Subzero - Lou Di Bella

Interview Date: May 30, 2009

Associated band: Sub Zero


Twenty years have gone by since Lou Di Bella and Subzero came together in New York to be a band. At Black N Blue Bowl 2009 in Brooklyn, they marked the end of the band with one final performance. With a set list of all older songs, they charged ahead against time constraints and a shortened set to deliver the final breaths of Subzero. Before their performance, Lou sat down with us on the second floor of Studio B in Brooklyn to talk about the end of Subzero and reflect on everything from his bout with cancer to their tours across the world.rn

How's it going Lou?

LOU: Good, good. Everything is good man.

Can you introduce yourself quickly?rn

LOU: My name is Lou Di Bella. I sing for Subzero. Former singer from Skarhead. Singer for Son Of Skam.

What bands are you excited to see tonight at Black N Blue Bowl 2009?rn

LOU: Tonight it's definitely Crown of Thornz. I can't wait to see my boy Mike Dijan tear that up tonight. Ezec, Dimi all these guys over there. We used to play a lot of shows with those guys all the time. It's been a very long time. They are very good friends of ours, and I'm glad to see them up there doing another show. It'll¬ be great to see them.

It's Subzero's last show too. Are you stopping just because of how long you've been going at it?rn

LOU: Yeah, it's a little bit of this and little bit of that. We've been together for twenty years. I just got a brand new baby. The bass player has a baby now. My fucking knees are shot so I can't jump around on stage. I can't scream no more. Can't do it, it hurts now. Twenty years. We did what we did, toured the world. Had opportunity to tour with bands I grew up with. Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Motorhead, Misfits. Many bands across the world. Good times. One thing about us.... We'd do big shows like play with Slayer, then we'll come back and play in people's basements. Bars and shit like that. That's where we came from, and we'll never forget those people. It's a part of my life. If I didn't come across this music scene, I'd probably be dead, in jail, or something else *laugh*.

Can you go over what Lionhearted Crew is?rn

LOU: Yeah man, I'm a cancer survivor. When I was taking a hiatus from Subzero for a few months, I went out with Skarhead, went on our first real tour. Started developing this crazy pains in my legs. It kept progressing to the point where it felt like my bones were being crushed with a vise. Every day it got worse and worse to the point where I was screaming like I was being tortured. I was dating this girl at the time who was a beautiful model, and we had only been dating for a few months. We had just gone on tour, and the band was like, "Oh, you're making this up so you can go back with the girl." Blah blah. We hit St Louis, and finally on stage, these pains crawl up my legs to my back, neck, arms. When I say that I felt like I was being tortured, I'm absolutely literal about this. I go in the back, and there's Hoya and Mitts (and I named him Mitts, so document that!). I'm in the back, and the pain was so back so I collapsed from the shock. They brought me to the hospital there.rn

Turned out I had cancer. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which is a children's disease. I was 28 at the time. As you get older, you have less of a chance of living. I had a 23% chance of living. Brain radiation, bone marrow transplants. All sorts of chemotherapy; pill form, shot form. Catheters in me because my veins were collapsing because I was getting so much chemo. I came out of it, made it through it, and wrote a song about it. Not for the glory, but just to document my situation. Turned out a lot of people sent me letters, emailed, this and that, saying that the song helped them get over drug addition, depression, this and that. I thought it was a real positive thing going on.rn

The mail was ridiculous. Even old ladies who were dying of heart attacks and stuff had sons who were like, check out this song. I did it for myself, just to document my situation. I started this thing called the Lionhearted Crew. It's a group of people who have gone through struggles in life and can relate to what we're talking about. It's something that's inspiring. We have shirts and stuff, but if you wear that shirt, it's something that will remind you of what you've been through and where you could go with it. Never give in, never back down. Just push. You have good friends, good family. When you're down, there's nowhere else to go but up. Life will go your way. Just gotta be lionhearted about it.



How did that whole experience affect how you looked at friends and family?rn

LOU: Definitely didn't take things for granted, but at the same time, it put me on a different level. You go into a bar or something, and there's a guy who comes out and is like, "I had cancer." Well I can relate to him and say I did too. That guy will talk to you, and he has no idea what he's saying because he's trying to figure it out for himself and is struggling. He's not comprehending it because he hasn't been through this shit in his life before. You look at someone like that and say.... It's not their fault they don't know, but I'm blessed to understand there's a different level in life. You come from here. Like Cro-Mags, you're born into this life with nothing but yourself. You leave this world nothing but yourself. Certain levels of life, when you experience the next level, some people don't, and they won't get it. Hopefully they eventually well. I'm glad to say I understand things I never have understood before. I appreciate friends and family and being around. Gotta do what I gotta do now.

Do you have any shout-outs to friends and family here today?rn

LOU: Shout-outs to the whole Black N Blue family and DMS crew, Built On Respect. They are doing the same thing in different ways, Built On Respect. They are lionhearted. They are doing things that benefit other peoples' lives who are unfortunate and don't understand what that next level is like. Hopefully people like Heidi can help them see and get to that next level and see the future better. There are great things that can happen as long as you understand and have people behind you to push that. Thank you for doing what you're doing and giving some light on the situation. You're giving people an opportunity to understand the people in this building and shedding light on what this is all about. The hardcore scene came from people who were beat down and rejected their whole fucking lives to the point where this group of people came together and said, "We've been picked on for our clothes, for our music, for our lifestyles, for who we hang out with." Everyone came together and started their own scene. Bands like Agnostic Front,¬ Cro-Mags, Bad Brains, Minor Threat all came together. They kept it real and kept it in the family. It's great to have people like this around. This is second family.