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Cérbero was formed in 1980, in São Paulo, Brazil, by the brothers and guitar players Marco Tonalezzi and Carlo Tonalezzi, with Sergio Goncalves on bass and vocals and Alceu Scaravelli on drums. The following year, Toni Fontao replaced Alceu Scaravelli on drums and the band started rehearsing and gigging full time, always with the goal of playing as fast, hard and heavy as possible. The shows at the Rainbow Bar, Lira Paulistana Theather, Space Carbono 14, Fofinho Rock Club, Aeroviarios Club, Vila Mariana Club were always packed and the crowd response was amazing, which resulted on an invitation to be part of the “SP Metal” project produced by Luiz Calanca. Later, the “SP Metal” project proved to have been one of the most important releases ever in the Brazilian Metal scene but, as destiny would have it, the band had already sold all their equipment and ere on their way to New York City, therefore being unable o participate and they were replaced on the project by the band Korzus. The musicians moved to New York in March of 1985. After Marco, Carlo and Tony had already moved to NY an unforeseen event complicated the band’s plans. Sergio, who was the bass player and singer of the band had his US entry visa denied by the American Consulate and wasn’t able to travel to the US, complicating the band’s dreams of “making it” internationally. Marco, Carlo and Tony were forced to change their plans and had to join other bands and projects in order to keep active while in NY. The years went by but their friendship and love for true Metal lasted and Cerbero is working on an album of all new material to be released in 2016.

Know more about the history of Cerbero in the words of the brothers Marco and Carlo Tonalezzi.

Roadie Crew: When and where was the band formed?
Marco Tonalezzi: Cerbero was formed in 1980, the day that we bought our first guitars at Tomasi Music Store in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sergio Goncalves, who grew up with us bought a bass. Alceu, who also grew up with us bought a drumset. We all lived just a few houses from each other. I had just turned 17 and Carlo was 15 years old.
Carlo Tonalezzi: After about a year writing and rehearsing we recruited Tony Fontao to play the drums, who also lived just a couple of blocks from us and was my school mate.

Roadie Crew: What was the inspiration for the name Cerbero and how was the crowd’s reception to the band name and the sound of the band?
Marco: We wanted a name that captured the energy and intensity of the band. The crowd’s reaction great.
Carlo: Their reaction to our sound was incredible, our gigs were always packed. The crowd support was very strong from the get go.

Roadie Crew: How were the first rehearsals? Which ones were the first songs and who were the writers?
Marco: Our neighbours loved us since we rehearsed pretty much all day long on Saturdays and Sundays for almost two years before our first gig. The songs always started with one of Carlo’s or one of my riffs and were always completed by both of us but there was obviously a great participation from everybody in the band.
Carlo: Cerbero had lots of high energy right from the first rehearsal. We knew exactly the direction that we wanted to go. We all grew up toghether and used to spend countless hours listening to music in our house’s basement, which became our rehearsal place and headquarters. The first songs we wrote were “Napalm” and “Terra”.

Roadie Crew: What were cerbero’s musical influences? Did you play any covers?
Marco: My most vivid memory of a musical starting point happened in 1970 when our dad brought home a “45” from Led Zeppelin and I listened to “Whole Lotta Love” for the first time. I was 7. Somehow I completely identified with the sound immediately. During the 70’s I spent my days searching and collecting albums from all of the “classic” bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and so on. It was great to discover the “new” bands in real time like Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Rainbow, Scorpions, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, etc… By the end of the 70’s all I wanted was to own a guitar in order to play the fastest, hardest and heavier music possible. As far as guitar players, my favorite, without a doubt is Uli Jon Roth. I was blown away by his playing since the day I bought the album “Fly to the Rainbow” from Scorpions, which had “miraculously” been released in Brazil in 1976.
Carlo: I’ve always loved Rock, since I was 5 years old. I stared by liking Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore. I then got into Uli Jon Roth and Michael Schenker and later into Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads. As far as bands, I got into Judas Priest, Scorpions, Motorhead, Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden. Sergio and Tony also had practically the same influences as us and we used to do some covers like “Panic” (Anthrax), “Metal Militia” (Metallica), “Read All About It” (Raven), “March Of The Crabs” (Anvil) and “Ace Of Spades” (Motorhead).

