Interview: Giuda’s Sound Ventures From ’60s U.S. Bubblegum to Early ’70s Glam Rock

Interview with vocalist and guitarist Lorenzo  |  By Hutch

Skinheads through the U.S. have been feeling the undeniably infectious sounds of Giuda – pronounced like Judah – Italy’s glam proponents. Trading in bovver boots for roller skates, and wearing shorts high on the thigh, these brash Italians push an agenda of partying that even the toughest lug finds enthralling. Tapping into the Oi!’s younger, snotty brother – glam rock kings Sweet and Slade – Giuda have released their second LP, Let’s Do It Again. This album exposes a migration deeper into glam and molting the rough rock beats of their first release Racey Roller.

Lorenzo boasts this degree of change in Giuda’s tunes. He explains, “In Let’s Do It Again the feeling of the band is much improved, with respect to our first album. On Racey Roller, Mike’s guitar was overdubbed, because at time, he wasn’t yet a stable member of the band. Also, our bass player, Danilo, had played the drums before he was replaced by Daniele. Apart from that, I think that we have made progress with the songwriting. Now, we are less tied to our past of a punk rock band. The production sounds more natural and less built because when we went in studio to start the recording session of Let’s Do It Again, our ideas were clear. While for Racey Roller, it took a while to get that kind of sound, which for us, it was something ‘new,’ something that we had never done before.”

Giuda - Lets Do It Again cover

Admittedly- and proudly, as I greet this glam adoration with stronger resistance than some of my droogies – I am ignorant to the forefathers of this genre. Lorenzo shed some light on the sounds that inspire his band.

“There are many different things that have contributed to create Giuda’s sound. That goes from the 1960s U.S. bubblegum to the early ‘70s glam rock of Slade, Sweet, [or] Mud; the junkshop glam rock of minor bands such as Hector, and Iron Virgin; the rough sound of bands such as Third World War, and Faces, to the Aussie rock, post-Easybeats, pre-AC/DC [such as] Marcus Hook Roll Band, and The Ted Mulry Gang.”

I can’t help but wonder if Giuda are scene pariahs for exploring these strut-fueled influences, or if Italy holds some portal to glam celebration.

“Well, I don’t think there is actually a glam scene. In recent years, though, due to the various compilations and blogs, like Robin Will’s Purepop, the interest about the genre is growing. I think that Giuda gave their contribution. But, of course, when we started to play in 2007, we didn’t think we were doing something that could be the new ‘hype.’”

In 2013, Giuda visited our shores, severely rocked the TNT Fest in Connecticut, and performed a string of shows in the Midwest and Northeast.

“During our second tour, we saw that the number of fans is growing, we had some great gigs, some of them were sold out. It was amazing to see the people sing along to all of our songs. We made about 10 gigs. I would say that the best were New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Hartford.”

The obvious roller-skating frilly, pink elephant in the room is the audience. I wonder what it’s like to have the world’s angriest, most crucified audience sing along to such songs. Lorenzo indulges my curiosity.

“Of course, I must confess, that it is very funny. Sometimes, we play in hardcore punk festivals. We are usually the only rock ’n’ roll band. It’s enjoyable and lovely to see angry tattooed guys sing to ‘Hold Me Tight.’”

This dichotomy is expanded through the smaller shows as well. Attendance of punks who are fond of these obscure bands is expected, but certainly, as this sound did 40 years ago, it must also attract regular folks hypnotized by the pop musings.

“Our audience is very diverse. I guess this is one of our strongpoints, because we can play and be appreciated by all kinds of people, which often are not linked to any subculture. It also depends on where we are playing. In fact, if we go to Spain, we normally play for a garage rock oriented audience. When we go to Germany, we usually play in punk rock venues. It’s an error to associate Giuda with the skinheads.”

Fair enough. I guess the skins I associate with simply have a superb taste in music along with their impeccable sense for mates, ales, and fashion. I have to ask after Giuda’s composition. What elements coalesced to bond five Italians with such an agenda.

“Daniele, the drummer, is 29 and is the youngest. Our singer, Tenda, is 35 and is the oldest. Some of us played together since we were 12 years old. We grew up listening to punk rock. Yes, we were part of the scene here in Rome, playing shows with our first band, Taxi. We organized gigs for punk rock ‘70s glories such as Dictators, Crime, Metal Urbain, Kids, Buzzcocks, and many more. Nowadays, the Italian scene is not as cool and big as it was 15 years ago. Perhaps that is because there hasn’t been a generational change or, maybe, because the Internet era has provided to the kids the opportunity to receive information about the bands in real time and download the music. This has taken away something to the passion and the attitude of the scene, causing a general laziness. About 20 years ago, we had a different perception of the bands that we liked. We gave value to a record as a physical object with all its mythology.”

Giuda have exposed themselves to their European neighbors, skating through England, Spain, Germany, Belgium, and France.

“I have to say that we had a great reception in almost every country we’ve been, but the last tours in France and Spain were probably the best until now. Also, every gig in London was unforgettable, probably some of the best shows ever.”

Lorenzo and his band will continue to preach the word about the rock ‘n’ roll gospel to fans worldwide. Like the wheels on a skate lifted in high kick, with such a strong start, perpetual motion will keep the movement of Giuda rolling along. Reverberating ripples have echoed through Giuda’s amps, intoxicating riled up, chanting crowds. And really, that’s all these guys ever wanted. Lorenzo elaborates with profundity about not getting too deep with his rock ‘n’ roll.

“We grew up in Rome’s suburbs and listened to British and U.S. rock ‘n’ roll music without really understanding the lyrics. Music for us has always been a matter of instinct and aesthetics. The important thing is what music and words can convey together, the emotions they give. Sometimes words have a relative importance. We’re a rock ‘n’ roll band, I would say that we are a ‘pop’ band in the best way and our lyrics talk to the people, telling them about the things we love and the things we don’t like. Get ‘Hold Me Tight,’ can you imagine a more serious subject than being in love with someone?”

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