Sometimes we get some surprisingly nice response, related to one of our interviews or background stories. People hanging on the telephone, because they’ve read our story or others who send us an email and tell us about the fact that they lived in the neighbourhood of that particular band. That really pleases us a lot.
One of the biggest surprises lately though was the fact, that we got an email from Isabella Fronzoni as a result of the ICE AGE interview we put online. Isabella also played in WARHAMMER, ROCK GODDESS and ORIGINAL SIN. What a nice surprise! She wanted to put some facts straight. Which is fine with us of course. Although, we didn’t want to focus on ICE AGE alone, considering her extensive career in bands like WARHAMMER, ROCK GODDESS, ORIGINAL SIN, CONSPIRACY and her most recent band project SELF DISGRACE. There was so much to talk about. Isabella was ready to answer all our questions. For which we want to thank her very much. Yes, for a woman who made a deal with the devil at the age of thirteen, she is a very friendly person. All the secrets of the ICE AGE will vanish into thin air, after reading the following interview....
First of all, we’d like to thanks you very much for taking the time to answer our questions. Because we want to get the whole story right, we’d like to start with a little history first. Can you remember, who exactly played in WARHAMMER, next to yourself?
Izabella Fronzoni: “Yes, Daniele Falzone- vocals, Ivano Falzone- rhythm guitars, Carlo Berruti- bass and M. J. Cioffi- drums.”
What kind of music did you play and did you also record anything with WARHAMMER?
IF: “We played thrash metal and recorded a demo tape in March ‘89, called “Every Man’s Nature”.”
Did you play any memorable gigs with this band? And maybe you can tell us, if you supported any well-known bands in these days?
IF: “No, not at all. We were all teenagers and WARHAMMER was a college band. We played a few gigs in our colleges and all our friends enjoyed them very much.”
Then came the point, that you found this ad in the Italian Metal Hammer, where ICE AGE asked for a suitable replacement for their guitarplayer Sabrina Kihlstrand. Why did you respond to this ad, in the first place? Didn’t you feel satisified with your position in WARHAMMER anymore?
IF: “Are you kidding me? If you had to decide between playing in colleges in front of the same bunch of schoolfriends or maybe joining the best female thrash band around and touring Europe with them, what would you choose? I answered the ad, because they were looking for a female thrash guitarist and I was one, but I didn’t really expect any feedback from it. I was very surprised, when Dave Miles from the ICE AGE management contacted me. In Italy, I was happy with WARHAMMER, but joining ICE AGE was an opportunity of a lifetime for me that I could not miss. At the time I was a teenager with dreams and ambitions. Joining ICE AGE completely changed my life and not only musically: I had to move to another country, meet different people and learn another language, which was a big challenge for me. WARHAMMER perfectly understood my choice and they actually encouraged me.”
What happened to WARHAMMER, when you left the band to join ICE AGE?
IF: “They replaced me with another guitarist and recorded another demo tape, but then eventually split up after a few years.”
Have you got any idea, if any of the band members of WARHAMMER are still involved in the music business somehow?
IF: “No, unfortunately, I lost contact with them.”
How did the auditions go? Did the band watch you play, did you jam together, did you learn to play their material, etc.? How did they select you from the others, who auditioned?
IF: “The audition was not that formal at all. When I arrived to Wisbech, where the band was located, I just went to meet the girls and had a beer with them. After a day or so, Pia showed me some guitar lines and I started to rehearse with the whole band. Eventually, I was told by Tina - the drummer - and the management, that I was in the band and I wasn’t going back to Italy.”
We read in your story, that Jody Turner (ROCK GODDESS) was also asked to replace Sabrina. Why did she refuse the job?
IF: “Jody Turner could only play in her own band. She was very vague about why she refused the job, but I can imagine the reason.”
At the same time, Debbie Gunn joined the band. Who was hired first, and how did Debbie fit in this new band? Did she easily become friends with the others?
IF: “Debbie arrived to Wisbech a couple of days after me. She had no problem to fit in and she particularly bonded to Tina.”
Did Pia (or the band) point out, that you were hired to become the rhythm guitar player of the band? In our interview with Pia and Sabrina there is a clear statement of Pia, that sharing lead guitar solos was never an option.
IF: “That didn’t bother me at all at the time, as I already had enough on my plate . I had a very short time to learn all the songs, before we were off on the road.”
Was it your intention to play lead guitar too, eventually?
IF: “If ICE AGE had not split up, I would probably have started to complain about it.”
If Pia was so dominant, how did the creating and the recording of material go then? Did you have any input at all?
IF: “We did none of that. We didn’t have the time with the new line up.”
You also recorded a video clip of “Instant Justice”. Please tell us what you remember about these recordings?
