Hey There! Thanks for checking out another round of “19 Questions”! In this installment we feature an interview with Justin Sane from the mighty Ant-Flag! This interview was done back in September and had to be shelved because the record got pushed back. Now the record is coming out and we have dusted this off! In the interview the record is referred to as “Magnum” but the title has been changed to “The General Strike” and is out on March 20th. Anti-Flag will go down as one of the most relevant punk groups of the last decade and Justin is a great interview. As with everything Anti-Flag, this skews political and AZ in the crosshairs. Feathers are ruffled. Points and counter points are made but love of music prevails! Enjoy!
ZIA : Tell us about the new Complete Control record you put out at the end of September.
AF : Our friend Joe Sibb has a radio show called, "Complete Control", after The Clash song of the same name. Joe started a series of live records which he dubbed "Complete Control." He asked us to be part of it so we recorded a number of live tracks that are main stays in our live set. I think it does gonna be a strong live release for us. We're excited!
ZIA : How did you guys come up with the covers to be performed?
AF : We love the Clash! They are my favorite band! So it's a no brainer that we would cover The Clash.
ZIA : When recording a song like “White Riot” is it intimidating thinking about how iconic that song is?
AF : Not really. Instead we just enjoy playing the song. We're never gonna do it as good as The Clash, no one is! It isn't about recreating something perfect, it's about doing what we love to do - playing awesome tunes!
ZIA : So we know about your musical influences what are some other influences outside of the music world?
AF : I can only speak for myself… The biggest influences on me are the people in my life. Sure world politics and drama has an impact on the way I feel in many ways, but without people life is meaningless. I try the very best I can to take every interaction I have with people seriously, whether I know them well or not. I am also influenced by South Park, beer, and the voices in my head. Ha-ha.
ZIA : When can we expect a new Anti-Flag full length?
AF : We've been writing and recording songs all year long! New record should drop around Jan 2012. Can you say end of the world?
ZIA : Is it still called “Magnum”?
AF : Possibly. It may also be called, "2012!!! Holy Shit the Mayans Were Right! Let's Get Drunk and Fuck."
ZIA : What is the meaning behind the title?
AF : Very much like the previous answer, "Magnum" was a joke title I mentioned in a previous interview. "Magnum" is in reference to the movie, Zoolander. If you haven't seen it, I suggest doing so RIGHT NOW!
ZIA : Also there are rumblings of your solo album. Is that happening?
AF : I've been performing songs live from a solo record I released quite a long time ago titled, "Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Justice." I've mostly been performing in Europe. Hopefully I'll work out some dates in the USA. As for a new record, I hope to work on one soon! Best thing to do is stay tuned to my twitter and website for updates. @justinsanesolo facebook.com/justinsanesolo
ZIA : All right so we are a local AZ independent record store weave to talk a little about Soundstrike. Are you guys still involved in Soundstrike?
AF : Yes. Still involved. Still behind the message that as long as Arizona's law makers support SB1070 we are not willing to support Arizona economically (sic).
ZIA : What is the reason for denying people that love your band and support your band the ability to see you live?
AF : It isn't about denying the people who love Anti-Flag the opportunity to see us live. It is about calling attention to a law that is inhumane.
ZIA : Do you guys understand the frustration with fans that live here? They support your cause but have to travel to do so with you.
AF : I do understand that frustration and I feel for those people. What we need is for people to take that frustration to the ballot box and to encourage others to do so.
ZIA : At what point is the “mission accomplished” banner goes up? What will have to happen?
AF : Arizona is at the forefront of intensely hostile immigration legislation. I believe that when artists see a sea shift in a new direction that they will feel the point has been made.
ZIA : Some of the bands have broken the boycott yet still remain up as a Soundstrike bands. What is your take on this? The sexiness has gone away now its okay for you to give me money?
AF : I can't speak for others- I don't know their circumstances. I think each artist has to decide when they feel they've made the statement they wanted to make and how far they want to take that statement. Just because someone supports something at the start and strays from their position doesn't mean that they don't feel the same. Life and the real world are more complicated than that.
ZIA : You have aligned your selves with bands that take corporate gigs for ass-loads of cash. Some of these corporations have a track record of supporting ant-gay political candidates and take part in horrific and inhumane testing on animals. Some bands are sponsored by said corporations. Doesn’t this hurt the legitimacy of the Soundstrike?
AF : To be honest, I think you're reaching on this question, even though I understand your point. That said, I can't speak to other bands and what they do or don't do… I can only speak to Anti-Flag so now I am talking about Anti-Flag. Anti-Flag signed up with Sound Strike to make the statement that SB1070 is inhumane and it is up to the people of Arizona to do something about it. To those who live in Arizona and feel the same way, I applaud you and support you. I'm sorry that you're stuck in a state with some many red neck dumb asses. I live in Pennsylvania and it's full of them so honestly, I really feel your pain.
ZIA : Was there any thought given to a show to educate and campaign against SB1070 in the state?
AF : At the time this campaign kicked off Anti-Flag was not in a position to participate in such a show so I do not know if this idea was discussed. My impression is that the campaign was kicked off because it was something that many artists could commit to very quickly. Should there be a change in tactics? I think it is always wise to reconsider whether one's tactics are achieving the best result and the results hoped for when an action was put into motion.
ZIA : A good portion of AZ is Native American land where 1070 is not applicable. What about a show on one of the nation’s lands?
AF : Why not?!!! I suppose it would come down to a matter of logistics.
ZIA : Is there a concern that activism becomes bigger than the music
or the band?
AF : I think that's what the live show is about! At some point, after all the talk, the action that doesn't involve music, the handwork, everyone just wants to unwind and have fun! You can do that with a live show and quite often I think that is exactly what Anti-Flag is doing when we play live.
ZIA : Or conversely is the music and the activism the same and go hand in hand?
AF : I think they go hand in hand in that music is the battle cry, it is power beyond an idea or belief that bonds and pulls people together. It's the cherry on top of the community building that takes place in any movement.
ZIA : Do you see a reason to come back to AZ at this point?
AF : I think it makes sense to go back to Arizona for the people who didn't vote for idiots. I have a hard time believing that people from the Anti-Flag community support the scum who supported 1070. It's a topic worth discussing within the band and beyond. Does that mean it's time to return, I don't have a definitive answer for you on that one yet!