“The Times Have Never Changed” – Review

Thanks to Lord Routledge at the Faster and Louder blog for the very kind, very nuanced review of “The Times Have Never Changed” … here it is, in both english and spanish:

“The Fallout’s new album could not be any more of a soundtrack to this moment. It’s packed full of fist-pumping punk rock anthems railing against injustice, inequality, and the systemic oppression of the people. It’s music in the grand tradition of late ’70s/early ’80s political punk rock and the protest folk that inspired it. This Toronto-based band has been active since 2004 and strives to write “songs of unity, inclusion, solidarity and struggle”. It’s inspiring now to see so many people finally waking up to injustice in the world and getting angry about it. The Fallout have been angry from the start, and they’re ready as always to take up the fight.

Out on Rebel Time Records and Discos Machete, The Times Have Never Changed opens with the premise that the protest music of the past promised change that has yet to be delivered. That’s not a cynical statement so much as it is a message that the struggle has yet to be won. Over the course of 15 tracks, it’s clear that The Fallout reserves all of its cynicism for institutions of power, which must be resisted and confronted if real change is to ever occur. So don’t let the album title fool you. These guys are true believers in the idea that songs can change the world – or at least that songs have the power to inspire the people who will change the world. If you can watch authority clash with dissent at this moment and honestly side with authority, this is clearly not the band or album for you. The Times Have Never Changed rages against everything from endless wars to partisan politics to institutionalized homophobia to organized religion to police brutality to the marginalization of sex workers. It’s full of urgency, passion, and absolute conviction. Sometimes the whole idea of “political punk” can turn people off because the music tends to be generic at best or an afterthought at worst. But The Fallout is a throwback to a time when protest punk was just as much about the tunes as it was about the message. These guys write catchy songs that are tailor made for you to shout along with. The music is powerful and aggressive but also fun to listen to. And that’s the way it ought to be. If a song is going to inspire people, it has to be inspiring. Songs like “Red Light Union” and “Raise Your Flag” will have you fired up to run through a brick wall for the cause! This is “street” punk in the truest sense of the term – music for the people that is relevant to what’s actually happening on our streets.

Certainly when this album was being prepared for release, the band and labels had no idea it would arrive on the eve of a mass protest movement of historic proportions. But the injustices and inequality that ignited this movement have persisted for generations. I used to assume that most people had the sense to know that racism is wrong and fascism is bad. But in this modern-day Bizarro World where anti-fascists are suddenly “terrorists”  and not wanting cops to murder people of color is a “divisive” position, it’s clear that nothing is obvious. We can’t take for granted that sanity will prevail or that progress is inevitable. We must resist and keep resisting. And we will listen to awesome music while we do it.”

El nuevo álbum de Fallout es la banda sonora de los momentos que estamos viviendo. Está repleto de himnos punk rock que critican la injusticia, la desigualdad y la opresión sistémica en contra de la gente. Es música que se sitúa en la gran tradición del punk rock político de finales de los 70 / principios de los 80 y en la canción de protesta que lo inspiró. Esta banda originaria de Toronto ha estado activa desde 2004 y se esfuerza por escribir “canciones de unidad, inclusión, solidaridad y lucha”. Es inspirador ver a tanta gente que por fin está despertando frente a la injusticia en el mundo y que está enojada por eso. The Fallout han estado enojados desde el principio, y están listos como siempre para comenzar la pelea.

Producido por Rebel Time Records y Discos Machete, The Times Have Never Changed parte de la premisa que la música de protesta del pasado prometió un cambio que aún no se ha entregado. Esa no es una declaración cínica, sino un mensaje de que la lucha debe continuar. Al escuchar las 15 rolas, está claro que The Fallout reserva todo su cinismo para las instituciones de poder, a las que hay que resistir y confrontar para conocer un cambio real. Así que no dejes que el título del álbum te engañe. Estos tipos son verdaderos creyentes en la idea de que las canciones pueden cambiar el mundo, o al menos que esas canciones tienen el poder de inspirar a las personas que cambiarán el mundo. Si en estos momentos de tensión entre la autoridad y la disidencia estás del lado de la autoridad, esta banda no es para ti.

The Times Have Never Changed explota contra todo, desde guerras interminables hasta políticas partidistas, desde la homofobia institucionalizada hasta la religión organizada, desde la brutalidad policial hasta la marginación de las trabajadoras sexuales. Es un disco lleno de urgencia, de pasión y de absoluta convicción. A veces, la idea de un “punk político” puede enfriar a la gente. Pero The Fallout es un regreso a una época en la que el punk de protesta tenía que ver tanto con las melodías como con el mensaje. Estos chicos escriben canciones pegadizas hechas a medida para que grites junto con ellas. La música es poderosa y agresiva, pero también divertida de escuchar. Y así es como debe ser. Si una canción va a inspirar a la gente, tiene que ser inspiradora. ¡Canciones como “Red Light Union” y “Raise Your Flag” te harán enloquecer para atravesar una pared de ladrillos por la causa! Este es el punk “callejero” en el verdadero sentido del término: música para las personas que es relevante para lo que realmente está sucediendo en nuestras calles.