IF: “We shot the video in Wisbech, near Cambridge. Wisbech was the small village where we were staying. The management thought, that there we would not get any other distractions other than playing. The shooting of the video was advertised in Kerrang and other magazines and lots of people turned up from all over. We shot the video in the village square and all the shops there got upset, because of the noise and the wild crowds. We really had a good time and after the video, we had a great party!”
Maybe you can also clear up the whole story about Dave Miles, who told Metal Forces that he had picked you up, while hitch hiking on a highway in the South of Switzerland and that he found out, you were a guitarplayer in a thrash band. And this meeting was the obvious reason for him to introduce you to ICE AGE. You were hired after you blew them away with your impressive guitar playing, so the story goes.
IF: “No, he made it all up.”
If you would have had to make all the decisions again within ICE AGE, what would you have done different?
IF: “I would have got rid of the management of course. They were the main reason why ICE AGE split up.”
What’s your best memory about your time in ICE AGE?
IF: “The best memory I have about ICE AGE is, when at my first gig I was standing at the merchandise stall with my friend Johanna, then all of a sudden I turned around and I saw a big queue of fans waiting to get my autograph. I could not believe it!!”
And maybe you can share your worst memory as well?
IF: “When the ICE AGE gig at the Marquee in London got cancelled, because the band split up.”
What was the actual reason, why you left ICE AGE? Pia and Sabrina remembered there wasn’t a band anymore, when you left. What was the whole situation like at that time?
IF: “During the Danish tour, we had a big argument with the management and ICE AGE split in two. Debbie and Tina went back with them to England, while Pia, Vicky and I decided we had enough. With the help of the support band, we reached Copenhagen and stayed with the booking agent. Eventually, Pia and Vicky went back home to Sweden and I went back to Italy for a very short time before moving to London. Yes, I left ICE AGE, but Vicky had already planned to leave anyway. When I joined ICE AGE, another girl flew over for my position, a Swedish guitarist called Johanna Holmstedt. I got the job, but she was asked to stay to replace Vicky. Vicky was going to stay, until Johanna had learned all the bass lines, but at the end she stayed for the whole tour. Johanna and I had become good friends and when I formed ORIGINAL SIN, I called her from Sweden to be the second guitarist.”
How long did your adventure in ICE AGE last?
IF: “Half a year or so.”
Don’t you think, it’s rather strange that after twenty years, people are still interested in an all-female band, that didn’t even release one single album or a single?
IF: “People of my age still remember ICE AGE, because in my opinion it was the best female band that ever existed. The new generation don’t really know ICE AGE, but if they listened to the music, they would still be blown away.”
Like you already mentioned, drummer Liz Watt came from NO SHAME. Did the other girls have any musical experience, too?
IF: “They never played in well-known bands, but had some experience.”
Did you record anything with this band?
IF: “We recorded two demo tapes, but ORIGINAL SIN was essentially a live band. We had a publishing deal with Bugle House Ltd. and we talked about recording a promo CDm but we never had the time. We were always on the road and we played all over the place: Germany, Holland, France, Aurstria and so on. We did it for two years and we really had a good time. That was our major income and as we did not have a day time job or a record deal, we couldn’t really stop playing live for long. When the band got exausted, we went in different directions.”
How would you describe the music of ORIGINAL SIN?
IF: “ORIGINAL SIN was an heavy metal band. We were four girls coming from four different contries and from four different styles. We played a few covers too, like JUDAS PRIEST, THIN LIZZY and METALLICA.”
Can we point at any important influences for this band?
IF: “All of us were into a bit of everything.”
You played in Holland at Vlietpop. What can you remember from this gig and which other bands did you share the stage during your tour through Europe?
IF: “At the Vlietpop festival we played with FAST LANE, GOTCH, BOB COLOR, THE CROPDUSTER and others.In Holland, we played with DONOR, NEOLITHICUM, VENGEANCE and PINK CREAM 69 (nine gigs supporting them); in France, CORONER and VENGEANCE (again), in Austria, we played a few gigs as headliners with a support band called BALLROOM BLITZ... and more.”
Why did this ORIGINAL SIN relationship only last for a year or so?
IF: “Actually, ORIGINAL SIN lasted for nearly three years.”
What caused the split, and do you know if any of the band members of ORIGINAL SIN are still active in the music scene?
IF: “We just took different directions. Johanna went to play in a band, called LICK THAT for a while, but now she is not playing any longer. Andie is the only one still playing. Her band is called FURNAZE. Website: http://www.furnaze.com.”
Were you hired directly, and how did the auditions go?
IF: “The audition went OK, but I got on well more with the other girls than with Jody. She is quite a cold person and it took me a while to get closer to her. But we had no problem at the end.”
Did you have to share leads with Jody, or were you hired as lead guitarplayer, and did Jody move to rhythm guitar?
