Bild by Stuart Chalmers (Source=

„Staying true“ is a typical value in HC-Punk. There are many songs covering that topic. (If you think of one now, feel free to comment below. Would be nice to have a value specific collection in the end.) Anyways, it was very suitable to have Freddy from Madball talk about this topic. He can name very comprehensible what it is all about.

People keep on asking if hardcore is dead. Seriously? Are you kidding me?! Our time is just about to come. Hardcore is the future. And this is why.

The values in hardcore-punk are within all of us. But most of the time we don´t even talk about it. I tell you something: the scene is completely humble. How come we are part of society, living our lives and still letting them call us sub-culture or even youth movement. C´mon- we are all grown-ups now! But we still play the game: Acting as if we were less suitable, or fitting less in this society. But we already infiltrated the system. We are in there and we are many. It´s time to take our credit for our contribution.

Hardcore-punk values are more than some rebellious ideas. They make sense. In our series HC-PUNKROCK ATTITUDE we´ll give you all the facts and talk to very interesting people of our HC- community. In this case: Freddy Cricien from the band Madball who has quite a bit of insight in psychological processes, as you can read here!

HC-Punk-Attitude #1 with Freddy „Madball“ Cricien

Photo by Michelle Olaya

AFL: First of all, you’ve got a lot of success going on and there´s a lot of people who like your music. You have stayed humble down to eart and on eye level with the people, you’re living that hardcore thing. What keeps you so modest.

We´ve been around a long time and we´re still relevant, and that´s a big accomplishment I guess. But we still belong to an underground music scene and I don´t know if success even matters, because if hardcore suddenly exploded tomorrow, I don´t think we would change who we are, or how we treat people. I think this is just how we grew up. We grew up with a lot of humility. Because of different adversity we were dealing with and different things we were going through in our lives. And we come from a scene that is not about that, it is not about treating anybody in the crowd any differently. That is just not our foundation.

AFL: So that is part of the culture. That´s pretty punkrock. Isn´t it?

Yeah. It is even more punkrock than punkrock! Hardcore is really, really on that level. Hardcore doesn´t only just preach it, but I think hardcore really lives that whole way of being.

AFL: We, meaning us in the hardcore scene, are keeping it real, we are staying true.  One can feel that in your songs, doesn´t matter if it´s about anger or unity, there´s that realness, you really mean what you sing there. How did you figure out you can only reach certain things when you are how you really are?

I can only speak for myself. It is your make-up. I couldn´t do something like music unless it was honest. Doesn´t matter what style of music, but I grew up in this scene and it is a very honest scene of music. It is very abrasive and rough around the edges but very honest.

AFL: But that is very special, isn´t it? When you see the other musical cultures and everybody is pretending and showing off.

This was a place where people could come and be themselves. And if being themselves meant they want to shave their hair- cool! If it meant to have a Mohawk, that’s cool too. This was a place for the outcast and it still is!

AFL: I like your new album For The Cause. There´s so much energy in it and it is very empowering. When I think of “Head high live and die that way „sand up straight and live what you say“.

Yeah! Live what you say. And that is such a big thing! It´s pretty straight forward and it is simple. It is right to the point and it is what we live by. From the beginning till now and till the end of madball. We will always be true to who we are.

Madball (Photo by Kuckuck Artworks)

AFL: I think it is a big difference, if you sing it when you feel it. That´s the great thing about Madball. One can feel that you really sing what you mean.

In my humble opinion: you have to feel music. Or whatever you do. If you are a poet, you gotta feel it. If you´re an artist who is painting at a wall or at a canvas, you have to feel it. You sort of have to become your artform. And if you don´t become that it is not honest. That is the only way I can really explain it. I always expressed myself in an honest way, but I didn´t know until I got older that I actually almost have to become obsessed by the feeling and the vibe, the words have to be true that come out of your mouth.

AFL: That’s what I think the spark that hardcore is giving. It is much bigger than we think. Because, see all the fakes out there, what they are pretending, they are saying and living things they don´t mean.

It is hard, because everyone to a degree has to work to live together. Society is sort of like: you can´t just do all the time everytime what you want. You got to have common courtesy and expect boundaries and space. We are lucky to do something we are passionate about as our jobs. And that is more rare than even I realize sometimes.  We are our own bosses and we are able to express ourselves and this is what we do. It is hard if you work for a company. You have to go by their rules and regulations and that is just life too, but there´s always a little way where you can figure out to rebel.

AFL: Yeah that´s so true.

