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12-04-05 17:22 Agrotoxico from Brazil By MIKE

Agrotóxico was formed in 1993 in the peripherical Cidade Ademar district – São Paulo – at first as a three piece.
At that time the band consisted of Mauro (bass/vocals), Marcos (guitar) and Edu (drums). After months and a few gigs with this line-up, the drummer left to form a metal band (something he was more into) and his replacement was the weirdo Silvio ‘Lombrigão’.
Right after that an old friend of theirs was drafted in to play the bass (Jeferson), leaving Mauro free to scream away his infamous and violent words. From the band’s formation to the current line-up there were lots of gigs in numerous hellholes and pubs that were not used to hosting punk/hardcore bands. In fact, between 1993 and 1995 there was the emergence of melodic hardcore, and the traditional noisemakers who were lying low, kept themselves even lower.
So there was no choice but to set up their own gigs in the purest do-it-yourself spirit. Agrotóxico themselves set up a festival called Som de Rua (Street Music) which obviously took place in the streets and squares of SP suburbs, often using poor equipment, playing to an audience that consisted of skaters, housewives, drunks, punks, street kids and what have you.
And if that wasn’t weird enough, the Agro boys also played in several districts of the farthest south (Parque do Lago, Jardim Ingá, In tardim São Francisco, etc.) and also at venues that have been shut down since, like Grafiteria and Atitute, at the latter they staged a memorable all-nighter along with the bands Ação Direta and Invasores de Cérebros.
With this line-up (Mauro, Marcos, Jeferson and Silvio) they recorded two demo-tapes "Sindicato do Crime" and "Decadência" (there was no such thing as CD-Rs at the time...) and contributed with three tracks for the compilation "E foi Concedido ao Homem o Raciocínio e o Livre Arbítrio" – along with FDS, Nitrominds, New York Against the Belzebu, etc. Having done that and some more shows, thus ended Silvio Lombrigão’s stint with Agrotóxico. With faster and wilder songs the old drummer decided it was time to call it quits and reminisce about the good and wild times.


The new skinsman was roadie and the band’s close friend André, he brought a lot of energy and skill to the Agro-Sound. The quartet recorded the band’s first CD: "Caos 1998". It was produced by Heros Trench and Luís Abbondanza and released through the band’s own Red Star Recordings label.
"Caos 1998" has Olho Seco’s singer Fabio making a guest appearance on the title track and features live favorites "Não Quero Ouvir Mais Nada" and "Marcas da Revolta". With the little disc in hand, Agrotóxico opened many doors and started to play exhaustively anywhere under any circumstances. There was even a gig at a joint in the ‘hood – along with MR-8, and the stage was set up over beer crates and they were watched with the suspicious eyes of the ‘bros and hos’ in the audience…
Back in those days the band’s official vehicle was a Galaxie '74 – owned by Marcos and Mauro – known among their friends as Agromóvel (Agromobile – you can see the machine on the cover of their first CD!). Although this kind of band hasn’t got much in the promotion department, Agrotóxico tried to market the debut CD to every possible media. Some music mags did very positive reviews (Rock Brigade, Dynamite, etc.); the song "Marcas da Revolta" got an airing on a radio show, "Caos 1998" was Disc of the Month on the Brazilian MTV's "Fúria" (a now deceased alternative show), etc. Years later, having become almost a holsehold name, the band also got the same track featured in a promo-CD by Trip Magazine (compiled by Andreas Kisser - Sepultura) and was the soundtrack of a cable TV sports program called SporTV. Just as well: in 2001 the disc got a vinyl release through the German Dirty Faces label. The song "Inocentes que Morrem" – originally from Caos 1998 - also was featured in the "O Progresso da Regressão" compilation by No Fashion HC label.


While they were trying to promote the CD, three Agrotóxico members got an offer to join Fabio Sampaio to reform the legendary Olho Seco.
Naturally they took the offer and Marcos, Jeferson and André began to jump from one band to the other between shows, a marathon that very few could take... The first Olho Seco gig was at a sold out Hangar 110, with support bands Phobia and Discarga. After that there were several local gigs until they got their first European tour in their 20-year history! It was a tour that covered 9 countries, among them some dodgy places like Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague (Holland), Bilbao and Burgos (Spain), Lisbon and Loule (Portugal) Lubjiana (Slovenia), Berlin, Leipzig, Hannover and Hamburg (Germany) Stockholm (Sweden) etc. Upon returning Olho Seco would play gigs with Agnostic Front, followed by Rasta Knast (a great German band they met there and asked them to play in Brazil). This era was topped with the "Tributo ao Olho Seco" CD, coordinated by Marcos and Jeferson and released through Red Star.
The disc – which comprised of 17 bands, Ação Direta, Calibre 12, Força Macabra (Finland), Cólera and the very own Agrotóxico, amongst others – became a hot item for punks and was released in Europe by Dirty Faces Records with one little detail: the disc was released on a yellow-and-green vinyl! Another Red Star feat was to get together, after 20 years, the four founding members of Olho Seco to record the hitherto unreleased "Crise da Fome" (Hunger Crisis), the CD’s closing track.


