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Anti-Flags Politics Take Center Stage

Performing in Russia last week, the U.S. punk bands concert was as much a political rally as a performance.

Published: July 2, 2014 (Issue # 1818)



  • U.S. punk band and political activists Anti-Flag.
    Photo: RCA Records

  • Drummer Pat Thetic, left, poses with a local fan at last weeks concert.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / for SPT

Amid no-shows, bans and cancellations Marilyn Manson just had his concert banned in Novosibirsk and canceled due to a hoax bomb threat in Moscow Anti-Flag, one of the most vocally political U.S. punk bands, performed three concerts in Russia last week.

In St. Petersburg, the bands frontman Jason Sane denounced homophobia, nationalism and sexism to the cheers of hundreds of fans.

With the bands short speeches and songs like No More Dead, Die for the Government and Power to the Peaceful, Anti-Flag, who take part in or perform at protests, effectively turned the show into a political rally.

In Moscow, the band, which spoke out in defense of the imprisoned Pussy Riot members two years earlier, supported the people jailed in Moscow over the May 6, 2012 anti-Kremlin protest on Bolotnaya Square by having their photo taken with the poster Free Bolotnaya prisoners.

Ahead of their local concert, The St. Petersburg Times sat with drummer Pat Thetic, who co-founded Anti-Flag with Sane in 1993.

Q: Are you the right band to talk about the connection between art, music and politics?

A: Well, we are a band that blends those things together. We are not the only band in the world, but we are very passionate about it. Because I think every revolution has a soundtrack, and I think that music has the power to inspire people to make change. I dont think music changes things on its own, but music inspires people and people make change.

Q: Where did the connection come from?

A: We come from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh has a history of union, and in the late 1800s there was a lot of steel production in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, so there was a lot of union. A lot of immigrant workers came in and unionized and fought against the steel owners, and the steel owners beat them down. So in Pittsburgh there is a strong union tradition of we need to stick together and work towards a common goal. That leftist idea of union and bringing people together to change things has always been part of Pittsburgh, which then came into our music.

Q: How did you come up with the name for the band?

A: Justin came up with it. In the late 1980s-early 90s, there was this weird time in the history of punk rock music when people would say pledge allegiance to the flag and had this really nationalist thing going on. And we thought it was really stupid, because we thought that punk rock music was supposed to be an anti-establishment music, and being proud of Americans and stuff like that we thought was very establishment and we thought it was very stupid, and we wanted to make a statement against that. So we came up with idea of Anti-Flag.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Aug. 20


AmCham gets back to business after a summer hiatus with todays EHS Committee Working Group Meeting. Check their website for more details.



Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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