Ever notice how pop-punk antagonists Anti-Flag never seem to leave Canada? Every time you turn around, they’re playing another gig up here, right? It’s all a part of their master plan. See, while we Canucks are a very intelligent lot, we’re also a bit more conciliatory with Anti-Flag’s political rants and we’re not afraid to express ourselves past the ripe old age of 20.
“These are our favourite places to play,” says bassist #2. “Not just because Canadians actually listen to what we say, but the drives shorter and in the Canadian music scene, there are still kids that are open to new things. People love ska bands! In the States that would be like, ‘Oh, you’re not cool anymore.’ There are older people at the shows in Canada, too.”
“In the States, it’s only over 21 or under 21,” adds drummer Pat Thetic. “There’s no crossover. I’m a fan of (crossover) because you need the older fans to react with the younger ones. They interact and there’s growth and maturity. Sometimes you don’t get that in the States. There may be a minority of people over 25 keeping the scene alive. They’re in it for life instead of getting a job at 18 and forgetting everything they believe in. It’s like in Holland where you’ll have 40-year olds with blue mohawks! In the States they’d say how they grew out of that phase… fuck them!”
Striving to raise political consciousness within the punk rock scene via heated lyrics and infectiously catchy riffs (the cute band and way-cool punk fashions don’t hurt either), Anti-Flag constantly find themselves in the most amusing situations. When your main goal is to inform, sometimes you don’t get to play the slick punk shows. You have to fight to win.
“Yesterday we played Hellfest. Metal bands that you wouldn’t believe. We went up and talked about what was important to us and people listened. It was so surprising that people aren’t so jaded anymore,” says #2.
“There’s a responsibility to reach those people who might not know about us,” concludes Thetic. “That’s our responsibility and sometimes our danger to go out and play something like Hellfest which might not be comfortable. We run into shit all of the time from clubs that know what we’re about or other people that just give us flack. We’ll just keep doing it to inform people though. It’s not about being comfortable, it’s about the power of knowledge.”