About a month or so ago, I was talking to my friend Jeff (Terranova) about life, the universe and everything and he happened to mention that the stalwart Italian Hardcore powerhouse THINK TWICE had just released their discography. I guess it was maybe ten minutes or so after Jeff told me about them releasing the record that I hit send on an email about an interview to Think Twice’s guitarist Freddy and about ten minutes after that, he emailed me back and basically said “Let’s do it”. So we did. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time to THINK TWICE…
Interview by Tim Cundle
MM: Okay, let’s start at the beginning. When, where, why and how did you Think Twice get together and first become a band? What made you want to play Hardcore?
Freddy: Well, we got together in the spring 1989, right after Youth of Today shows in Italy. Gonzo and me were already straight edge and very close friends, at that time we were publishing a Hardcore fanzine called MY ATTITUDE, we interviewed YOT right before the show, and on our way back home we decided to start the band. It took 3 months to put the band together and ame togther the day we asked our friend Sergio if he was willing to sing in the new band. And the rest is history. We kept the band together until 1995, and then we split up. We did a reunion gig in 1997, and then in 2007 we got back together with 3/4 of the original line up. Then we definitely broke up when I moved to Brazil at the end of 2008. Now I´m back in Italy after 8 years, let´s see what´s happens next.
MM: Sticking with a similar sort of theme… Why did you first stumble across and discover Hardcore? What was it about the music and scene that first attracted you to it and do you still feel the same was about today as you did when you first became a part of the scene?
Freddy: Oh my gosh, I´m an old lazy man….Hmm when I was 14, it was 1977 I got involved with Punk rock, it was my teenage rebellion, so I started to buy records right at the beginning of it, got into Sex Pistols, Ramones, Dead Boys, Heartbreakers and the whole early punk wave. I was a MOD for a short time in between 1979-1980, until a brand new generation of punk bands came out which was the beginning of Hardcore. In 1980 I met more locals punks and tiny local scene started, including a band I was part of as the singer. This lasted until 1982. 1981 marked the beginning of a real Hardcore Italian scene, at least as far as connections between various different towns, people started to get in touch, exchange tapes and info and support each other was concerned. People started to travel and visit London and that was very inspiring for all the kids in Italy. London and GB in general, was definitely the capital of Hardcore punk in those years. The First time I was in London, in the summer of 1981 it was awesome, there were Mohawks and spiked hairs on every corner, it was huge. There were shows and record shops (Rough Trade), t was amazing. And then Hardcore in Italy began in 1981….I remember UK Subs playing in Milan, there were hundreds of punks from everywhere…
MM: And back to Think Twice. What influenced, and inspired you as a band?
Freddy: Easy answer. Fast, raw Hardcore, NYHC, early DC Hardcore, the Orange County Style, anyway the bands that I used to love and still dig a lot: MINOR THREAT, 7 SECONDS, UNIFORM CHOICE and YOUTH OF TODAY. There are more bands I love, but these four mean much more to me, each one marked a step or chapter of my life, those bands heavily influenced the band musically, lyrically and our lifestyles as well.
MM: You’ve just released your discography, Choices We Stand By Youth Crew Records. Want to tell us a little about the release and the original records that comprised it?
Freddy: Well it´s a near complete discography that includes almost everything we recorded through our life as a band. From the first 7”, the whole album, tracks from compilations, and the final tracks we recorded before my move to Brazil that were supposed to be released as posthumous 7”. Dario from Youth Crew Records offered us the opportunity to release the material as a cd discography. To be honest the demo is missing from the CD because nobody had a decent copy to transfer to digital format and the live track from the It´s Pounding In compilation is missing as well. But everything else is on there.
MM: Again, sticking with a similar theme… Which of the records that you released was your personal favourite? Why?
Freddy: Musically, the latest stuff, the songs we recorded in 2008, because they caught our real sound and it’s a good recording with brilliant vocals. But emotionally I will say the 7” Loyalty is my favourite being our debut on vinyl. Unfortunately, we were not lucky in the past with recording, studio sessions and sound engineers, something was always missing. Money, bad mixings, short time to record, we were always disappointed with the final product, as we felt it was not the real THINK TWICE sound as live we sounded ten times better. Subsequently we had so much new stuff that we never managed to record, songs we wrote after Unrealized LP that had a more mature sound, powerful stuff.
MM: You guys were around for quite a while, nearly twenty years, and in the time that you were together, you must have seen and experienced one heck of a lot as band. So, if you were forced to choose just one of your tours that was your favourite, which tour would it be and why? And what was your all time, favourite Think Twice show?
Freddy: Without a doubt the euro tour in 1993. We met many people and made many cool friends that I´m still in touch after 23 years, played some of our best shows in front of awesome people. The craziest and loudest crowds we ever experienced. The final show in SALZGITTER in 1993 with SPAWN, FEEDING THE FIRE and 4 WALLS FALLING was simply the cherry on the cake! Definitely a TIME WE´LL REMEMBER. There are more great shows, but those ones…Jesus, I still have goose bumps.
