Still Burning talked to vocalist Valerio of The Offenders to find out a bit more about them as they prepared to play in Scotland for the first time.
Would you like to tell us the story of your band?
Well.. I’ve formed Offenders in 2005, in that time we were just playing shows for local clubs in our city –Cosenza – South of Italy…everything changed in November 2007, when we signed with an underground german label – Conehead Records – who put out our first album “Hooligan Reggae”….since then we started to tour all over Europe, our first album was a top seller in the underground ska scene and Hooligan Reggae became well known as the “hit” of Offenders. Thanks to that record we signed with Grover Records that is the most important ska label in Europe and now we are still promoting our last album “Action Reaction” that was out in April 2009….think that’s enough!
And your main influences?
We like to mix 60’s ska and soul with 2tone and mod79 ….we can say : from Desmond Dekker to Jackie Wilson…from The Specials/Selecter to Secret Affair/Jam…ah…and trash metal as well
Is all your material original or do you play the odd cover as well?
We usually do covers , but for the most we are playing our own songs
What kind of following do you have locally and nationally?
We have different people coming to our shows ,for the most people who belong to a subculture like skinheads , mods , herberts…but also punk rockers or “alternative kids”…we don’t mind about the differences as long as the people have fun!
How do you rate the mod/ska scene in Italy?
We are not living in Italy anymore since 2 years (actually just 2 of us are Italian , the others are Germans!…actually we are living in Berlin! ) then I can’t answer to your question…sure is not so strong as here in Germany!!
Do ska bands get any national airplay on the radio in Italy?
Well…we had a kind of “revival” some years ago, and some bands still taking advantage from it, but for bands who are working in the underground : no chance.
Have you played in the UK (or Scotland) in the past?
Not really…we played like 2 years ago in Belfast and near Dublin…but doesn’t matter right?
I assume you’re looking forward to playing here?
Of course!!! Hope will be great, at least we will try to do our best!!
What’s the furthest you’ve toured from home?
That’s hard to say….i think Sweden…or maybe somewhere in the east of Europe…i really can’t answer, we played mostly everywhere in Europe!!
Any amusing or interesting stories from your tours or gigs?
There are a lot , that’s really a hard question …we invite all of you to come in our backstage so we can write a new one!! Ps. Bring your own drink
If you could let potential gig goers hear one of your tracks which one would it be?
Well..i can say “Wake up Rebels” or “Action Reaction” but if you want to know what people like most you have to wait till the next answer…
Which track gets the best reaction from the crowd?
What are the plans for The Offenders in 2010? And further ahead?
We are still touring all over Europe to promote our last album and we are planning to put out a mini concept album , a 7” , with 4 songs for this summer…always on Grover Record.
Any gripes with the music scene today?
The mainstream music is 80% pure shit, lot of people are just lobotomized and deaf.
Was a great time when the people from the streets were ruling the charts…they were forcing the big labels to put out the bands they wanted to listen to , think abou the punk period or even the ska, the mod revival…that was great! Now days it’s hard to find stuff like that.
Your five desert island tracks?
My World – Secret Affair
Hey Little Rich Girl – The Specials
Higher and Higher – Jackie Wilson
Going Underground – The Jam
La la la means i love you – Alton Ellis
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks to you for this interview and thanks to Elite Tourbooking that booked our gigs around UK, see you in the mosh pit!!
And finally, your favourite flavour of crisps?
Thanks for your time Valerio and we’ll see you in Dundee! Still Burning.
Just a reminder that The Offenders are playing Dexters in Dundee on Saturday the 30th of January with Aka-Ska and Peg and the Bouffants. £5 entry.