Many will probably remember the name Fingernails from their only vinyl album released on the small Cobra Records label in December 1988. However, the Italian band's history, quite surprisingly, goes way further back, as founding member Angus Bidoli explains: "We played our very first gig in Rome on the 22nd of January 1982 in a small school hall. We had a few original songs to play plus a lot of covers from bands like AC/DC, Saxon, Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin. I do have a tape recording of this gig at home, ha, ha. All of the instruments are out of tune, a very chaotic sound, I think." Fingernails actually started in 1981, which makes them (along with Death SS and Bulldozer) one of the very early Italian Heavy Metal acts. Obviously, their influences come from traditional Metal as well, as guitarist Angus Bidoli states: "In the early days I loved the sound of Motörhead, AC/DC, Saxon and Iron Maiden. When we formed in 1981, we sounded a lot like Saxon. In 1983, we were closer to Motörhead as our new compositions then were a lot faster." Influences of Italian bands were kept to a minimum: "We never loved Death SS or Bulldozer but I think their music was very important for the historical development of Heavy Metal in Italy. My favourite Italian groups are Strana Officina from Livorno and Raff from Rome."
It took Fingernails another five years to come out with their one and only vinyl release in late 1988. However, after the album was released, the band ran into troubles with their label Cobra Records: "We signed a contract with them but never ever received a single penny in royalties. Then the contract was not renewed and in the end the label went bust." The band had even prepared songs for their second album in 1989 but first lost their manager (who was accused of legal wrongdoings) and then their record company. The second album was shelved altogether. Finally, Fingernails split up in the mid-'90's: "We had played a lot of gigs with American and English bands by then and somehow got the feeling that our music, dominated by speed and aggression, did not fit into the current scene any more. Grunge and psychedelic acts ruled the world in the mid-'90's, as far as we were concerned. So we called it quits." Only to make a comeback in the year 2004: "The re-union line-up included me and Bomber from the original band. Bomber had severe alcohol problems, so he left the group in 2007. We called in Big Ricchard on bass (from Hammer) plus Antony on vocals and Fab on drums. With that line-up we played a live show in Berlin. I love this line-up and I think it is the best we ever had."
High Roller Records is now proud to present the second Fingernails album "Heavy Metal Forces", which consists exclusively of hitherto unreleased songs. The name of the album goes back to the demo tape of the same name, which the band put out prior to their studio album in 1986.
Whereas Fingernails played a small European tour a couple of years back, they never made it out of Italy in the '80's at all: "It was difficult enough to get gigs in Italy back then. In the rest of Europe nobody would have heard of us anyway, as there were only a couple of magazines around back then and they did not write about Fingernails. Today, the scene is far better organized, thanks to the internet. Pepole can listen to our music in the space of a few seconds. In the '80's, only specialized mailorders sold our demo tapes - it was not easy at all to listen to Fingernails." So as a result, the band is eager to play live now as often as possible, states Angus Bidoli: "We would love to play the European festival circuit but we have difficulties to get gigs as we have no manager. We like to stay independent and control our music and production. If anybody wants us to play at their festival, get in touch with us. We would love to play!"
Matthias Mader (Iron Pages)