Madball – Demonstrating My Style – Interview


Demonstrating My Style (Roadrunner)
An interview with bassist Hoya Roc
by Tim Creter

How do you spell New York Hardcore? M-A-D-B-A-L-L. Originally an Agnostic Front side project for Roger Miret’s younger brother, Freddy, Madball has since struck hardcore into the hearts of millions with the very mention of their name. In 1992, when Agnostic Front called it a day, guitarists Vinnie Stigma and Matt Henderson, along with drummer Will Shepler, teamed up with bassist Hoya and Freddy to make Madball complete. Their first full-length, Set it Off, was really a re-working of older songs from their two previous EPs, Ball of Destruction, and Droppin’ Many Suckas, along with some new material. But the arrival of their new disc, Demonstrating My Style, marks what the band refers to as their “real debut” with 13 new songs. And don’t worry, Madball hasn’t gone soft. The production is crystal clear and they sound like a hardcore machine gone into over-drive without ever sounding annoying or noisy. The music still hits like a wake-up call with a crowbar, sounding like a mix between Brightside-era Killing Time and Agnostic Front, and Freddy’s vocals and lyrics still take a raw look at inner-city life and hardcore reality. But, this new release also marks the departure of legendary axe-man and Agnostic Front founder Vinnie Stigma from the band. For more details on this and the latest in Madball, check these extra-large words from bass man Hoya.

Define your style of hardcore.
We’re just straight-up New York hardcore, playing a mix of old school and new school.

There’s not much change or experimentation in the music from your previous releases, is there?
No, not at all. As a band, we really stick to the straight hardcore style. We try not to change or forget our hard-edged roots.

How do you feel about the absence of Vinnie?
Well, he’s still very much a part of the band. He still helps when we’re out on the road, dealing with management and things like that. He didn’t play on the new one because, well, he’s getting older. What I mean is that he’s been playing guitar for God knows how long, and his hands have gotten really messed up what with playing and his day job where he works with his hands. Plus, he’s got a baby now, so there’s also that to consider. But by no means do we consider him not a part of the band, he just doesn’t play with us anymore, that’s all.

Who writes the music?
Matty, Will and I write all the music, while Freddy handles the lyrics and vocals.

How has Roadrunner been to you guys?
They’ve been great, we haven’t had a problem with them yet. Actually, we just finished shooting a video for “Pride (Times Are Changing)” that’s going to be released in Europe. They knew we’re a hardcore band when they signed us, and they know they can’t change anything about us, so they’ve been good about that.

Do you have any favorite songs on the new album?
Well, they all mean something to me personally. But, if I had to choose, I’d say “Demonstrating My Style,” “Unity,” and “5-O,” to name a few.

Any favorite bands?
Yeah, I like a lot of new hardcore bands out, like 25 Ta Life, Crown of Thornz, and Terror Zone.

What’s up with Skarhead?
Those guys are still playing together and writing new songs, and I practice with them sometimes.

You have a lot of shows coming up?
We’re playing around New York right now, and at the end of the month we go to Europe for a tour. After that, we’ll hit the States, doing the East Coast where we’ll hit Boston, and after that, go back to Europe. Just trying to keep busy.

Can you comment on violence at shows and how fingers get pointed at Madball?
People always say “Don’t go to Madball shows because this and this is going to happen,” but those are the people who don’t even know what we’re about. They go by what they hear and what they read, and you can’t go by that all the time. I mean, if you go to a Madball show and get hit or the band jumps on you, then you can talk, right? But if you don’t know, you just can’t say things like that.

The band doesn’t have problems with fights?
No, not at all. It’s all bull, like a joke really. I always hear rumors that we jump offstage, we beat people up, we shoot people, we stab people, we hold people hostage, it’s all fantasy. Of course there are fights at clubs, but where doesn’t that happen? Then they try to blame the band. We only get involved if somebody comes at us. You give us an attitude and we’ll give you attitude right back. But if you’re cool with us, we’ll be cool with you.

Anything to add?
Nope. Just hardcore still lives, and check out the album.