We recently had an awesome opportunity to sit down with Chris #2 of American punk band Anti-Flag to discuss their latest album, tour dates, and the political state of the world right now. As you can probably imagine, we had a very interesting chat, which you can read below!
By Jane Howkins
You’ve just released a new album titled American Reckoning – congrats!
How has the reception been so far?
Very cool. People seem to be enjoying the acoustic versions of the tracks, and the covers are receiving some interesting responses too. Not many folks expected us to stray from our traditional punk rock influences but we certainly did.
What can you tell us about the album? We hear it’s a little different from usual, and mostly consists of acoustic and cover songs. Are there any new tracks or are they mostly older ones?
It contains tracks from the American Spring and American Fall albums with covers that influenced those records. We were trying to book end that chapter in the history of Anti-Flag.
How did you choose the song you did for the album, and was it a hard decision? They’re mostly tracks from your past two albums American Spring and American Fall – would you ever consider doing the same thing with your older work?
Yep. This certainly opens the door to revisiting other records and has allowed us to see how they could work acoustic in a studio form. It puts the emphasis on the lyric which for us is tremendously important, as we want what we’re saying to be at the forefront for sure. As per picking the songs, we tried to choose them from the 2 worlds of songs that are important to the band – those in the live world, and also some songs that were maybe glossed over, and didn’t get a real hard chance to be heard by the community around the band.
You released a new single and video from the album for The Debate Is Over (If You Want It), which is an acoustic version of a track from American Spring. Why did you decide to choose that song as the first single and do an acoustic version of it?
It’s the most apropos in the Trump era of global politics. His want to deregulate and strip environmental protection will impact the world. We travel and meet people from all over who are concerned about these things and we wanted the focus to be on why we should hold all politicians and corporations accountable for them trying to squeeze our planet like a lemon to get every drop of profit they can.
You’re also heading out on tour in the UK soon. Are you excited for that?
Very. It’s been a while. In January we did a tour with Reel Big Fish that was one of our best times ever in the UK. We want to come back and extrapolate on those good vibes.
You’re touring with Cancer Bats and Worriers. Do you have much choice over support acts? Were you fans of those bands already?
Yes, they are our friends. We love their art. We want as many people as possible to be around empathetic and respectful art, and this is an extension of that idea.
Why do you think people should come and see you live, and what can one expect from an Anti-Flag show?
Inclusivity. A space where folks are free to be themselves and to remind us that we’re not alone. Racism, fascism, transphobia, islamophobia, bigotry all on the rise, it is easy to feel isolated and alone in this fight. These shows are celebrations of us finding one another.
You’ve always been a fairly political band. What causes are dear to you at the moment, and how do you feel about current events in the world? What do you think are the big issues worth focusing on now?
This is a VERY broad question, we could talk a long time about individual efforts to combat inequality and social injustices. But truthfully, it’s all about empathy. How can we care more about the world than we do just ourselves? This is a question we should ask ourselves with every decision we make, every dollar we spend – every chance we can. Leave things better than we found them and we will overcome any politician, president, prime minister, pope, etc.
How do you feel about other political artists at the moment, both in and out of the punk scene? Is there anyone you would recommend we check out? What have you been listening to recently, and what would you recommend our readers check out (both political and non political artists)?
We think all art is political. It may be a-political, but that is still a stance and a comment on the world. That being said, go listen to The Homeless Gospel Choir, Lee Corey Oswald, Katie Ellen, Soul Glo, Worriers and Cancer Bats… now.
Any last words for the fans?
To our friends and community, see you in the pit!