Janelle Borg September 25, 2019
The Spotlight Series: Noel Mifsud
The Spotlight Series continues with Noel Mifsud. Noel is an avid supporter of the local rock and metal scene. He’s always willing to give local musicians a much-needed leg up by playing local tunes and interviewing Maltese bands on his radio shows. Trackage Scheme caught up with Noel to discuss his rock ‘n’ roll love affair and to reminisce about his first steps in the world of radio.
How would you describe your love affair with rock music?
Well…I have to quote John Miles’ opening lines from his hit single Music from 1976 (album Rebel):
‘Music was my first love
And it’ll be my last
Music of the future
And music of the past
To live without my music
Would be impossible to do
In this world of troubles
My music pulls me through’
I guess that sums up my love affair not just with rock music, but with any decent tune out there.
Any particular individual or artist who inspired you to get involved in the rock scene, and more specifically, Malta’s rock scene?
My mum was an essential figure in all of this. As a toddler, she used to sing Beatles tunes before I went to sleep. Radio was also a constant element in my childhood. The majority of the songs played during the ‘Breakfast Shows’ were what we now consider to be rock classics.
In regards to the local scene, I have to thank Alfie and Brian’s radio shows for introducing me to a lot of Maltese bands.
How did you get involved in radio programming?
In the ’90s, I became friends with Joe Tanti, and he used to invite me as a guest on his radio show to talk about the rock scene. I also got to know Jesmond Grima, who offered me a regular slot on his weekly radio show ‘Rock Café.’
Joe encouraged me to get back into radio after I spent a couple of years djing in Paceville’s rock clubs. He invited me to co-host ‘Rock Moods’. Eventually, the show got handed down to me (although Lito was a co-host for a couple of months) and I’ve presented ‘Rock Moods’ ever since. Moreover, ten years ago, Noel Mallia asked me to host the allRock radio’s main metal show, and it was an offer I simply couldn’t refuse.
What would you consider as the best band/artist you have ever witnessed live?
Tricky question…if I have to mention one specific show then it would be Dark Quarterer’s performance at the first edition of the Malta Doom Metal Festival in 2009. I’ve seen numerous bands in Malta and abroad, but the vibe created by Gianni Neppi and his group that night is something that I’ll never forget. Then there’s also Roger Hodgson’s performance at the Classic Rock Festival… he’s an artist I have admired since my teenage years.
Any particular music-related dreams and ambitions that you’d like to check off your bucket list?
Wow, where do I start…? I would love to interview Tony Iommi. We met when Black Sabbath were performing in Malta but interviewing him would be an honour! Of course, there’s also Jimmy Page- my idol since secondary school.
Another dream is that one day, we have a large-scale music festival in Malta, such as Glastonbury, Hellfest, Wacken, Grasspop etc. I have another goal which I guess is a bit more realistic…Malta doesn’t have any physical evidence of its rock history or what’s happening today in the local scene. I really want to change this!
At the moment, the National Archives have some sort of a collection (thanks to people like Noel D’Anastas), and there’s also MP3 thanks to Toni Sant and Michael Bugeja. But why not gather everything under one roof? Why not research what is already nearly lost, i.e. the bands from the ’60s and the ’70s? And why shouldn’t artefacts such as posters be preserved so that future generations have a tangible pop history that they can refer to?