Propagandhi

Interview By Nowak

After listening to Propagandhi’s latest cd, Potemkin City Limits, I was pretty impressed. The riffs were sick, the songwriting was rad, the aggressive, radical attitude was there; it was pretty damn good. When the interview opportunity came up, I was on one hand stoked, but on the other hand I was a little wary… I mean, what did I have to say to a pissed-off vegan leftist without coming off all lame and confrontational? I like meat, beer, and porn, and I generally stay way the fuck away from politics and activism, well, quite frankly I just don’t care all that much. Yeah, that’s shitty, but it’s honest, so at least I’ve got that going for me. Maybe. Whatever. The apathy really applies here, too. Regardless, I’m glad somebody else (i.e. These fine young Canadians) do care, because it saves me the trouble. I was somewhat concerned I might have been offensive with these questions if my  interviewee was to get all over-sensitive about it, but luckily he didn’t. Todd was fully stand-up about the whole thing and totally rolled with my quasi-confrontational asinine-ness, and I appreciate it. Cheers, eh!

So, you guys just came out with a new record, and it has been quite a while since the last record. What have you guys been up to in the intervening years?

We were always working on something, either songs or lyrics or just trying to get better at playing our instruments. We went on a few tours. Chris was working at G7. I was drawing and painting and fighting. Jord was working with No One Is Illegal here in Winnipeg. I guess it just seems like we went away because we weren’t in any magazines or on tour.

I always hear about how awesome Canada is, like the free health care and that it’s all litter-free and stuff. What are you favorite things about being Canadian and/or living in Canada?

Well, don’t get too excited there. Every time I get injured I have to sit in the emergency room for 6 hours or so. Obviously free health care is great but there are peckers intentionally trying to make it not work so they can have private health care. There are the same problems here as there are in the U.S. The thing is that there are less people, so people’s voices aren’t quite as lost in the mess. There is a lot of good nature here and it is in a little bit better shape than the U.S. because of population. Canadians actually waste more than Americans, if you can believe that. I think the nature of some people here is a little different because we don’t grow up thinking we are some kind of super-power entitled to plunder the earth ad infinitum. Perhaps it is a little more in our culture to look a little further outward into the world for inspiration.

Here’s a two-parter:

1) Propagandhi is known for being political and radical and whatnot. The downside of being so perpetually aware of and opposed to everything around you is that a lot of things that the average person enjoys are off-limits, or even abhorrent, to you. Since you obviously don’t go to the zoo, go to the mall, frequent strip clubs, take recreational drugs, or eat bacon, what are some things a Propagandhist like yourself does for fun? (And please, don’t say “I read books about global politics and injustice…” That shit ain’t fun.)    

2) Nobody can be 100% principled, full-time – name one guilty pleasure you have.

I’m glad that there is a lot of crap in my life that is off limits. It builds character in me and there is nothing that is off limits to me that I wish I could have or do. In fact, I think the things the average person enjoys are a lot less enjoyable to me than the things I do. I’d rather be doing something fun that buying shit, or watching T.V. “Guilty pleasures” seems to mean fun at the expense of someone else, so I try my best not to have many of those. I like to box and do Jiu Jitsu every day, which may be at the expense of my friends tortured face.  I read comics a lot. I’m not interested in malls cause they’re boring. I would rather be with a woman who is sexy and interested in being with me than ogling a stripper who thinks I’m a pud. Bacon tastes like a scab covered in shit. Drugs fuck a lot of people up and are a waste of time. I like doing things that are actually fun. I like riding my bike around, checking out what’s going on at my river.  I like toboganing, kissing, drawing, thrashing my head off, etc. Those things are great.  A coconut curry soup is a hell of a lot better to me than a strip of fat-infested scab bacon. Haha. Oh yeah – I really do like reading books about global justice and about different parts of the world. Ha. True.

You guys were one of the first bands to sign with Fat Wreck, and you’ve been with Fat Mike for quite a while. You specifically call him out on your song “Rock For Sustainable Capitalism”, targeting his association with John Kerry and Punkvoter.com, and mocking the line “When did punk rock become so safe?” from the NOFX song “Separation Of Church And Skate”. Mike seems like a good fellow with his heart in the right place – why go after him like that? Do you know something we, the Fat Wreck Chords supporters and record-buying public, are not privy to?

I don’t know anything you don’t know about Mike. He’s a nice guy. We just hope to spur the fellow in a direction that is more thought-out. He is a figurehead that so many bands look up to, obviously. There is a way of looking at what everything is about. That is all we presented. All the lyrics to that song are true. There is nothing “dangerous” about bands making tons of money on a “mall”-type tour. Can anyone argue with that? I don’t know. I’m not interested in that argument anyway, hahaha…

And finally, the world is a shithole rampant with apathy and corruption. Do you ever just wish you had been aborted?

Sure, I wouldn’t give a shit really. What have I done that has ever justified my carbon intake and wastage? More than most people, less than a lot of people, but still a whole lot of nothing.

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