I think it was August… August 2005… me and my cousin Mattia, went to holiday in Basque Country and he kept repeating:
“Can we form a band? Maybe a Ska band, I love offbeat music and I’d like to sing…”,
that was the beginning, a classic one, like many bands, nothing special, nothing so great… just fun. Was even not so hard to find the other members, all from the same city, all with the passion of the offbeat… here we are! The first Lineup
We started to play together in October 2005, I even remember the date, 23 of October….not so bad as first time. Back in the days that was the lineup:
me as drummer and backing vocal,
Mattia as singer,
Nino “lo zio” - guitar,
Cenzino – bass and backing vocal,
David – Hammond and piano.
Since the beginning I’ve started to take care nearly about everything: I choose the name, I was writing (and I’m still writing !!!) all the lyrics, music and so on and I’ve tried to push hard the other guys to record some songs…
Our First Official Poster In February 2006 we were in the recording studio… there we recorded 2 songs that Offenders fans still love “Rude boys…” and for the most “Police Oppression”.
With the help of some friends we started to play in some clubs in our city… Like lot of bands did before, we played in many shit places and shit locations (sometimes we still do it!!) But along with it, the guys in front of the stage seemed to have fun…and so did we!!
After many shows, with bit of money left, we decided to record our first album… we didn’t have the money to put it out, neither a label was interested in us. It was really a hard time… We went back in the recording studio to record the song that became our flag, our smash hit that many guys are still screaming at concerts, clubs, terraces: “Hooligan Reggae”.
With a self produced single we started to play all around our beautiful Calabria, the south of the south of Italy, burning all the dancefloors…
In this year we had the chance to sign our first “contract” with the German label “Conehead Record” run by the man who was to become one of my best friends and a great producer for the underground scene…David “Conehead” Kurr.
I met him for the first time while I was touring with my old streetpunk band Lumpen. I gave him the Offenders single and he wrote me when I was back from the tour. He wanted to produce our first album!! The First Album “Hooligan Reggae”
We recorded few tracks more and “Hooligan Reggae – the album” was ready!! Out in November 2007 , Hooligan Reggae sold really good in the underground scene, while we were touring in Germany with the punk band Skarmento… Our tour was called “Christmas kiss my ass…Tour!!” great memories and successful performances!
Flyer of the Christmay Kiss My Ass Tour
At the end of January, Mattia left the band. It was much stress for him to combine the university with all the gigs that we were going to play, so he decided to stop… I thought about the idea to replace him with a new singer, but I didn’t want to… and I’m still thinking that I did the right thing.
I decided to leave the drum and take the microphone, after many years of backing vocal (in my punk band as well back in the days) I started to be a singer. What about the drummer then?? With my great pleasure, one of the best drummer of my town joined us… here we are again! Checco was (and still is) as drummer the perfect combination between power and style, something that fits totally with the band’s attitude.
Then here the line up 2008:
me as singer,
Checco as drummer and backing vocal,
Cenzino – bass and backing vocal,
David – bass and backing vocal,
Nino – guitar and backing vocal.
Immediately lots of promoters were interested to let us play some shows, so we started to book our first European tour, setting gigs all over Germany, France, Switzerland, Croatia, Austria, Ireland…
It was a great time but something was missing…
We needed to put out a new song to celebrate the new line up. We hardly wanted to release a 7”, so we recorded “Wake up Rebels” during February 2008 and Conehead Record put it out in June, during our great tour around Europe.
Single “Wake up Rebels”
The song became immediately an anthem, the 7” sold really good and we decided to put the song in free download on MySpace, having as result around 60.000 downloads in 4 months…not so bad.
During the “Wake up Rebels” tour we played in many festivals like “This is Ska Festival”, one of the most important Ska festival in Europe, together with Derrick Morgan, Mr. Symarip , Mr. Review and more.
In Skaville Festival in Croatia we played along with our friends RedSka. We also played at Mantua Festival in Ireland and Ultrash Festival in Potsdam along with Banda Bassotti…. about all these festivals you can find videos on YouTube, the quality is not so good but at least you can have an idea about our shows in that time.
After the summer break, Nino and David decided to leave the band, and we found ourselves in big troubles: 1) Conehead Record wanted to release our second album and we needed to record all the songs as soon as possible cause we had some gigs planned in October – 2) we needed to find some new members at least for the upcoming shows and the album sessions.
About the Hammond part, David decided to help us, and as last gift he played all the tracks in the new album, but he didn’t want to come on tour.
Tour Poster 2008
So we called Dario, a great musician and friend of us who joined the band just for the tour, while about the guitar player came Tony (who already played with Checco in different bands) that joined the band for the studio sessions and for the next tour, without any doubts one of the best guitar player of my city.
So we had two line up’s! One for the studio session:
me, Checco, Cenzino, Tony and David; one for the live acts with Dario as Hammond player. I was never so stressed and nervous as in that time, everything was so complicated and unsure… I don’t want to write more about it but what we did was nearly impossible to do.
Album “Action Reaction” After just 10 days spent in the rehearsal room , we were in the studio recording “Action Reaction” our second full length…during the sessions I received a call from Conehead who told me that Grover Record, one of the most important label in Europe about Ska and Reggae music, wanted to produce our new album!
