Agnostic Front interview

There’s been countless bands here at the backstage of the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., eating pizza, tuning up, relaxing, getting organized, waiting. This time, November of 1990, it was noisy because there was a photographer telling Agnostic Front to do this, that, and the other, and road guys talking to club employees (everyone was yelling, actually), and Roger Miret and I were trying to do an interview sitting on a couch in the back.

D.U.: Okay, can you tell me what your opinion of the United Blood 7” was when you recorded it?

Roger: My opinion of that record, I mean, the songs themselves are great, but the production could’ve been a little better. If it would’ve been more like on the standards of Victim in Pain, it would’ve been hotter. Shit like the Madball. What Madball is, the songs that didn’t make it to that single, done over. That came out pretty good. But I think the production could’ve been better. The band was in the same level as Victim in Pain, pretty much. But Victim in Pain was a little more advanced. We had no money at all. Me and Vinnie [Stigma, guitar] put that out ourselves.

You got the Combat Records deal from Victim, right?

Yeah.

Did you get the deal by sending Combat United Blood?

No, no, no. They were pretty amazed at how an independent band like us, without a single advertisement at all, nobody wanted to advertise us, they were so amazed of the fact that we sold through them themselves 10,000 records, they figured they’d sign and help them out, y’know? We never had a single advertisement for Victim in Pain. It was all done by word of mouth.

Do you have any U.S. sales figures on how many it’s sold so far?

It’s over a hundred thousand.

When you did Cause for Alarm, was that when you got your second guitarist?

Yeah. Well, what happened was, back then there was two really big bands in New York, Agnostic Front and Cause For Alarm. So I figured I’d do good by adding the guitarist for Cause For Alarm to our band. We had two people of the best band, like [Rob] Kabula.

And he was the one that was doing the leads?

Yeah, but he fucked up. He wanted to play Mötley Crüe and shit like that. And I was just trying to be his friend, y’know?

That was when you were being accused of doing metal, right?

Yeah, but you know, that album outsold any of the rest of the albums, which is really strange. That’s the best-selling album to date right now, for some reason.

I take it that’s not one you like to pick songs off of?

No. We really don’t like that album. We like Victim in Pain.


“The censorship people? I think they’re full of shit.”


Do people still get on your case for “crossing over,” like when Cause for Alarm came out?

See, we were the first ones to pretty much do it, and at first they all got on our case. But then all the other bands just kinda went and did it and it was, like, normal now, y’know? So it doesn’t bother anybody.

We’ve always had the balls. We’ve always opened doors for a lotta people. At the same time, in the long run, people see that what we did was done for a purpose, to let bands go through, pretty much. We’ve opened a lotta doors.

Did Liberty and Justice For… come out on In-Effect?

Just Live at CBGB is on In-Effect. Liberty and Justice For… is on Combat.

How did you get on In-Effect then? Did it just switch you over?

No, what happened was, we were complaining, pretty much. We didn’t wanta be on Combat. Combat was strictly a metal label, and they really didn’t know how to handle us. They were mixing us with Combat bands that we really weren’t supposed to be with. So they were handling us wrong, in the wrong magazines and in the wrong places. So they decided to open up a label just for bands like us, for hardcore and street bands. And that’s where In-Effect came in, which is great. And we were the first to begin with. We started that label, pretty much.

What do you think about the P.M.R.C? Do you have an opinion about it?

The censorship people? Oh, I think they’re full of shit. I don’t think anybody has the right to, like, start censoring people. See, we let them get away with this now, and then they’ll start censoring magazines, they’ll start censoring—I mean, we can’t let them stop anything, ‘cause, like I said, it’s freedom of speech, y’know? It’s wrong.

Have you heard all that talk about the straight edge movement’s turned around and it’s not the same thing as it used to be and all that?

I hear you.

Do you agree with that?

Me myself, I’m straight edge, but I’m not into all that stupid shit. Y’know, I just keep my own thoughts to myself, and I don’t look at somebody else different just because they drink or something. To me, I’m just a human being.

Those white supremacy and neo-Nazi dudes, should they be stopped or are they entitled to their opinion?

Well, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. No one knows what’s wrong or right, y’know? To me, in my eyes, I see it different. I disagree with them, but they disagree with me. And there’s no one here who can say who’s wrong or who’s right. I just don’t like it when it’s pressed upon me. It doesn’t matter. Whatever. Keep it to yourself. I don’t like it.

Are you tagged that way a lot? Like, do people say, “Agnostic Front, they’re just a bunch of evil skinheads”?

Yeah, sometimes, but obviously those people don’t know what they’re talking about. Those are ignorant people. I don’t really care about ‘em.

How did you like the way the “Anthem” video turned out?

Didn’t like it at all. I think it’s terrible.

What’s wrong with it?

Everything. First of all, if they’re gonna put a video out, they might as well put the soundtrack from the record. They just have to be live. It’s kinda lame. And the dubbing on it was just terrible.

What, the clips didn’t flow together?

No, it was just done terrible. I mean, if it were up to me, it would’ve never been done, but I wasn’t around. Oh, we’re gonna do another one, and we’re gonna do a good one. Who’s gonna do our video, somebody we wanna work with. It’s gonna be somebody who knows the band, knows what we’re looking for, and help us with it, y’know?

So you’re gonna pick out your own producer/director guy?

Pretty much, or if we do use one, it’s pretty much gonna be produced by us. It’s gonna be all our ideas. He might have to sink in some of his ideas, but it’s gonna be something that we all agree with.

So you’re gonna have final say on it.

Correct.

How do you feel about playing with strictly metal bands and playing in front of metal audiences?

Well, I like it because of the fact that I open up new audiences and stuff like that. And a lot of the metal kids really like us, because we come off very energetic and very powerful to them. We get received pretty much well. It sometimes feels a little strange, but we’ve been lucky enough to always pull through. I don’t remember any shows being bad. And the metal kids I like a lot, because they really support you. They buy your records, they buy your t-shirts. It’s real support.

Well, that’s about it.

Cool.

Do you have anything to sign off with, like, “Buy the record when it comes out in ’91,” or something?

Um, don’t believe anything you hear. Just come out for yourself and judge us by who we are, not by a cover. ■



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