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Merchandise Update

1 Oct

Revolution LP: 40 copies left.
We returned from Europe with just 10 copies. Phratry Records has 30 copies. Gorgeous red vinyl with a 12-page booklet and download card. Don’t sleep on this.

Split 7″: Only 3 copies left!
We sold most of these German-only splits while we were on tour. The pressing plant messed up nearly half of the initial pressing and it is unclear whether it will be repressed. Get yours now.
[UPDATE 10/31/11: We just received more copies of the split from Fidel Bastro in Germany. We now have 30 copies and all 7 designs.]

Genocide Tee: Now via mailorder.
The now-classic red genocide USoT t-shirt is now available on-line. It’s not tour dates; it’s a litany of man’s inhumanity to man. 20+ left (1 each of S and XXL). Grab one now.

Interview with Russell Emerson Hall

1 Oct

Throat torturer/guitar abuser Russell did an e-mail interview with Julian Kaapke for the German print-only zine, Die Eelritze.

Everytime I hear your new record, I think of the William S. Burroughs quote “We intend to destroy all dogmatic verbal systems.” Your thoughts? Is this just me being weird or is this a legitimate connotation?

I think that accurately sums up how we think about the world. There are so many big lies that are sold to us in Amerikkka in the interest of maintaining the status quo. We are often told that we have a two-party political system in this country when, in fact, it is simply a single party unified by wealth and status and whose only interest is to entrench their position and power. The political, economic, religious, cultural, and anti-science dogma only serves to prop up a failing capitalist system. As Marx said, “question everything.”

Sticking with this theme for a moment — to call your lyrical themes highly literate and political would be an understatement. Which authors were influential on your worldview and when did you realize that the average person was basically getting it unlubed up the ass by the powers that be?

I became enthralled by Burroughs and Bukowski in my early 20s and they sort of warped my mind to think about the flip side of the American dream — the seedy underbelly. My skeptical inclinations grew as I was exposed to Chomsky and other media critics while studying Journalism in college. I had long had an unease that things were not as they seemed in this country and while I had long embraced Marx’s views on religion, it wasn’t until my early 30s that started really examining my views on the political and economic climate that we’re living in.

Part of it was this band. I made a decision right from the start that I did not want my lyrics to be the sort of intensely personal heart of darkness that I had trafficked in before. As I pushed myself to think about other areas of emotion, I tried to put myself in the place of people who had real problems (not “white-people problems”). I started exploring and researching the exploitation of indigenous and working class peoples and became increasing radicalized. I revisited Marx and Chomsky and Zinn and became involved in various socialist organizations and activities.

You pointed me to a quote by Howard Zinn about that moment of awakening and the responsibility it requires: “We all have an enormous responsibility to bring to the attention of others information they do not have, which has the potential of causing them to rethink long-held ideas.” That is the mission of this band. That, and ear-splitting noiserock.

Martin Amis recently caught a lot of flak for his unabashed and unapologetic bashing of Islam, being called a racist among other things. However, I’ve noticed the tendency in the secular left to take a lot of shit from these assholes it would never take from the Christian right, e.g. outlawing same-sex relationships, pre-martial sex, atheism etc. and chalk it up to ‘cultural differences’. Personally, I think that these people are full of shit and every bit as dangerous as the born-again zealots. Your thoughts?

While I am a fan of Amis’ novels, his statements are clearly the ignorant rants of a reactionary racist. That said, I view Islam through the same lens as I do Christianity: religion has no place in truly democratic society. It is harmful on both a societal and personal level. Not only has it inarguably been incredibly damaging throughout history, it prevents individuals from finding their true potential and self-worth. As Richard Dawkins puts it, “atheism is life affirming in a way religion can never be” because “the here and now is all we have.” Of course, this exactly the   reason the elite encourages religion for the masses: it helps them ignore the brutal realities of the here and now and focus on a final reward after they are dead and gone.

Now you’ve been playing music all of your adult life if I understand  correctly, and it shows. If you hadn’t turned to music as an artistic expression, what do you think you’d have become? 

A drug addict, dead or in jail. Not a joke. I actually was very close to joining the military when I was in high school, which means I probably never would have discovered the Sex Pistols or Gang of 4 or The Clash. I suppose I might have become a visual artist (a designer or photographer) as that’s something I dabble in to this day. It’s difficult to conjecture because music making has become so intrinsic to who I am. I suppose that’s why I’m still doing it without much, if any, in the way of financial reward or public recognition.

What bands have you been currently following and what band would you  love to tour with if you could choose one, past or present? 

