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Living in a Terror State with Anti-Flag

By Vanessa Krystin Wong

Anti-Flag are band that does not need any introduction in the punk rock world. The band has been around for over 20 years, has released 9 albums and has covered topics such as 9/11, the Bush administration and the elite to being a young punk rocker in the scene. More recently, the band has released a discography album of 26 tracks spanning their whole entire career called ‘A Document of Dissent’ and a new album in the works entitled ‘American Spring’ due out in May. We caught up with bassist Chris #2 while on tour to talk about the new album, what they’ve been listening to, what to expect from their upcoming live shows and their longevity.

Anti-Flag has been active for over 20 years now. What is the secret your longevity?

I don’t believe there is a secret, we just believe in these songs. This community. The ideals and ethics of punk rock. This is all we want to do. It’s all we know how to do.

How has your band changed in the past 20 years? Are most of you guys still straight edge or vegan?

Half of the band is straight edge (Head and Pat). Half are vegan (myself and Pat), Head and Justin are vegetarians. Our dietary choices are boring to talk about. That said, we have changed a lot as a band over our existence. When the band began, we were very focused on our town, Pittsburgh PA and our punk scene. As we have toured the globe we have realized the reach of the punk community. That has really reinforced our beliefs in the dangers of nationalism, treating each other equally regardless of where you were born. That has grown as a mantra for our band.

You guys have recently released a compilation of your music spanning the 20 years. As your music is politically charged, is it hard to write songs that will be relevant 10 years down the road vs. writing music for the moment?

You would hope. We want our issue specific songs to become irrelevant. That means the issue no longer survives. However, corporate greed, political atrocities, sexism, racism, homophobia are all as current of topics as they were when we wrote our first song. Challenging the status quo will never be not apropos.

A few years ago, you guys started a record label, A-F Records. Recently, it’s released a subscription-only release called ’20 Years of Hell’ which featured some up and coming bands. Are there any other future releases coming up on A-F? Or any other artists we should keep our ears out for?

Tons! Homeless Gospel Choir, Edhochuli, Worlds Scariest Police Chases, Worship This, Endless Mike and The Beagle Club, check them all out at a-frecords.com!

You’ve recently announced a new album this year called ‘American Spring?’ What kind of topics can we expect on that record?

The surveillance state, loss, grief, the battle for American justice, Mike Brown, Eric Garner and similar cases. Greed at the expense of our environment. It’s an angry record. But the hope lies in the celebration of those who believe in righting the worlds’ wrongs.

Currently you’re touring all over North America before releasing ‘American Spring.’ On most dates you’re playing 2003’s Terror State in its entirety. Any particular reason why that album?

As we close the book on the 20 year anniversary, it seemed time to pay note to the record that really shaped who we are today as a band. That and the ramping up of American violence in the Middle East, endless drone strikes, and the eerily similar feeling to the beginnings of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts that the Terror State was written in.

What else can we expect on this tour?

We play the record, then a differing batch of songs from our bands life. Some new. Some really old. It’s just us getting together with those who have supported our band since the beginning. It’s a collective of folks free to be themselves, unfortunately it doesn’t happen that often that we get to feel that freeness. These shows are a rare moment where no one is judged for who they are.

Anti-Flag brings their rebellious tendencies to VENUE on March 13th!

By Michelle Swami

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