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Gradinata Nord 2000 / 2012


Gradinata Nord was formed on a cold January night of the year 2000 in a pub in Morbegno by the IgnoRenza (guitar) - C8 (drums) - Diego (vocals) trio. Originally, the band was only intended to last for one concert (whose set list of songs was limited to three Nabat and two Agnostic Front cover songs).
Diego was inspired in his choice of a name for the band by the (northern) terrace housing the supporters of the Lecco football team (which he often visited – and still does). After having recruited Lanzo as a second singer and Alejandro as a bassist, we played our gig. We then decided to continue our venture, and Bassman offered to replace Alejandro as bassist, the latter taking up his “natural” instrument (the guitar).
We started writing some pieces of our own (which were intentionally really coarse from the point of view of their music and especially their lyrics). The band, now comprising six members, performed another couple of gigs before Lanzo left us and we returned to a five-piece formation (but a more classical one: vocals, two guitars, bass and drums). At the time we were playing Oi!-core, inspired by Nabat, Warzone and Business – just to mention a few names.
After a few more concerts, Diego too left us (to devote himself to playing the drums, his primary instrument, in other bands). The four of us, on the verge of breaking up, remained inactive for a couple of months, but then recruited Papo – not least because of his physique du role à la Bud Spencer!
We resumed practicing and writing new pieces, this time more on the purely Oi! side (but always with a parodistic streak!), leaving Hardcore influences aside. We boarded the stage again in February 2001, seven months after our latest appearance.
After another handful of gigs (both in Morbegno area and elsewhere), we made up our mind to record a few pieces in a split CD with Rebelde, our buddies from Romagna.
Rebelde were the first to enter the recording studio. Through Enrico (their guitar-player), we found a label willing to release the CD: Valium Recordz from Rome, run by good old Robertò (who took us under his wing without having even heard us play!). We finally managed to record something ourselves (in Ian and Christian’s local amateur studio). In three or four days – afternoons and evenings – in March 2002 we produced the master version of the album with the five pieces that were included in the CD-split.
The record was released in May 2002, an event that was celebrated in Valtellina with a party and gig with Rebelde and various friends from all across Italy. Meanwhile, we wrote a few more pieces, with hard r’n’r influences as well as Oi!...
In the summer of 2002 a new member joined the band: IgnoRenza left and was replaced by Nasty Abraham. With our new formation we played a few gigs, some local ones and some around Italy. We even performed abroad – in Switzerland (Davos) – with a guest appearance of Prof. Denim Botka as second guitarist (to replace Nasty Abraham, who couldn’t join us at the time).
We composed other songs with hard rock/street metal influences marked by an increasing street sound, as it were. Aside from football and hooligan themes, our lyrics were about Popeye, local girls girls girls, the valley “boyz”, a local beach on the lake, motorcyclists in nightclubs and other such nonsense (clearly, we hadn’t lost our parodistic side, which actually grew to monstrous proportions!). These (along with a few others we had written the previous year) are the pieces that many years later were included in our CD. But let us proceed in order...
Our plan was to record the album in 2004, but in the late months of 2003 Papo suddenly left the band for personal reasons, leaving the four of us without a singer and with an album to produce.
Not satisfied with the local replacements we could found, we chose to “hire” a singer just for the album. Our choice fell on Andrea “Dr Rock” Valentini from Alessandria (a well-known “mercenary writer/musician/hack”, as he likes to describe himself). Andrea was happy to comply.
Our idea was to try playing the various pieces without the singer, and then call Dr Rock to try them out with him. This was the plan, but things turned out differently: after practicing once every three or four weeks for a few months, Nasty Abraham too walked away, making it very difficult for the three of us to practice (without a vocalist) pieces that had been written for two guitars.
This marked the lowest point in Gradinata Nord’s career. Picture a damp and rainy evening in late October 2004, in a practice room empty if not for the Alejandro/Bassman/C8 trio with their toy instruments, producing sounds like those from an old walkman, in a lame attempt to play the pieces they have written...
Things couldn’t continue that way, so we reluctantly decided to quit. We dismissed Dr Rock (who can “boast” of having been the singer of Gradinata for about a year without having ever been at a practice or having even been with the band once!), and basically broke up – not without regrets.
The idea of recording that handful of pieces, though, stayed with us. The only way to meet this goal was to persuade Papo to play with us again. We succeeded in our task: in the early months of 2006, after a dark period of about one and a half years, the – somewhat rusty – four-piece band resumed its practices.
This marked the beginning of a long period of infrequent practices, mostly due to the hoary problem of the lack of a practice room, but also to our lack of professionalism and dedication. New members joined the band for a few months: first Chicco “K.K. Lil’John” on second guitar and then Andrea B.J. on the bass (Bassman having taken up the guitar). This period, which lasted for about two and a half years (for a total of almost 20 practices at most!), helped us arrange our pieces. In the autumn of 2008, we finally started recording the album under the guidance of Lorenzo Monti (a sound engineer from Morbegno known across Italy, as well as an old-time friend of the band).
At this point, ours was again a four-piece line-up (Papo/Alejandro/Bassman/C8), with Bassman also playing second guitar under the pseudonym of Matt Cigarette.
The album was recorded in four sessions in Ferrara, Morbegno and Bellano-fraz. Oro, between November ’08 and March ’09. The various guest appearances and mixing took some time, but finally by March 2010 we had the master copy ready. In the meantime, we produce the artwork and by early April ’10 the album went to press.
We also worked on a new line-up to board the stages again after seven years (our last concert had been in July ’03 – it had ended with amazing encores for covers of AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Elvis!).
“Valtellina Boyz” was finally released in late April 2010.
Our quartet was then joined again by B.J. Andrè at the bass, with Bassman a.k.a. Matt Cigarette (or Tony Mapei) playing definitely the second guitar.
The band made its comeback on stage after more than seven years (!) with a successful local live gig in september.
More gigs came and went by and we already started working on a new album!
In the meanwhile a retrospective cd is out: 69 minutes including our first record from 2002, 11 live songs from the comeback gig and 7 live songs from 2000 with the very first line up. The record is called “Never trust a indie”, it features lotsa old and new pics and we sell it for a real low price.

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