MM: What changed most in the HC scene while you guys were together? In your opinion, where those changes positive or negative for the show as a whole? Ad how has the scene changed since you first became involved in it?
Freddy: Well things are changed a lot, like from night to daylight. First there was no internet, no social networks, no digital recordings, no smart phones or mobile phones. These technological tools definitely changed our approach to our life. Sure things in those early years were more difficult and complicated. Too few Shows, no money, it was hard to record or to print a shirt. Everything was more naïve, but more true. It was really “Hardcore” touring in those days, no sleeping, no food, no money even to buy a record or a tee. On one hand today is a lot softer and easier, fortunately in another way I guess. But it´s just my personal opinion, we have lost and miss the true spirit of Hardcore, the DIY ethics. Now you have these huge Hardcore festivals, with food trucks, huge merchandising corners- gazebos, tour bus, backstage areas for the bands, professional live shoots and big money running, big productions. But something is missing. I was at THIS IS HARDCORE FEST 2016 in Philadelphia, super professional organization, everything was perfect, but everything is charged heavily, it’s incredibly expensive. There’s security and bouncers, air conditioning, chemical bathrooms and you can get a haircut or a tattoo as well. Sorry, it´s not Hardcore anymore, the music has lasted, but that’s about it. Anyway, maybe I’m talking this way because I’m getting older, and you know people look back on their past with fondness. I´m pretty sure, by the way, that I was lucky enough to live through the best era of Hardcore, and that makes me happy.
MM Why did you guys break up? Have you ever thought about putting Think Twice back together and is there any chance of some reunion shows or a tour? Maybe a new record…?
Freddy: In 1995 Think Twice split up due to lack of motivation, Gonzo and I were both playing with Ageing, Sergio was starting a side project, so we put an end to the band. In 2007 we got back together fully recharged and motivated thanks to some line-up changes. Wrote new stuff, everything was fine, but I decided to move to Brazil and start a new life, so Think Twice broke up. Now I´m back in Italy and we are talkin´about playing together again, as I missed holding and playing my guitar and write new stuff. But it´s not so easy, as everyone’s busy with their own lives and some are quite lazy bums. We will see, but we are trying to sort something out. Time will tell.
MM: So, what was your favourite overall Think Twice moment? What’s your best memory of being a part of Think Twice and what do you miss most about the band?
Freddy: The whole time, whether it was bad or good because I spent and shared it with my best friends in the van, on stage, on floors, laughing, cursing, playing and fighting. There´s no just a single moment, there are too many to count, I would say it´s a whole movie…it´s the positive energy and the friendship among us that made every moment special and unique. We were not serious lads, especially Sergio who was the centre of all the jokes we used to play and Gonzo who was usually the final target and victim. And it was always rad when the crowd sang along with our music.
MM: How you like the people who came to your shows and bought your records and the scene to remember Think Twice?
Freddy: I’d like us to be remembered as cool, smart, wise, dedicated guys. True Hardcore kids.
MM: What are the members of the band doing these days?
Freddy: Too many to name and list what everyone us doing, but I’ll try… As far as I know, no-one is playing, at least not on a permanent basis, Walter, first bass player, lives in Korea, Luca the last bass player, moved to NYC to make his dream comes true and is happily married. Gonzo, our former drummer, is married with 4 kids and Sergio of today is still single and lazy. Paolo, the last drummer is running his hand screened Hardcore t shirts distro, Andrea another bass player, is a professional photographer of extreme sports and publishes a mag called SALAD DAYS, Fred second guitar on the last line up is a fashion designer for Armani, Stefano another bass player is a Sea Shepherd activist, Massimo ( former bass player for Growing Concern and Open Season) lives in Rome and finally Freddy ( that’s me) is graphic designer.
What do you think Hardcore has given to you as a person? How has being part of the scene changed you? Was, and is, being a part of the Hardcore scene good for you as an individual? Why? Freddy: Well I would say it gave me a lot and it still continues to inspire me. It’s still part of my daily life, I grew up as a punk-Hardcore kid, and always I will be. It´s part of me, in my blood, part of my behaviour, my lifestyle, it´s like a second skin. Anyway being part of a scene, where I grew up and spent my whole teenage- youth-middle age help me to become what I am today , helped me to always to trust in myself, to value things like friendship, tenacity, fighting spirit, strong and honest morality, and above all it taught me to never give up in, or on, life. But I also gave a lot to Hardcore as an individual as well.
MM: Do you think that we’re already seen the “Golden Age” of Hardcore or is the best yet to come?
Freddy: Hmmm, my God…I thought I already lived the GOLDEN YEARS. TO be honest I don´t know how to answer this, maybe. But maybe the best is still to come!
MM: If there’s anything that you’d like to add, now’s the time to do so…
Freddy: First of all thanks for the interview and the opportunity to voice my opinion. If you want to buy the CD CHOICES WE STAND BY, which you can order straight from my store : http://oldfashionedcrewcuts.bigcartel.com, as well as load of other cool stuff. Look out for upcoming THINK TWICE t shirts, which will be available soon and NEVER GIVE UP THE FIGHT! Keep your spirit alive !