Current obsessions:

Touring in the past? These Arms Are Snakes or Unwound.
Touring in the future? Young Widows or Shipping News.

What was your impression of Europe on your first European tour?

We felt almost guilty every night when we were fed and housed. American clubs/promoters don’t give a shit about taking care of unknown bands. We had a lot of fun but the shows were not very well-attended and we didn’t come close to recouping the cost of our plane tickets. But I am proud of the fact that we booked the tour 100% DIY. No one was going to send us over there, so we fucking did it ourselves — just like everything we do.

Punks Against Apartheid

6 Sep

The Collective has signed on to a declaration from the group Punks Against Apartheid. We’ve long been supporters of the Palestinian struggle (our latest record has several songs written about the subject) and are proud to support this call to support Palestinian liberation. We were alerted to this group on the Rebel Frequencies blog written by fan and supporter Alexander Billet. The full text of the declaration is below.

POINTS OF UNITY

In whatever our capacity as artists and musicians, we pledge to respect the 2005 call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel, andhereby endorse the following points of unity:

  1. We, Punks Against Apartheid, exist to foment greater solidarity between the global punk community and the struggle for Palestinian liberation.
  2. We honor the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) in its entirety. We will not play or do public speaking events in Israel in violation of Palestinian civil society’s call for cultural boycott.
  3. We will not perform, exhibit or otherwise participate in events which deceptively suggest symmetry or shared responsibility between “both sides” for Israel’s ongoing colonial oppression of the Palestinian people and its system of apartheid.
  4. We seek, wherever possible, to use our art, music and expression to provide informational support and real solidarity to the cause of Palestinian liberation.
  5. We will uphold the cultural boycott of Israel until it meets its moral and legal obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination.

OUR PURPOSE AND MISSION

Punks Against Apartheid is an emerging global network of musicians, artists, and activists opposed to all forms of oppression, exploitation and racism, with a particular distaste for apartheid and colonialism. We maintain that the policies of the Israeli government both in the Occupied Territories and within “Israel proper” towards Palestinians qualify as apartheid, and consequently that Palestinian struggle must be supported.

We urge all artists–especially punks!–to heed the BDS call and recognize the importance of their voices being raised against the apartheid state. Punk has had an important history in politicizing its listeners and forming a distinct counter-cultural message against the complacency of mainstream industry music. During the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, punk bands around the world responded to the call for solidarity. As punks and people inspired by this legacy, we hope to maintain the integrity of that history by expressing our unwavering support for Palestinian resistance to the occupation and convincing our fellow punks to do so as well.

As PACBI writes, “international visitors who insist on including Israeli cultural institutions in their itinerary, in violation of the boycott, should not expect to be welcome by Palestinian cultural institutions.”

Artists in solidarity with the Palestinian call should not alienate the very people they claim to support by playing shows in Israel, but rather openly and clearly refuse to do so. We guarantee you–the allies and fans you will gain will be more faithful than the suits who will use your show as a justification for Israel’s respectable status on the international scene, in order to cover up 60 years of ethnic cleansing.

The cultural boycott of Israel, as a key component of the global BDS Movement, shall be maintained until Israel meets its moral and legal obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination by:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Viva le punk! Viva Palestina!

Remix Project

4 Sep

Godflesh - Love And Hate In DubI’ve been a long-time fan of the Justin Broadrick’s Godflesh. Ever since we released our first record, I’ve wanted to do a remix album similar to Love And Hate In Dub. That record took material from Godflesh’s 1996 Earache release, Songs Of Love And Hate, and re-imagined it as a hellish ambient drum’n’bass record. Have a listen to how the song “Wake” was transformed into “Wake (Break Mix).”

I never got around to remixing Hope. Then the release of Lions came and went. Now, in the wake of our European tour and its subsequent hiatus, we’ve resurrected the project. However, the prospect of doing it all myself seemed daunting, so we’re all pitching in and inviting some friends to lend a hand as well.

We’ve established only two rules to constrain this project:

  1. No additional audio may be used. Everything must be sourced from the original track. Things may be mangled and chopped as much as desired, but nothing may be added.
  2. The end result must relate the the original track somehow. In other words it should be recognizable as a remix.

While we’re encouraging participants to produce tracks in dub, glitch, breakbeat, industrial, or ambient styles, we won’t say no to a dance remix or a dubstep track. The primary focus is on songs from Revolution, but all three records will be represented. We’ve set a completely arbitrary deadline for ourselves and our collaborators of November 1 March 1. We plan on releasing this project as a free download as well as super-limited edition, deluxe CD in early 2012.