The Anti-Heros Sue Over American Hero X

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:19

    Mark Noah has been singingwith the Anti-Heros for 10 years, since back when he kept a low profile as "TheUnabomber." Guitarist Mark Magee and bassist Mike Jones have been a littleless shy while defining the band's unrelenting style. The occasional nightclubriot has helped sift through the usual succession of drummers. Throughout, these threegreat men have written uncommonly intelligent punk songs that don't succumbto 90s pop cutesiness. This work has garnered the Anti-Heros a small, fanaticalfollowing outside their home base of Atlanta, Georgia. The Anti-Heros have alsobeen officially sanctioned as favorites of today's hip young neo-Nazis. At leastthat's what the makers of American History X indicate, and they're surelyin touch with today's blue-collar soul rebels. You see, the Anti-Heros'logo is sported as a tattoo by, ironically, the film's most moronic white supremacist.Seth, played by Ethan Suplee, wears the band's name prominently tattooed onhis corpulent person. Never mind that the Anti-Heros aren't racist; their songsattack the elite and refuse to go along with the failure of feel-good socialpolicies, and the people at New Line Cinema file that kind of thinking under"Extreme Right-Wing Hysteria." The Anti-Heros have responded by filinga $25 million lawsuit. It's a nice potential windfallfor a band struggling to make an honest statement. After a troubled associationwith the Taang! label, the Anti-Heros now concentrate on recording through theirown GMM Records. The company has an impressive roster of other punk acts, whichis well represented on the new Skins 'n' Pins compilation. ("Thissong goes out to the fat Nazi piece of shit who's got our tattoo without ourpermission in the movie American History X," Noah announces beforethe live version of the band's anthem, "I'm an Anti-Hero.") The Anti-Heroshave timed their next release, Underneath the Underground, for July 4th.They remain the snappiest songwriters in the punk scene, and the subject matteris defiant as ever. There's even commentary on the New Line case in "N.L.C."("Say we're the white trash of the lowest class/Our Jewish lawyer willtake a bite out of your ass"). The Anti-Heros are likeNixon. We need them more than ever. Mark Noah spoke with me on the phone a fewdays after the band's recent show at Coney Island High. ? That was a great show. Itwas the first time I'd ever been to that club and seen people who work for aliving. Yeah, that's pretty muchour audience. A lot of people would condescend to them, but we like playingto working stiffs and punks. It's a diverse crowd. We're a blue-collar punkband. So how does it feel to playfor the occasional punks who are ready to hit the street and beg for change? We don't play to peoplelike that. People like that don't care about us. A lot of punk bands have awork ethic. There are the scroungy dirtbags standing on the street corner withsome smack, but that's not the punks we draw. They all blur together tome. You have to agree that most punks are at odds with your even having politics.At least until they start paying taxes. Politics-that is, the genericappreciation of politics-is for simpletons. But you're right about what peoplewant to hear. We don't have that stereotypical nihilistic viewpoint. Our viewpointis about identifying problems. It's a viewpoint of objectivity. You can't applyeverything in life to a simple standard, just by toeing the line. I've noticed that you guysaren't really good Republicans. Some people make that assumption.But, like most assumptions, it's bullshit. People assume a lot worse about us.When we first started out, everyone in the band was bald. We've had anti-racistskinheads in the band, but some people only see a skinhead. There were bandslike the Blitz and the Business who all celebrated the skinhead as a blue-collarrebel kind of thing, before it was co-opted by the right-wingers. A lot of peoplejust get freaked out by the skinhead idea. And now you're officiallyNazis, thanks to American History X. I have to wonder why there hasn't beenany press about a small punk act taking on a rich movie studio. We haven't really triedto publicize it. We've been too busy trying to come to some sort of legal arrangement.It's bad enough that we had to rehabilitate our image, and then they shit allover it. I'm not looking to make a big spastic statement out of it. No, there's just the shortspastic statement of "N.L.C." Yeah, "N.L.C."-that'sshort for New Line Cinema. Here's what happened. New Line asked our record labelat the time, Taang!, if they could use our logo, our poster and music for AmericanHistory X. When Taang! asked us, we said absolutely not. So the movie comesout, and there's an Anti-Heros tattoo left on the biggest Nazi in the movie.But I don't want this to be a big publicity thing. We just want to get throughthe lawsuit. Our lawyer told us not to rehabilitate our image, but I don't wantto be making any slanderous comments, either. How did you guys find outabout being in the film? Phone calls started pouringin to the office asking, you know, why our logo was on the biggest fucking Naziin the movie. We're a grassroots kind of band. The people who listen to us knowhow to find us. We received a lot of mail from kids, saying, "What thefuck, we got thrown out of school for wearing an Anti-Heros