Here’s an interview that The Fallout did with Free Society zine ( out of Peterborough, Ontario ) around 2007, just before the release of their “Dismantlement” CD.
Photographs are from the Hamilton Rock Against Racism show mentioned in the interview.
The Fallout has been together for a bunch of years and you’ve got something like 6 records to your credit. What, if anything, keeps you guys fired-up and moving forward or inspires you to keep knocking out the ‘socially conscious’ punk rock?
Well, we really only have 2 full length releases on Longshot. As our earlier CD’s were independent and now out of print, we have repeated older songs on the first 2 CD’s for Longshot. Our current release is an EP of covers. So we’re not as prolific as it may seem. But we’re just 3 guys that like to rock out more than anything. We get bored fast; hey our songs are quite short, so new songs keep it fresh. We may be ‘socially conscious’ but it’s just that we write about what we know or care about. We write about our lives, our concerns and our country. We don’t write about US foreign policy or fast cars.
Yeah, I’ve noticed that quite a few of your songs deal less with international issues and more with local specific issues and concerns; things like gun violence in Scarborough, or migrant workers in the Niagara Region or even your paean to the ‘Equalizing X Distort’ punk rock radio show. Is this The Fallout taking the “Think Globally, Act Locally” maxim to heart musically?
I guess we think that local action everywhere amounts to global action. More than anything we sing about concerns we have and can hopefully do something about as Canadians. I can’t vote Bush out of office but I can be outraged by governments I can vote out who have enacted legislation that is clearly stacked against workers as is the case with migrants in our new song ‘Leaving Ontario’.
I see a tendency to focus on US crimes while thinking Canada doesn’t have its’ own shame to bear. It’s easier to point fingers than to look in the mirror. It seems more productive to rage about something we can affect with our votes and our numbers.
OK, so you’ve got a new CD coming out on Insurgence Records this year…I’m guessing we can expect more of the ‘politically charged’ anthems you guys have become known for?
The new CD has lots of punk attitude and challenging lyrics. We move in a few new directions too. We try and draw some connections between animal advocacy, abolition and civil rights. We even do a cover of ‘Strange Fruit’, a song made popular by Billie Holiday about a lynching. The problems we’ve been having with the RAR shows and these fascist-minded boneheads seem to confirm that there’s a need to get these messages out there.
The Fallout played a Rock Against Racism show in Hamilton a little while back. A thread on the Stormfront neo-nazi message board trash-talked that show and the bands involved and one bonehead disparaged that “The Fallout even call themselves ‘punk rock’. They’re anarchists, which means they love the idea of no borders (which would mean one world government and 1 race)” Is this really an accurate description of the band?!
I think we’ve been called communists as well and that we support ‘terror’ groups like ARA. Considering that our lyrics are on our website it should be plain for anyone to see that we are not promoting any particular ideology. We have an old song “Fists of Fury’ that states our position on thug-minded fascists and groups like ARA that react to them. We are clearly anti-violence. We certainly can sympathize with ARA’s cause but not all of their actions. We certainly have some anarcho-syndicalist themes. We are singing about unfair practices or situations some workers in our communities have had to deal with. These are stories that are not well known but are very telling about how are society is really organized. I think most people, regardless of political inclination, would empathize with the unjust conditions some workers face. How anyone can read so far beyond that is incredible, but I guess for these boneheads, reading at all is a first step.
They got the punk rock part right.
There are a couple of songs on the new CD – Meat Market and Compassion Over Killing – that talk about animal liberation. I’m assuming you guys are all vegetarians and concerned with Animal Rights? Any favorite veg/vegan recipes?
Yes, we are all vegetarian. We see it more as animal advocacy.
‘Meat Market’ is stolen from the book ‘Meat Market’ by Eric Marcus. ‘Meat Market’ is an honest look at factory farming and what can reasonably be done to promote animal advocacy. At http://www.vegan.com you can even download Eric’s first book ‘Vegan – the new ethics of eating’. ‘Compassion over Killing’ is a non-profit animal advocacy group http://www.cok.net. Hopefully, the idea that factory farming is cruel and unnecessary will continue to spread. I feel that anyone, vegetarian or not, can agree that current factory farming practices are not acceptable. Eric Marcus makes the case that the need to abolish factory farming today has analogies to the abolition of slavery in the 19th century. Just as abolitionists were likely racist, they could accept that slavery was wrong. Today, it seems reasonable to accept that factory farming is wrong, even if you consume animal products. It shouldn’t be so hard to create protection for animals against such cruelty.
