Das Interview hab ich mit Basti vom shitletter.tk am 21.8.03 gemacht, als Anti Flag in der Korn gespielt haben. Wir hatten noch wesentlich mehr Fragen aber leider musste Chris#2 dann leider zum Soundcheck.

 

BastiB°shitletter.tk: Your new album is coming out on october 21st what can you tell us about it and what is special?

Chris#2: well I can put it very frankly: it’s our best record ever! I don‘t know what happened. With our last records like “underground network” and “mobilize” we tried to get to a certain place and we always just missed it. Like in the lyrics of “underground network” I felt that they were a little too text-booky like “we’re like robots” there was less emotion in it but I thought the music was great. I thought the music was a litle bit less on “mobilize” but the lyrics were a little bit better. But on this record we just really took our time, like it’s played great, everybody really did a good job. And then the lyrics like justin and myself tried to give it the energy it deserves. And I think it’s cool because the record sounds good but it still has a lot of energy, a lot of anger and it moves, you know. It doesn‘t sound like overproduced  it just sounds like a good punkrock album. I listen to it everyday and I never liked a single anti flag record. Listening to the previous CDs I’m always like “damn it’s not as good as when we play it live” but this record is gonna be just as good as played live.

 

BastiB°shitletter.tk: Your new album’s title is “the terror state” what was the impulse to choose this title? I think on the one hand it‘s a direct statement on the other hand this title isn’t as intelligent as your lyrics are..

Chris#2: hm ... wow.... well then .... I think the terrorist state to us is like a concept album. What it means to us is any nation that manifactures weapons is the terrorstate and it’s sort of like everybody is pointing the finger right now at what terrorism is and where the terrorists are and, you know, everybody is bad but us. Meanwhile you have the united states who manifactures more weapons  than any country in the world. An then whenever they go into Afghanistan or the Iraq or places like that and they are using weapons the US sold them against US Soldiers. So if you follow the chain of terrorism it leads you back to certain areas and that‘s sort of what it is, it’s just calling out and saying: look any militaristic society is “The terror state”. The terror state is worldwide, it isn’t just middle eastern. And that‘s what we basically tried to call attention to.

 

Steffen°monkeypoo.de: Do you try to put out every record on vinyl

Chris#2: this record will be on vinyl, the mobilize record was not on vinyl simply because vinyl costs so much to make and we can‘t afford to make vinyl AND put out the CD AND record the CD oursleves and stuff liek that so FATwreck is putting out the Vinyl for us

Steffen°monkeypoo.de: How did you get in touch with “Punk”

Chris#2: Whenever I was in middle school about 11 or 12 years old maybe, I had a cousin who gave me a cassette tape and it had a band called born against on it and I was listening to born against and was like HOLY SHIT this band is awesome. They said the F word a lot and I thought it was cool. I didn’t really realize a lot about punkrock, I never went to shows my cousin was a 4.0 student at college who was very clean and listened to this angry music and I thought that everybody who listened to this music must be like him. And I just got into it and then bands like green day and offspring started blowing up on the mainstream. Then I started to see the culture a little bit more and I went to punkshows in pittsburgh. I had my buttondown shirt on and mohawks knocked me over and beer was everywhere that was cool and I thought “damnit I wanna be like this” and then I started to go to shows all the time but I’m basically the same person I was then just tried to go to as many shows as possible and be yourself there. Because that‘s what punkrock has always been to me, being yourself.

 

BastiB°shitletter.tk: What has changed for the band since 911 and the times of war

Chris#2: I think after 911 we have come up with less intelligent titles for our records...

No seriously.. it was a pretty fucked up day I was watching television being like “what the hell is gonna happen?” I wasn’t even thinking about what the band’s gonna do I was thinking about the fucking world, you know. What the hell? People are dying on TV. It’s just totally fucked up. You know what happened next with the Bush administration using 911 as a way to roll back all the civil rights in the United States, you know be able to go into my phone conversations, into my emails then using 911 antime they want to go into another country and bomb the hell out of them. The american public are completely dooped and I don’t think it’s because they’re stupid. I just think it‘s because they’re not informed. There is no information out there. The media is so controlled, so tightly that every person who works 9 to 5 and comes home and turns on the television and they’re saying “there’s a terrorist in Iraq and we need to get him” and they are like “I don‘t want anyone to fly a plane into my house go get him george”. People just don‘t know what‘s going on.

 

Steffen°monkeypoo.de: So how do you get your information?

