Maximum Rocknroll magazine said they were going to run this interview, but they never did. So, here’s an interview with Patty from The Class War Kids…
The Class War Kid are a political punk outfit out of Newfoundland, Canada, playing what’s been described as “uber-catchy, melodic, politically-charged, socially-conscious, activist posi-punk-pop.” Bit of a mouthful, but it sums up what they are all about. What follows is an interview with Patty O’Lantern, the Kids main song-writer, singer and guitarist
Could you provide us a brief history of the band?
Dave was playing in a band called Brat Attack and I was in a band called The Embarrassments, I met Dave when Brat Attack came through one year and The Embarrassments opened for them. A few years later he decided he wanted to move from Winnipeg, MB to St. John’s NL, We decided it would be an awesome idea to combine our efforts to try and write something, we also just thought it would be fun to be in a band together. Another friend of ours, Megan, was lined up to play bass and so we needed a drummer. After asking around a bunch we found one in Miles. We got together and wrote
some songs and recorded our first album ‘A Strong People Need No Leader’ toured it across Canada and then got picked up by Rebel Time Records. After the first album/tour we got back home and I started writing a follow up. Miles left the band shortly after the first tour for school and we got a new drummer named Kaitlyn, she was great but she decided she didn’t want to tour so we got Sean instead. Sean had been playing in another band with Dave and so that’s how we knew him. Megan left the band shortly after Miles for personal reasons and we tried a few people out before deciding on Kyle. Honestly I don’t think our lineup has been stronger than it is now. I love everyone who’s been involved with the band, we’re all still friends, but Kyle and Sean have certainly filled in all the gaps and totally raised the bar.
You guys say, and I quote, “The Class War Kids are a political punk rock band who believe that music can be a force for positive change in our world, and that music should be catchy as shit!” Having said that, what’s more important, the music or the message? Do you want people dancing or debating?
I’d like to see both happen at once to be honest, I think debates would
be way more interesting if people had to do the Hucklebuck or the Twist or something and talk politics at the same time; it’d be a challenge for the mind and the body.
The Hucklebuck?! Don’t know that one? You’ll have to teach me…!
The movement is pretty well outlined in the chorus to the song:
‘Push your partner out,
Then you hunch your back,
Start a little movement in your sacroiliac,
Wiggle like an eel, waddle like a duck,
That’s the way you do it when you do the Hucklebuck’
Actually that sounds like a fucking fantastic new way to throw down!
(Editor’s Note: Check out the Music Player to your right to listen to The Class War Kid’s version of The Hucklebuck. This song, (and 3 other covers songs) has been released by the band as a digtial EP, with all funds raised for it’s sale going to Haiti relief efforts. Check out the compilation here and buy it for just $3.00. Again, all proceeds going to Haiti relief efforts.)
Okay…dance lesson is over, back to nitty-gritty… what’s more important, the music or the message?
Honestly I can’t imagine one without the other. Politics can be really
fucking boring, and it can be incredibly daunting to try to find a
starting point. Music infused with politics is a great way to start. I
don’t know how long it would have taken me to get involved (or if I even would have) without bands like Propagandhi and Rage Against the Machine.
There are PLENTY of other amazing political bands to choose from, those were just the first two that grabbed hold of me and screamed “fucking pay attention!” when I was a kid.
Any bands in particular with a “well thought out” message that have
influenced/inspired your song writing and lyrics?
I am really digging the Rebel Spell lately, Todd is a great lyricist. The
Fallout are super rad too. I’m finding more political bands everyday it’s
really great to know more bands are taking up arms in the struggle.
Broadcast Zero are working on a new record and I’m stoked on that.
OK, what strikes me about the songs on the album “A Strong People Need No Leader” is just how optimistic and, well, joyous, they are. Songs like “Break Me” “We’re Gonna Be Alright” and “Song for the Broken Hearted” are incredibly upbeat, both in terms of the music and the message. You seem pretty sure that “we’re gonna be alright”…how come?
The world has some pretty big problems that need to be solved, but it is a world worth fighting for and a fight worth romanticizing, as far as I’m concerned. Every time I turn around, I realize I am surrounded by love, by hope, and that provides the sense that everything is okay, that we are going to be alright. Our greatest asset in struggle is a positive outlook; negativity is defeating.
Speaking of issues, are there any in particular that The Class War Kids
are trying to get across?
I think we’re humanists, we believe in equality. We’re anti-fascist. I
write about a lot of things, violence; poverty; racism; sexism;
homophobia; I realize those are broad issues and I try to be specific,
thoughtful and inspire a message of hope.
You just released a new CD “Reflection! Rage! Rebellion!,” How
does it compare to “A Strong People Need No Leader”? Any particular
themes? What’s the title about?
The new album covers a range of issues, there’s an anti-military song, the last song on the new album is about sexual abuse, there’s one about the water wars in Bolivia, one about the 2010 Olympics etc… The title is a quote from Oscar Olivera, he was the person who led the riots during the water wars against the Bechtel Company.
You’re currently touring across Canada for the second time, right from
coast-to-coast…how’s that going? Any good stories? Any bands that have impressed you?
Yeah, last year everyone except me made it back in one piece, I was in two halves or maybe it was more like two thirds and one broken third, I’m not sure. This year I’m still in one piece.
Touring is a brilliant experience really; we get way tighter as musicians,
and much closer as a family. We get to learn a lot about geography, one another’s first kisses, eating habits, tendencies to wake up screaming” Where am I?!” all that awesome stuff.
There have been a few outstanding moments; we accidentally woke up in the United States at one point. There was a day Kyle and I rolled in the sand and when we stood up he yelled “Dude I totally feel like cinnamon toast crunch!” I found out that the stage that I broke my leg playing on last year was torn down and they rebuilt it after that happened, I asked the kids to start a petition to get the stage named after me.
So, what’s in the cards for The Class War Kids?
Well we just put out the new record in North America through Rebel Time Records, and we are in the process of setting up a spring/summer tour to promote the record in Europe alongside Fire and Flames Records.
And, I understand that The Class War Kids are featured on a new compilation put out by Insurgence Records and Turn It Down! A campaign Against White Power Music called Northern Aggression: Project Boneyard Volume II…
That’s right. Our song “Common Threads” is featured on the compilation, which should be out by the time you read this. We’re on there with some other hard-hitting bands like Union Made, The Class Assassins, The Fallout, Death In Custody, The Oppressed and a whole lot more. The compilation has been put together as a way of challenging the spread of fascist propaganda (and the accompanying bad music!). Specifically, it’s been put together as a direct response to the most recent Project Schoolyard sampler CD which was crapped out by a bonehead label in the US last year. The Insurgence Records website has lots more information about the Project Boneyard Volume II CD; the reasons for it, the history behind it and the campaign around it. And check out Turn It Down! A Campaign Against White Power Music too! You can also download the first Project Boneyard sampler from Insurgence Records for free.
Thanks for chatting Pat, any last words?
Thanks to MRR and everyone who has helped us make it this far. If anyone wants to stay up to date check out the Rebel Time website
(www.rebeltimerecords.com), where you can get our albums and/or our