Carl fronts The Icemen in DC while big Adam helps a photographer get the right angle, Photo: Ken Salerno
What are some memorable Icemen shows that stick out as your best as you recall them? Any particular places you liked playing? Who were people you recall always coming out and supporting you?
I wanted to reach as many people as possible so the bigger the better. The two Super Bowls at the Ritz on 11th St. in '89 and at the old Studio 54 in '92 were decent sized crowds but the circumstances at those gigs what with countless bands being rushed on and off stage, sharing equipment, no sound check, etc. are not conducive to a good performance, and by our nature I think we were a little more susceptible to that than most, so those were actually terrible performances by us.
Some others decent sized shows that I recall were at City Gardens in NJ and The Marquee in NYC. One show in particular was at L'amour in Brooklyn with Type O Negative. I was striving to incorporate a wider variety of listeners into our audience, and that was great example. The show was packed with all sorts, hardcore, metalheads, even goth, you name it. I think we had been on a mini road trip and had played somewhere else the night before, I had a crazy fever like 101 or something and under those stage lights man I was just delirious but we rocked that night. That's one of my most memorable shows, we had a video of it too but Mack lost it somehow.
Of course I must mention CBGB's, that was home for us and was always fun. It was also a place where we could count on supporters coming out. There were many but I certainly remember the DMS guys like Minus, Al and Sob, and I also recall a few bands at the time giving us some serious support.
Who was Gary Lee, where did he come from, and how did things work out for him to do vocals on those '93 tracks? Why didn't anything materialize from this? His voice is definitely much different from Carl - was he what you were looking for, and how do you feel about his voice?
Good question, in a way he's part mystery to us as well. As with so many others we met on the lower east side, he was of course in a band, "Yin vs Yang" and he knew well who The Icemen were. Spoke a few times over drinks, and we decided to bring him into our studio to record some test vocals over our current tracks. What little people have heard on our myspace page were simple dry first runs, no rehearsing, just come in cold and give it a shot. Never went beyond with it as he was an unpredictable wildman and another factor was that as time went on we were free to move in new musical directions and not worry about wether it would be Icemen or not.
We were so fed up with "scenes" and disgusted with how what had taken years to create was now being degraded, violated, degraded, dragged through the mud. The idea of playing music once again without the shackles of what was expected of us to musically conform by so many listeners who had become narrow minded was emancipating. Gary's voice was a step in the right direction in that he actually was attempting to go for some melody, albeit with a cookie monster voice, but melodies in verse and chorus were evident.
We lost touch and heard a while back that he had actually passed away, if true then very sad to hear. My brother Gabby has been performing again with Harley who apparently mentioned he could find out more info so we shall see, not optimistic on that though, Gary was hard street.
Mackie does his thing like only Mackie can do, Photo: Ken Salerno
You did all of the Icemen artwork, making incredible t-shirts and flyers. What was your inspiration for this look and vibe? What had your education/training been in art/design? What Icemen artwork are you most proud of?
I had an overall vision for the band which in addition to music and lyrics included visual elements as well. Sad that we never achieved exploring video and ironic as I've had a career in film since 2001. I always enjoyed dark vibe and wanted us to have consistent theme, you would know when you saw The Icemen visuals. Was fortunate that my father is an amazing artist and I was blessed to have art materials all around me to play with from birth.
Mentioned that I met Mack at high school of arts, I was actually an art major. At the time one had to choose between art and music, difficult but that was the choice I made. By the time I was 17 I was already getting some professional jobs as as a free lance illustrator. Also had a spec with Marvel for Epic magazine developing my own swords and sorcery strip but I never completely followed through and that didn't pan out. I've always been a big fan of that fantasy genre.
What Icemen art am I most proud of? I like that our "Ghost" mascot is recognized, I also am fond of my "Bat Fade." They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then I would say more than a few bands out there are evidence. A few bands took our Ghost and used it on their demos and flyers but man, that Bat Fade keeps turning up more and more. At the end of the day I am honored that apparently the art is memorable.
Would an Icemen reunion ever happen?
Wow, that's a tough one. Noah and I speak on a regular basis, he's like a brother, Mack not as often, nothing but good though and we did have a long talk in May. There's been bumps in the long winding road but at the end of the day, Noah, Mack and I go way back and I think that ancient bond will always be there. We have a few surprises not yet ready to disclose but at the moment reunion is not in the cue.
For The Icemen there would be many obstacles, not the least of which is our independent lives and careers don't leave much room for that. Just as big, finding a desirable singer to compliment the original three of us? If history is any indication, easier said than done. The bright side is that communication and networking in this cyber world is leaps and bounds what we had at our disposal back in those early dark ages so crazy as it is, it just might work. I savor discoveries in life and so too, enjoy a little mystery in the future.
Noah jams hard at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno