Mass Giorgini, Lafayette punk legend, bids arrivederci
From Spud Zero to Sonic Iguana, Mass Giorgini talks about how Lafayette is still home even as he and his family head for Rome. Plus, mayor gives fire hero Nick Bostic the Marquis de Lafayette Award
Today’s edition is sponsored by the ongoing support of The Long Center for the Performing Arts, which is presenting country singer Justin Moore to Loeb Stadium Sept. 2. For details and tickets, click here and scroll through today’s Based in Lafayette reporting project.
Please welcome, again, trusty Based in Lafayette correspondent Tim Brouk. This time, he’s talking to Mass Giorgini as the punk music producer and owner of Lafayette’s Sonic Iguana Studios heads with his family to Rome. After Tim’s done, I’ll add a handful of other notes.
MASS GIORGINI: ‘I SHALL FOREVER BE HOLDING LAFAYETTE IN A BEAUTIFUL SPOT IN MY HEART’
By Tim Brouk for Based in Lafayette
Before I moved to Indiana as a 22-year-old, the only things I knew about Lafayette were that it had a delicious Indian restaurant (Bombay, RIP), and some of my favorite records were created at Sonic Iguana Studios, which I envisioned as a magical and almost mythical punk rock Mecca.
Just weeks after moving into a meager apartment at Sixth and Hartford streets, imagine my elation when an old band buddy from Missouri, Matt Bug, called me to see if I wanted to meet Mass Giorgini, the producer extraordinaire behind such anthemic punk releases as Screeching Weasel’s “Wiggle” and Rise Against’s “The Unraveling.” It was an amazing early experience of being a new Hoosier as I geeked out over meeting the bassist of Squirtgun, touring the studios, and eating pizza at a long-since-closed Noble Roman’s with Giorgini, Bug and the Groovie Ghoulies, who were about to start a recording session that weekend.
Twenty-two years later, the Indiana punk rock legend and his young family — wife Leah Giorgini and young children, Giovanni and Aria — moved to Rome July 20, where Mass Giorgini will be close to his familial roots and relatives.
It’s bittersweet to live here without Giorgini and the bragging rights of being in a town with a recording studio — that unmistakable red concrete block building on Kossuth Street — where so many punk rock heroes created amazing sounds. Giorgini will be taking his music and studio projects with him to Italy — as well as his affinity for Lafayette.
“It is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Giorgini said, “and I shall forever be holding Lafayette in a beautiful spot in my heart.”
Giorgini’s mixing and mastering equipment is already overseas as Sonic Iguana’s audio legacy will continue. Giorgini revealed the existence of new Squirtgun demos, his band that played around the world since 1994.
Before appearing on MTV and the “Mallrats” soundtrack, Giorgini cut his teeth in the 1980s punk act Rattail Grenadier, which he formed with his younger brother Flav Giorgini. He then opened Spud Zero, an all-ages venue that ran from 1987 to 1988. The small club, once located at 1600 Main St. in the Five Points area, lives in the punk history books as one of only 28 venues that hosted Operation Ivy during the influential ska-punk band’s first and only national tour. In the ‘90s, Giorgini transitioned to recording and producing punk rock bands. Before the Kossuth location, Sonic Iguana had a busy stint in the 1990s near Fifth and Main streets.
No matter where in the world he resides, the Lafayette/Giorgini legacy will live on through the nearly 400 hundred records he recorded, mixed and/or mastered, an incredible portfolio that only pales in comparison to Giorgini’s unwavering passion for his hometown of Lafayette.
Question: Why are you moving to Italy?
Mass Giorgini: My hope is that this move will give my children a similar cultural and linguistic experience to the one I had growing up between Lafayette and northern Italy. My own Italian upbringing was primarily in a smaller city — not unlike Lafayette in some ways — but I also spent a significant amount of time in Torino, which is a larger, industrial metropolitan center. Rome is not exactly the same — it’s an entirely unique place — but at least the language is the same, and we will be within driving distance of my parents’ hometowns and can visit with relatives on holidays.