INTERVIEW: Strike Anywhere (USA)

This American melodic hardcore / punk rock band from Richmond, Virginia is one of my favourite 90s punk bands. Not only is this a great (and a bit of an underrated) band if you ask me but also frontman Thomas is one of the kindest frontmen around. It’s been 4 years since If seen Thomas, back in 2013, when I was part of the Kloemprock organisation, they hit our stage (It was the Kloemprock edition that 7 Seconds and Implants cancelled). So I was really looking forward to meet him again at Groezrock.

Strike Anywhere is known for its small tours and their Groezrock show this year was the last show of a nine days tour that started in Manchester punk fest (their first time in the UK since 2010) and the tour took them to Holland, Germany and finally Belgium. “We do smaller Tours because our guitar players are fathers and this way we also keep our day jobs. If also keeps everything meaningful and compact at the same time, “ Thomas says.

When I told Thomas that I thought that this gives the band kind of an underrated status he replied as follows: “ That’s a kind way to say. I don’t think that we fit in the major categories, we are kind of in between a lot of things. Not everyone who likes melodic punk rock will like us and not everyone who likes hardcore will like us. We get a special brew of people in the middle of both.” Strike Anywhere certainly attracts the more social political active people and became a metaphor for social justice but they would not do it if they thought it would not contribute and make a change: “That’s what punk means to us, that’s why we do what we do”, Thomas say.

It are interesting times for a band like Strike Anywhere and people like Thomas with everything that is going on today like the War in Syria, ISIS, … the things that are happening in Turkey, The Brexit and  Trump. “The foreign policy stuff is about the same, it is horrible and a little less predictable. We have a president now who is more like a narcissistic, psychopath dictator. There are other dictators like that in the world but there is ideology. Trump on the other hand will do whatever the voices tell him to do. In a sic way it’s refreshing because it’s almost like politics are finally honest. But this isn’t really about politics this is about the death of the soul of the west,” Thomas says.

Lower the flags
Raise up the Earth
Freedom ’til death
Death until birth

“There is a bigger picture to all of this. All the hatred, the ultra-nationalism and all these things are bubbling back up and are proving the point we always had about nation states. Nation states are like putting everyone in a prison together and say that you all have to be like each other, you all have to justify the history of this nation. There is a line from history till now but most people don’t want to see it. Most people are not looking at the real problem, the foundation of it all and that’s global capitalism. The capitalists and the political parties they have been doing the same shit for a long time: building up undemocratic transnational banks, globalised economic institutions that are non-accountable to anyone, … This is all not democratic and all the governments are kind of a costume they put on that monster called capitalism and now that monster is peaking through.

About ISIS well that’s a reaction to the American reaction to Al Qaeda, which is a reaction to … It’s the chicken and the egg and it’s no way to know what’s right any more and that’s the way our leaders like it. ISIS is like what 70% of western educated Muslim young man coming back to something they never knew, re-enacting something they never experienced. They are not all working class Muslim man and in another way the monster thing (capitalism) is taking place again,” Thomas add.

Guess it is an understatement to say that Thomas and Strike Anywhere aren’t big fans of capitalism. Enough about that. One of the coolest things to know about Strike Anywhere is their connection to Battery, a cool 90s DC hardcore band. Battery’s vocalist Brian made all the Strike Anywhere records. “In his studio we lived, wrote and recorded 5 of our albums. Brian is a good friend and we know him, his wife and family for a long time. I know Brian from his band before Battery called ‘Ashes’ when my first band ‘Inquisition’ played with them in 1991. My younger bandmates grew up seeing Battery shows. Battery is/was amazing and we are all very close to that DC hardcore family. We need them back,” Thomas says. Who I’m I to say different.

Strike Anywhere are currently working on new songs, they have been writing a lot over the years but the songs still need some refining. One day they will find the time to record them. They take everything as it comes. they are not a very active band who are touring relentlessly because that’s not easy when you have kids, jobs, …  But one thing is for sure they want to keep this doing and being a part of punk forever and therefore are a bid slowing down and choosing what they want to do more carefully.


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