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Icarus Line - Interview with Joe Cardamone

  by Mark Rowland

published: 11 / 5 / 2002

Icarus Line - Interview with Joe Cardamone


One of the most notorious of new acts on the American punk scene, the Icarus Line have already established a reputation for being outspoken . Mark Rowland talks to frontman Joe Cardonne about the group's new album 'Mono' and their continuing controversy

Many people will have heard of the name the Icarus Line. They have a reputation, and have appeared it seems in practically every feature in every magazine. The Icarus Line are painted as a band that hate practically everyone and everything, and go out of their way to piss people off. It's a reputation that is sure to get on the band's nerves, and to plague them wherever they go. This reputation has derived mainly from the band's involvement with Buddyhead.com, the infamous and very funny website that tends to speak it's mind about a lot of bands and people in the music industry, and because the Icarus Line guitarist Aaron North is quite heavily involved with the website, the Icarus Line have been given the title "The Buddyhead band'. It's a shame, as the Icarus Line's debut full-length, 'Mono', is a fantastically raw blend of Jesus Lizard weirdness and Stooges punk n roll madness. Hopefully, for everyone's sake, their music won't be over-shadowed by an unrealistic infamy. If you haven't already, I suggest you buy 'Mono', it's one of the best recent rock albums you're likely to hear. We caught up with vocalist Joe Cardamone to talk about the album and the band's continued controversy PB : You have hired a new drummer, your sixth. Do you think this one's here to stay? JC : Hopefully. I mean you can't be sure with drummers. As long as he's with us long enough for us to get something done, you know? At the end of the day, it's just a drummer, though, so it's not the end of the world if we lose this one as well. PB : Aaron North has said in interviews that your next album's sound will be very different from 'Mono', What sort of direction do you think the band are heading in? JC : Right now, we seem to be heading in a more layered direction, and one which is more complex, but also a bit more concise in terms of song length, sort of more clipped. PB : Aaron tried to play Stevie Ray-Vaughn's guitar in Texas. Did you know he was going to do that, or was it a spur of the moment thing? JC : Yeah it was pretty much a spur of the moment thing. Noone really knew that it was going to happen, not even Aaron, probably. PB : Did you get into much trouble because of it? JC : No, not really, we sort of got away with it. It was basically put down to rock n roll excess, so we got off pretty lightly. Not much came of it. PB : At the time, you sid it was the equivalent of 'burning the Book of Mormon in Utah." JC : Well, yeah, I mean they were pretty pissed off, but we didn't get much hassle because of it. PB : What's the most controversial thing the band have ever done? JC : I don't think we've done much that's contrrversial really. I suppose the most controversial thing we've done recently is put out 'Mono'. PB : If you all wore white ties, you'd look like the Hives. Does that make you want to change your image? JC : Yes. Definitely. PB : How do you go about writing your lyrics ? Do they play an important part in the making of your music, or are they more of an afterthought once the music is written? JC : It really depends. Sometimes the lyrics are written first. Other times lyrics are written to fit songs, so it tends to vary. PB : Is 'Feed a Cat to Your Cobra' from the album about groupies? JC : Well, sort of yes and no, 'Feed a Cat..' was written before there actually were any groupies, so it's not specifically about them, but I can see that it could definitely be interpreted that way. It definitely reflects attitudes towards them. PB : You don't like them very much do you? JC : What, groupies? It really depends on what they look like. PB : You make a point of letting people know what you like and what you don't like. If you could wipe one band off the face of the Earth, which one would you choose? JC : There's so many bands around right now it's too difficult a decision to make. I'd have to say that every band that gets regular airplay on MTV should be wiped off the face of the Earth. Tthat probably covers all of the shittiest bands. PB : In your opinion, which is the greater evil, Pop-punk or Nu-metal? JC : They're both pretty bad, if you ask me, They're both as evil as each other. PB : Which band or artist has in influenced you most to get you where you are today? JC : Hmm. I don't know who I'm influenced by,. It kind of varies with each day, you know. Like today, I'm probably most influenced by Jason Pierce from Spiritualised. PB : Which festivals, if any, are you playing this Summer? JC : I don't know exactly. I'm pretty sure we're booked for Reading and Leeds, We're doing a few festival dates in Japan, and we're doing one in Norway that Turbonegro are playing at, but other than that I won't know until nearer the time. PB : Why do  you think you've got youselves such a bad reputation that people actually want to hurt you? JC : I think it's basically because we've got a loud mouthed guitarist who tends to talk shit about all these bands, and we're a band that doesn't really compromise in any way. I also think 'Mono' is a good source of hate for a lot of people. We've pretty nuch established our own sound, and those people know that if they actually listened to our record, they'd realise that it's a hell of lot better than a lot of the music they listen to and produce, which scares them a bit. Also, Aaron does a lot of stuff for Buddyhead, which tends to piss a lot of people off. PB : What do you think of Buddyhead? JC : -WellI hang out a lot with the guys who do Buddyhead and I've written stuff for it a couple of times, but it's pretty much their thing, something that those guys have to do. I mean like Aaron uses it to get alot of shit out about bands, and to promote other bands that deserve promoting as well, It's just something they do. I'm not really that involved in it. PB : Do you think it's a good thing for the band, or does it cause more trouble than it's worth? JC : It's kind of a good thing and a bad thing, I guess. I mean, it gives us alot of publicity, and helps us put out records and stuff, but as I said it also gets us into a lot of trouble with people, but to be honest you know I don't really care much  about it. PB : Do you think that it's difficult to be a successful band these days without having a really polished, over-produced sound? JC : I don't know about that. There's a few bands that are successful now that are pretty good, but then again they weren't really that popular when they were first around, so I'm not sure. There aren't many big bands around right now that have a raw kind of sound, so I guess it is pretty hard these days to be successful if you've got a rougher sound. PB : You're doing a few dates with Rival Schools in Britain, How come you're only doing a couple of shows, and not doing shows over a wider area of Britain? JC : I don't really know what's going on with that. I know we're suposed to be doing some dates with them, but I don't know where or when we're playing. I tend to not really know anything about the venues and the locations we're playing until the actual night, so I won't really know until much nearer the time. PB : Are you a Rival Schools fan? JC : think that the main reason we're playing those shows is because of Gorilla Biscuits. We're all pretty much fans of them, i used to play Gorilla Biscuits covers in a band I was in when I was at high school, so that's pretty much the reason we're playing with them. Quicksand were pretty good, but I'm into Gorilla Biscuits much more than I ever was into them. Project x as well, that was anther band that Walter Schiefels was in at about the same time as Gorilla Biscuits. They're pretty obscure, though, I don't think you can even get their stuff in America anymore. It's good stuff though,. It's a hardcore thing. It's pretty cool. PB : Are you playing any other shows before the festivals? JC : Yeah, we're playing other shows in Europe as well as with Rival Schools, I think we'll probably play London, like a 150- 200 capacity venue or something, so look out for those. PB : Thank you

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Icarus Line - Interview with Joe Cardamone

Icarus Line - Interview with Joe Cardamone

Icarus Line - Interview with Joe Cardamone

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