As the American punk rock band — Anti-Flag — are heading back to Europe with more live shows [UK dates are shown below] we caught up with the band on their hectic schedule to talk to them about making the stunning American Spring album, touring Europe and making ALL OF THE POISON, ALL OF THE PAIN:
Fist, we were interested to know if the band was aware of the developing migrant crisis affecting the region… Especially since “ALL OF THE POISON, ALL OF THE PAIN” was shot on the road/in concert this summer in Belgium, Austria and Hungary…
Anti Flag Singer/Bassist Chris Barker explained:
“That’s an interesting observance. We knew that there was a crisis and at the time it was mostly in Greece. To see the reach of it reinforces a lot of the ideas behind the band anti-flag. So. Directly aware or influenced, no. But we were definitely trying to make a statement by making the video with different people from and in different territories…”
Would they want to do something about the crisis? They are going back to Germany/Austria in October? Will they be offering any solidarity with the refugees and/or the countries that have taken the bulk in?
“ Of course. We will have amnesty international at all of the shows to help us and the other people at the shows learn how we can be better informed and involved. We have invited out other groups working with refugees. We hope the shows will be places of education and inspiration. ”
“ I think the heart is inside everyone dissatisfied with the status quo. Upset with blatant abuse of power. Racism, sexism, homophobia. And of course we believe punk rock can inspire activism. We are products of it. ”
We asked about Justin’s cut finger…
“ He cut his finger recycling a refrigerator with his father. Smashed it really good. His playing suffered a bit but he wrapped it up well and waited till the stitches could come out. It made a few songs and their solo’s unplayable for us. But luckily we have more than enough songs. Hahaha! ”
Was it true that the band suffered a series of accidents over the summer… and only Chris Head is intact?
“ Hahaha! yeah! This is true. Pat got a kidney stone. I got hit in the face with a drum stick. Justin’s finger. The works man…”
So, do the band think it is true that they have “raised their game” with American Spring?
“ I agree with [that]. We are currently the best version of our band we have ever been. More focused and working harder than ever. I had a lot go on in my life that left me questioning the whole thing. I found solace in punk rock and these songs and my friends in and around our band…”
We asked if it was, perhaps because, on the new album the band have tried out new things … or maybe that, as a band, they have way-more creative energy right now?
“Both. We know what type of song we want to write, were better at trying to get that song out. And we worked. We wrote and rewrote, worked and reworked lyrics. The art work. All of it was pondered and pushed until we felt it was the best we could do. ”
We asked how they defended the idea that one of the best songs on the album [“Brandenburg Gate”] is basically a number by ‘Rancid’ with guest Tim Armstrong?
“ We are greatly influenced by rancid. That was part of having Tim sing on it. We weren’t hiding the fact that we love that band. But Brandenburg is way more Billy Bragg than it is rancid. And that Billy Bragg song is probably a Woody Guthrie song anyway. ”
Thank you, Anti-Flag
Anti-Flag were talking to @neilmach 2015 ©
18.10.2015 London, Alexandra Palace
20.10.2015 Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
21.10.2015 Birmingham, Institute
22.10.2015 Sheffield, Corporation
23.10.2015 Newcastle, Riverside
24.10.2015 Glasgow, Classic Grand
25.10.2015 Manchester, Sound Control