ANGIE- Iâve seen you guys twice with Good Riddance in Ottawa, is this your first headlining Canadian tour?
THOMAS- We did one before this in 2001
MATT- We were a very young band, we were a new band and we did some headlining shows in 2001 but the last two times have been support, itâs really cool cause now we get to see if anyone liked us on those tours and itâs been great so far, two or three days now in Canada and the shows have been amazing.
A- Where were you playing last night?
T- We were in Toronto last night.
A- I heard you guys just played shows with A.F.I?
M- That was a misprint we were supposed to play in Toronto with themÂ I think we were billed on the bill but we never got actually asked to do the show, so there was some big confusion with that but we did get to play with A.F.I in New York City, January 31St.
A- And finally I read you guys are coming out with your second full length this summerâ¦
T- Yes September 30th.
M- Yeah, weâre recording it the day after this tour, thereâs no days off, after our last show weâre driving straight to the studio.
A- And youâre going to Salad Days Studio again?
M- Yes, the same guy who did out last album, Brian McTernan, he actually recorded The Explosions record whoâs on tour with us right now heâs supported a ton of Jade Tree bandsâ¦
A- So are you guys going with Jade Tree Records again, I know you guys have a close relationship with Fat Wreck Chords and Iâve always heard rumors about thisâ¦?
T- There are? strangeâ¦
M- No, theyâre our good friendsâ¦
A- Lately Iâve heard some bands recently tell me about feeling animosity from fans for being American when on tour in different countries, have you guys ever felt this?
M- Yeah, maybe in Europe. A little on both of the European tours that weâve done actually we got a little bit of resentment from European peopleâ¦
T- But itâs like tension that a good conversation can conclude. If you end up acting like a shitty American stereotype then theyâll take you at face value and youâll plug into the definition of what youâre supposed to be, but if you talk to them and expose your ideas to them then they realize that youâre not what your country exploits as itâs culture but people have been pretty cool, expect for the Italian Policeâ¦
A- I heard about that, they stole all your merch or somethingâ¦?
T- And money tooâ¦
A- What happened with that? You obviously didnât get it back?
T- No, we never got it backâ¦
M- Oh and by the way, on our way into Canada three days ago we got detained by the Canadian Customs for eighteen hours.
T- It was the first time weâve ever had problems at the Canadian border.
M- We got searched we got individually separated and questionedâ¦
T- Delayed, contained, taxed everythingâ¦
A- Did they take out each individual shirt and tax you on it?
M- No, it didnât get that bad but we did end up having to spend about $1500 just to get over.
T- They just took us through the slow track instead of the fast track soâ¦Â
According to one of the guys who was a fan of punk rock and also a security guard there, his shift was eighteen hours after weâd lived in the van waiting for the word to cross the border, his shift came on and he was like âoh no, you got the people that were old and by the bookâ and he said everybody else would have let us through with no problems like the other times weâve crossed butâ¦
M- But we love Canada and the tours here are well worth itâ¦
T- We would love to immigrate to Canadaâ¦
A- Yeah you said something about that at your last show hereâ¦
T- Especially our drummer, heâs looking to marry someone to get citizenshipâ¦
M- I probably wouldnât mind staying in Canada
T- Our bass player is Canadian, heâs actually from Manitoba.
A- Of course, one thing you guys have always been labeled a political band, but your lyrics are very personal, I heard your song âPolice Brutalityâ is also based on a true story and more, do you think youâre lyrics are more personal or politicalâ¦?
T- I donât think weâre a band that goes looking for an issue and writes about it academically we just talk about stories from our lives and try to apply that to the world, weâre trying to stay as accountable as we can and make it more like story telling and not purely a political band like this song is about this issue and that song is about this issue. I think our songs are more applicable and symbolic, theyâre not just about this one event that happened in Paris in 1846 and the bands that do that are awesome and they do it well but itâs also good to have songs that people can listen to a decade from now and apply to their struggles and not just to what you were thinking specifically.
A- I heard you guys are from an area in Richmond, VA where thereâs lots of culture and class tensionâ¦
T- Thatâs just America in general, Mattâs from Baltimore which is actually worse than Richmond.
M- Richmond is the Confederate Capital, so thereâs always this over-hanging looming racial tension over the city, actually the street that I lived on was kind of the dividing line.
A- Is that what youâre talking about in âSunset on 32ndâ when you say âis this, what the other half means?ââ¦
T- Actually Matt lived where the other half meets, an area where the real estates developers wanted to destroy or renovate old historic houses and push the historic generations of the black community thatâs surviving in those neighborhoods way out into what their choices of housing are like, public housing and the projects theyâre horrible and they doom their children into cycles of violence and we saw that happening all around us and in Richmond. Itâs also one of the many cities where they put blinders on all the rich communities and the middle class communities so they donât see that and thereâs nothing in our media that would portray that there is this tension underneath and this deprivation, this murder bloodshed and poverty and this happens in cities all over the western world, and thatâs where we live so we just write about what we saw.
