Madball versus Sick Of It All Interview

This interview was made in Essen, Germany the 2nd of december 2006.
Manu has met Lou (Sick Of It All) & Freddy (Madball).
This interview was the opportunity to meet those 2 singers both from 2 New york
hardcore band legend, and to ask them about “their first time”.


How is the tour going?

Lou : It's been great, it's been amazing!

Freddy : Yeah, so far, so good. Packed shows, everyone's having great shows, all the bands are being well received, can't complain so far!

Lou : Every band sets the level, you go watch a band you're like "ahh man, they're good tonight, i'm gonna be good too". For us, we were dreading going on last, but we're happy that when me and Pete (Koller-SOIA) are backstage and we're all sitting back there and Madball's on and we're bopping our heads and start singing, it's great! Y'know, they're our favourite fucking Hardcore band, it's amazing.

Freddy : Thank you!

Lou : Nah man, i'm dead serious.

You're on the third show tonight, how many are there in total?

Lou : I think it's 10 or 11 all together.

Freddy : Yeah, there's 8 more after this.

Yeah, you did a tour last week with Walls of Jericho...

Lou : Yeah, us and Walls of Jericho did i think 2 or 3 shows in France, 4 in Spain, 4 in Italy.

Ok, first question about “your first time”...
Lou, when was the first time you heard about Madball and Freddy, when was the first time you heard about Sick Of It All?

Lou : Ahh man, that's easy! I was there when they look the picture for the 7inch cover! I was standing... not onstage, but remember in CB's little bleachers bit? I was standing up there watching and Freddy came out...How old were you then?

Freddy : I don't remember...

Lou : You were young! We were like holy shit! And you sang..what was the AF (Agnostic Front) song?

Freddy : "Last Mourning" probably...

Lou : I think that was the birth of Madball, cuz i saw that on the 7inch cover and i was like "holy shit, i was at that show!"

Freddy : I was probably younger than that then, cuz the 7inch actually came out when I was 12, and i had been jumping onstage playing with AF even before that, so he probably saw an early early show. Yeah i guess that's what planted the seed for Madball, the AF stuff.

Lou : Yeah...y'know in New York there was always the "Big 3", it was AF, Cro-mags and Murphy's Law. Murphy's Law, greatest live punk band, party band, whatever you want to call them, everybody should see them. Cro-mags were a big machine that changed the Hardcore is but AF was New York and they ARE New York, it's hard to explain... but their look, their style, it's real it's not a conceived thing and the sound... "Victim In Pain" is one of the greatest records ever. Our first song we ever wrote was "My Life", and me and Pete sat there and were like "i wanna write a song like Victim in Pain" and we tried to write like "Victim In Pain", and that was the inspiration for "My Life"

Freddy : With Sick Of It All, i got into was probably the first release they had. I loved it right away, cuz it was like you were saying about AF, it was New York style and had a certain sound and a certain energy to it. I was living in Florida for a certain time when i was really young and i was listening to your stuff there, i was getting stuff from New York, obviously AF, i grew up with AF, but i was getting other things too "oh, you should check this out" Sick Of It All being one of those. So when i came to New York, i was like "i gotta go see a Sick Of It All show" and i went to like...the Ritz or something and you guys were playing, and one of the songs came on and i dove off and over the barricade and the first row of people in the middle and landed on my back BANG! and it knocked all the wind out of me and i was getting up and i couldn't breathe and that's one of my memories of these guys. You've gotta give props where it's due, i mean, he said Agnostic Front, and they set the standard, they're the pioneers for any of us. They paved the way and then bands like SOIA came along and later on we came along the way and in my opinion, there's a new "Big 3", i think it's Agnostic Front, Sick of It All and i think we're creeping into that third spot now because those other bands are not active anymore so somebody's gotta fill the slot. Y'know, Murphy's Law still does shows, but they're off and on and Cro-mags...

Lou : Have like 2 different versions...

Freddy : Yeah, but these guys, you gotta give them props man.

Lou : I wish my brother Pete was here too, cuz he'll vouch for this too, but after your first record...was it "Demonstrating My Style"?

Freddy : Nah, "Set it off" was before that...

