Madball's Freddy Cricien Talks NYC Hardcore: "CBGB's Was Our Shit Hole"
Freddy Madball = New York City hardcore.
But did you know he came up in Miramar on salsa duro, Grandmaster Flash, and Miami bass?
From singing with Agnostic Front at age 7 to starting his own band, Freddy Cricien and his Madball cohorts have turned the world into one massive mosh pit. And now they're coming back to Churchill's Pub in Miami for a $10 Sunday show.
Here's what Freddy has to say about his South Florida roots, working-class ethics, and Trayvon Martin.
Crossfade: Your family moved to Florida when you were a kid. What part of Florida did you move to?
Freddy Cricien: Umm, when I lived in Florida, I lived in Miramar. First Miami. And then Miramar. I was born in Jersey, but my family moved down here. People comin' from different places started to relocate here. I spent some time as kid and as an adult too. I've also been back and forth later in life as well, because of family.
What did you think of it when you first saw it?
I was a little boy. I was like 5 or 6 years old. I had a lot of my first childhood friends here and all that stuff. My first little group of friends playin' in the street, football, and front yards. It was cool. There was some crazy family times and some cool times.
What was some of the Latin music you heard around you?
Joe Arroyo, Grupo Niche, so many vallenato guys... that's my Colombian side, and then on the Cuban side, Benny Moré and a lot of old-school cats like what the Buena Vista cats came with later, on that whole vibe, that whole sound of Cuba, and a lot of salsa and Hector Lavoe from Puerto Rico, Ruben Blades, and that whole scene. That whole circuit has a lot of talent.
I read that some of the hip-hop you were into was Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick. Were you influenced by any Southern rap?
I mean, I dug some of it, for sure. First I bought Sugar Hill Gang because of my brother Rudy, Grandmaster Flash, and all that kind of stuff. The New York stuff came first no matter how you look at it. But I remember when Luke first came out, the whole 2 Live Crew movement, and that early Miami Bass -- I definitely got down to some of it.
A lot of that early New York hip-hop stuff, the records were actually pressed in Hialeah...
Ha, look at that. I had cousins in Hialeah. I used to run around there a lot. Carol City too. Me and my cousins. I used to spend weekends all the time in all those areas.
Did you go to any shows, concerts, or clubs while you lived down here?
I went to a lot of early hardcore shows actually, my brother being in Agnostic Front in the early '80s; any shows that they ever played in Florida I was there for sure. I remember Cameo theater and some of the crazier places in North Florida. South Florida had cool spots, and Miami always had a good scene. I remember all that. I would usually go up the coast with Agnostic Front to New York or go up there myself and work back down with them. Good shit.
Talk some about your Black N Blue label....
The Black and Blue label exists cause I just wanted to put out our own music. That's the whole purpose essentially. It may develop into more. It's the whole movement including Black And Blue Productions. My partner Joe and I do the Black and Blue Bowl and other events mostly in New York, sometimes other spots. That's my production company. This is a branch of that. A label that the last Madball EP came out on and the next album, and my hip-hop stuff. I'm tryin' to branch off that whole Black and Blue movement.
What does Black and Blue mean to you?
A lot of stuff just with our whole brotherhood in New York. That Black and Blue has a personal meaning to us. A lot of things. It's always our favorite colors, and it also has a lot of connections to our brotherhood and so on and so forth. It just came from that essentially.