Anti-Flag takes on Bush and draws Blood

by Beacon Staff • April 5, 2006

Released just last month, the album's politically charged punk-rock songs are against the war and all things government.,With the three-year anniversary of the war in Iraq come and gone, protesters and demonstrators can embrace the lyrics on Anti-Flag's newest album, For Blood and Empire.

Released just last month, the album's politically charged punk-rock songs are against the war and all things government.

Guitarists Chris Head and Justin Sane, bass player Chris #2 and drummer Pat Thetic have created a serious-minded, left-wing release.

Lyrics such as "your invasion is a crime / your (see through) righteous explanations ... lies!!!" and songs entitled "Depleted Uranium Is a War Crime" (referring to how the U.S. military's use of the toxic heavy metal depleted uranium on the ends of bullets and shells) reveal the activist message Anti-Flag has been embracing since first starting up more than a decade ago.

Older, hardcore fans expressed disappointment with Anti-Flag when the band signed a major record label deal with RCA/Sony BMG last year, since Anti-Flag's message has always been anti-capitalist.

The band has defended itself, however, saying it wanted its music to be heard.

As if to prove a point, Anti-Flag still incorporated the anti-war movement and its sentiments against President Bush into its newest lyrics.

In a recent interview with The Beacon, Thetic described Anti-Flag and its new album as a "blend between activism and aggressive music. [It's] frustration and passion and musically creative."

He was humble in comparing For Blood and Empire to Anti-Flag's last record, 2003's The Terror State.

"This album is different in the fact [that] the sound quality is better, but the ideas are similar to the last record," Thetic said. Each record, we get a little bit better in playing our instruments, and each time, we suck a little less."

The album's liner notes are also worth mentioning because after the complete lyrics are printed, an essay is included which explains the messages in the tracks.

The song "Depleted Uranium Is a War Crime" includes spoken quotes by U.S. Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) about the toxic effects depleted uranium had on certain populations in Iraq during the first Gulf War (with some cancer rates increasing by 600 percent) and how the U.S. military continues to use it.

Other songs are followed by commentary about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the effects of advertising.

Thetic was also very outspoken about Bush, specifically about recent legislation to renew the controversial Patriot Act.

"How much power is being taken away from the people doesn't matter because people like George W. Bush will take more power even if they are there to protect [us]," Thetic said. "It is a horrible bill, not good for the American people. The Bush regime will go around it any way it can."

Thetic was all praise for anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan, and called her an "amazing woman who has been able to galvanize the anti-war struggle and has been able to take it to a different level."

But Anti-Flag is not just all talk. The band and members of Congress held a press conference last March to publicize an effort to halt military recruiters from obtaining students' private information from schools without permission, a provision in the No Child Left Behind Act, according to Thetic and the band's official Web site.

Anti-Flag also helped set up the Web site militaryfreezone.org, which features a petition against this provision.

Anti-Flag will be playing at Club Lido in Revere, Mass. next Tuesday.

The Casualties, The Unseen, Smoke or Fire and The AKAs will appear as special guests.

Thetic said the Boston area is the "best place ever to play, one of the places [Anti-Flag] played early. Boston has always been a good place for us to play, always been fun."