Lou : Ahh yeah, "Set It Off", I remember going to The Limelight and me and Pete were standing there with Toby and we were like "ahh Madball's on" and they all went up on the stage and Pete goes "where you going Toby? We're going on the floor!" and Pete grabs me and we go out on the dancefloor and Madball went on and we loved it, fucking loved it! Pete always said that Madball were his favourite band and i always loved you guys, and when "Demonstrating My Style" came out we were like "best hardcore band around".

Do you remember the first Madball song you heard?

Lou : Umm...the whole of the first 7inch.

Freddy : Which had "Get out" and all that, all the old songs, basically Agnostic Front throwaways. Agnostic Front had like a million songs, and all these ones they never used and so when Roger (Miret-Agnostic Front) came up with the idea to do Madball, he said "why don't you use these songs?".

Lou : That's what we love about these guys, they've developed their own style and progressed it and you can see the legacy they've got. I mean, talk to Jamey from Hatebreed and look at Madball's direct influence on Terror, obviously, but they still have their old-school flavour in there with the fast parts and... what was the song on that last album? "Hardcore Still Lives"? Me and Pete fucking love that song and start going nuts in the backstage.

Freddy : "Hardcore Pride" that's the one. That's our way of trying to keep the old-school crazyness in there.

Lou : Total AF influence there, it start heavy mosh, BAM!

Freddy : That's the thing with us and SOIA, Agnostic Front were an influence on us, on everyone, not just New York either, hardcore in general. But we still all manage to have our own thing, and i mean...we were under the shadow of Agnostic Front forever because people thought "oh you're his little brother" y'know? And it was like yeah, we're related, but we're totally different, but even SOIA are influenced by AF're Sick Of It All, they had their own special thing about them, and we're us. That's cool, everyone's got their own roots but are original in our own ways, that's a cool thing. The only thing missing off this tour is AF, if we had AF it would be the best tour ever.

Do you remember the first time you met eachother?

Freddy : Probably when i was a kid, i don't remember the exact date! But I'd be going to CB's with my brother or something and they'd be there.

Lou : It's funny, i vividly remember the first time i met Hoya (Roc-Madball)

Freddy : You do?!

Lou : Yeah, cuz i was friends with his older brother Big Dave, and we were stood in front of CB's and Ezec was there and he was really young then too, and he said "hey, this is my brother Hoya, he think's he's a fucking skinhead" and punched Hoya in the arm and he said "shut the fuck up Hoya" and i remember to this day, amazing!

Freddy : Ahh yeah, you had the Dave connection...How about the first time you saw the band at stage?

Freddy : I can't remember exactly..

Lou : Me either, there was that show at the Limelight with Pete saying "we're going on the floor" and with Toby and stuff.

Do you remember the first time you sang on stage together?

Lou : I think it was the other night...the first night of the tour.

Freddy : Yeah, it was the first night, cuz they invited me along to sing a song on their last album, which was very cool of them, and since we're on the road with them, it made sense for me to come out and do it with them.

Lou : Haha, yeah, he plays then goes and showers then has to come out and get all dirty again.

Freddy : Nah, i don't take a shower, i wait, haha. It's fun y'know, it was cool to be a part of their record then come out and do it live, it's cool.

Lou : It was amazing, he was on tour, had one night off in New York, his wife was sick and he still left her alone for like an hour or 2, came along to the studio, did his thing then went right home to his wife and we were just like "wow". He laid that shit down, no problem and it came out great.

Freddy : Yeah, i'm familiar with their style so it was like easy, they had the stuff ready for me so it was like here you go. It was fun to do, it's a great album and the song was fun to do, it was a good experience.

Was it the first time you collaborated?

Lou : Yeah

Freddy : Yeah, first time. I've done guest vocals on other records, i'm sure Lou has done a bunch, but together we've never done anything before.

When was the first time Madball and Sick Of It All played together?

Freddy : Was that the superbowl?

Lou : Hmm...We went up to Rhode Island, when Club Babyhead was still open.

Freddy : They had great shows at Babyhead.

Lou : We took up a van and you guys took a stationwagon or something, and we shared was great, that was the first time.

Freddy : Since then we've played a couple of festivals, randomly, in Europe and stuff.

