Agnostic Front’s Vinnie Stigma Talks New Album, New York City, Hardcore + More
Agnostic Front guitarist Vinnie Stigma was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. The band recently released their 11th studio album ‘The American Dream Died' and Jackie recently spoke with Stigma about the disc, New York City, hardcore + more. Check out the interview below:
Candidates are starting to announce their candidacy for the 2016 presidential election. Was this album released now to provoke thought about the political process?
Well, to tell you the truth it's really a reflection of the times. We just write about mostly social issues and I try not to get too political, but its an eclectic mix of the years of Agnostic Front… the tones, the sounds, the vision and the anger of the band. It's come out 31 years to the day I put out ‘Victim In Pain.’ So 31 years after I wrote my first album ‘Victim In Pain,’ ‘The American Dream Died’ comes out.
From the beginning, Agnostic Front has been synonymous with New York City. What aspect of the new album is most representative of New York?
Well I guess the song "Old New York" and there are a lot of things that aren’t as blatant. We speak of Vietnam vets and stuff like that and I had one, a World War II vet, that used to live in my hallway and like he was like the door guy. I mean he wasn’t paid, but we all took care of him. You know what I mean? His name was John Vincent Bananti. Private Vincent Bananti. He fought in the first armored division in the third army with General Patton and he got wounded in the war. He was just a neighborhood guy, older than me of course, and I reference him in a lot of my life and my songs, because he was American hero in my eyes.
Vinnie, what's the biggest difference to you about hardcore now compared to early days with Agnostic Front?
Okay. Well, the dressing was different, the kids wore boots and spikes a lot more, the clad was different. The guitars were different, because now there are a lot more active pick-ups in the guitars. The equipment is better. Years ago you would just plug into a radio somewhere and try your best, but the kids played better. I don’t think they're as original, maybe because the cheaper equipment you develop a different style maybe. It splintered out into if it is straight edge or screamo or influenced by metal. You gotta get back to the grassroots and like get back to the real, don’t worry about timing, but the tempo and attitude.
The diversity of the songs on the new album, ‘The American Dream Died,’ kind of gives a musical overview of different things the band has done over their career. Was that intentional to make an album that's an overview of everything that is Agnostic Front?
That’s exactly what I wanted to do… the eclectic mix. I wanted to have it all. You know? I wanted to have a baker’s dozen. I wanted to have a taste to the record. You know? Along with a melody, a string of melodies, I wanted the record to have a pace. You know? You won’t be bored with it and it will just… it will take you for a ride.
What were the Sunday matinee sessions and what made recording that way so important to how the record sounds?
Well the Sunday matinees sessions were really old school Vinnie Stigma. Of course the matinees were at CBGBs at 3PM. They would open the doors at three o’clock. I’m Italian, so we eat dinner at 3 o’clock on Sundays and my mother would cook for everybody, the whole gang-the whole bunch of us. I lived in the same spot all my life. We used to have such good food. We would go right from my house to CBGBs and enjoy the matinee. The ties were different and there was a brotherhood and like I said just creating your own way of doing things. It’s incorrect playing; it is not finessing the guitar but choking the neck of the guitar. You play different and times are different, so I enjoyed those matinees.
Many thanks to Vinnie Stigma for the interview. Pick up Agnostic Front's new album 'The American Dream Died' on iTunes. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.
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