Seguramente, cuando se estaba preparando este álbum, la banda y los sellos no tenían idea de que estallaría un movimiento de protesta masiva de proporciones históricas. Pero las injusticias y la desigualdad que encendieron este movimiento han persistido por generaciones. Solía suponer que la mayoría de la gente sabía que el racismo y el fascismo está mal. Pero en este bizarro mundo moderno donde los antifascistas de repente son “terroristas” y donde puedes no odiar policías por asesinar a personas de color está claro que nada es obvio. No podemos dar por sentado que la cordura prevalecerá o que el progreso es inevitable. Debemos resistir y seguir resistiendo. Y escucharemos música increíble mientras lo hacemos.

Ojo X Ojo Interview

I’d like to thank Victor at OjoXOjo zine, out of Mexico City,  for allowing me to ramble on, a few months back, for far too long about various topics and issues! The Spanish version of this interview will appear in the next issue of OjoX Ojo . Victor is also the founder of Discos Machete, and Rebel Time Records is stoked to have worked with Discos Machete and RASH CDMX on the Urban Vietcong tour and to be  working with Discos Machete on at least a couple of projects: the new album from The Fallout and the new EP from Afterboltxetbike!

Hi, Randy. Can you introduce yourself? And, how did you get to punk, to oi, to politics?

For me personally there is a direct line from punk rock to left-radical politics. The fact that we are even having this conversation can be traced back to a Canadian punk band called The Subhumans. From Vancouver, they put out an album in 1980 called “Incorrect Thoughts.” I’m actually listening to it as I type this and the songs still resonate … songs about refugees, macho/patriarchal assholes, jocks, waging war on the powers that be, not fitting in / feeling cast out, urban guerrillas, etc. An album that changed my life.

Anyways, long story short, the bass player for the band, Gerry, was arrested in 1983 for actually being an urban guerrilla. Along with four others he was arrested for being part of a Canadian armed clandestine organization known as Direct Action. In the early 1980s, among other things, they fire-bombed several porn shops and bombed Litton Industries in Toronto and a Hydro substation in British Columbia. After their arrests they became known as The Vancouver Five or The Squamish Five. Gerry began writing a column for a lefty punk rock magazine called Maximum Rocknroll. I should add, this is all pre-internet, of course, so magazines and newsletters were how you got information about what was happening both in your own backyard and around the world.

From one of Gerry’s columns I got the address for the Vancouver 5 Defense Committee. I wrote them, sent in a contribution and began to receive their newsletter. That newsletter led me to other Canadian magazines such as Open Road and Resistance both of which covered armed resistance / left radical politics and those in turn led me to other like-minded American and European magazines such as Breakthrough, The Insurgent, De Knipselkrant, L’Internationale and Correspondances Revolutionaire.

Then, around 1988/1989, I joined the Toronto Anarchist Black Cross. The Toronto chapter of the Anarchist Black Cross was an active one, doing a lot of prisoner support work as well as publishing magazines like Reality Now and Wimmin Prisoners Survival Network. We supported prisoners financially and wrote them often. We did a lot of support work around Direct Action / The Vancouver  Five, as well as around the Red Guerrilla Resistance / Resistance Conspiracy Case Six and the United Freedom Front / Ohio 7, folks who had been arrested for being part of the armed clandestine movement in the United States. As well, people from Toronto Anarchist Black Cross were active in Native struggles, Anti-Racist Action, Love and Rage, anti-apartheid struggles, etc. Some of them were also active in the Toronto punk rock scene, playing in bands, putting on shows ,etc.

In 1990, my friend/comrade Ron Cooke and I started a magazine called Arm The Spirit. It focused mainly on armed struggle, anti-fascism, militant struggles, etc. We published the magazine for 10 years, covering organization such as the Red Army Faction, Red Brigades, GRAPO, Anti-Racist Action, PKK, Devrimici Sol, MRTA, Action Directe, FPMR, etc, etc.

Of interest, in the early 1990s we published a pamphlet in support of Yves Peirat, arrested for his involvement in the armed actions of the Francs-Tireurs Partisans in France. The FTP had claimed eleven actions against the National Front and it’s allies.

I should add that I originally met Ron through punk rock. Ron had been involved in putting together “Still Angry: The Compilation Tape And Fanzine – A Benefit For The Toronto ALFSG” and had written an article called “Multinationals, No Thanks!” for the fanzine that referenced Direct Action / Vancouver and Rote Zora / Revolutionary Cells. We met at a punk rock show and we immediately bonded over a shared love of political punk rock and left-radical politics.

