Contributed by angele, Posted by Jade Tree Interviews

Once again, our loyal Ottawa-ian [Ottawa-ish?] contributor Angele Lalonde comes through with an interview with Thomas and Matt of Strike Anywhere. Click READ MORE to get all the goods.

ANGIE- I‚??ve 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, it‚??s really cool cause now we get to see if anyone liked us on those tours and it‚??s 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 them  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 summer‚?¶
T- Yes September 30th.
M- Yeah, we‚??re recording it the day after this tour, there‚??s no days off, after our last show we‚??re driving straight to the studio.
A- And you‚??re going to Salad Days Studio again?
M- Yes, the same guy who did out last album, Brian McTernan, he actually recorded The Explosions record who‚??s on tour with us right now he‚??s supported a ton of Jade Tree bands‚?¶
A- So are you guys going with Jade Tree Records again, I know you guys have a close relationship with Fat Wreck Chords and I‚??ve always heard rumors about this‚?¶?
T- There are? strange‚?¶
M- No, they‚??re our good friends‚?¶
A- Lately I‚??ve 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 we‚??ve done actually we got a little bit of resentment from European people‚?¶
T- But it‚??s like tension that a good conversation can conclude. If you end up acting like a shitty American stereotype then they‚??ll take you at face value and you‚??ll plug into the definition of what you‚??re supposed to be, but if you talk to them and expose your ideas to them then they realize that you‚??re not what your country exploits as it‚??s culture but people have been pretty cool, expect for the Italian Police‚?¶
A- I heard about that, they stole all your merch or something‚?¶?
T- And money too‚?¶
A- What happened with that? You obviously didn‚??t get it back?
T- No, we never got it back‚?¶
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 we‚??ve ever had problems at the Canadian border.
M- We got searched we got individually separated and questioned‚?¶
T- Delayed, contained, taxed everything‚?¶
A- Did they take out each individual shirt and tax you on it?
M- No, it didn‚??t 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 so‚?¶¬†
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 we‚??d lived in the van waiting for the word to cross the border, his shift came on and he was like ‚??oh no, you got the people that were old and by the book‚?? and he said everybody else would have let us through with no problems like the other times we‚??ve crossed but‚?¶
M- But we love Canada and the tours here are well worth it‚?¶
T- We would love to immigrate to Canada‚?¶
A- Yeah you said something about that at your last show here‚?¶
T- Especially our drummer, he‚??s looking to marry someone to get citizenship‚?¶
M- I probably wouldn‚??t mind staying in Canada
T- Our bass player is Canadian, he‚??s 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 ‚??Police Brutality‚?? is also based on a true story and more, do you think you‚??re lyrics are more personal or political‚?¶?
T- I don‚??t think we‚??re 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, we‚??re 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, they‚??re 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 it‚??s 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 there‚??s lots of culture and class tension‚?¶
T- That‚??s just America in general, Matt‚??s from Baltimore which is actually worse than Richmond.
M- Richmond is the Confederate Capital, so there‚??s 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 you‚??re talking about in ‚??Sunset on 32nd‚?? when you say ‚??is this, what the other half means?‚??‚?¶
M- Yeah‚?¶
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 that‚??s surviving in those neighborhoods way out into what their choices of housing are like, public housing and the projects they‚??re horrible and they doom their children into cycles of violence and we saw that happening all around us and in Richmond. It‚??s also one of the many cities where they put blinders on all the rich communities and the middle class communities so they don‚??t see that and there‚??s 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 that‚??s 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- It‚??s been great at a lot of our shows we‚??ll make an announcement ‚??hey check out our website and download all our songs for free‚??. The new age the internet and all that stuff, I mean I‚??m not going to lie I download a lot of music, I burn cd‚??s all the time, it‚??s 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 I‚??ll go and see them live. It‚??s 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 it‚??s 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 it‚??d be really hard, they‚??d 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 ‚??you guys are so amazing, thanks so much for putting it on the website‚??. 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 we‚??re going to be the first American punk band ever to play in Taiwan.
T- And it‚??s eighty thousand people it‚??s one of the biggest concerts in the Mandarin speaking world, it‚??s going to be amazing. The first show is at eight o‚??clock regular concert time then everyone wakes up at 5:00am and plays on a mountain top facing the sunrise. In Indonesia there‚??s 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 there‚??s a world of violence and tension that we don‚??t even know.
A- Warped Tour, is that a tour Strike Anywhere has ever considered doing?
M- We‚??ve 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 there‚??s so many bands playing at noon to like six people and a bunch of other bands, it‚??s hot you have to drive every night, it‚??s just intense‚?¶
T- It‚??s also we‚??re just better at this point, I mean we‚??ve 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 we‚??re 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 stadium‚?¶
A- In your song ‚??Chalkline‚?? you mention growing up to war, well now it‚??s 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 wasn‚??t meant for that specific situation ‚??Detonation‚?? kind of was though ‚??Chalkline‚?? 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 ‚??Detonation‚?? is more applicable now than it ever has, which is kind of weird I was just noticing that the other day and it‚??s sad because that‚??s one of our less hopeful songs it‚??s pretty much about maintaining and trying not to buy into illusions for peace, that means more now than it ever has‚?¶
A- You guys are also involved in lots of anti-racist and poverty campaigns, I heard too (Tom) you‚??re in some organization called S.O.S‚?¶
T- I‚??m just one of the foot soldiers, they‚??re a Richmond group that‚??s actually based in Matt‚??s old neighborhood, rescuing animals and stuff.
M- Thomas has a unique hobby seriously, when were at home from tour all he does is, he‚??ll call us all up and say ‚??yeah I have a couple more dogs and a few more cats do you know anybody who needs a cat?‚?? Actually Thomas and his wife recruited my girlfriend into doing the same thing, so I call home and my girlfriend‚??s like ‚??yeah, I have a couple dogs here they‚??ll only be here for a week, I‚??m going to try and find them a home. I got a dog from Thomas rescuing dogs. He‚??ll go right into peoples backyard‚??s and cuts chains and takes dogs away from people who abuse them‚?¶
T- Well you would too‚?¶
M- This man is committed to the cause, against animal cruelty I mean everybody is in their hearts. If you‚??re around it and you live in an area where you see people around you neglecting animals and see the effects it has on humans‚?¶
T- Families that abuse their dogs or use them as security systems, they‚??ll abuse their kids and their kids will abuse each other it‚??s really easy to see that but it warms down to human rights there‚??s a lot of people who sweat being really strict about diets and being vegan and most my band mates are vegetarian but there‚??s 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 you‚??d like to add? Tom to start to read punknews‚?¶
T- No it‚??s just cause when I‚??m on tour it‚??s hard to ever find time, but when I‚??m home‚?¶
A- And you‚??ll most likely be out saving animals on your other free time so we won‚??t hold it against you‚?¶