Anti-Flag's 'The General Strike' delivers revolution

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March 8, 2012 8:48 am
  • Anti-Flag -- Pat Thetic, Chris #2, Chris Head and Justin Sane -- return home for a show at Altar Bar.
    Anti-Flag -- Pat Thetic, Chris #2, Chris Head and Justin Sane -- return home for a show at Altar Bar.
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There was a longer gap between albums this time, as the members of Anti-Flag pursued other projects. Guitarist Chris #2 and bassist Chris Head spun off with the band White Wives, and Sane did some solo work. They also did a lot of touring and decided to put the brakes on the constant cycle by recording at their Shaler headquarters when the feeling moved them.

"Before this record we had done three records in four years," Sane says. "We were almost on a boot camp-style schedule. We would have a year planned out. Since we didn't have a time line when it had to be done, we were able to say, 'Wow, this is inspiring,' and we were able to write a bunch of songs that were topical to the Occupy movement."

On albums like "The Terror State" (2002) and "The Bright Lights of America" (2006), Anti-Flag had a clear target in the Bush administration. A lot of people expected the band would tone it down with a more liberal president in the White House, but that hasn't happened.

"When Bush was president," Sane says, "we had the Iraq War, and it was almost like we had one person we could look to and say, 'Here's the source of all the problems.' A lot of people looked to Obama as the person who was going to turn around a system that was out of balance. Then Obama came in, and people realized that just voting isn't enough to change things. It's a question of giving everyone an equal opportunity to participate in society and do well, not just in the U.S., but around the world. In that respect, this record is more broad with the idea that we are springing forward."

The hard part, Sane admits, is getting people to listen. Anti-Flag has a hard-core fanbase around the world, but punk certainly isn't on the mainstream radar like it was in its best decades -- the '70s and the '90s.

"We've gotten more mainstream coverage and interest on this record than we've had in a long time. But I think punk is off the radar right now and there aren't a lot of bands out there that sound like Anti-Flag. Not a lot of bands that do what Anti-Flag does as a full package, from the music we play to the kind of partnerships we engage in -- organizations like African Well Fund, Amnesty International, Iraq Veterans Against the War, etc."

Scott Mervis: smervis@post-gazette.com; 412-263-2576; Twitter: @scottmervis_pg; blog: www.post-gazette.com/popnoise.
First Published 2012-03-07 23:34:09

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