Almost 40 years after hearing “Incorrect Thoughts, my love for political punk and left-radical politics continues!

How is the scene in your city? What are the important points of activity in Canada for punk and Oi? What bands do you recommend us?

Rebel Time Records is based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The scene here is good! Hamilton is a city of about 550,000 people and it is known as “The Steel City” because the city is home to two steel factories.

Musically, we are very fortunate to have a great venue/bar called “This Ain’t Hollywood.”  The bar first opened in 1893! In 2009 it was bought by some some Hamiltonians who have been very involved in the local music/punk scene forever. This bar is where we have hosted our Rebel Fest weekends, our Punk Rock Matinees and both local and international bands (Curasbun, Red Alert, Stage Bottles, Urban Vietcong and more). And, importantly, the show are all-ages and licensed. Also, on the last Sunday of every month the venue hosts an all-ages punk show known as Slamfest. (Note: since this interview was completed, the bar has been sold, and it is unlikely that it will host any more shows)

Also musically, we are fortunate to have some great record / music stores.

Hammer City Records “your friendly neighbourhood punk rock record shop” is run by people associated with the amazing Hamilton-based punk/hc record label Schizophrenic Records. An amazing selection of records, tapes, cds, zines, shirts, buttons, etc.

Crash Landing Music Store is also an integral part of the scene and is owned and operated by a couple who have been into punk since the beginning. Crash Landing is part music store, part record store. Lots of vinyl, drumsticks, amps, shirts, strings, kazoos, books, etc.

Politically, Hamilton is home to The Tower, an anarchist social space. The Tower hosts workshops, skill-shares, reading groups, discussion series, speaking engagements and more. As the organizers of the space say: “the space is not an end in and of itself, but a means to building our movements, strengthening our networks and expanding our capacities to resist.”

The Tower has come under attack by both the state and the far right. Organizers have been  harrassed, threatened, attacked and arrested,  The Tower itself has been attacked twice with broken windows and other damage.

The Tower remains undaunted and open for business! As they said after one attack:”We are not in the least afraid of ruins, for we carry a new world here in our hearts.”

Hamilton is also home to a branch of the IWW and there are also some organizations such as Hamilton Against Fascism and the Revolutionary Student Movement (based out of McMaster University in Hamilton)

Canada is a very big country (apparently it is the second largest nation in the world!) and I am not up-to-date on all the various punk scenes across Canada. 

But, for Rebel Time Records, I will say that Montreal, Quebec has always been an important ‘point of activity,’ both musically and politically. 

Musically, it has been home to some great  bands such as SCUM, Jeunesse Apatride, Esclaves Salaries, Killing Fields, Hold A Grudge, La Gachette,  The Prowlers, Street Troopers, Mayday, Action Sedition, Union Thugs, etc, etc. Montreal also hosts two fantastic music festivals: Oi Fest (every year in April ) and Revolution Fest (every year in October). 

Importantly, it is home to Dure Realitie, “a self-managed and militant Montreal association that wishes to promote a revolutionary culture through artistic outlets. DR books tours, promotes bands, releases records and publishes a webzine.  Rebel Time Records is very happy to have a good working relationship with Dure Realite. 

Politically, Montreal is home to strong and active chapters of RASH and IWW. Also strong, active and militant are organizations such as Montreal Sisterhood, Solidarity Across Borders (Solidarite Sans Frontieres) and Montreal Antifasciste.

In terms of bands that I would recommend? Well, I have mentioned some great Montreal bands already!

Insurgence Records, out of Toronto, Ontario, is currently releasing amazing material from some of my favorite Canadian bands: Streetlight Saints, Reckless Upstarts, Rough Cuts and The Prowlers.

Personally, I would highly recommend the “fiery anti-capitalist rant-hop” of Lee Reed. Lee is from Hamilton and is committed to revolutionary struggle and a better world, voicing anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist politics through hip-hop. Just amazing!

I must also highly recommend The Fallout. From Toronto and, yes, they are on Rebel Time Records. Catchy-as-heck political punk rock, songs of union, inclusion, solidarity and struggle. New album out in 2020!

Other bands that Rebel Time Records is fond of include: Barbed Wire Braces, Back Breaker, Alien Boys, Maldita, They Call It Chaos,  and Bring The War Home. A couple of bands that are not active now, but are still highly recommended are The Rebel Spell and The Class Assassins.

 Here in Mexico the political scene has lost strength. Is it the case in Canada?

Locally, I think the political scene is strong. In Hamilton, and more broadly, in our province of Ontario, there is a lot of political work being done, particularly around anti-fascism, gentrification and indigenous resistance.