There is a new book out, Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I haven’t got it yet but I understand it’s quite good.
The Fallout, or members of The Fallout, have been instrumental in putting together the (pretty much) annual Anti-Warped Tour show in Toronto and you do a song called “Peace, Love And Anarchy” that extols the virtues of this event. What’s the story behind the show? What’s it meant to be?
Jeremy has put together the Annual Anti-Warped tour over the last 10 years. Last year there was difficulty getting a venue but Jeremy will hopefully do it again this year. Anti-Warped is a celebration of independent music. While primarily punk, Jeremy has tried to always include other genres as well. The problem has been that these big shows fail to give an opportunity for local independent bands to have a large showcase. They end up commercially co-opted. So the punk thing has always been to DIY and now it has become a cool alternative on or about the date of the actual tour in Toronto for Jeremy to do the Anti-Warped.
The song ‘Peace, Love, Anarchy’ takes the frustration of being in a punk band and watching the Blink182′s and Sum41′s of this world cash in and dilute the very music you love. But as always there is Anti-Warped to remind us the entire strong, supportive local scene that makes being in a band all worthwhile.
You’ve got a song called “Raise The Minimum Wage” – now that the minimum wage has actually been increased by a whole 25 cents (while the MPPs increased their own salaries at the same time by 25%), will you still be playing this tune, or is it “mission accomplished?”
I guess we should rent a battleship for a photo op, eh? Heh heh. The fact that we need a minimum wage suggests the current economic structure is suspect. We have to prevent by law Capitalists from impoverishing workers. The market may be free but by no means fair. And who opposes the increase? The constituents of the members of parliament? I don’t think anyone who casts a vote is going to be against an increase in pay. This song suggests there are other constituents that the government is listening to. So I think we’ll keep playing the song for a while yet.
Last year you also released a CD called Turning Point which is The Fallout covering a bunch of well-known and not-so-well-known early Canadian punk rock bands. Was this a way for you guys to pay homage to the bands that got you into punk rock?
It hopefully accomplished that and more. When we came up with idea for the CD I saw a need to inform younger fans of the rich Canadian punk tradition. I see so many kids with US and UK bands on their t-shirts. At the last Hamilton RAR show I remember seeing Dead Kennedy’s and Exploited tees. I want to see Youth Youth Youth and Young Lion shirts!
In the last few years we’ve seen Punk History Canada , re-issues from a lot of bands, DOA’s early catalogue, CD’s from Jan Haust’s OPM label, merch through Stacey Case. So it’s starting to happen which is great.
How D.I.Y is The Fallout and why….my understanding is that you do everything yourselves, even to the point of having built your own recording studio from scratch?!
It has become fairly easy for bands to be completely DIY. Technology allows for the easy creation and sharing of music. We want to promote DIY as a way of self-empowerment. If you aren’t getting what you want then get off your ass and make it happen. There’s no reason you can’t. Our studio, The Farm House, is simply our collection of gear at my home. I hope to have a self contained structure to allow other bands to use it too. I hope it can happen this year.
The recording gear we have is professional. We have built gear through resources like http://www.groupdiy.com and http://www.DIYfactory.com. Anyone with a library card can learn all they need to do most anything.
Everyone in The Fallout contributes more than just musically. Jeremy is a great graphic artist and booking agent and Bob takes care of our business and legal needs. I twiddle the knobs and handle the soldering iron. We do as much for ourselves as we can. We work with people, like Insurgence Records, who understand and share our ethic.
Finally, any local bands that you would recommend?
Some bands that we’ve played with locally are Angels, Saints and Heroes, BlackJacket, The Rotten. Across Canada , Knucklehead, The Prowlers, Rebel Spell and The Riptide. These bands are all keeping punk alive and deserve support when they come to your town.