Published in The Music on, Nov 2016


Why Anti-Flag Are Stuck In A Nightmare

Political punks Anti-Flag feel like they’re stuck in a nightmare, as frontman Justin Sane tells Daniel Cribb.

“It felt almost as bad as 9/11,” Anti-Flag frontman Justin Sane begins, recalling his emotions a week earlier when Donald Trump was elected President. “9/11 people actually died and it was horrific, and you would wake up every day after it thinking, ‘Woah, was that a bad dream.’ This feels really similar because we were so close to making so much progress in this country and with ‘he who shall not be named’ there is a possibility that all of that progress could be wiped away.”

Ten years ago the band released their iconic fifth studio album For Blood & Empire, and to celebrate they’ll be playing it in its entirely around Australia in December. Sadly, some of the poignant issues they were singing about a decade ago are still relevant; especially those presented on the record’s two biggest song – This Is The End (For You My Friend) and The Press Corpse. The latter deals with an unbalanced media, something Sane believes contributed to the recent US election results. “It’s really important for people to look outside of mainstream media sources,” he tells. “There’s a lot of information that they just don’t touch upon that’s important for people to know.”

This Is The End is about overcoming bigotry, hatred, xenophobia, shaming, bullying and, again, it’s something that’s really relevant to our current president elect.

“It’s hard to believe that there’s a present elect in the United States who is a bigot, a misogynist, who’s attacked women through Twitter, on TV, during the presidential debates. In my opinion, he is a sexual predator; I believe the women who said he groped them and went after them.”

The Trump election has set a fire that will no doubt result in some great records, but it seems that Anti-Flag’s next record would have been another political punk gem regardless of the results. “There’s a lot of areas where I didn’t agree with Hillary Clinton at all,” he laughs. “She was someone I had a target on for our next record. Now I guess our focus is going to be on Trump… Unfortunately, I feel like we’re going to be fighting battles that we thought we had won – just simple things, like racism.”

Their upcoming trip to Australia will serve as a temporary break for not only them, but hopefully fans too. “The number one thing for us is that we are a band, and we want people to come to our shows and have a good time. I started going to punk rock shows because they were fun, and they were a place where I felt people weren’t judging me – I fit in, people were looking out for each other. That’s what we want our shows to be. I think a punk rock show should be a place where you can escape the daily grind, forget about your problems for a couple of hours and find a constructive way to deal with the bullshit in the world.”