Madball On Former Drummer: “…The Kid Has A Lot To Learn About Character”
Hardcore may be your thing, but it’s not my cup of tea. I am not daft enough to keep a closed mind about different kinds of music, and will be the first to admit that because I don’t like something, does not necessarily mean it sucks. With that being said, I may not be in love with hardcore music but have gained respect for hardcore pioneer, Madball vocalist – Freddy Cricien. This guys life is already legendary at the age of 34.
New York’s Hardcore heroes Madball are set to release their latest offering ‘Empire’ via ‘Good Fight Entertainment’, this Tuesday [Oct 12/10]. Madball have been in partnership with some notorious labels over the years, Ferret Music being the one prior to Good Fight Entertainment. Did they leave Ferret Music as a result of a few staff leaving the label to go onto Good Fight? any truth to it?
Freddy Cricien: Yeah the guys from Ferret let the name go for legal and personal reasons. But anyone and everyone who mattered and made Ferret, is now at Good Fight. And yes, I do have a unique and special relationship with those folks. They are true believers and supporters of Madball, and anything I’m involved in. So, I stay loyal to them.
Statements have been made something to the effect of: The new album will possess core Madball elements, but with some evolution…
FC: The core elements, the formula that separates us from anyone us, will always be there. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be MB. But, with every record there is a slight evolution and some progressive elements.. There has to be. Weather it’s in the production, in the vocal/lyrical approach, musically. Maybe all those things. There’s always growth some where. But it will always be noticeably and distinctly MB. That’s a good thing I think…..
Jay Weinberg [Son of Max Weinberg - Bruce Springsteen's E-street band] was in the band long enough to record drum tracks for the new album, as well as a host of shows. Freddy cited Jay’s departure from Madball, was due mostly to personality differences. Can we get Freddy to delve any deeper?
FC: Haha. you know if I go deeper with this, people are going to call me a bully… Even if what I’m saying is valid. People are already probably saying that, without having a clue about anything that went on. We’re not bullies. We’re the anti bully! Let’s just say this, the kid has a lot to learn about character. And that doesn’t even necessarily apply to just a band or touring setting/situation. I will say this, the kid did a hell of a job on the record. Hopefully he picked up some pointers along the way as well. Aside from that, he did not fit with us on so many levels. But this doesn’t affect any tours or anything like that… MB machine can’t stop and won’t stop!
Famed MetalBlade producer Erik Rutan who is also a Madball fan with a surprising hardcore background, was appointed to oversee the production of ‘Empire’. How important is it to Freddy as an artist to work with a producer that not only has the technical ability but also some sincere passion for the project?
FC: Well, you said it all right there. He has the abilities and also the understanding of how to approach a band like ours. He’s definitely passionate as well.. Which is as important if not more. We worked well together man. he’s a good dude and very talented. I’m glad we both took a chance.
With Freddy on record stating ‘We’re finally at the point in our lives where we are taking control of our things’. What things? What were they not in control of previously?
FC: Life, business, the direction of the band, and so many other endeavors that MB was the catalyst for. We always had say and did what we wanted for the most part. But we weren’t nearly as focused,driven, and/or informed as we are now. Those tidbits you pick up along the way are powerful. They help you grow as people and that spreads to everything you do. Hope that was a little more insightful.
Freddy was introduced and got his start in hardcore at the tender age of 7, at CBGB’s on stage with his brothers band Agnostic Front. Both Madball and Agnostic Front are coined as heavyweights in the realm of hardcore music. At any point were or are they competitive with each others band? Sibling rivalry if you will?
FC: No man. Honestly no. He’s about 11-12 years older than me, so maybe that’s why. I think if we were a year or 2 apart maybe there might have been some sibling rivalry. But, it’s not that way. We encourage and support each other however we can. As people we are different in many ways. At the end of the day though, we are Fam and have a lot of love and respect for each other.
Freddy being pre-teen when he formed Madball, if he looked back did or could he have foreseen the longevity of hardcore music being prevalent today?
FC: No…. No one could have predicted that. But I am happy I stayed involved and stuck it out! I’m proud of being a part of this movement. Proud of how global it’s become. I’m glad to be a part of that growth in some way.. I know it will continue.
Freddy’s love of Hip-hop is no secret, as a fan of original hip-hop what are his thoughts on of the current state of the immensely popular genre? Any favorites? Any hated?
FC: Yes I’m a big fan of that genre/sub culture. Always have been. It’s crazy how big it’s gotten! but in some ways I’m not entirely surprised. My favorites would have to be, in no particular order: Rakim, Big Daddy Cane,kool g rap,big pun, KRS1, Public Enemy, Ice Cube, AZ, biggie, Slick Rick, Jay z, guru.. There’s more.. Ha. There’s a lot of new underground artist that are great as well.. Slaine, Jaysaun, Vinnie Paz,etc. Hate is a strong word, but I’m really not feeling Drake!
Check out Madball on one of their UK dates!
Oct 28 @ Fleece & Ferkin – Bristol, UK
Oct 29 @ King Tut’s – Glasgow, UK
Oct 30 @ Moho Live – Manchester, UK
Oct 31 @ Scala – London, UK