Roadie Crew: When and where was your first gig? What was the public response?
Marco: Our first official gig was in 1982,at Fofinho Rock Club. The club wanted to have a band playing at the bar downstairs while the second floor was a “Rock Dance Club”.
Carlo: As usual, the second floor was packed but, as soon as we started to play downstairs, pretty much the whole crowd converged to the bar in order to see us play and the second floor was practically emptied out. It was at that moment that we knew we were on the right track.

Roadie Crew: Tell us about the creation of the Logo and the visual identity of the band.
Marco: I drew the logo by hand because I really wanted it to be entirely original. I imagined a ‘Super Doberman” with three heads in order to represent the band’s fast and aggressive sound. I wanted the Logo to “make sense” even if the visual focal point was in each individual head. The band’s visual approach on stage was pretty straight forward…denim, leather and adrenaline.
Carlo: Marco was always good at drawing and we put a lot of pressure on him in order to finalize the logo before our first gig which was fast approaching and that also meant drawing and painting by hand a huge logo banner which we still have! Our live posture was really agressive.

Roadie Crew: Which other Brazilian bands from that time would you also highlight?
Marco: Centurias, Virus, Harpia, Kaos e Santuario. From the “new” bands, our favorite was Korzus.
Carlo: We knew Silvio and Dick from our shows from even before they formed Korzus and we always believed their potential. It’s awesome to see that they are still out there kicking ass at full force.

Roadie Crew: How was the interaction amongst the bands in the scene during that time?
Marco: It was awesome. At the same time that there was a positive competition, there was also a lot of cooperation and friendship because we all knew that we had to work together in order to help the Brazilian Metal scene grow and become strong. We were frequently at meetings with other bands and promoters with the goal of organizing events and promote the Brazilian Metal Scene.
Carlo: Proof of this cooperation is the fact that, even after decades living in New York, we are still friends with everyone we had the opportunity to keep in touch or meet again. It’s like we all belong to the same family. It’s hard to explain.

Roadie Crew: How did the invitation to participate on the “SP Metal” project come about? Why didn’t you participate on the project?
Marco: We used to hang out at the “Rock Gallery” since the time when there were just about half a dozen record stores there so, obviously, we knew Luiz Calanca, owner of the store Baratos Afins because we were always at his store. We were really honored to heve been invited.
Carlo: The problem was that by the time the invitation happened we already had sold all our equipment and were already on our way to New York. The recordings sessions were supposed to start exactly around the time of our departures.

Roadie Crew: Why did you decide to move to the US? How was your adaptation over there?
Marco: Even with the presence of an underground movement towards a faster and more aggressive form of Metal in Brazil, it didn’t seem to exist, at the time, any possibility of us getting a record deal in Brazil which would expose us to the international market and we considered that vital to Cerbero’s survival. Of course now we know that, a few years later, the scene did go to Brazil and that situation started to change but, at the time of our moving to NY, things were not so clear so we took our chances.
Carlo: After we had been to the first “Rock in Rio” in 1985, the magnitude of the event and the quality of the bands made a big impression on us. It seemed that a gigantic “UFO” had landed in Rio de Janeiro. Our urge to be part of all that became impossible to control. Our adaptation was a success. As soon as we got there we started working at the stores on 48th Street in Manhattan and we’ve made lifelong friends. By pure chance we ended up living just a few blocks from Lamour East which was an awesome rock club and we finally were having the chance to see all our favorite bands live like Motorhead, Anthrax, Raven, Manowar, etc…without even mentioning the shows at the Madison Square Garden like Metallica, Judas Priest, Dio, etc…

Roadie Crew: How do you feel as being musicians who participated on the creation of the Brazilian Metal scene?
Marco: We feel really proud and honored. It was an amazing period and We really enjoyed being part of it. I also would like to take the oportunity to thank everyone who helped and supported us back then and that, to this day, keep the “Metal Spirit” alive. As Glenn Hughes once said…”You are the music, we are just the band”.
Carlo: We did everything because of our love of music. We are proud of being part of the movement that inspired us so much and practically changed the course of our lives.