t-shirt becausewe're supposed to be in some Nazi gang." There were letters from folkswho had bought our music, saying, "If you're Nazis, we're going to shoot you the next time you come through town." You would be the first Nazito ever sign a black act to your indie record label. Yeah, the Templars are thisreally great band out of New York. And, you know, we've got a big black following.We just played to tons of black kids in Boston and New Hampshire. The biggest problem withAmerican History X was that the lead Nazi kept making perfect sense.Get past the racial and ethnic slurs, and I couldn't disagree with most of whathe said. Then the guy becomes a good liberal in jail, and he can't put togethera single coherent sentence. was an okay movie.But it wasn't a real fucking piece of genius. So are other bands afraidto be associated with the Anti-Heros since you're now evil race-baiting bastards? No, most other bands arepretty knowledgeable about the issue at hand. We wrote "Hurricane Bubba"about Bill Clinton because he's a worthless piece of shit, but that doesn'tmean we're like Jerry Falwell. You have to at least feelvindicated-the Anti-Heros named your enemies very early in the band's career."Fuck Hollywood" is still one of your best songs. The entertainment industryseeks to crucify people who don't uphold their own left-wing view. We say it'sall right not to have left-wing views. We didn't write those songs to make theidiots at the mall happy. Hollywood pushes their viewpoints and seeks to vilifyanyone who doesn't follow them. It's ironic that the folks we talk about in"Fuck Hollywood" see themselves as some kind of positive element insociety. They're part of the intellectual shutdown. On the topic of entertainment-whycan't more hardcore punk bands write songs as smart as the Anti-Heros do? You'rejust about the only band around nowadays who understands how to bash out a melody. I don't have any positivethings to say about ourselves. But the major label acts are defined by what'sacceptable. They're not geared to making art. It's the homogenization of society. See, that sounds like whatI would hear from some fuming hippie who doesn't even know he's an homogenizedcliche. Yeah, you might hear thatfrom some idiot like Barbra Streisand or Alanis Morissette. There's the irony.It comes from them not realizing that they're idiots. It took me several monthsto track down my first record by Skrewdriver, who are well-hated everywherefor being white supremacists. But I never have a hard time finding any act who'snotorious for being anti-Christian, or anti-family. Would things be easier foryou if you were more conventionally controversial? Of course. This sort ofmusic is shunned by the people on the big corporate side of music. We've gota whole lot more to say than bands like Motörhead and Korn. But when you'retruly outside society, then you're censored. We can't have access to mainstreamdistribution. That's the way it goes. We're doing okay. We're selling out showsin Europe and along the East Coast. You don't make a martyrout of yourself for having to keep a day job. But I was puzzled to hear howactive you are within your union. That really seems contrary to how your bandstands up for the individual. It isn't contrary. Beingan objective person, I look at life as a physics equation. When there's toomuch weight pushing on something, it breaks. But you seem like the kindof person who would want more control over how you live and how your money isspent. Do you know where your union dues are going? My union represents us well.For us, a union is something that provides protection. We used to be Teamsters,and that's a very corrupt union. We voted them out. Now we do know where ourmoney is going. Some organized labor is corrupt, and worthy of your disrespect.There's a lot to be said about the big cliche that unions can be equated withthe mob. But in the case of smaller unions, they're a good thing that's neededby all the individuals who belong to it. The other cliche is that the only companiesthat have unions are the ones that deserve them. I have an inherent distrustof unions, because so many prominent ones allow millions of their dollars tobe used to support Democrats. One thing that most peoplecan't understand is how the members of organized labor in America actually leanto the right, even though the right forsakes their interests, also. The Americanpolitical system is so awash in money that it's more of a plutocracy than ademocracy. Whether it's the Teamsters or the Christian Coalition, they're vyingfor access to power through cash. There's the average working guy that getsforgotten. I don't mind a plutocracy.I just don't want a plutocracy ruled by guilt-ridden douchebags like Ted Kennedy.Or good liberal rock stars who never think to talk about unions. It's this hypocrisy fromthe 60s. All the people that rolled down Chicago in '68, or sold pot, or didpolitical demonstrations, like Bill Clinton-they're all in power and not willingto face that liberalism is a failure. Why did we tolerate all this bullshit,and watch crime go through the roof, and let our kids get incapable of beinginterested in anything but drugs and stupid music? Rock stars can't affordfor kids not to be into drugs and stupid music. That's all I'm trying tosay. Liberals are supposed to stand up for these issues, and they don't care.They don't do shit. They live like Marie Antoinette.