IF: “I was hired mainly, because Jody could not play leads. The music was heavy and the second guitar was needed anyway. Jody was very reliefed that she did not have to play leads and she was happy with me musically.”
You had a good relationship with bassplayer Aki Shibahara (see www.web-aki.com), so I read in your biography?
IF: “Yes, Aki was very young and her English wasn’t that good, so she reminded me a bit of myself, when I first joined ICE AGE. But she was a very good friend and very funny. She was the only one I could really trust in the band.”
We know that the father of the Turner sisters was the manager of the band. What for a kind of person was he? (dominant, friendly, business type of person).
IF: “John was very friendly and I liked him very much as a person. I got on with him better than with Jody, to be honest. The problem is, that he could not do his job properly, as it wasn’t the eighties anymore.”
How come, that Julie Turner didn’t play drums in the band anymore at the time, and is she still active in the music scene, as far as you know of?
IF: “At the time I was told, that Julie was happily married with two kids and had no intention to play in a band anymore.”
Did you record anything while being in ROCK GODDESS? And in which way did the new material differ from the ROCK GODDESS songs that we know?
IF: “We did not record anything, as we spent two years just working on the songs. The new ROCK GODDESS had nothing to do with the original line up. We were more like PANTERA, SLAYER and a touch of the prog metal band DREAM THEATER. We were in the nineties with different influences.”
And did you tour or play with the band? And if yes, with whom did you share the stage?
IF: “We just played a few gigs headlining. I can’t remember the names of the other bands. They were local death metal bands, I guess.”
What strikes me is, that you’ve always played in all-female bands so far. Coincidence or what?
IF: “No, it wasn’t my choice. It just happened like that. I would have no problem to play in mixed bands.”
In 1995, ROCK GODDESS calls it quits. Why did this happen?
IF: “I left the band, as I got fed up with Jody and her bossy attitude, plus I didn’t agree with the way that she was managing the band with her father. In two years of rehearsing, we only played a few gigs and there were no sure plans for the future.”
We read on your MySpace page the following statement: “Thanx Jody, I hope you don’t hate me anymore! I don’t.... Any reactions to this, maybe? The whole split didn’t go too friendly?
IF: “When I left the band, I just told Nicky I wasn’t gonna turn up to the rehearsals anymore. Jody got mad, but never phoned me up, she was too proud. But I know she hated me for it.”
We found out, that Jody is playing in some kind of country band nowadays. But she doesn’t respond to our requests to do an email interview about ROCK GODDESS. Have you got any idea, if she sees this chapter as being closed, and she doesn’t want to be remembered anymore? She is one of the very few musicians, that we can’t get in touch with, no matter how hard we try. Could her father be a part of the decision, that she is not getting in touch with us?
IF: “It doesn’t surprise me, Jody has always been in my opinion quite snobbish. I liked her more as a musician than as a person. She became very popular, when she was very young, still at school, and she probably didn’t really know how to handle the situation. She was looked after by her father all the time, so she grew up into a very insecure person.”
Sorry, that we made this sidestep, but ROCK GODDESS is quite an important band in the female music scene. And since you played with Jody Turner, this was a nice opportunity to ask about the Turner sisters. But we return to the story of Isabella Fronzoni now. You started to play guitar at the age of thirteen. Maybe you can tell us a bit more about your early influences?
IF: ‘Oh yes, I loved that time. It was the early eighties. My main influences were definitely SLAYER, METALLICA, and of course VENOM! They were the first ones with BATHORY to start the black metal scene. Of course I liked other bands too like IRON MAIDEN and SCORPIONS. I have always listened to a bit of everything.”
You once said : “When I was thirteen, I made a deal with the devil. It was well worth it”. Looking back at this statement, can you say that you still like ‘the deal’ you made back then, and what would you do differently, if you could do it all over again?
If: “There are a few things that maybe I should have done differently, but at the time they sounded right to me, so I am not sure if I really regret them. Generally, I am quite satisfied with my past, and there is plenty I can do in my present, so why worrying about it...”
Was it an all-female band or were there also guys involved this time?
IF: “I was the only girl in the band.”
How long did you play in this band?
IF: “About a year.”
In 1998, you moved to America. To which area did you move and with which band(s) did you get involved there?
IF: “I moved to South Carolina. I can’t remember the name of the band I played with (maybe it was NILE - lol).”
After that, you moved back to England, and from there on, back to Milan. Don’t you feel confident that easy, and don’t you feel like settling at one place? Moving around that often, it’s hard to call your place a real home.
IF: “No, I don’t think so. Italy is always being home for me. It’s where I grew up and where my family is. I travelled a lot and I liked it. I got to know different places and different people. Every place has filled me in with something special. Just because I love my country, does not mean that I can’t appreciate other places. Then again, being Italian has always been a big part of my personality and I have always represented my country proudly. I have been back to Milan for a few years now and I don’t think I will be moving to other countries again, but I will certainly keep travelling and making friends all over the place.”
