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Can't Bring Fonzie Down

Interview with Carlos Teixiera Taken From Black Velvet 44 - May 2005)

By Shari Black Velvet

Most people associate the name FONZIE with the successful TV show Happy Days - and the star who took on the persona of The Fonz - Henry Winkler. If you're into pop-punk though, you may have heard of another Fonzie. Or if you haven't, it's high time you did. When Black Velvet put Fonzie's latest release 'Wake Up Call' into the stereo we were so impressed that we decided to get in touch with the Portugese four-piece to find out more. Bassist Carlos Teixeira did the honours and told us how he would love to be like Bono, thinks Axl Rose might kick his ass if he met him and even the mighty Moses couldn't bring the band down with a plague…






Black Velvet: There are a lot of pop/melodic punk type bands around these days. Other than being from Portugal, what sets you and your band aside from other bands? Do you have anything different or special qualities? Why should people check you out rather than think 'oh, it's just another pop-punk band'?
Carlos Teixeira: Damn, I think that is the most difficult question that I have ever had to answer, and personally I would hate to read a review about a band saying that they are different from everyone else, making the rest look bad and you're like the savior of rock. That would be lame. Let me tell you something else. Last year someone wrote a review saying that the first single from the album 'Wake Up Call' was a rip-off of Agnostic Front. So can you imagine how difficult it is for me to tell anyone that we are this and that when there are critics saying that we rip off hardcore tough bands when I thought that we were a pop punk band? So I think that is a very interesting point for people to check us out. After that review I even listened to the album myself ten times to find similarities but I didn't get lucky.

BV: Fonzie began in 1996. It's now 2005. How has the band and music progressed during those 9 years?
CT: I think the biggest progress is the song writing (lyrics and vocals) because none of us is a native English speaker or has English as a first language, so for us it's ten times harder. But I think throughout the years we have been able to improve a lot, and of course we learned how to play our instruments better to perform better live and we have learned during intensive touring how to work with the crowd.

BV: Do you think the slow rise (compared to some bands who get catapulted into superstar status overnight) has helped build and solidify the band?
CT: Oh yes, I think so. We have been through hell together, fighting all the odds for years, and every little step that we achieve we celebrate and enjoy looking back and realizing how fortunate we are to do what we do.

BV: During the 9 years have you had any 'down' moments and hard times where you felt like giving up? What kept you focused and committed to Fonzie?
CT: Of course. I'm pretty sure that everyone has had a down moment in their life and we are not the exception. Lots of promises that were never kept, broken hearts, stolen equipment, and the list goes on, but we never ever thought about giving up. We always cheer each other up and the rock and roll spirit is always leading us. I don't think even Moses could bring us down we his plagues.

BV: How well known/successful are you in Portugal?
CT: We are doing pretty good, our videos are on constant rotation on MTV, our songs are being played on major radio stations, we get to play in front of huge audiences and most importantly we are getting awesome feedback from our fans, so I don't think it can get any better.

BV: What do you want your listeners to get from your music and the band? I know you have a positive outlook and want to give them a sense of positivity and enjoyment but anything else? What sort of messages do you have in your songs that you want to really stand out? Which songs would you pick for someone who's never heard the band to check out that have important messages?
CT: It's hard to say, because one thing I like about the band is that we don't have an specific message. It all depends on the moment or feeling, so I suggest for someone that is really interested in the band to check the whole album because it's like a book. You just can't jump into a chapter and read it because it would probably make no sense at all.

BV: If you could change the world or make a difference due to Fonzie what would you most like to do?
CT: Well my dream would be to do something like Bono. Even though I am not a big U2 fan he is someone I respect and admire a lot, and if I had all the power and money he has I'm sure I will use it to encourage people, especially actors, actresses, musicians… you know, people that are more influential to masses than stupid politicians, to help and fight hunger for innocent people in the world.

BV: The lyrics in 'More Than A Friend' are 'sometimes all we need is find God, to help us out when there's no way out'. Are you religious guys?
CT: Actually I am a Christian, probably the worst one you will ever meet, but I am and I do believe in God and I think these days it's good to believe that in the end there is hope because someone loves us all.

BV: Is there anyone in the world who you'd love to hear your music? If you could pick, say, three people to play your latest album to, who would you most like to hear it?
CT: Unfortunately two of them passed away. First one would be Joey Ramone, second would be Joe Strummer and third Axl Rose who would probably kick my ass and that would be cool.

BV: Does Henry Winkler or any of the Happy Days cast know of the band?
CT: Actually yes. We wrote to him because he had the rights for the name but he was really cool about it, and as far as I know he gave us two thumbs up.

BV: How was your UK tour that you did at the end of 2004? And what do you think of UK/pop-punk rock fans?
CT: It was really cool, no complaints. Actually I was kind of impressed about how well they treated us and how much everyone cared about the band. For some reason I had the feeling that I was going to get my ass kicked by some bad ass British punk.

BV: You have a hairdressing sponsorship. Do you think maybe some people will see you as pretty boys who care too much about your image and won't take you seriously?
CT: Well too bad. I'm pretty sure they have to go and get a haircut once in a while. The only difference is that they have to pay for it and we are getting it for free.

BV: What are your aims and ambitions from now on with the band?
CT: To keep on growing as musicians and be able to spread our music to every corner on the planet.

BV: Finally, if you had the chance to appear on one episode of Happy Days what would the storyline be for that particular episode?
CT: Well it would all start with a small band from Portugal that not many people believe in because they are not from the USA or from the UK and they have funny accents, trying to get into a big battle of the bands but no one gives a damn about them. One day they are rehearsing next to Fonzie's house so he hears the infectious riffs and then catches melodies. He goes and talks to them and they tell him the sad story of their lives. So after him telling them how cool he is and that he will help them out, he finally goes and talks to the organization of the events and tell everyone that he is a manager of a band and that they're the coolest band in world and that he wants his band on the bill. They ask him what the name of the band is, he realizes that we never spoke about that and he looks at them while he is combing is hair and replies with a silly accent "Fonzie! Yes, Fonzie, you got it right. The coolest band in the world". After the impressive and confident presentation the band gets into the showcase and of course they kick everyone's ass while Fonz looks at everyone all considerate, that's my band.

Fonzie's new album 'Wake Up Call' and previous release 'Built To Rock' are both available on Punk Nation/I Scream Records and are distributed in the UK via Shellshock. Visit www.fonzietime.com for more info.


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