ANTI-FLAG in front of Unites States Congress
My involvement with the band Anti-Flag spans several years. We first met briefly in 1995 in Denver, Colorado when I was on tour with Squirtgun when we played a show together at a club called The Raven. But starting in the year 2000, our relationship expanded considerably.
Anti-Flag came to Sonic Iguana Studios, where we recorded their landmark album, Underground Network. Later, I also mastered their half-live, half-studio album, Mobilize, which featured their song “9-1-1 for Peace,” written and recorded on September 11, 2001. Over the subsequent years, I produced Justin Sane’s solo album, and did vocal tracking work and mastering on their most recent album, The Terror State.
My memories of Anti-Flag have been especially vivid lately, since four years ago, on election night of the fateful Gore vs. Bush showdown, I was in the studio producing an Anti-Flag album that was later named Underground Network. We all watched in shock as the results came in and the various news channels disagreed on the winner – the shock being equally divided between how ambiguous the election counts actually seemed, and the reality of having to face the frightening prospect at least four years with George W. Bush as president.
Since that time, Anti-Flag has continued to grow in popularity and in influence, and the focus of their political voice has only become stronger along with their increased reach. In the last two years, Anti-Flag has become very involved in Punkvoter.org and the associated Rock Against Bush compilations and tours. Most recently, lead singer and principal songwriter Justin Sane has even shared the stage with Michael Moore, and drummer and organizing force Pat Thetic made a live television appearance alongside Gloria Steinem.
The latest step in their growing political influence is a significant one: not only are they helping shape the opinions of fans of their brand of punk rock, or even gaining notice of other outspoken figures of the mainstream left, but they are even gaining the attention of lawmakers themselves. Earlier this month, United States Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington State talked about Anti-Flag and their political influence and awareness before the House of Representatives. The following is a transcript of his speech, and here is a link to a video clip of the speech. (as quoted from U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott's speech to the House of representatives on October 8, 2004)
Mr. Speaker, I want to introduce you to four young men. Justin Sane, Chris Head, Chris Two, and Pat Thetic. They are a major punk band called Anti-Flag.
Don't let the stage name fool you. These kids care about their country.
For over a month they have been touring America and singing to kids involved in this election. Yeah, they have mohawks and rings, but in the 1960's we were considered radical because of long hair and beads and we changed this country and these kids will, too.
They are straight-edged punk, no drugs, no alcohol, just kids from Pittsburgh with interesting colored hairdos and a great message for young people. Register and vote or be told what to do where to go and fight for an administration that will not talk straight to the American people.
To their parents I say, be proud. They're smart kids. I ought to know, I'm a child psychiatrist. Don't worry about the hair, it will all change. To the country all I can say is, kids are listening and change is coming because voting is going to be the in thing in 2004. Mr. Bush, your days are numbered.