Joe Cardamone (Icarus Line) – The Collapse Board Interview
by Bianca Valentino
It’s been several years since the world has heard a peep from Los Angeles band Icarus Line, a band once known for their outrageous antics – smashing a glass case containing a signed Stevie Ray Vaughn guitar, removing it and attempting to plug it in at a Hard Rock Café live performance, spray painting The Strokes’ tour bus to name a few — and wild spontaneous live shows. Inner band turmoil, personal struggles and their record label going under pretty much dissolved the band, everyone scattering in the wind to go do their own thing. Frontman Joe Cardamone has been holed up in a studio he owns and operates, Valley Recording Co. teaching himself to record and continuing to work on music — the forthcoming album Wildlife, the Icarus Line’s fourth full-length studio album, a shining result of his efforts. Joe Cardamone tells Collapse Board about the scene and making music in L.A., where he’s been and where he’s going and of how he managed to get everything back on track and is ready to take the show on the road again.
You’ve had a busy day?
Yeah kind of, we went to see the School Of Rock kids today. They’re these little kids that play at the Whisky A Go-Go, they play these cover songs.
That’s awesome! I’ve seen a documentary on them. How did you first come to music?
Through my parents because both of them used to listen to so much music at home, it’s a pretty average story – listening to The Beatles on my parents’ record player, that’s how I got introduced to rock n roll.
Did they encourage you to pursue music?
No, not at all. Even though they’re both pretty liberal as parents and people go, at first it wasn’t really encouraged. I was asking for a guitar for a long time before I got one. They didn’t buy me my first guitar. I actually hunted through the classified ads and I couldn’t really afford anything – I don’t know if they could really afford one either. I found one across the road from my house in a garage sale for forty bucks. It didn’t have any tuners or anything, it was in complete shambles. Basically I would save up money each week from allowance or whatever I could scrape together to put the guitar closer to playing condition. It took me a couple of months to even make it playable. It was this thing that I had in my room that I would just put together piece by piece so I could finally use it. I launched myself into it [music]. They kind of wanted me to go to college and shit like that.
After I’d tour the world a couple of times I think they just got used to the idea that maybe I was doing something worthwhile with my life. At this point, they’re obviously proud to a certain extent even though they still sometimes look at me like, how come you don’t make any money? [Laughs]
Your family is part Italian?
Yeah, part Italian, part Australian and part English.
Do you go to Italy much?
I’ve been there a couple of times, not as much as I’d like to though. I’ve often considered moving there but I don’t think it’s really in the cards. There’s not much of a rock n roll scene there that I know of, maybe there is one? And, I can’t speak Italian. I feel like I will eventually end up there though.
A band I really love is from there. Have you heard of a band called Il Torquemada?
No. You’ll have to send me a link.
Sure thing. Is there anything that you really love about Italian culture?
Almost everything! Obviously I really like the food just because it’s amazing. The whole way of life over there is more laid back in a lot of respects than American culture. European culture in general, the way they treat citizens, healthcare, things like that — their basic ethics towards human rights and the treatment of people is way more aligned with my sensibilities than the United States.
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I believe in thoughtful in-depth interviews! My blog Conversations with Bianca is my love letter to the universe. I am the 2011 Australian Zine Maker of the Year. My Conversations With Punx Project won an award for Best Zine Produced in Australia (as a series). Marky Ramone once told me “Your heart is in the right place.”