was published in 1989, and it was followed by The Los Sri Lanka Parakramabahu Brothers Featuring Elio e le Storie Tese (1990), İtalyan, rum casusu çikti (1992), Esco dal mio corpo e ho molta paura: Gli inediti 1979–1986 (1993), Eat the Phikis (1996), Peerla (1998), Craccracriccrecr (1999), Cicciput (2003), Studentessi (2008) and L'album biango (2013). During their long carrier, EelST have been awarded several prizes, in particular two second-place finishes at the Sanremo Music Festival (1996 and 2013) and two Critics' Award "Mia Martini".
In March 2014, Elio e le Storie Tese presented six episodes of Il Musichione, a comedy musical show on Rai 2.
The music of the group is openly inspired, among other sources, by the style of Frank Zappa, both in music and lyrics. Elio e le Storie Tese's musical work is characterized by eclecticism and competence, in the melodic, harmonic and orchestration (arrangement) aspects, augmented by the members' technical proficiency. They are widely considered as some of the best musicians in Italy. They are usually joined by an "unofficial" member, Mangoni (a former schoolmate of Elio and actually an architect), whose role is to dance, make choreographies or even sing during live shows on stage. In their official discography, and in their gigs, EelST have covered many of the genres typified in popular music: rock, Latin, progressive rock, disco and soul, to name a few. A very strong attitude to affectionately mock and modify to their needs the clichès of Italian pop music has always been part of their musical career, and nonetheless many Italian pop artists have been proud guests in their recordings, acknowledging their value. Their songs are typically interspersed by a rude, coarse humour which lies in stark contrast to their extreme varied and competent musical talent; once the band was considered part of the 'demential' rock underground spawned after the demise of punk and cross-fertilized by situationist dadaism, but they have soared well past above that scene. One of their favourite themes is adolescent life, seen as a golden period of fun, friendship, music and sexual discoveries.
The band has also been the first one, in 2004, to sell instant CDs of their live performances immediately after their end (which they dubbed CD brulé, as they were 'burned' on the spot, like mulled wine, in Italian "vin brulé").
Stefano Belisari a.k.a. Elio – lead vocals, transverse flute, electric guitar, electric bass
Sergio Conforti a.k.a. Rocco Tanica – vocals, keyboards, electronic drums, piano
Nicola Fasani a.k.a. Faso – electric bass, backing vocals
Davide Civaschi a.k.a. Cesareo – electric guitar, backing vocals
Christian Meyer – drums, percussions
Antonello Aguzzi a.k.a. Jantoman – keyboards, backing vocals (member since 1999)
Luca Mangoni – various
Paola Folli – backing vocals
Vittorio Cosma a.k.a. Clayderman Viganò – keyboards, backing vocals
Paolo Panigada a.k.a. Feiez (deceased in 1998) – backing vocals, saxophone, percussion, electric bass, guitar