A- I noticed on your site you have all your songs from each release readily available, has the internet been a positive form of distribution for Strike Anywhere?
M- Itâs been great at a lot of our shows weâll make an announcement âhey check out our website and download all our songs for freeâ. The new age the internet and all that stuff, I mean Iâm not going to lie I download a lot of music, I burn cdâs all the time, itâs a good way to take a risk and find a band that you might not necessarily buy. If I go on-line and I download songs from by a band I want to try out and I hear them and I really like it, I will go and buy a record or Iâll go and see them live. Itâs better for a band as a whole to have it out there so everyone can experience it and see if they like, just to try it before they buy it. Also itâs been extremely beneficial worldwide we get emails from New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Iceland, Africa and a lot of these places we could never get distribution itâd be really hard, theyâd have to mail off or order it on the internet it would take them like a month to get the C.D. All these kids say âyou guys are so amazing, thanks so much for putting it on the websiteâ. As a result of this we even got contacted by a tour promoter from Taiwan who downloaded our songs now were going over there to play a music festival and weâre going to be the first American punk band ever to play in Taiwan.
T- And itâs eighty thousand people itâs one of the biggest concerts in the Mandarin speaking world, itâs going to be amazing. The first show is at eight oâclock regular concert time then everyone wakes up at 5:00am and plays on a mountain top facing the sunrise. In Indonesia thereâs a kid who lived just two blocks down from a recent bombing and corresponded with us and downloaded our songs and he said our songs made him feel more in control of his situation and not to lose his head, in a place where thereâs a world of violence and tension that we donât even know.
A- Warped Tour, is that a tour Strike Anywhere has ever considered doing?
M- Weâve thought about it but we know a lot of bands that have horror stories from it and also Warped Tour it would be cool we might do it one day but thereâs so many bands playing at noon to like six people and a bunch of other bands, itâs hot you have to drive every night, itâs just intenseâ¦
T- Itâs also weâre just better at this point, I mean weâve played outdoor festivals that were massive like in Europe and it was really amazing, I think we could probably have a good time spending the summer touring like that but also weâre also just into touring like this as well, on your own tours you can get to know the people in the cities instead of being in some big airport or a football stadiumâ¦
A- In your song âChalklineâ you mention growing up to war, well now itâs true. Did you always believe you would?
T- I guess it just seems like were all pinned against each other to do that but that line specifically wasnât meant for that specific situation âDetonationâ kind of was though âChalklineâ has a lot from to do with women, how men dominate and empoison with power in our society to defend themselves to choose their lives and the way that we fulfill them. Our song âDetonationâ is more applicable now than it ever has, which is kind of weird I was just noticing that the other day and itâs sad because thatâs one of our less hopeful songs itâs pretty much about maintaining and trying not to buy into illusions for peace, that means more now than it ever hasâ¦
A- You guys are also involved in lots of anti-racist and poverty campaigns, I heard too (Tom) youâre in some organization called S.O.Sâ¦
T- Iâm just one of the foot soldiers, theyâre a Richmond group thatâs actually based in Mattâs old neighborhood, rescuing animals and stuff.
M- Thomas has a unique hobby seriously, when were at home from tour all he does is, heâll call us all up and say âyeah I have a couple more dogs and a few more cats do you know anybody who needs a cat?â Actually Thomas and his wife recruited my girlfriend into doing the same thing, so I call home and my girlfriendâs like âyeah, I have a couple dogs here theyâll only be here for a week, Iâm going to try and find them a home. I got a dog from Thomas rescuing dogs. Heâll go right into peoples backyardâs and cuts chains and takes dogs away from people who abuse themâ¦
T- Well you would tooâ¦
M- This man is committed to the cause, against animal cruelty I mean everybody is in their hearts. If youâre around it and you live in an area where you see people around you neglecting animals and see the effects it has on humansâ¦
T- Families that abuse their dogs or use them as security systems, theyâll abuse their kids and their kids will abuse each other itâs really easy to see that but it warms down to human rights thereâs a lot of people who sweat being really strict about diets and being vegan and most my band mates are vegetarian but thereâs also other issues with animals in urban areas.
M- P.E.T.A came out last night and hung out with us, they announced some stuff at the show it was cool.
A- Nice, well thanks guys, anything youâd like to add? Tom to start to read punknewsâ¦
T- No itâs just cause when Iâm on tour itâs hard to ever find time, but when Iâm homeâ¦
A- And youâll most likely be out saving animals on your other free time so we wonât hold it against youâ¦