Right now, you’re involved in a death metal project, called SELF DISGRACE. Please give us more details: Who’s in the band, have you recorded anything already, touring plans, etc?
IF: “SELF DISGRACE is essentially a solo project. After playing for years in different bands, I wanted to do what I liked most, which is songwriting.”
We saw a picture of you with blood covered hands. Who did you kill?
IF: “Well, it is obvious, that I injured my hands by playing the guitar too much!!! (lol).”
What more can death metal add to your career?
IF: “SELF DISGRACE is not just death metal. I have played death metal before and I have enjoyed it very much. SELF DISGRACE will be a mixture of all kind of extreme metal, thrash, death, black and more styles. I have a very open mind on musical taste, so anything will be a bonus to what I am already doing.”
It seems that you’re getting wilder, while getting older. What’s the secret elixir you use to stay so young at heart?
IF: “I have always been wild and those who have known me for a long time can tell. Basically, I haven’t changed much. I still have a strong sense of humour and I still like having fun. Now, I am just more confident and that comes a bit with age, plus of course I eat a lot of chilly pepper with my pasta! (lol).”
What are your memories about Holland, and what do you like the most about our country?
IF: “The first time I was in Holland, I was interrailing with a friend. We stayed in a hostel with eighty bunk beds. They were so uncomfortable, so the night after, we slept at the train station and that was much better! (lol). I played in Holland so many times,with ICE AGE and two tours with ORIGINAL SIN. The best time I had was with ORIGINAL SIN, as we made lots of friends during the tours. We were always partying after the gigs and we had a really good time. The worse time I had in Holland was with ICE AGE. In particular, after the gig at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, we went to a nearby pub with some fans and the management. Dave Miles was very drunk, pissed in his beer and then he poured it on me laughing.”
Is there anything you didn’t like about Holland?
IF: “No at all. Even the weather was nice every time I was there.”
We are an online ‘zine, completely focussed on the female musicians in the (hard)rock and (heavy)metal. Do you think that women still need the attention that we like to give them, or do you think that women already get the recognition, that they earn so well?
IF: “To be honest, there are too many female musicians, that get attention just for being female, but I am quite proud to say, that it is not my case. I consider myself a guitarist like many around, but I think I have always been professional and serious about it and that’s why people have always respected me and gave me the recognition I deserved.”
Do you still have any goals in life?
IF: “No, I don’t have long term plans and I don’t think I ever had. I always take day by day.”
Please have a look in your crystal ball and tell us what the future has planned for you?
IF: “Keep enjoying life, as I have always done. I prefer not to know my future and be surprised.”
Is there something like a male groupies scene, or are guys more into getting an autograph or asking you about your guitar techniques? In other words, did you have any male groupies, that wanted to have sex with you or one of the other band members? As you can see, we also want to hear all the dirty stories, too.
IF: “Yes, of course. After the gigs we always had fans trying to chat us up. I can’t really tell you, if I or any other members in the band, ever had sex with them because of the privacy, but girls like guys are all the same.What surprises me is that the biggest fans I have ever had were lesbians (lol).”
Do you still have many friends (former bandmembers) in the music scene, that remained in touch with you over the years?
IF: “Yes, I am still in contact with all the ex-ORIGINAL SINS. I got in contact with Vicky of ICE AGE four years ago by email, but I have lost contact with her again. I am still in contact with Aki from ROCK GODDESS She is still one of my best friends."
If you’d receive four emails today, from the former members of WARHAMMER, ICE AGE, ROCK GODDESS and ORIGINAL SIN, and they would all ask you to go on tour with them for a year for old time sake. With whom would you go on tour then?
IF: “Probably with ROCK GODDESS for the music and ORIGINAL SIN for the friendship.”
Please put together your favorite band, which may contain male and female, alive and deceased musicians from all genres?
IF: “No, don’t ask me that. I have so many favorite musicians I could not possibly choose.”
You would move to a deserted island. Which album, book and DVD would you take with you?
IF: “I would not take any, I would sleep all day.”
Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
IF: “Read about me on myspace. So many times people over the years have pictured me as the guitarist in that band or in that other band, but not very often as an individual guitarist.”
Do you want to add something to this interview. Maybe there is something we forgot to mention here, that is essential for the story of Isabella Fronzoni or the whole ICE AGE story?
IF: “No, I don’t think so.”
Do you have any other interests or hobbies, besides playing guitar and music in general?
IF: “I like reading, fitness, crosswords, travelling, computer and video games...”
The world famous last words of this interview are for you, Isabella....
IF: “Bloooooddddd and keep it brutal! Ahah”
Visit her site at My Space: http://www.myspace.com/isabellafronzoni