Winnipeg’s Uptown Magazine Interviews Strike Anywhere

by | Jun 4, 2010 | MUSIC

The following short interview is via Winnipeg’s Uptown Magazine. Barnett reps the scene here in Richmond, VA.

KEEPING IT REAL
Strike Anywhere frontman Thomas Barnett sounds off on Richmond, Va.’s
hardcore scene and making the jump to the majors. by Jared Story

Keeping it real, Richmond, Va.’s Strike Anywhere keeps its tune-length in the one- to three- minute range, but the band sure says a lot in that span.

The punk/melodic hardcore act touches on topics such as women’s rights, animal rights, racism, police brutality, economics and globalization. While SA manages to contain its message to Ramones-like lengths, the band’s energetic, knowledgeable and very forthcoming frontman Thomas Barnett isn’t so easily limited. Here’s the very condensed version of Uptown’s conversation with him.

UPTOWN: Why does Richmond produce so many great bands? In addition to Strike Anywhere, you’ve got Gwar, Avail, Lamb of God and Municipal Waste…

BARNETT: You get this sense of aristocratic conservative, kind-of-militarized, Christian pro-capitalism culture (in Richmond). It doesn’t really ask any questions of itself, the newspaper is a joke owned by the tobacco companies, there’s not a lot of critical thinking on the surface of Richmond, Va. You just get a lot of celebration and grandeur, so anybody with a soul and half a brain is going to find some flaws in this. That’s why you get all the bands, that’s why you get the protest culture, that’s why you got Gwar, Avail, Smoke or Fire, Landmines, Government Warning, Direct Control, Down to Nothing, it just goes on.

The following short interview is via Winnipeg’s Uptown Magazine. Barnett reps the scene here in Richmond, VA.

KEEPING IT REAL
Strike Anywhere frontman Thomas Barnett sounds off on Richmond, Va.’s
hardcore scene and making the jump to the majors. by Jared Story

Keeping it real, Richmond, Va.’s Strike Anywhere keeps its tune-length in the one- to three- minute range, but the band sure says a lot in that span.

The punk/melodic hardcore act touches on topics such as women’s rights, animal rights, racism, police brutality, economics and globalization. While SA manages to contain its message to Ramones-like lengths, the band’s energetic, knowledgeable and very forthcoming frontman Thomas Barnett isn’t so easily limited. Here’s the very condensed version of Uptown’s conversation with him.

UPTOWN: Why does Richmond produce so many great bands? In addition to Strike Anywhere, you’ve got Gwar, Avail, Lamb of God and Municipal Waste…

BARNETT: You get this sense of aristocratic conservative, kind-of-militarized, Christian pro-capitalism culture (in Richmond). It doesn’t really ask any questions of itself, the newspaper is a joke owned by the tobacco companies, there’s not a lot of critical thinking on the surface of Richmond, Va. You just get a lot of celebration and grandeur, so anybody with a soul and half a brain is going to find some flaws in this. That’s why you get all the bands, that’s why you get the protest culture, that’s why you got Gwar, Avail, Smoke or Fire, Landmines, Government Warning, Direct Control, Down to Nothing, it just goes on.

UPTOWN: Your most recent album, Iron Front, was released on Bridge 9 Records and not Fat Wreck Chords (the label that released SA’s Dead FM in 2006). What happened?

BARNETT: Being from Richmond and the East Coast, we had some affection for the older Fat bands and a lot of affection for the current bands on the label, but we don’t necessarily relate to all of that — how do I put this delicately? Maybe the bloated, pro-drug celebrity of it all (referring to Fat’s owner/founder Fat Mike and his alter ego, Cokie the Clown). I understand it and still have a lot of love for Mike but, for our tastes, he’s going off the deep end with his caricature. Maybe I’m not smart enough to get the full picture and I’m going to be surprised and stoked with Cokie the Clown at the end of the road but, at the moment, that in itself is the answer I’d give you why we’re on Bridge 9 and not Fat.

UPTOWN: Would you make the jump to a major label if given the opportunity, like, say, Against Me! or Rise Against?

BARNETT: There have been label reps around us in the past and it just didn’t feel like there was any promise of continuity. I don’t think there is anything particularly unique in what we do, it’s simply a genre of music, but being able to have something that speaks to people and isn’t just a disposable product or the next big thing is important to us. Honestly, it would take more effort (on a major) to deal with and make the right choices. In some ways the independent community is a platform that makes the right choices for you. You’re working in concert with people with the same values; we wouldn’t have that luxury on a major label.

At the same time, we’re working in this realm of ideals; the physics of how you do your thing isn’t based on squeezing the most money out of the scene. You’re trying to elevate consciousness because that’s true to what you’re singing about and that’s why you’re here in the first place.

STRIKE ANYWHERE
June 9, 8 p.m., Royal Albert Arms
w/Bane, Touche Amore and Lowtalker

R. Anthony Harris

R. Anthony Harris

I created Richmond, Virginia’s culture publication RVA Magazine and brought the first Richmond Mural Project to town. Designed the first brand for the Richmond’s First Fridays Artwalk and promoted the citywide “RVA” brand before the city adopted it as the official moniker. I threw a bunch of parties. Printed a lot of magazines. Met so many fantastic people in the process. Professional work: www.majormajor.me




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