Chris#2: You know, it’s tough. I read a lot of european newspapers, indymedia.org, democracynow.com you know like internet. It’s out there it’s just harder to get, it’s not right in front of your face. And also being a part of punkock I come from, you know, much like the foundingfathers of the united states were,  they questioned everything. Even if somebody says that’s what’s going on I’m still sceptic. I mean you can’t swallow everything you get but at the same time you can‘t be scared of everybody, you’ve gotta live your life. Whenever something happens just think about it a little more, you know what I mean? Like put two and two together. Like ...you know the bush administration.. there is so many people involved in oil companies and then they’re going into Iraq and there is all this oil in Iraq! It’s like “wait a minute – there’s more going on here.”

Justin Sane kommt vorbei: Don’t believe a word he says, he’s a liar A LIAAAAR!

Chris#2: yeah.. much like that. So back to 911, things changed for the band like we had kids returning their shirts and being like “we give up! George bush is a hero he’s gonna save us” and we were like “dude .. oh my god”. What happened was, 911 were things that the band had been talking about for several years. The way I see it and the most dumbdown version of it is: I can’t walk up to you and push you and push you and push you and push you and not expect you not to push me back and I think the US foreign policy just did that, ran around and pushed and pushed and pushed and finally got pushed back. So was I shocked by 911? No. I sort of knew something may happen because you can‘t have that mean of foreign policy and not expect to get it back. You know it sucked! I think that they ran about it completely the wrong way. Any terrorist hoping to change america’s stronghold on the world i think that‘s not the way. I think you can‘t be paranoid about it but there’s a lot of things you have to question.

Steffen°monkeypoo.de: Your lyrics are angry, pissed and stuff. Do you try to change something with your music?

Chris#2: yes very much

Steffen°monkeypoo.de: Do you really believe you can change things just with music?

Chris#2: Yes, I know you can. Not comparing us to Bob Marley but in Bob Marley‘s native country,when he played and he supported a candidate. That candidate would win the election. What I mean is that music is very powerful and people underestimate it. And People have a negative attitude towards people who have something to say in their music cause they feel “oh it’s just music it should be a feel good time it shouldn’t be about politics or whatever”. I 100 percently disagree. I think The Clash were very impactful and The Clash had a lot to do with bringing politics into music. I think that what Anti flag tries to do is.. we’re not trying to ..you kow be the president or roll the world or whatever. We just want people who come into punkrock to have certain values. Ok these songs we sing, they all have a certain theme: NO VIOLENCE! If you come to an Anti Flag show and you try to start a fight, you‘re not welcome. We’re gonna say “please leave, the door is right over there. Take your macho-fucking-attitude somewhere else” because this is a bunch of people who are just here to have a good time and let the stresses of the world off and forget about it for a night, and dance and be a community. You know racists, sexists, homophobes are not welcome in the punk scene. I don‘t think that any of them stands for what Punk rock is. That’s not having an open mind if you hate somewone because he’s gay, that‘s very close minded.

And I know specific instances where Anti flag has played a show and some kid came up to me after the show and was like “until I came or bought one of your records I didnt know that .. you know whenever my buddy in school dropped his books and I was like ‚hehe fag!‘ I didn‘t know that that hurts people’s feelings, I didn’t take into consideration that using someone’s sexual preference as an insult was a bad thing.” And I think you gotta see the forest for the trees you know, Babysteps! We‘re not going to change the world with one song but if we get a couple of people thinking a little bit more open mindedly ..or if someone reads a fucking pamphlet about vegetarianism at our show and becomes a vegetarian. And then they‘re shopping with their mom and say “let’s not support this corporate industries” or “let‘s not buy Nike shoes” or what ever. And I think that‘s why Anti Flag is a band. And we get criticized a lot like “ooh they can‘t do any good” but I’m like “what the fuck have YOU done?” And I can cite specific incidences ..and if it hadn’t happened the band wouldn’t continue on. That’s the reason why we keep going, because people come up to us and are like “I almost fucking killed myself because I was so fed up with the problems in the world and I thought that no one felt the same way I did and then I find a band that has.. you know  and I went to your show and I made a friend” And even if you don‘t like Anti Flag no more but you met a friend at the show then it’s all worth wile you know what I mean. And I think that is really important and People don’t give that enough credit.

BastiB°shitletter.tk: Jack Grisham candidates for Governour of california. What do you think about that and can you imagine to do the same?