So we made the next step, and along with it we had also a booking agency, in fact at the end of summer we signed for Mutti’s Booking. They are without any doubts the best booking agency in Europe about punk rock, Ska and so on…
Everything was starting to shine again, but not between us, since I decided to bring the band to Germany and live there and just Checco was by my side.
During our tour between October and November 2008 I have to mention two great gigs: 1. in Munich for an antiracist ultras festival along with Statuto and 2. the great Siempre Antifascista Festival in Berlin. During these concerts we realized how the band was growing up and how important it was to make the next step: leaving Cosenza to live in Berlin.
Siempre Antifascista Festival
in January me and Checco definitely moved in Berlin, just us, since everyone left. I really can’t describe how bad the situation was: everyone left when we made the most important step of our life, trying to live and “work” with our music, now that everything was in the right side: a good label, a great booking agency and a growing reputation and fame all over the Europe in the underground scene. We were alone in a new city, in a new country, for some months Offenders were just a name on the shoulders of 2 persons, not a band anymore.
Instead crying we worked hard to find new members: we started to ask all around in Berlin, nearly to everyone who was in the Ska or punk scene.
After some weeks I got in contact with Thorsten, an amazing bass player who was (and still is) playing in some other bands in Berlin but he liked Offenders and wanted to be part of it …along with him came Alvaro, his old friend and band mate in some projects. Even if they weren’t so much in the Ska scene, me and Checco liked them immediately, they were on.
Now…what about the Hammond player?
Some months before I was in a concert in Berlin, to see one of my friends playing in a Ska band. Here I met Alex for the first time, here I met the next Offenders’ member. Alex never thought to be a “professional” keyboarder, never thought to be as good as to take part of Offenders, instead me and Checco believed in him, so after an hard work he was ready to kick the ass on stage and keep the fire burning…
We were on again, we didn’t give up… we survived!
In March we were ready for our first show in Berlin, to celebrate the upcoming album “Action Reaction”…. first gig in a small club, totally overbooked and sold out, great gig, great crowd, and good performance of the new members!!
Since then we started to tour back all over Germany and Europe. Important to mention that Offenders were on the line up of Easter Ska Jam for the whole tour! In the same tour we played as Offenders and as backing band of the reggae legend Susan Cadogan. Back in the days she reached the no.1 in UK-charts with “Hurt So good”, a Lee Perry version, and now was back for 7 gigs around Germany and Denmark. In that occasion I was on stage as guitar player as well with Alvaro, what a great tour!
The “Action Reaction” Poster
Along with Easter Ska Jam we played in great festivals like Mighty Sound in Tabor – Czech Republic, along with bands like Buzzcocks, Aggrolites, New York Ska Jazz, Mr. Review, as headliner at Fire and Flames festival in Hamburg and Jahninsel Festival in Regensburg, World Vespa Days in Zell am see – Austria and Force Attack 2009 along with Loikaimie and the punk legend UK Subs.
Between the end of August and November we toured all over Europe… There are too many important gigs to mention all: from Bratislava to Goteborg, from Budapest to Paris… I really don’t know how many gigs we played, we were mostly all the week ends on the road!
At the end of November, Alvaro left the band so we called a new guitar player, Linus, a great guy but unfortunately he could join the band just for a bunch of shows,
Valerio now with Guitar
including the Ska Rude Night Festival in December, an amazing show!
When Linus left, I decided to don’t look for any other guitar player anymore, I was bored to explain to somebody what I want and how it could be played, since I’m the writer of all the songs and I’m mostly taking care about all the musical agreements. So started to play the guitar myself. Now we were just four!
In January 2010 we left Germany for our first tour around Uk, 10 days on the road, from the south till Scotland. A hard but cool experience. We started to built a fan-base also over there and people seemed to react so good that when we were back, our Uk promoters mailed us asking to be the open act for the legendary mod band Lambrettas for their reunion tour in December 2010!!
Shortly back from the Uk tour we started to look for a new bass player, cause Thorsten was supposed to leave the band in March. This time we wanted to find a person who could fit with our scene, not just a musician… and it took a while.
When I came to Hansi, bass player of “Rolando Random and The Young soul Rebels”, plus former meber of several bands as “Not Amused”, “Yummy” and so on. I was kind of afraid to ask him to join the band: first, cause he’s a guy who started be in the scene in the 80’s, so his experience was more then twice the one I have, and second cause I was not sure if it was possible for him to combine his tattoo works (yea, he runs a tatoo-studio here in Berlin, he marked so many people in all those years!) with our band… well, he accepted!
Me and Checco were so glad about it, cause finally we have a new member who fits completely with us, and also Alex got along with Hansi immediately… here we are again!!
Between March and April we worked so hard on the new songs who appeared in “Anthems from the Gutter” the brand new single was released in June, the same day of our performance at This is Ska Festival 2010!
In May 2010 we signed for Mad Butcher Records and we went to record our new songs at the “Out of Space” studio in Gottingen….
Well… I think it’s nearly everything for now, just right to say that we are still playing all over the Europe and for the end of this year I will write down what is going on about Offenders.
Our new Album “Anthems from the Gutter”
See you on the road!
Editado por soiaugusto77 em Dez 31 2010, 11h46
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