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Interview: Freddy Cricien of Madball

Originally Published: Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Written by: Sarah De Borre

Before their second tour of Australia, Sarah De Borre catches up with Freddy Madball…

The Journey of Madball: From the Streets to Global Fame

Madball has been keeping it real since 1988, bringing fast and furious hardcore, to hardcore and metal devotees worldwide.  Looking at them, they’re the kind of bunch that you don’t particularly want to meet walking down a dark alley.

Freddy Cricien: The Man Behind the Voice

But in reality, it’s quite the opposite, especially for vocalist Freddy Cricien, who is softly spoken-and happy to share his memories of growing up in one of the world’s toughest cities. Freddy grew up spending his summers hanging out in New York with older sibling Roger, it was through Roger that Freddy got his first taste of hardcore, a hell of a lot earlier than most. “I guess you could say my brother Roger’s to blame for everything…the first time I ever went to New York was in 1983, I actually was born in Jersey but my family relocated to Florida and we bounced around a lot. My first experience with hardcore was in 1983. I was about seven or eight years old and I went to go hang out in the Lower East side with my brother for the summer and that was when Agnostic Front was just coming up, that was in the early days of the scene. Basically from that experience, my life changed and I always looked forward to hanging out with my brother at summer time. Whenever I had the time to get away from my home and go on tour with him or go hang out in New York for the summer I would do that and that’s basically how I got involved in hardcore, I was pretty much a spectator for a long time, just a kid taking it all in really, then later on I started doing stuff myself.” 

With a bunch of the guys from Agnostic Front and some unused Agnostic Front songs, Madball was born and young Freddy, not yet a teenager had his own band.

Family Ties: A Glimpse into Freddy’s Personal Life

Roger isn’t Freddy’s only sibling, “I have two older brothers and an older sister and I have two younger sisters too. Me and my older brothers we have the same mum but a different father, that’s why we have different last names, that question always comes up, why I have a different last name to my brother, we have different fathers but we all grew up together, we never considered ourselves like half brothers of anything like that.” But did young Freddy’s parents ever wonder what this active seven-year-old was getting up to with his older brother? “You know what, they had an idea but they didn’t know the extent of it, it’s funny that you ask me this question ‘cause I was just writing a song this very thing we’re talking about. They had an idea but they didn’t know how crazy it was and I think if they knew how crazy it was they probably wouldn’t have allowed it. Now they know because we are all grown men and it’s a different time. My mum actually went to some shows in the early days, she saw some of the craziness. It was crazy times in New York, it was real street oriented you know, people lived 20 people in a crowded apartment, you know just a bunch of kids, 17-year-olds, 16-year-olds it was crazy, people lived begging for change and scrapping by it was a really crazy punk-rock hardcore lifestyle and I was just some kid taking it all in.” 


“The good thing about Madball is they haven’t changed, they’re a hardcore band from New York and nothing more and that’s what I love,”

– devoted fan

Reflections on the Past and the New York Hardcore Scene

New York and its hardcore scene have grown and changed since those days “it’s on a whole bigger scale now but it’s still the underground, it’s still the underdogs. Hardcore the way we do it is still the underdog, it’s coming up but the music is still too abrasive to be mainstream. Madball is known for having our own brand, our own version of New York Hardcore which is a little bit of the old-school-style flavor with a little more up-to-date flavor but its still New York Hardcore, and as far as Madball goes that’s what we’ll always represent.”

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