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  1. Madball

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Founded: N/A
Ended: Active



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A hardcore amalgam of camaraderie and angst, New York City veterans Madball this year celebrate 20 years together with their sixth full length album, the typically high-tensile Infiltrate The System. Mainstay vocalist Freddy Cricien opens up about growing pains and the getting of wisdom.

Hi Freddy, how's the touring going so far this year .. you must have worked out a nice routine over the years?

Freddy Cricien:
"Since Infiltrate The System dropped we've pretty much been doing our rounds of touring. The last tour we did was with Sick Of It All on the west coast and then we did the east coast The routine has changed a few times over the years. We're a little more strategic with our touring these days. When we were younger and getting out there and trying to get established we would tour relentlessly whereas now we have our certain key markets that we go to. Then we explore new places - every year we try to go somewhere new, that's kind of the goal. So the routine changes over time but it's pretty smoothed out at this point."

The band took a hiatus in 2001-02, was that helpful in the long run?

Freddy Cricien:
"I think it was. At that time we just had way too much going on in our personal lives and within the band. We had a lot of issues and it was a really unstable time for me personally and for the band. We needed to get away from it and truly appreciate what it's done for us, what it's provided for us throughout our lives.

Freddy Cricien:
"Also we needed to make some changes with band members and so on and so there were a lot of factors surrounding the whole thing. But at the end of the day I think that hiatus, which was almost two years long, did help. We're a better and more focused band and we're more mature as people and there are so many things that have changed that make us more of a force. We definitely have some longevity on our side."

Were they serious personal issues?

Freddy Cricien:
"It was a combination of things. I got into some legal troubles and our situation with our label was very unstable and maybe it had to do with us as well. So a little bit of both. You know, just the way we were living around that time period, at least for me, I was very reckless and self-destructive and maybe that stems from childhood things or this or that, who knows. But it was a very dark period for me and for the band and it's a shame because the record we did at the time Hold It Down I felt was one of our best records. Every word on it was brutally honest and had a lot of passion behind it. But then that's pretty much the case with all our records."

So is Madball a form of pain management for you?

Freddy Cricien:
"For us it's definitely been very therapeutic and live-saving I would say. We can be volatile people just from having a certain upbringing, we have a lot of energy and some of it is good energy and some if it is negative energy and if we weren't doing music or Madball we could easily have focused our energy into other things that we were surrounded by or getting ourselves involved in or so on.

Freddy Cricien:
"So I think a lot of times throughout our lives and throughout our careers doing Madball took us away from a lot of negative elements, like hanging out on the corner on the Lower East Side drinking 40s, ha! It's helped us grow as people and become more cultured by travelling around the world too."

Do you feel that playing hardcore can be a quick-fix though?

Freddy Cricien:
"Any outlet musically, and it doesn't necessarily have to be hardcore, it can be hip hop or rock, you know, people from all different walks of life who are into all different kinds of music unfortunately come from fucked-up backgrounds, if you'll excuse my language. But hardcore even more so. But I don't think hardcore is a quick fix especially with individuals where problems may be very deep-rooted. Screaming my lungs out every night certainly didn't fix anything for me. It's been years of screaming my lungs out and also doing this and that and meeting people like my wife who's helped me put things into perspective and get me more focused. So many different circumstances and experiences in my life have got me to the point where I'm at now combined with going nuts on stage and letting the real aggression out - that's definitely been a big help."

You mentioned that Infiltrate The System is the final stage in the evolution of the band. Are you suggesting Madball is winding down after 20 years?

Freddy Cricien:
"Maybe 'final stage' was not the most appropriate way to put that. The point I was trying to make was that we still have some room to evolve and grow a little more but I don't foresee this band going in a radical direction. We're not all of a sudden turning into the latest fad. We're essentially going to be what we're known for - a heavy hardcore band that has represented certain ideals and a certain style for a long time, and we're going to continue to be that. But we've evolved in every stage of our career on every record. If you compare Ball Destruction, our first EP and Infiltrate The System, they're two different animals. Every record's been that way but the core has stayed the same. It's key that we hold on to what we've represented."




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