Roadie Crew: Of all the bands who participated of the two editions of “SP Metal”, only Korzus and Slario Minimo are still active. Why wasn’t Cerbero able to stay active in the US? Did you think about coming back to Brazil? Why did the band break up? What happened?
Marco: Cerbero really never ended. Our move to NY happened almost without any problems. By September 1985 we were writing and rehearsing in our own space and with the equipment we had always dreamed about. The only problem, and it was a big problem, was that Sergio, our bass player, vocalist and “BloodBrother” wasn’t able to get an authorization from the American Consulate in Brazil to enter the US. They claimed that he was just too young and without any real reasons that would make him go back to Brazil eventually. in other words, they suspected, with reason, that Sergio was planing on staying longer than the six months allowed to tourists. They also said that, since his first request for a visa was denied, he had to wait 12 months to try again!
Carlo: Of course that was a huge obstacle for us but due to the fact that we had still so much work to do, we decided to start writing and rehearse while we waited for Sergio to try again and join us in NY. One whole year went by and Sergio was finally able to try again but his entry visa was denied again! This time the American Consulate said that, since it was his second trial, he would have to wait three years in order to try again! Sadly we had to face the fact that Cerbero wasn’t even gonna have a chance to try in the US. We did try to find a replacement to fill Sergio’s shoes temporarily but that proved to be a mission impossible. The magic that happened when the four of us played toghether proved to be really dificult to reproduce if one of us was missing.

Roadie Crew: What are the band members doing presently.
Marco: Our love for Metal and loud guitars will never die. In fact it has bacome even stronger. I still write and play and I’m also doing mastering work for bands in the US. Me and Carlo are working on new material because we just love playing together and crank up our Marshalls. This feeling will never get old or die.
Carlo: Recently we have just decided to reunite Cerbero and already wrote a whole new album’s worth of material for an upcoming CD, still true to the Cerbero style, fast, hard and heavy. The new songs contain the musical experiences acquired in these over twenty years of United States.

Roadie Crew: What can you say about Cerbero’s “Official Bootleg” album, recorded at one of your shows at the Rainbow Bar in 1983?
Marco: From the band’s point of view the show was perfect! The crowd over packed the place. The show got completely sold out and there were just about as much people outside still trying to get in. The band was well rehearsed. There was a lot of electricity in the air.
Carlo: When we started to play the crowd just went crazy. It was an amazing evening. Since Cerbero didnt record a studio album at that time, in 2005 we decided to release the “Official Bootleg” CD to mark the 20 years since our last show in Brazil.

Roadie Crew: Can you leave a message to the newer generations that did not have direct contact with the “SP Metal” period?
Marco: Even though we can’t go back in time, the spirit of that period is still alive, weel and out there. The only way to tap into that is with lots of musical integrity, honesty and passion. Play as much as you can, until it becomes easy. Real players don’t have to pretend or pose anything. Nothing is more important than “the Music”.
Carlo: Every journey starts with a first step and the “SP Metal” project was an extremely important step to the Brazilian Metal journey. We hope the movement stays strong and that Cerbero will have the opportunity to play in Brazil again someday.

Band: Cerbero
Full Name: Marco Tonalezzi
Place of Birth: Sao Paulo City, Brazil
Instrument: Guitars
Learned how to play: Listening to and playing Heavy/Hard Rock
Got into Metal: The first time I listened to “Whole Lotta Love” from Led Zeppelin in 1970. I was 7 years old.
First Rock Concert attented: Brazilian/Patrulha do Espaco (1978), International/ Queen (Morumbi, 1981)
First Rock album and T-Shirt bought: Album/”Sabbotage” (Black Sabbath, 1975), T-Shirt/ I hand painted my own, the first was Motorhead’s “Overkill” cover in 1978.
Bands in which you played: Cerbero, Matrix
Place of residency: New York (US)
Best band of all time: Led Zeppelin

Band: Cerbero
Full Name: Carlo Tonalezzi
Place of Birth: Sao Paulo City, Brazil
Instrument: Guitars
Learned how to play: Listening to and playing Heavy/Hard Rock
Got into Metal: Our dad already liked Rock and brought home “Whole Lotta Love” in 1970. The dream started right there.
First Rock Concert attented: Brazilian/Patrulha do Espaco (1978), International/ Queen (Morumbi, 1981)
First Rock album and T-Shirt bought: Album/”In Rock” (Deep Purple) in 1975, T-Shirt: “Stained Class” (Judas Priest) in 1978.
Bands in which you played: Cerbero, Bad Apple, Shadow Puppet
Place of residency: New York (US)
Best band of all time: That is a really hard question. I love Rainbow with Blackmore, Dio and Cozy Powell. I also love Judas Priest’s formation on “Stained Class” and “Hell Bent for Leather”, but the “best of all time” would be Led Zeppelin, also because of the fact that they stayed with the same formation until the end.

by Ricardo Batalha ( www.roadiecrew.com )



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