Boysetsfire were in town and I had no ticket. Because I had nothing better to do I simply decided to go to the Logo and sneaked myself in by doing an interview with guitarist Josh. So I sat in the backstage room while the doors opened and simply didn’t go out again. And I must say that the show of their tour support Tribute To Nothing was really worth this effort. The show of Boysetsfire itself… well, let’s say I prefer bands to play less than an hour and have more to offer than rock band posing but I guess the hundreds of screaming kids there have a different opinion about that point… And I must say I really like the way the band deals with their exaggerated stardom. Some might call it arrogance. I prefer the term ironic distance… Of course I would have preferred to do the interview with singer Nathan just to look into his bright eyes from a closer distance but Josh turned out a very talkative interview partner and so there might have even come out something like information or entertainment or just read yourselves!
Are we living in the Plague Years right now?
Are we living in the Plague Years? Probably in America I would say so because there is a general sense of demise, of depression and of like ‘things aren’t really gonna change’. Of course I can only talk about where I live and I am sure there is some people in South Dakota who are stoked about the way the country goes but I blame those red staters – as we call them – for hijacking our whole country.
So, do you think the times we are living in are actually worse than other periods of time?
Oh no, I mean we are not throwing Christians to be eaten by lions. I think those were worse or the wild west where just get shot. Today there is no widespread slavery or something but I mean it is worse from what I know. It is definitely worse than my memory of things and I am very old so I know.
Do you call these the Plague Years compared to the years that were or to the years that you would like to come?
Definitely to the times that I would like to come. Hopefully this is a dark blip in an otherwise bright future but probably not, frankly. As soon as George Bush declares himself Caesar for life then we are in trouble. I just imagine him in a toga. (laughs) I mean he was a frat boy so he probably has one… with a hood (laughs even louder)
Do you consider ‘the misery index’ to be a political record?
Eh, I think everything we do has one foot in the personal and one foot in the political, you know. I guess it is a little less because we are a little annoyed of everyone saying ‘the president sucks!’. I mean Green Day does and Fat Wreck does. I mean it’s all great but when ‘tomorrow come today’ came out it was not allowed to say any bad about the president and people were angry about it but now it is in and chic and so we decided or came to do a more personal account of how we are affected by these things. Less sloganeering on this one I think…
In the first song ‘walk astray’ and in your thanks list there is words about ‘patriotic hearts’. What do you mean by that? What does patriotism mean to you?
I think what patriotism means to me is basically love for your country – define it however you want it to. I mean it shouldn’t be on the expense of any other country but if you look at it as a community of course you want your whole community including your family doing better and that doesn’t mean blind faith into your leadership. It means an active participation in that direction of your country and making sure that the idiots don’t take over.
So, you believe the US constitution is a rather good one?
Well, I think it is okay. I mean it is all set up to keep the power in the hands of the privileged through the media and stuff like that but the basic ideas of ‘America’ are good ones like equality and freedom. The constitution was stolen from France anyway…
In the intro to your record there is the line ‘god please let there be a way’. If I remember that quite well then you or at least your singer were by the time of ‘after the eulogy’ put into some kind of communist context and communist usually are atheists. How does that fit?
To be honest I don’t think all communists can be called atheists, maybe all the ‘good’ commies… But if you look at the early church for example there were a lot of communist and socialist ideas. Look at Luke 3,11 where it says something like ‘if you have two jackets and you see someone without one then give him one of yours!’ I think ignoring the spiritual side is a problem with a lot of lefties. So we decided to address it a little bit in a very tiny way.
And are you yourselves deists or atheists?
I myself am a deist and I’d say most of us believe in a spiritual world. Chad is actually Islamic… No just kidding! (laughs)
Tonight there will be flyers distributed for Peta2. One or two years ago there was at least in Germany a big discussion about that ‘holocaust on your plate’ campaign. A big part of the left in Germany at least is against Peta because they say they were relativizing the holocaust. Have you heard about that discussion before you decided to cooperate with Peta?
I never had a problem with people comparing slaughterhouses to what happened in and before World War II. I actually think it is quite a valid comparison. There is a lot of killing going on you know… You know I am a vegetarian but from my point Peta may do whatever they want… Maybe they should be a little bit smarter and not try to offend people that much…
Let’s finally talk about your music at least a little. Your quasi labelmates Refused just put out a dvd that pretty much deals with how the band broke up and on that singer Dennis Lyxzén says something like the band broke up over the question whether revolutionary music should revolutionary in the way it sounds or if it should be popular or pop to carry the revolutionary ideas to the masses. Do you have a stance about that?
Well, first of all Refused broke up because they didn’t want to do tour through America in a van. That’s the fucking truth. I saw that tour and there were like twenty people there. They weren’t nearly as big in America as they were in Europe where they had a tour bus and now they were touring in a van and playing squats but anyway… This term ‘revolutionary music’… I hate these bands like those Buddyhead (artsy onlinezine, the editor) would like. I think revolutionary music should be well written and it should be honest and that is all the parameters.
Okay, one final question: If you broke up right now and you wouldn’t do anymore records which of your records would you like to be remembered for?
Let’s face it: ‘after the eulogy’ – I’m not gonna lie! I mean ‘the day the sun went out’ might have been genre defining but I think ‘after the eulogy’ is just better. Of course I could say ‘the misery index’ but we all know that it is not true (laughs)
Thanks for your honesty.