Chris#2: Oh Jesus NO! See the problem is we’re not very good public speakers, we’re only good with our guitars. That‘s the only platform we have, We’re sort of trapped we can‘t go anywhere else other than play punkeock. That‘s the only way we know how to do. You know if whatever happened, God forbid, someone died and the band ended I wouldn‘t know what the fuck I would do. This is the only thing I know how to do.

But anyways it is great that he candidates for Governour because the more options you have in politics the better. Actually I think right now in the US it’s a one-party-state, Democrats and Republicans are the fucking same posing as two parties. Options man! People need options that’s what gets people up to vote and that’s the reason why barely anyone voted in the last US election because Bush and Gore was the same fucking guy. Someone said it was like Coke and Pepsi you know, both cola, both the same thing. The difference maybe was that Bush is anti-abortion and Gore is pro-choice, but if you gonna base a whole presidential election on that you know that‘s something that Congress and cabinets are there to set up those laws. Anyways I have to go soundcheck.

To summarize the whole thing, everytime you have more options in politics it’s a good thing.

Steffen°monkeypoo.de: Here is an Interview with Justin Sane, published in the PlasticBomb where he says that well let me translate it “and also the skins who aren‘t racists still are nationalists and that‘s the same bullshit” so what do you think about that quote or skins at all? There are a lot of skins labelling themselves “non political”...

Chris#2: I think that in that Interview it‘s very difficult to take every single word because it’s been translated and stuff. What I feel Justin was trying to say is that racism and nationalism are not too different, that‘s not saying that every skinhead is a bad person because I know that for a fact that Justin doesn‘t think that every skinhead is a bad person. We played a show last night and there were skinheads and they were great guys. It’s different in the states, the skinheads there are so “america pride” that they’re just as racist as anyone who hates jewish people for instance. I think that nationalism is sometimes even more evil than racism. I mean if you look what nationalism did for the nazis, it was ridiculous. And I think that that is taken out of the context but to clarify I have friends who are skinheads it doesn’t matter. But I think that nationalism is very evil and I don‘t really stand behind people who put a flag over people. It doesn’t make any sense to say “I’m from america, God bless america, God was american number one”. That’s bullshit! How can those words even come out of your mouth? There are people in the same situation as me from the US, in germany. There are kids like yourselves, kids like myself all over the world. I think we have more similarities as human beings and on top of that as human beings in the punkscene. You know you‘re writing zines, I’m playing in a band and we’re both trying to get our ideas out there. There are so many more similarities between us than there are differences. And to say “this flag is more important than your flag” is just fucking bullshit. That‘s the whole basis of the band Anti Flag: No flags are important. To go round and be like “country number one” is so backwards! It’s the world and to put a certain person or country over another country is complete bullshit.

Steffen°monkeypoo.de: so what about the skins labelling themselves “non political”? do you think it‘s possible to be in a scene like the punkscene, and skins are somehow part of it, without being political?

Chris#2: Yes ..there are bands like A Newfound Glory who are calling themselves Punks and they’re not political you know what I mean. Like I said, if you spend time worrying about the interminglings of punkrock what‘s gonna happen is: every so many years punk blows up and gets in the mainstream.. green day, offspring, good charlotte and it brings new people into the scene. Some people will take that culture and learn from it and then some people, whenever it’s not cool anymore, just leave. So you can‘t spend your time worrying about who‘s non political or whatever in the punk scene, you just gotta do what’s in your heart. And I know that in ten years from now I will still be involved in the punk scene and I hope you will be too. Like that‘s what it‘s about, it‘s a life long choice. But that gets into the same type of ideals as nationalism. To think just because you‘ve been involved into punkrock for five years and they just got their first punk CD yesterday.. you‘re not any better than that person, they just arrived here later. It’s an ever revolving process to keep punkrock as a movement going. And non-political, political - I don‘t give a shit. But when you‘re involved in the punkscene you better treat the people respectfully and you better treat them like you want to be treated when you‘re at the show, whenever you’re walking down the street. You know when you walk on the street and some football jock guy is like “FAGGOT!” because you got a mohawk. That’s where the fucking angst should be coming from, you know, it should be coming from people who are afraid of your movement. It shouldn’t be coming from people inside the punkrockscene. Because that‘s what stops it from growing, people fighting with each other you know what I mean?

Well I gotta go soundcheck now!

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Interview geführt von BastiB vom shitletter.tk und Steffen von monkeypoo.de

Abgetippt und bearbeitet von steffen@monkeypoo.de

 

28.9.2003