Chain D.L.K.: …You were begging me to avoid questions about your bio and about the scene… it’s funny, I mean you grew up nourished by the early hardcore straight edge scene, you sung for a couple of skinhead bands and then you’ve become a Vip of the so called “post-industrial” scene..and above all you’re a really friendly person. The impression is that you’re one who pays attention to scene, public relation etc..and above all being a smart ass you know nobody comes out of the blue..so where’s misanthropy? C’mon defend yourself from the accusation of being friendly and a good p.r.!
Wertham: That’s quite a good start. I tend to be what the Brits call a “friendly asshole”. I know what I like and what I want and will try to get it by any means necessary. Be it legal or illegal, socially admitted or unacceptable. If you don’t cross my path I don’t know why I should be rude orunfriendly. Misanthropy, especially in the underground, is a term used mostly by people who wear dark clothes, go to parties, have girlfriends/boyfriends and cry when they get dumped because they are sad fucks. A real misanthrope is somebody who either uses his power to destroy society (like many oligarchs) or close themselves at home and grow apart from the world, mostly fearing interaction with people than hating human beings. I don’t like “people”, I don’t care about most of them. But since I am forced to interact with them why should choose the hard ways? You learn a lot from “tem” and between many persons who are just numbers you may always find individuals standing out which may become either inspiring or fundamental bricks in your existence.
Chain D.L.K.: …”Hard as nail, leather-clad antisocial power electronics”, I guess something went wrong during the boy-scout days. What happened: have you been hardly sodomized against your own will? Did you discover a “666” sign on the back of your head right when they were forcing you to bow down to the pope? Or you simply took metal-core too seriously?…they just told me boy-scouts are sexually promiscuous, aren’t they?
Wertham: Being a Boy Scout was the best experience I could have back in those days. I had recently moved from a village to town and couldn’t fit in the suburbia mentality. I passed from a safe playground environment to a dodgy suburbia ridden by Christiane F. lookalikes, drug dealing southern immigrants, bullies not too tender with the just arrived “foreign” element, and any sort scumbags which I wasn’t really able to cope with due to my very kind and fragile essence. I was an Emo kid ahead of the time, quite the contrary of what you have described in previous question. With a hyper-anxious mother fitting all Yiddish stereotypes described in Woody Allen’s movies. So a good way to escape boredom, domestic seclusion and a big dose insecurity derived by my daily life of shy teen who just changed nest. Boy scouts were great because I have learnt to stay at my place, give orders, drink, take drugs and discover the joy of early soft-sexual interaction with young ladies, perfect comrades in war during the pubertal hormonal storm.So, yes, many boy scouts were sexually hyperactive and I have known a bunch of girls who got pregnant and no, nobody attempted to interfere with me during the uniform days. Never took metal-core too seriously, only Manowar were real.
Chain D.L.K.: …mmm…a shy teenager… Albin Julius, John Murphy, Trevor, Richard Leviathan, Lou Chano… how can an ex-“shy teenager” get in contact with these people and start collaborating with them? And how can it be tat the majority of people with which you collaborated has a big name? What if the average joe starts thinking you’ve some sort of “cult of personality”?…Or analyzing your first answer one may think you’re one of those “social climbers” that’s doing everything in order to become famous?…so: Marco Deplano or Leni Riefenstahl?
Wertham: I have stopped being a shy teenager when I got a taste of the streets and enjoyed that.Most people I met in the early stages of my life when I had been organizing shows. Common interests, attitudes and passions naturally led to trade videos and hints, share ideas, build something together and collaborate. I am no cult personality; I just spend most of my free time hassling people with interest and by interacting. “Communication is the key”. If I would want to become famous I would rather sell my ass to some movie producer than waste time with noise that doesn’t bring youa penny. The fact many people knows me it’s because during the 90’s I had the luck to work according to my wishes, so I could get enough time to travel and be where the things were going on. Social climbing in post industrial culture is silly. No money, no pussy. I don’t see any of it coming.
Chain D.L.K.: …no pussy, but a lot of ex-black metal nerds!…in an age where everybody has his own slice of success at least for five seconds Wahrol-style, obtaining the enduring attention of a crowd of massified nerds sometimes could be enough for some egos. Lately I’ve been also wondering if the “extreme, antisocial, violent, perverse, freaky” faÁade of the genre is the most appealing factor for nerds (including me, why not!!)…as the usual “revenge fantasies of the impotents”…but maybe I’m talking with an Italian stallion and didn’t know it, if so please don’t be to afraid to answer as the average Italian would…
Wertham: Maybe. Although unfortunately I am no stallion, I didn’t need what I have been doing for the past years to get back what bullies stolen me as a kid. I had been able to come to term with my insecurities much longer before I have started assembling sounds and being interested in specific subjects. There is a scary amount of geeks attracted by radical subjects, probably as a justification for being outsiders, some of them explode and shoot their class mates. In Italy we have no guns so it seldom happens. I don’t feel myself an outsider, I don’t feel contempt for society, I just don’t care about most of its effects unless they affect me and my next of keen. Extreme interests are now widespread in normal medias, we are becoming like UK. The average Joe masturbates on serial killer movies as many “radical” artists did in the past. TRUE CRIME is the new pornography. Yet in these surroundings there are still people not stopping at face value, preferring to go deeper into subjects, developing interesting uncommon concepts and thoughts. I tend not to look at the bad stuff, and to focus on the good one.
