And, here’s “Peace, Love And Anarchy”…
Anti-Warped today/ a punk rock hit parade/ of independent sound/ our own identity/ build our community/ without the industry/ create a new scene/ peace, love and anarchy/ I know my disapointment shows/ I know my frustration grows/ for all that’s comfortably complacent,/ I haven’t got the patience/ for polite entertainment/ it just makes me hasten/ my changing attitude/ confused for being rude/ cos’ I’ve got a new scene/ with peace,love and anarchy/ no animosity/ fuck their hierachy/ we respect each other/ that’s our currency/ there ain’t no money/ just credibility/ we’ve got our own scene/ peace, love and anarchy
The title of the new CD is “Dismantlement.” Any particular reason behind the name? What does ‘dismantlement’ signify to The Fallout?
‘Dismantlement’ is taken from the Erik Marcus book ‘Meat Market’. ‘Meat Market’ is a very honest look at the current reality of animal cruelty and the animal advocacy movement. He draws analogies between the struggle for animal rights and the history of abolitionist and civil rights movements in the US. He makes a convincing argument for regulations to begin to put an end to factory farming practices.
‘Dismantlement’ also extends this idea and applies it to taking apart other exploitive industries. A number of songs on the CD reflect these ideas.
Continuing with the literary references, I saw “Dismantlement” described as having “elements of John Steinbeck and Howard Zinn poured into a punk format.” Accurate? As the lyricist, is this something you are consciously going for?
Comparisons to Steinbeck are flattering but unwarranted. We write concise songs to drive a point home in less than 2 minutes. We try to avoid clichés. We aren’t afraid to look in the mirror and see that we are a part of the systemic issues we are addressing. We are challenging both ourselves and our audience to face up to what is needed to affect change and the role we all play in making that happen.
You cover “Strange Fruit” on the CD – a song written almost 70 years ago, made famous by Billie Holiday and an anthem of the anti-lynching movement of the 1930s. With the whole Jena 6 controversy raging in the U.S. it would seem that this is still a very relevant song. What made you choose this song to cover? (How)does it fit into the whole ‘dismantlement’ theme?
Strange Fruit is a very powerful song. I think a lot of people would be surprised that such a graphic lyric was written in the 1920’s. Obviously we’ve stripped it down somewhat.
It extends the ideas on ‘Dismantlement’ as lynching was a big problem some 50 years after the end of slavery. The struggle for civil rights was still in its infancy. Blacks were free but they were not accepted as equals by many whites.
The Jena 6 situation demonstrates that hate crimes are still a problem. It’s another example of racism not being dealt with seriously.
Yeah, speaking of that, I know you guys have played a few Rock Against Racism shows and I understand that because of your involvement in that, your personal information – home address, phone number, etc – were posted to a neo-nazi website called Canadian Redwatch. What was that all about? Did you get hassled in any way by boneheads because of that?
We had neo-nazi’s scare the management of the Hamilton club, the Underground, with threats of violence if they allowed a Rock against Racism show to go on as scheduled. The gig was postponed and eventually held at the Corktown where we played without a problem. I’m not sure why we get this reaction from Hamilton.
My personal information was posted on the right wing website Canadian Redwatch but I haven’t been harassed in any way because of it. I guess one generalization that seems to be true is that racists are very lazy people.
Of the posts I’ve read about the Fallout on these right wing bulletin boards all I can say is that if people took the time to read our lyrics they would see for themselves that all these accusations simply aren’t true. It’s nothing but wild assumptions based in ignorance.
In the song “A Shot Rings Out”, about gun violence in Toronto, you say “here’s a message to my American cousins, make a few less guns, then you can build a few less prisons.” Care to expand on that? Seeing as this interview is running in an American publication…
Hand guns are a problem in Canada because of their availability in the US. It seems self-evident to this Canadian that guns and violent crimes are directly connected. Reducing the availability of guns will reduce the incidence of violent crime.
You’ve got a couple of songs about Animal Advocacy on “Dismantlement,” and you were chosen recently by VegNews magazine as one of the “top 25 most fascinating vegetarians.” Is The Fallout an ‘animal rights’ band first and foremost?
The Fallout is a punk rock band. We write songs about issues important to us. We rally against injustice. We promote the ethics of DIY and thinking for yourself. Animal advocacy is just a part of it all.
So what other issues are important to you guys? It seems to me that you do tend to focus somewhat on particularly ‘Canadian’ issues…
We focus on issues that not only affect Canadians but on issues that Canadians can act and speak out against. It’s too easy just to point fingers at the US and their imperialist foreign policies.
On the CD we touch on migrant farm workers in ‘Ontario’, community radio in ‘Radio Fallout’, the power of organized labor in ‘Bread and Freedom’ and personal responsibility in ‘Riot Boys’ and ‘Change the World Today’.
The Fallout are on/have been on a couple of fairly small independent labels – Longshot and Insurgence. Would you ever entertain the idea of signing to a major label? Does the ‘signing to a major label to reach a bigger audience’ or the ‘we’re tired of preaching to the converted’ argument make any sense to you?
We certainly understand bands that would like to make their living from their music. We’re just not convinced that bands such as Anti-Flag are capable of crossing over into the mainstream markets. They have already made artistic compromises to have their CD’s sold in retailers like Wal-Mart. Shaking hands with the devil isn’t the only option.
With Insurgence Records we are collectively working towards creating an independent industry. It may never be as commercially successful for us but we will always retain full creative control over our music.
Hopefully, with enough like-minded independent bands playing and networking together, we can one day back the major record corporations into a corner they can’t escape from.
Ok, that leads me to my next question… it seems that the idea of ‘community’ comes up a few times on this album – on Radio Fallout you applaud community radio, on Peace Love And Anarchy you call for the building of “our community” and Bread And Freedom is about the power of unions…is the building a ‘counter-power’ or ‘alternative community’ something you see as necessary/desirable? Something you see yourselves as contributing too in some way …
The idea of creating co-operatives, which is growing in other industries, is seriously lacking in the music industry. I don’t understand why bands either choose to toil as complete independents or chase the elusive ‘recording contract’.
It seems to me that bands would better serve their common interests by working together and pooling their resources.
Labels like Insurgence Records are committed to creating mutually beneficial arrangements. Creating a larger co-operative musical scene seems much more desirable than one watching bands shaking hands with the corporate devils.
In the song “Talkin’ Punk Rock Civil War’ you say that “Our music, poetry and politics don’t lead to a cure. We need more than talkin’ punk rock civil war.” You’re saying that punks should take a more action-oriented approach to things? Less talk, more action? Any particular action you are fond of?
It’s sometimes easy to think that music is a catalyst for change. This song is about being honest and accepting the fact that real change comes from people who take action. It’s about lifestyle choices that are in harmony with our communities.
I participate in protests, I’m active in my trade union and I’m a regular blood donor. It’s about doing whatever you can do to impact your community in a positive way.