And what you are doing in life: you can always figure out a way to be that rebellious person even within a corporation or a company, that´s the whole infiltrate-the-system mentality, the song, what I was trying to get across the people. Cause I have met a lot of hardcore people from all walks of life in this doing-music and growing up where I grew up. From the hardest toughest gangsters to doctors and lawyers, I mean, everybody and they were all in some way hardcore kids and they are very different, but we share something similar. Like we are all from a similar tribe, because we belong to this culture. That is how we infiltrate. It is like whatever you are doing, you know, you are part of this secret society. We are gonna shake it up. Shake it up a little bit! Because that´s what we do. We shake things up.

I worked many jobs and I know that life too. I know what it is like to get up in the morning and go and carry something heavy and help build something and sweep something. I´ve done everything from construction to securtity, I´ve watched peoples backs.

Hardcore really has a working class foundation and I think that that´s also something. Because that´s part of our ethics as well. And we apply this to that whole DIY thing. We are the working class of the music crowd. We understand that struggle.

AFL: I really think that this is great that you keep it on now. It is never a hierarchy, it is never, from top down, like looking down on people.  I always see you trying to connect with the audience. That’s always like a: ok. Where-are-my-people-thing. That is really great.

The thing is it doesn´t matter if hardcore was the biggest thing tomorrow we wouldn’t treat people any differently. That’s the point. We will always want to connect. You can’t be honest about things when you don´t connect with the crowd.

Freddy Madball sing as kid for Agnostic Front (Bild zur Verfügung gestellt von Drew Stone)

I think this is a real thing. Society is looking down on us, but they don´t have a clue. What I believe is, it is getting bigger, because of the realness. Getting back to the realness again. That gives you so much. Being who you really are and writing the lyrics you really want to write. I am very happy about that.

AFL: What impact does it have on your life now, that you can be really true to yourself.

You know, I am a very flawed person in a lot of ways and I made mistakes throughout my life. I´ve learned a lot from good and bad things in my life, but one thing I’ve always been grateful for when I wake up everyday is that I chose a path where I can be myself,like you said. And I´m grateful for that. I really am, I honestly am. I din’t always think about it that way. I know there was a time where I was trying to be more normal . Like, I don’t know, it was weird. Like trying to be something more – trying to offset something. But the reality is that I am very happy that I am not normal. Whatever normal is.

And I want to pass that on to my kids. I want them to be better than I was, but I donÄt want them to conform and do what everybody else does. I want them to think for themselves and do something that they enjoy.

If there´s people, who really don’t dare to be themselves, because they think they would be rejected. What would you tell the people who are not daring to stay true.

I even feel bad for people who are in that situation. I can’t really relate . But yeah. It is unfortunate and it manifests itself in different ways. Where they just hate or talk shit about people, I know there is a lot of insecurity involved so. I don’t know. People have to just try to shake that way of being. Look deeper into yourself and connect with something more honest.

I don’t understand the concept of being fake. I don´t get it. That is one thing I have never been. Sometimes too honest and real for my own good I guess. But it is unfortunate when you have to sort of be something you are not or when that manisfests itself in hatred or envy towards others. When you lash out at people. You know there is teachers are not being true to themselves so they lash out on kids. There´s a lot of different manifestations of that. It comes out in different ways in people.

I’d say: find your true self, it is somewhere in there! Dig around!


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2015 als Solo-Projekt gestartet, ist AWAY FROM LIFE heute ein Team aus knapp 20 Freunden, die unterschiedlicher kaum sein könnten, jedoch durch mindestens diese eine Sache vereint sind: Der Leidenschaft für Hardcore-Punk. Diese Subkultur ist für uns kein Trend, sondern eine tiefverwurzelte Lebenseinstellung, etwas, das uns seit Jahren immer und überall begleitet. Hardcore-Punk bedeutet für uns, sich selbst zu entfalten. Dabei ist D.I.Y. für uns nicht nur eine Phrase: Wir probieren Sachen aus, lernen neues dazu und entwickeln uns weiter. Von der Szene für die Szene. Gerade deshalb hat es für uns oberste Prämisse, Personen aus dieser Subkultur zu supporten, die denken wie wir. Sei es Veranstalter, Labels oder Bands, unabhängig ihres Bekanntheitsgrad. Egal ob Hardcore-Kid, Punk, Skinhead oder sonst wer. Wir sind Individuen, einer großen Unity, die völlig zeitlos und ortsunabhängig existiert. AWAY FROM LIFE ist für uns ein Instrument diese Werte zu manifestieren und unser Verständnis für Hardcore-Punk auszuleben. Angefangen als reines Magazin, haben wir über die Jahre unser eigenes Festival, das Stäbruch, etabliert oder jüngst mit Streets auch eine Szeneplattform ins Leben gerufen, die für uns alle genutzt werden kann – genutzt für eine Sache, die uns verdammt wichtig ist: Hardcore-Punk!

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