Picture this. New York. 1988. The city is still rythe with the pimps, the drugs, and the fading glory of the American dream. From within it’s dark alleys, and side streets a new genre of punk is emerging.
CBGBs was losing it’s Debbie Harrys and Johnny Ramones, the ‘hey ho’s and ‘oi’ punk bands were beginning to loose their footing, their constant drive to talk about the problems and not the solutions was beginning to be drowned out by the new sounds of the underground. These were the years where hardcore would really leave it’s mark and stomp it’s name into the heart of both this city and the next with heavy boots, and a message to find a ‘solution’ to all of the problems. Already known within the scene, AGNOSTIC FRONT vocalist, Roger Miret was keen to pass on the torch to the next generation of bands, and more particularly hand the microphone to his younger half brother, Freddy Cricien. This would be the birth of MADBALL, a band of whom have become a pillar within both the past and future of hardcore.
Thirty years later, Madball are still going strong, and with their new record, For The Cause looming just around the corner, we decided who better to reflect on the band’s three decade long career than the man himself. This is Freddy Cricien of Madball, and this is his open letter to the genre that changed his life.
AN OPEN LETTER TO HARDCORE FROM FREDDY CRICIEN
“I fell in love with “the scene” the second I became immersed in it. I was introduced to this sub-culture via my eldest brother, Roger. By that point, he was already a very active member of this super small tribe. He had just been asked to join a band called Agnostic Front, by its founder Vinnie Stigma. I was living in Florida at the time with my Family and came to visit Family in NJ(my birth state)… and of course to see my bro who was living in NYC. The moment I touched down in the L.E.S I knew I was “home”.
“I KNEW I WAS HOME…”
I was only 7/8 years old but I felt welcomed by everyone and I loved the “lawlessness” of it all. The music as well, of course. Some may think, well yeah of course you’re in the big apple, one of the best cities in the world and you’re surrounded by all these cool dudes and girls, bands, etc. What you have to remember is, this wasn’t some “lavish” situation I was walking into. I didn’t get picked up in a limo and wasn’t driven to some penthouse suite. This world was a bit “harder” and “grimmier”. The scene was super small, literally under a 100 people? I could be wrong but somewhere around there. Maybe even half that. The venues were small and very “bare bones” to put it politely.
These “kids” literally lived on the streets… some quite literally..others in sub leased apartments filled to the brim or squats. Those streets were drug infested and gang infested. Keep this all in perspective. Some kids may have shy’d away from the “scariness” of it all. Me on the other hand, I really took to it. Obviously, I was impressionable as we all are at that age. But, that wasn’t exactly like you’re going to Disney with your big bro! I don’t think I was any tougher than anyone else at that age either. I guess.. It’s like something was calling. something clicked.
“THERE’S NERVES, THERE’S EXCITEMENT….THERE’S THE LOVE.”
Roger introducing me to this was better than any toy or trip to Disney(mind you i liked both at that time). The best example would be, like when someone introduces you to your soon to be.. “first girlfriend” or something. There’s nerves, there’s excitement.. there’s the love!”
MADBALL RELEASE THEIR NINTH RECORD, FOR THE CAUSE, VIA NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS ON 15TH JUNE. PRE ORDER THE RECORD HERE.