Germany’s Metal-heads.de conducted an interview with frontman Freddy Cricien of New York hardcore veterans MADBALL prior to the band’s June 19 concert at Stone im Ratinger Hof in Düsseldorf, Germany. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On what motivates him to keep releasing new music:
Freddy: “Many things motivate us. Just because we’ve been doing this band for as long as we have been doesn’t mean we don’t grow as people or we don’t experience different and more things throughout our lives. As you grow, your band grows, I feel. That’s exactly what happened. I was literally a kid when we started doing this band. So, what’s my perspective at 12 years old on something? Now, I’m a grown man with kids myself, so yeah, there’s a lot to write about and a lot to be inspired by and still a lot to be pissed off about. I should be pissed off about my surroundings. Now I’m pissed off for my children and the world they have to grow up in.”
On whether there was a set direction for the band’s new “For The Cause” studio album or a natural one:
Freddy: “Pretty natural. We had the vision that we were going to make it more diverse. But, as far as…we’re not very contrived people. We’ve never been that way. We’ve never been like, ‘Oh, this is going to be our metallic-influenced record.’ Or this is going be ‘this influence’ or ‘that influence.’ Most of our music is naturally occurring and this record is no different. The difference is that it’s very diverse. It’s probably our most diverse record that we’ve done and it’s just showing different sides that we have.”
On the 2017 departure of longtime guitarist Brian “Mitts” Daniels:
Freddy: “Just to clarify, Mitts didn’t leave us while we were writing the record. Unfortunately, it was left up to me — I had to let him go during that time because we just came to a point where something had to change. And Mitts is an old friend and I love him dearly and he’s still my friend. We’re still very dear friends. The reality is, I value the friendship and so, better to end it on a good note than be weird. I mean, Mitts would have stayed in the band no matter what. He loved traveling, he loved playing MADBALL, he loved doing all this. He loves playing his instrument — he’s a good guitar player. But, the reality is, sometimes relationships come to a point and someone has to say, ‘Hey, this is over.’ And that someone had to be me because that’s where I’m left with that executive decision. But, it was no ill will. There was nothing bad, it’s just something we did, then we moved forward and kept writing the record and that’s it. The only person that could have played guitar on this record is [former MADBALL guitarist] Matt Henderson and he was very excited.”
On the meaning behind new song “Rev Up”:
Freddy: “Many things inspire me. Firstly, the state of the world, the state of our youth. I think about my own youth, I think about my kids. It’s sort of like I’m talking to the young folks, but I’m talking to a younger version of myself and I’m talking to my kids in the future when they maybe read the lyrics. Everyone knows I’m not the first person to write about a revolutionary topic, obviously, but, the approach with this one is to wake people up. There’s a lot of knowledge out there and it’s very easily accessible and hopefully people utilize it to their advantage and don’t just fall asleep at the wheel, playing around on their phones or whatever else. That’s the point. It’s like, things are crazy now, politically, everything’s a mess, so maybe in the future, some of these younger folks can inspire some other folks and start changing things. That’s been an ambition for many people for many years. Again, it’s nothing new, but it’s something that needs…people need to be reminded of.”
On BODY COUNT frontman Ice-T‘s guest appearance on the song “Evil Ways”:
Freddy: “I met him in New York and he made an impression on me and I kept him in mind. I was thinking of a song where I pictured Ice-T on it and I just reached out to him and yeah, he was all about it, because when I met him, he had a lot of respect for MADBALL and New York hardcore. He made it a point to tell me that and us and I remembered that and I thought that was very cool of him. Then, when this song popped up, it’s called ‘Evil Ways’, I said, ‘Man, that’d be a good song for Ice-T.’ It just happened. There was a lot of respect being thrown back and forth.”
On whether MADBALL will do any special shows in celebration of the 25th anniversary of their debut studio album, “Set It Off”:
Freddy: “Probably not, only because we were never band that was like — not there’s like anything wrong with it, but we weren’t that band that got hyped on anniversaries, like 10 years, but we did end up doing a 20-year ‘Set It Off’ tour and a 20-year ‘Demonstrating My Style’ thing for Rebellion. It was cool. But, we’re not going to keep doing that for every record and 25 years, then 30 years…I don’t know. It’s a bit much. We did a thing for ‘Set It Off’, which was cool. Matt Henderson did it with us, same with ‘Demonstrating My Style’. Two important records. They’re super-important records. Yeah, I don’t know. I’m just focused on ‘For The Cause’ right now. We’re very happy with this record and we’re trying to be in this moment with this record right now.”
“For The Cause” was released on June 15 via Nuclear Blast. The follow-up to 2014’s “Hardcore Lives” was co-produced by Tim Armstrong (RANCID), who also makes a guest appearance on “The Fog”. It was mixed and mastered by renowned producer Tue Madsen (MESHUGGAH, THE HAUNTED, SICK OF IT ALL) at Antfarm Studios in Denmark. Former MADBALL guitarist Matt Henderson laid down the guitar tracks in the studio but will not join the group on tour.
Photo credit: Thony Oliver