INTERVIEW: Propagandhi

Published in The Music (WA, NSW, VIC, QLD) | 28.05.14 | Issue # 40

Propagandhi 2

THE FAILING ORDER

Propagandhi frontman Chris Hannah runs Daniel Cribb through the morbid reality of the current prevailing order. Warning: It seems we’re all screwed.

For most bands, it’s a solid week or so of jamming to prepare for a tour. For Canadian band Propagandhi’s frontman Chris Hannah, the approach is a little different. “Before we head out to a place I really start poking around and getting a sense of the temperature; the political, social temperature of where we’re going,” Hannah tells.

It’s no surprise the left-wing political figure hasn’t been too inspired by Australian headlines as of late. “I feel like you’re going on the same path [Canada] is and it’s not necessarily the way that is going to benefit future generations… I think often about the connect between our countries in terms of the colonial history.

“We’re so similar, it’s almost like our countries are leading the way in a race to the bottom in terms of appealing to base human overreactions and prejudice, and it’s going to fuck up our countries. I mean, our countries are fucked up to start with; we colonised these places and displaced people who lived on the land and destroyed their way of life… Now we’re just doubling down on the stupidity.”

It’s not by chance the band’s sixth and most recent album, Failed States, approaches political issues in a broader manner, placing the focus on long-term issues involving future generations. Hannah had his first child around the time of its release, and welcomed another son at the start of the year. “I talk about it with him in the gentlest way and the least nightmarish way possible because I want him to have a childhood too, and not just have this cloud hanging over him, even though the other side of me thinks I should just tell him the truth right now.

“For now it’s just trying to put it into kindergarten terms for him, and relate it to his world and try not to extinguish his hope and his idea that there is goodness in the world.”

Last year the band celebrated the 20th anniversary of their first record, How To Clean Everything, and in a couple of years they’ll be celebrating 30 years together, yet Hannah believes they haven’t done nearly enough.

“If this band hadn’t happened, I would have just been another fucking guy sitting in front of the TV, getting drunk, watching hockey and just deferring to the prevailing order and doing nothing, so I think we’ve had more of an impact this way than I would have otherwise. But what we’ve done isn’t really sufficient.

“I try not to think of it like that because otherwise you just feel like a piece of garbage, so I try to concentrate on whatever stuff I think has been good, like connecting people who are doing that sort of direct action, connecting those marginalised political activist groups with a more sort of a more mainstream grouping of people who don’t necessarily have that connection.”

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2014/05/29/propagandhi-chris-hannah/26844/

Advertisements

INTERVIEW: The Menzingers

Published in The Music (WA) | 14.05.14 | Issue # 38

Menzingers-by-Katie-Hovland_1-Web

THE HARD YARDS

Until a few years ago, falling asleep to the smell of animal faeces and sounds of intercourse were nothing out of the ordinary for The Menzingers. Co-lead vocalists/guitarists Tom May and Greg Barnett sit down with Daniel Cribb to detail their rise to success.

“I

spent all day getting drunk in a pool!” The Menzingers guitarist/vocalist Greg Barnett declares to a sold-out Rosemount Hotel, halfway into their Australian tour supporting local punk legends The Smith Street Band. But touring life hasn’t always been so easy for the Pennsylvania four-piece, and while they’ve a slew of friends in countries all around the world that show them unrelenting hospitality, there was a time…

“It was wild,” guitarist/vocalist Tom May admits, sitting in the beer garden of a small Irish pub whilst in Perth. “Greg and I stayed at a punk house in Savannah, Georgia and we just walked into a room and this guy just pointed to a corner and was like, ‘Yeah, you guys can stay right there, just don’t lift up those buckets because there’s dog shit under there.’ And there was a crusty punk couple just making out in the corner. But at the time, it wasn’t bad at all; we just got wasted every day.”

“That’s the thing. Looking back, those first couple of tours were my favourite tours I’ve ever done in my life,” Barnett adds. “And it’s definitely not something I would ever want to do now, but at the time it was fucking great and now, this is fucking great.”

They’ve hit Australia three times in as many years – in 2012 with Soundwave, 2013 supporting Pennywise and now with The Smith Street Band. “Basically touring for us really picked up after Chamberlain Waits [2010]. After Chamberlain Waits, we kind of found ways to make it work and now, I don’t know, it just feels comfortable, it feels like being home in a sense,” Barnett says. “It’s crazy to say that I can sit in Perth and be comfortable. I’m on the edge of the world.”

“I think you made a really good comparison yesterday when you compared it to a sailor’s life,” May adds. “You’re kind of just gone for an extended period of time and that’s all you know. Then you come home for a bit and it’s weird, you live a dichotomous life like that.”

Their third trip here brings the band’s new record, Rented World, an album truly reflective of their past few years while being a little darker at times. “I think a lot of it has to do with getting older,” May explains. “You can’t foresee what’s going to happen five years from any point in time and as the world changes and things get different for us, we try to relate that out to other people and hope they can relate to the emotions.”

“I think if I was going to generalise anything with this record, there is more of a conscious effort to look at what’s going on around you and just better it,” Barnett adds. “I think we’re just getting too old to avoid life anymore. We kind of just have to make those grown-up decisions and be a bit more responsible than we were in the past.”