Back to Agrotóxico. With the Olho Seco tour coming to an end the Agro was back on stage all around the country with classic English band Varukers. After a short break, when the band began writing new songs, lead singer and co-founding member Mauro decides to give his throat a permanent rest to devote himself full time to play ultimate fighting and Thai boxing tournaments.
It was the hardest time for the band. Besides being a long-time friend and being with the band for six years, Mauro had charisma and a good stage presence. Agrotóxico even got to play twice as a three-piece before they got the definitive singer, with Marcos holding guitar/vocal duties for these shows. But the solution was closer than they could have imagined: their old chum Renato "Tattoo".
The guy had been involved with the punk scene from the early 80s and was commited to his trade of tattooing at the time he got ‘summoned’ to hold vocal duties for Agrotóxico. It took one rehearsal after another until this new line-up was tight enough to go back to the stages. Their return was a baptism of fire for the new lead singer. Renato’s stage debut was right when they began the new Brazilian tour with Rasta Knast, with Agro as support band on nearly every date.
After the RK tour Agrotóxico went out on the road by themselves and presented their wall of noise to the countryside audiences. One of these shows was a special appearance with Finland’s legends Rystetiit, a favorite of the Agro boys.
The first recording of this line-up with Renato was a version of "Deuses, Dogmas e a Violência", a tribute disc to the great Ação Direta (released in 1991 by Rasura Records label).


After many shows and rehearsals the band felt they should go back in the studio to record a second CD, yet they got some news that shook the band: drummer André decided to break away from the mob to lead a quiet life. Even then he made sure he got to play the drum tracks for the album. After all, he wanted to leave his definitive mark after over five years with the band. Production duties were again by Heros Trench and recording sessions were held at Mr. Som studio, which became the band’s second home.
"Estado de Guerra Civil" is better produced, with digipak sleeve and illustrations by Dick Siebert (that’s right, the bass player with legendary thrash metal band Korzus…), not to mention the top-notch recording.
Besides the tightly-knit compositions, the lyrics took a new stance. Back in the days of "Caos 1998", main lyricists Mauro and Marcos described in their ‘writings’ the band’s reality of that time: fights, periphery stories, police brutality, etc. On "Estado de Guerra Civil" the issues are less local and deal about the globalized world state, where a few countries and corporations decide this planet’s life and future.
For the first time Agrotóxico records other bands songs on their own album: "Lute Sempre Até o Fim" (Portuguese version for a classic song of Finland’s Appendix) and "Psykikst Instabil" by Sweden’s Asta Kask (who, by the way, liked it so much that they wanted it on MP3 for the band’s website!).
The disc was rapidly licensed by Dirty Faces, who are releasing it on CD and vinyl. The Brazilian release was by Red Star Recordings, which is run by the band’s bass player Jeferson on a nearly full time basis. After a sold out initial release there will soon be a remastered version.
"Estado de Guerra Civil" got full marks from Folha de S. Paulo newspaper and also great reviews from Rock Brigade and Dynamite magazines and got a Reuters article entitled 'The true punk of Agrotóxico', etc.
To promote the new CD the Agro went back on the road and played on a super festival called A Um Passo do Fim do Mundo (From Here to the End of the World), with Rodrigo from Korzus as stand in drummer.


After auditioning drummer André’s replacement for 3-4 months, the band picks up Pedro (formerly of Kaos 64), at the time aged 17! Yet again the new member got his baptism of fire: Pedro joined them right before the band’s first European tour!!!
Marcos and Jeferson had already had a taste of the wild squat scene routine, junk eating and sleeping in the van, but this was the first adventure of this type for vocalist Renato and the young drummer. Once again Agrotóxico went out on the road with the Germans Rasta Knast (watching with them the World Cup Final between Brazil and Germany right there in Europe!).
The tour marathon included dates in Germany, Holland, Portugal and a huge festival in Hungary, along with bands such as Total Chaos, Aurora, etc.
During the tour they came up with the idea of both bands recording a split-CD where Agrotóxico would redo some German classic hardcore whereas RK would do some gems by Brazil nutters.
Back in Terra Brasilis, Agro was voted Band of the Month by PunkNET website and played at the "Fim do Mundo" mega-festival, organized by the unrelenting Ariel (Invasores de Cérebros) and Antônio Bivar (journalist and author of the classic book "O Que é Punk" - What is Punk). The Agrotóxico appearance was fraught with controversy. The singer Supla (local rock star with 1 million records sold), an Agrotóxico fan, got in the backstage to show his support and caused the anger of most of the audience (around 1500 people). The disturbance became news article for mass media outlets such as the UOL website and the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, so Agrotóxico made the headlines.
At the end of 2001 they returned to the studio to record their half of the split-CD entitled "Marcas da Revolta" – the intended project with Rasta Knast. The chosen songs are an homage to Slime, Canal Terror, Molotov Soda, Recharge and, obviously, Rasta Knast. The CD was released simultaneously in Brazil (CD) and Europe (vinyl – through Nasty Vinyl Records), and became a hot seller in Germany (in punk terms, of course).
Agrotóxico has recently finished the remastering of “Estado de Guerra Civil” – which will get a reprint very soon – has played a few dates with American band World Burns to Death and just recorded one track for a tribute to the legendary Poison Idea (which will be released in Europe through Plastic Bomb Records). Besides, Marcos and Jeferson are planning to write new stuff with Fabio for a future Olho Seco álbum. The story stops here and the band’s future you will follow at!!!
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