Chain D.L.K.: Why everybody in the so called “industrial” (or post-) scene is into the same things like Evola, Second World War memorabilia, futurism, martial fashion, etc…mm..mm…why I have the feeling I’ll hardly find somebody who’s into Lee Scratch Perry or Mumia Abu-Jamal?…will I ever have the chance to own a split Wertham/Afrika Bambaataa, why not?! …don’t you think it would be a real masterpiece?
Wertham: Permit me to say this is a pretty confused/confusing questions since you seem to put in the same melting pot a variety of things apparently linked, but with identities of their own. Once again not considering myself part of anything I can only give you my viewpoint regarding the subjects and a personal opinion regarding the overall question. First of all I think you are led by misconception on the subjects. If you say industrial (or post) industrial scene you are saying all andnothing, so an enormous variety of people, genres, sub-genres, topics, that drags inspiration from BDSM, Rastafarian (yak), concentration camps, pre teen sex, Christianity, homosexuality, radical left, radical environmentalism, misanthropy, radical right, etc. We are talking about hundreds of projects and people creating different forms of networks. The many subjects you mentioned in one go seem to influence only a minority of the people involved in this, a minority which often gave us many highlights (see the big ‘old names or latter martial gurus as TRIARII, DIE WEISSE ROSE, WAPPENBUND, etc) but also many boring and useless projects. But this is what happens when somebody traces a very inspiring mark in the dry soil with a powerful plough.I have seen people into the subject you mentioned, I personally lost interest into any sort of social oriented agenda after being hassled by people wishing to save the world and this or that (right or wrong) “social conscious” crusade without being able to live a life of their own, take care of their own kids, family and work. Inspiration come from so many sources that you can’t force anybody tobe rational 24/d so more than welcome rediscovering roots, rejoicing the erotic feel of a uniform or get back to the roots of noise experimentalism with Russolo and his pals. The whole modern conception of anti-art started when Marinetti and Tamara De Lempicka wanted to burn down the Louvre museum and got arrested for parking their car in the wrong place. I cannot help getting excited when I see “RISSA IN GALLERIA” and any Boccioni’s masterpiece. The violence expressed by futurist poetry would still scare most noisesters. And they had plans to reform everything, from kitchen, to women to toys. Total art, that was still proud to be called as such. I could spend hours staring at Terragni’s buildings in my hometown, that’s perfection. Everything clean, high, loud, powerful, luminous, symmetrical, awakes my senses. World war two is still too close and left many subjects unresolved, the biggest event of last century (apart from Italy winning the world cup in Spain in 1982), when Europe moved from being under German control to become either America’s biggest social engineering laboratory or a big red jail under open sky behind the iron curtain. In a globalised world I think it’s normal that people may turn to rediscover roots and identities, this not necessarily in an aggressive way. Unfortunately this leads to annoying phenomenon like fake identities (see the mythical Padania and the whole taranta hype), but that’s another story. Afrika Bambaataa did some essential records, music and lyric wise. I’d die to collaborate with somebody like them, but I am afraid I would be useless. There are many people who are interested into the folks you mentioned and any other sort of social issues. I read a lot and devour many information, but I let those who still believe in something do their job while I build my small bunker surrounded by my Dalmatian fur clad armed midgets.
Chain D.L.K.: In someway bedside the fact you’re definitely one who wants to be “where the action is” we see you’re quite chamaleontic (or should I write camouflage since we’re dealing with the goddamn industrial culture!!!). But have you ever happened to be disoriented by some blast from the past?..how do you relate with the past and the present? The same name Foresta di Ferro is a sort of strong monument to the past isn’t it?..honestly don’t you ever think you’re an old fart and it’s time to get a life!!!???
Wertham: I see the past as unlimited source of hints and suggestions to drag inspiration form, creatively but also personally. History is an immense kaleidoscope of errors, success, evolutions, wars, happiness, orgies, fashions, etc. but I try to take certain specific events as a starting point for something that project itself (holding my hand) toward the future. This is just basic creative attitude. FDF is not at all a monument to the past, yet it takes as examples some past events to tell something of our (as project) present. The past left many nice witnesses which I love and can’t spend enough time adoring, but I am much more focused in what I am living today and as said somewhere else, despite some economic problems, and a few things that always disappoint me, I love living now in year 2008 with all its contradictions. Much better than the 80s’ of my childhood; with its unbearable haircuts, pointed shoes, baggy trousers and that annoying faggy music. I have been trying to get a life for the past 10 years, but I doubt I’ll ever stop to kill my time hassling people.