Lou : We're still trying to get a tour together but it's always hard. Last time Roger was trying to get tour with us, Madball, AF and Murphy's Law, we were going to Europe, then we came back and Madball were going to Europe and AF was going to South America.

Freddy : It's hard to get it down, but one day it'll happen, even if it's a short thing somewhere, it's gotta happen.

Lou : Maybe we'll just have a big party in New York and everyone can fly in from around the world, we should. We should do a once a year thing.

And the first tour together?

Freddy : We did a short run with Hatebreed and AF.

Lou : Yeah that was another insane lineup, i think there were a couple of metal bands opening up, Chimaira maybe, it was great.

Freddy : That was short though, only 4 or 5 shows.

And this is the first European Tour you've done together?

Lou : Yeah.

Freddy : Yeah, i think this could have been longer, i'm all for nice short tours, but with the lineup we have here, but this could have gone probably 4 days longer, it's still good. The places we've played so far have been jampacked, so we can't complain!

The first cover song you did?

Freddy : We did Sick Of It All's "Give Respect".

Lou : We never did any Madball cover...

Do you any plans for a first DVD or anything?

Freddy : We are a little bit behind but were gonna do a documentary, as much as we can find about Madball. This is gonna be worked on realistically next year, but its gonna be a good one. We've never put out a DVD as a band, so we're trying to compile all the different footage from through the years, then hopefully in 2007 it'll come out, just the story of Madball: shows and history and all that stuff.
Like 2 hours, because we never did that. We never really documented ourselves. We have videos people have shot of us, and things we have, but we’ve never done a DVD of things we’ve done, and accomplishments, so that’s the next thing for sure. I don’t know what’s coming first, the new album, or the dvd, but that’s the plan for next year for sure.

Lou : Um...I think they're gonna film one of the shows on this tour, and they asked me to send all the stuff from my storage space. I have crates and crates of video tapes of early shows, first times in Europe and Japan...all that shit. I'm gonna send it to them and go "yeah, you go through it" haha. But i'd like to be there and see what footage they choose. Some of it is amazing, but some of it really sucks. What i would like to show is from the old days when we used to play the Ritz, with all the bands and there's 3000 people there, then the next week we play in Ohio and there's 10 people at the show! Haha.

Freddy : Yeah there were some big shows at the Ritz.

Lou : Remember that one show at the Paladium with Murphy's Law and AF?

Freddy : HUGE!

Lou : Yeah, fucking amazing!
That's how big Hardcore was, even without the mainstream media, Hardcore was huge in New York. Now the media's infiltrated everything. It's a double edged sword, you never know if it's good or bad.

Freddy : Yeah, it's gotta be an event in New York to bring people together.

Lou : Yeah, to get people out of their house, like the last CB's show.

Freddy : Yeah, exactly.

Lou : So many people trying to get in, as soon as somebody left, they let somebody else in, then when the person that left tried to get back in they couldn't! It was so crowded!

To finish, Freddy, as we already asked Lou the last time we met, can you tell us about Sob from Merauder? Maybe you have something funny you remember about him like a story or something...?

Freddy : Sob was a character, I mean, me and him were not super super tight, like the best of friends, you know, Im going to be honest, but we knew each other over the years, part of the same scene, mutual friends, similar circles. He was a character man, and I think Merauder was a great band, an influential band you know? Not as active as some bands, but they definitely influenced some people. I remember bumping into him one time at an after hours in Brooklyn somewhere and I was with my friends and he was by himself, and we happened to bump into each other in this crazy place that not many people know about, and we just talked and had drinks, and you know, hung out, and he was a character man. Its sad that he passed, he was a young guy, and unfortunately, we’ve lost too many young guys from our camp, you know, people from back home that we grew up with and things like that, so it’s a loss. it’s a big loss for the scene. I think he was somebody that, when people saw him, they knew he was from New York scene, Brooklyn scene, and its very sad. He’ll be missed by his family and stuff for sure. Rest in peace.
Oh and one more thing about Sob, besides bumping into him in random places, he would sometimes go “yeah what’s up? Im Sob, sob of a bitch”. And that was a funny thing about him. Sometimes he’d even introduce himself to people, if you forgot you met him, and he would always say that;” Sob, sob of a bitch”.

Interview Manu & O.S
Translation Alexweapon

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999