It’s always interesting to see a young talented punk band develop over time into a more mature entity that still knows where its place is in the punk scene. ANTI-FLAG have easily one of the most rabid fan bases among all in punk rock, and one doesn’t usually have to look too far to find someone with an ANTI-FLAG shirt or patch at a show. This summer will yield this band’s fourth full length, and their first on the hugely sucessful Fat Wreck Chords. This interview was conducted by Dave Castillo by telephone with drummer, Pat, sometime in January 2001.
pastepunk: First off, how is the new album coming along? Stylistically how does it compare to the others?
Pat: The new album is about seventy five percent done. Stylistically it is along the same lines as the old record “A New Kind of Army.” This record is more mature ideologically though. We address more specific issues in this record compared to the last one.
pastepunk: How has this recording experience been compared to others?
Pat: All our recording experiences have been different. This is the first time recording completely in a studio. The last two records we rented out gear and recorded in my kitchen and at various other places. There are advantages and disadvantages to working either way. So far our recording experience for the new record has been great on all levels.
pastepunk: As many of our readers know Anti-flag has signed with Fat Wreck Chords what spurred the decision to leave Go-Kart?
Pat: Go-Kart was a great label for us and Greg is a great guy. Basically the reason we left was that with Fat Wreck Chords we could get our message out to more people. We figured that with bands like Good Riddance and Propaghandi there are already politically conscience record buyers going to this label that could get into us as well as other people. Another determining factor was Fat Mike being great with us and agreeing with our goals and what we had to say.
pastepunk: Throughout Anti-Flag’s Career you guys have toured with everyone from Flogging Molly to Rage Against The Machine. Do you guys like diverse tours?
Pat: Yes and no, we got screwed over on the Dropkick Murphy’s tour. We tried to go on tour with them to get our music and message out to a different crowd but it just went sour. Basically all that ended up happening was that the people we liked got beat up and there were a lot of fights. We as a band didn’t want to take part in any of that and dropped off the tour. This was not the case however with Flogging Molly. That tour was awesome. It was great because everyone had an open mind and was there to have fun. It is good to go on diverse tours because if you keep preaching to the converted are you gaining any ground?
pastepunk: From the “Their system doesn’t work for you” record to the “A New Kind of Army” record there has been a noticeable change in Anti-Flag’s sound. How have the fans reacted to this?
Pat: To me honestly it all sounds the same. I really don’t think we have changed that much. I have been playing the same drum lick since we started (laughs) and still am. As for the kids some of them come up to me and say, “Man, I really hate the new record” and some of the say “Man, I really love the new record.” We just make music that we like and hopefully other people like it as well.
pastepunk: I often wonder this about most political bands, does the music or the message take precedent?
Pat: Neither really takes precedent. On some songs the music is great and we just add words and other times the words are great and we just write the music. For us it’s a natural thing to write about politics – it’s not planned or anything, it’s just what comes out. Just like the way it is natural for some bands to write about girls.
pastepunk: What is your take on this past election?
Pat: I though it was…….amazing (laughs) I was sickened by the amount of political arm twisting done in Florida but not surprised at all. I was also not surprised that the people found it hard to choose between Al Gore and George W. Bush. When you have two people saying almost the same thing, it is hard to choose one or the other.
pastepunk: Anti-Flag has always had rumors and gossip swirling around them. What is the most outlandish rumor?
Pat: Well for some reason I die all the time. Everyone wants to kill me off – I don’t know why. Justin is always sick, which is true, but you hear of all different types of things that aren’t true. Justin has been sick ever since we were young with severe allergies. It doesn’t mean that he is not healthy at home, it’s just the lifestyle that we lead with touring and it is rough on him.
pastepunk: What have the fans meant to you?
Pat: I love the fans. Yet I hate calling them fans it’s more like they are friends. When we used to be young and go to shows in Pittsburgh we would go up and meet the bands on tour and by the end of the night we would all be friends and that’s the type of atmosphere we like. This doesn’t mean that we never get mad or we are never in a bad mood. Although we try treat each and every fan in a nice way.
pastepunk: What is going on with A-F Records? Are there any new projects in the works?
Pat: Yeah we have about two or three new projects on the way. We are putting out the Mody lemons from PA and two other bands. The releases should be coming out around March or April.
pastepunk: What kind of stuff do you guys like to do on your downtime away from the band?
Pat: We are always on the go and usually there is no downtime. We are either touring, working on music or on the label. When I was younger and I wanted to get into this, I never realized the huge commitment it was. If you love it and it makes you happy though it is worth it.
pastepunk: Anything else you would like to say?
Pat: Just for update on what is going on with us go to Anti-Flag go to www.anti-flag.com or write us at A-F records P.O box, 71266 Pittsburgh, Pa, 15213
Interview by : Pastepunk : http://www.pastepunk.com