MUDKISS FANZINE

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THE ICARUS LINE: [JOE CARDAMONE] STILL ON THE LASH AND LIVING THE WILDLIFE? INTERVIEW BY ANDY BARNES

 
My introduction to the intense and frenetic world of The Icarus Line came via an outstanding review of second full length outing "Penance Soiree" in 2004.  While the influence of The Stooges in particular, became more apparent than debut "Mono", the L.A outfit, whilst still retaining similar feelings of danger and decadence as their mentors, seized the sleazy psychedelic blues sound, inflating and distorting to metallic proportions, producing one of the greatest rock n roll recordings of the century. 

Formed in 1998, releasing the "Red and the Black Attack" EP the proceeding years of The Icarus Line existence have proved turbulent to say the least. Line-up changes, clashes with the music industry "establishment" and an apparent proclivity for enjoying the rock 'n' roll lifestyle to the utmost, all suggested third album "Black Lives at the Golden Coast" could well be their last. Surprisingly, in 2011 a resurrection took place, vocalist Joe Cardamone reconvening the band, recording and touring the appropriately titled "Wildlife."

Early 2012 finds The Icarus Line supporting Killing Joke around the U.K and Europe, providing Mudkiss with an opportunity to delve deeper into the thought process of Mr Cardamone. 

ANDY: You’ve been touring with Killing Joke who have a reputation for giving their support acts a rough time, how are you findings things out on the road with them?

JOE: Killing Joke have been easy to tour with. We get our soundcheck everyday and we get to do whatever we want on stage every night. no big deal. They are all easy to talk to and the shows have been sold out. What more could you ask for in a support slot?

ANDY: Their audiences are also fanatical for the band, how are they responding to your set?

JOE: It's a mixed reaction. Usually split down the middle. Half of the people love it and half hate it. For The Icarus Line it works, we thrive on adversity so hecklers are welcome. Bring it on!

ANDY: Although a great opportunity to tour with Killing Joke, how difficult is it for you to fund a tour indifferent parts of world during the current economic climate.

JOE:Yeah the money ain't grand. We have had to resort to punk rock tactics to make sure we make it through the shows.  Without the kindness of strangers and friends we would never be able to make it through these tours. There have been a few key people that have allowed us to get to show after show. It has never been an easy go for us though. None of us come from piles of money so figuring out ways of survival has become second nature.

ANDY: In my opinion, Penance Soiree is one of the great rock album of the century and the acclaim around it’s release also supports this. It did appear the band would really take off at that time,but never seemed to hit the heights the album deserved. Why do you think that is?

JOE: How come it took decades for people to appreciate the MC5 or the stooges? That's just the way the cookie crumbles. I am grateful for the good times we have had and wouldn't change a thing.

 
ANDY: From the outside, The Icarus Line has always appeared to live the rock n roll lifestyle to the full. Has that been the case and if so, is this something you are now tempering as you get older?

JOE: As you grow through the years priorities change, people change. At heart we are still the same band we have always been perhaps just a bit smarter. Do we stay up until 4 in the morning every night ? yeah. Is it because we are snorting lines of blow? Nope.

ANDY: It did look as though “Black Lives at the Golden Coast” would be your last album. What brought about the resurrection of The Icarus Line and latest album “Wildlife”?

JOE: I always feel like I can make a better record. If I didn't think that way then I wouldn't do it anymore. Wildlife was the latest attempt to top myself. Right now the live band is so great I doubt we will be able to resist making a new LP for long. 

ANDY: Do you have any new material written or is it just purely a feeling at this stage, there will be another album sometime in the future?

JOE : Yeah there is a whole new record ready to go. As soon as we stop touring we are going to jump in the studio and bang a new one out. All the material is there it just needs to be committed to tape.

ANDY: Did you find it liberating working on a D.I.Y basis with the new album, less constrained than working with a label?

JOE: It's all the same to me really. The Icarus Line has always been uncompromised no matter who was financially backing the project. My agenda with the group would be the same no matter how the circumstances around us unfold. We are a rock n roll group, isn't that the way its done?

ANDY : For me, yes absolutely, but labels can be notorious for trying to control creativity and looking to channel bands and musicians down a certain route aimed purely at commercial success. Has the attitude of following your own artistic route led to conflict with labels in the past?

JOE : I guess so but it was so long ago since I cared about what other people think about the band. Once you stop caring about that crap you can really do some damage. Whatever conflicts that have arose in the past were obviously not big enough to put a fork in the potato.

ANDY: Is it true the original title for the album was “Joe Cardomone Versus The Icarus Line” and if so,why?

JOE: Yeah that was the working title. I guess that name just fit the bill. This band has been my biggest asset and my greatest enemy.

ANDY : That intrigues me, how has the band been your greatest enemy.

JOE : Well since this has been a life long monkey on my back I have carried all of its successes and burdens. I guess dealing with past members indiscretions or reputations will always be an issue. Long after they walk away from the group I am still here trying to find a way forward through past wreckage. There's 12 years of destruction to charge past and sometimes it can get heavy. It's not all bad though and I wouldn't change a thing about the past.

ANDY: How have The Icarus Line fans responded to the new album?

JOE: Leave a penny, take a penny. We lose some people and gain new ones. It really mirrors life. Some people grow and move with you and others are left behind clutching to the past.  New faces appear as old ones fade. 

ANDY: What do you hope the future will bring for The Icarus Line?

JOE: Who knows? Right now it is a European tour and a new record. Beyond that you'll have to ask my mystic.

 
THE ICARUS LINE ARE PLAYING THE FOLLOWING DATES THROUGHOUT EUROPE.

11-Apr    Netherland Amsterdam - Melkweg    
13-Apr    France    Paris - La Cigale    
14-Apr    France    Strasbourg -La Laiterie    
16-Apr    France    Toulouse - Bikini    
17-Apr    Spain    Barcelona - Bikini    
19-Apr    France    Lyon - Transbordeur    
20-Apr    Italy    Milan/Trezzo - Live Club    
21-Apr    Italy    Florence    - Viper    
22-Apr    Italy    Rome - Orion    
24-Apr    Switzerland Zurich - Abart    
25-Apr    Austria    Vienna - Szene Wien    
27-Apr    Germany Munich- Backstage    
29-Apr    Germany Hamburg - Fabrik    
01-May    Germany - Frankfurt - Batschkapp    
02-May    Germany – Berlin -Postbahnof    
03-May    Belgium    Gent -Vooruit    
04-May    Finland Helsinki    - Circus    

Wildlife' is out NOW via Cobraside/ Forte    
Bad Blood/ Slow Death' 7" is OUT NOW  
    

http://theicarusline.org

Interview by Andy Barnes
Photos by Mel