Chain D.L.K.: What about your parents and relatives, what do they know about you secret life as a post-industrial “hierarch”? I’ve heard rumors that your mommy uses to listen to Wertham while cooking pasta is true?…and what about that rumor one of your old unkle tried to organize a FDF show during the last Christmas party?..What “an happy family”! …can I take part to the next family reunion?
Wertham: I have no relationship with relatives outside my parents + sister, so my Christmas parties are very quiet and food oriented. In my house there exist the “don’t ask-don’t tell” motto.They know almost nothing. When I say, ok I am going to play a gig they ask me where are my instruments and I don’t waste time that those boxes are my instruments. I have separated my private/creative life from them around 15 years ago, my interests and tastes have never been understood and were reason of grudges although despite some little problems with the law and being sick one year I never gave them too many worries apart from being a complete idiot at school. My family is cool, and I am glad they have grown me without frills and haven’t molested me. So they never listened to a record nor seen me in leather gear, and although I am pretty sure they have understood that there has been something wrong going on for years, they’d rather keep on seeing me as I am in my daily life.
Chain D.L.K.: Where do you see yourself in the next ten years? Married with child waiting for him to grow to tell him what a great power electronics icon you were? Still kicking onstage trying to ride you Peter-punk syndrome? Sewing soccer balls for some asian economical oligarchy? Or simply dead and gone for death is certain life is not?
Wertham: I really don’t know. I make only short term plans in order to not have any tsunami destroying them after a lifelong effort. I don’t know what to foresee, I’d like to live without economical worries and spend most of my free time experimenting and rejoicing what life gives to me. Biggest advantage of living at the start of the new millennium is that you can indulge in almost any sort of pleasure or interest you can think of. A family would be nice, but it’s something I don’t plan, but wish for, yet it should be with the right person who shares at least 50% of mypassions and cultural perversions. I don’t think I’ll ever stop to express destructive creativity until Iwill feel like. But I have seen many people more dedicated than myself turning into perfect no ones, so I just hope to never loose my enthusiasm. Sincerely I still see myself on stage in 10 years, yet I hope I’ll find a way to go back writing fulltime. I am surely going to be dead one day, but I hope not before 40 years from now.
Chain D.L.K.: …and where do you think you music will go in the next years…how will it evolve? Your path has brought you from hardcore/punk to power electronics and neo-folk…you did several guest appearances as vocalist but you don’t look like you’re one of those who feels comfortable standing still? (even if I’m quite sure the post-industrial scenario seems to be your favorite backyard)
Wertham: Well. I can’t plan now how I am going to evolve. On the Wertham front I can say I’ll keep on sticking on concepts based on first hand experiences. I feel myself more comfortable at the moment with that, yet I won’t close myself from external influences and inspirations. Sound wise, next works will be less mellow than the CD which was supposed to be more atmospheric since from the very beginning as it served as some sort of a statement. The real fun begins now.I am trying to work as much as possible with organic/metallic sources and want to add even more samples. Samples really help in giving a “tale” structure. Without pretending to sound intellectual I consider most of my work as audio narration. Regarding FDF: more Latin/Italian sounding ballads and more power electronics elements. There are new projects involving very interesting individuals I have recently met which I think will lead me toward new directions. I didn’t vow myself to any religion/scene. I am interested in the underground as whole, alternative/disruptive cultural expressions displaying intense aesthetic, sounds and concepts. Apart from the few things I abhor (E.G. anything dealing with reggae and Rastafarian shit, which I’d like to see whitewashed from planet Earth, plus this horrible eunuch oriented Emo-fashion) I am very open to any sort of culture, even when standing upfront those which are my personal ideas and lifestyle. Something ought to be intense and interesting to get me involve, but I wouldn’t say no to almost anything, unless it gets me locked up. I enjoy helping mostly punk rock/hardcore projects, they are still my faves, the energy of that world is still what keeps me going most of the time.
Chain D.L.K.: …but rastas have a lot of energy too…aren’t you afraid someone may suspect you envy rastas for their big bamboos are bigger then your white peanut (…that could be a good reason anyway) or you hate “emo eunuch” since they pick up more teenagers than you, or should I start thinking you’re “The Last of the Famous International Playboys”…in black?
Wertham: Rastas sucks, they smell bad, have terrible haircut, listen to shit music and follow one of the most stupid beliefs I ever read about. Raelian are much more realistic with their UFO cult than these creeps talking about Mr. SelasiË as a godsend. I don’t get the hotties forteens, and I am possibly the least affected adult male by so called Lolita complex. I am not a playboy, I am just somebody who spends most of his time assembling sounds and annoying people, but definitely one who can’t keep his mouth shut when something steps over his feet or see something horribly unaesthetic or self pity ridden as some expressions of the new generations.
Visit Wertham on the web at:
[interviewed by Andrea Ferraris] [proofreading by Munch]