Interview: Anti-Flag Proves Commitment to the PeopleWritten by James Cross
At their final show on tour with Reel Big Fish, Ballyhoo, and Pkew Pkew Pkew, we had the chance to sit down with Anti-Flag drummer Pat Thetic. In a brief conversation focusing mainly on the band’s activism and political songwriting, we find out a bit more just how Thetic (and presumably the band) feels about the new POTUS and the current political situation in the world.
When asked if the Die for the Government anniversary tour was planned based on the election, Thetic explained that the decision was made long before the results of the election were seen. He goes on to explain, “it’s interesting that all these issues of extreme power being concentrated into one shitty person’s (Trump) hand, that’s a battle that we’ve been fighting for years and that’s a battle that people have been fighting long before us. The songs on Die for the Government talk about those issues, but they’re just as relevant today as they were in ’94 or ’93 when we wrote them. Thetic also revealed that the songs on Die for the Government were written between 1991 and 1996, the year the album was released.
In regards to new music, and how it would be affected by the current state of the world, Thetic discussed the band’s proclivity towards writing about issues that aren’t in the limelight. He continued saying, “it’ll be interesting because the Trump stuff is so out there right now. It’s almost like beating dead horses ‘cuz we already know that he’s a liar and that he’s a scumbag. So to find the spaces where we wanna say something that’s interesting, that’s gonna be a bit of a challenge right now because he’s such a piece of shit.” Thetic also added that the band is working on new material, but that they are in the very early stages and are far from releasing anything.
Following up on his response, we asked about Anti-Flag fighting the smaller battles that aren’t talked about much. Thetic’s response was quite detailed, and he used a great example of what the band talks about; “well yeah, that’s interesting and nobody wants to hear the same things that everybody else is already talking about. For instance, on American Spring we have a song about drone strikes (Sky is Falling). In the US, we don’t consider drone strikes to be a weapon of terror, but they really are because the people who live underneath these drones that are flying around don’t know where they’re gonna hit, don’t know when they’re gonna hit. It’s essentially a billion dollar program that is a terror weapon that just makes the population afraid all the time. That is an idea that is not readily available in the mainstream, and the more you look at the drone program the more you realize it’s just the same as a guy walking into a marketplace with a suicide vest on. It’s just a much more expensive way of doing that, and it creates a culture of fear.”
Last but not least, in regards to The Bright Lights of America, the second and final Anti-Flag album on RCA records, Thetic said the departure from their traditional sound was “a departure in sound, but not in intent”, due to the budget they had from the label. Thetic continued on to say that the band wanted to experiment with cello and glockenspiel, for example, saying it was “a little bit of musical masturbation”, and that working with producer Tony Visconti was an immense pleasure.
We can certainly say the same about speaking with Pat Thetic of Anti-Flag, and are immensely thankful for the time he took out of his day to chat with us. American Spring is available now on the band's website and at music outlets worldwide.