I don’t we can talk about the local Canadian political / activist punk scene without talking about Lee Reed and without talking about the Union Thugs.

Lee Reed is from Hamilton, Union Thugs are from Montreal, both have played a lot of Rebel Time Records shows and both have, consistently, via their music and message and via on-the-ground / in-the-area organizing, contributed to a strengthening of the political scene.

Importantly, a review of the causes they have supported via benefit shows / fundraisers makes clear that indigenenous struggles and anti-colonial struggles are becoming a clear and present priority, particularly with the current situation around the Wet’suwet’en in the province of British Columbia and their struggle against pipelines. This is a situation which has seen numerous solidarity protests,demonstrations and blockades spring up in Hamilton and the rest of Ontario.

Lee deals in left-radical, anti-capitalist hip-hop / rant-hop. But, don’t worry, he does have punk rock credentials! His band Warsawpack was signed to Propaghandi’s record label in the early 2000s … as Lee says: “From my early days with Warsawpack.. getting signed with G7 Welcoming Committee.. and coming up in the Hamilton music community.. I’ve always had a great musical and personal relationship with punks and the punk community. The ethos and DIY spirit of punk has had as much of an influence on my writing and performance as hiphop has.”

Lee has been a big part of the anti-gentrification struggle here in Hamilton and he’s done a lot of the grunt work: organizing, making phone calls, knocking on doors, organizing meetings raising awareness, etc., with the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network. He also released a 5-song digital pay-what-you-can EP titled “The Steal City.” Every song deals with gentrification, rent strikes and the displacement of the working class. 100% of proceeds go to the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network (HTSN) and the East Hamilton Rent Strike Defense Fund.

You can check out “The Steal City” EP here … 

100% of proceeds to the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network (HTSN) and the East Hamilton Rent Strike Defense Fund.

Other struggles Lee has been involved in and and raised funds for include: Unist’ot’en Camp, Hamilton Pride Defenders Legal Fund, Tiny House Warriors, Stop Line 9 Legal Fund and SACHA (Sexual Assault Centre Hamilton and Area) and he has performed at many sites of resistance including Grassy Narrows, Stop Line 9, Wet’suwet’en Blockade Hamilton and the Supreme Court Rally for Chippewa of the Thames & Clyde River Inuit.

The Union Thugs are a “revolutionary folk / oi band,”comprised of members of Montreal punk/oi bands such as Action Sedition and Mayday. They play covers of working class songs by artists like Woody Guthrie, Utah Phillips, Angelic Upstarts, Brigada Flores Magon, etc., and consider themselves first and foremost as workers and then as musician. They are involved with the Industrial Workers Of The World (IWW). Some members are also involved in the record label Dure Realitie (a self-managed and militant Montreal association that wishes to promote a revolutionary culture through artistic outlets).

Union Thugs have played many benefit shows for antifascist, anticolonial, union, community organizing and student movement causes.

Although based in Quebec, they have played many shows and supported many struggles here in Ontario! Here in Hamilton, they played on the picket lines when the teachers at Mohawk College were on strike and on their most recent visit to Hamilton they were part of the blockade of the CP Rail Line, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en.

The band has played in Toronto at actions carried out by Parkdale Organize, a group of working class people who organize to build neigbourhood power in part of Toronto. In Quebec, they have played in Extinction Rebellion demonstrations, played a benefit for Cafe Refuge (a home for abandoned animals), and Harm Reduction Union, raised funds for COBP (Committee Opposed to Police Brutality), played the Festival Against Gentrification, the Day Against All Forms Of Oppression and the Protest Against Racism.

And, Union Thugs also played a benefit show to raise funds for La Biblioteca Social Reconstruir in Mexico City!

In Canada, how is the fight against fascism going? Who’s winning?

Again, because Canada is such a big country, and because there are many different anti-fascist struggles happening, I will just give a small over-view of the situation here in my hometown of Hamilton.

It is important to note that in 2018/2019, Hamilton had the highest rate of police-reported hate crimes in Canada. (97 incidents in 2018). Of course, there are also many hate crimes that are not reported to the police…

Hamilton seems to have become a real haven for far-right and neo-nazi organizing.

Racist, white nationalist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-muslim and homophobic organizations like the Proud Boys, Soldiers Of Odin, Yellow Vests, Northern Guard and Canadian Nationalist Party and Canadian Combat Coalition all rally in Hamilton, particularly in front of Hamilton City Hall.

Of course, they are met with resistance! Groups like Hamilton Against Fascism, Hamilton Queers Against Hate, No Hate In The Hammer and local anarchists are all very vocal and forceful in confronting and countering these hate groups.

For example, in March 2018, a few of the white nationalist groups like Soldiers Of Odin, Proud Boys and Northern Guard organized what they called a “Patriot Walk” on Locke Street in Hamilton.

This “Patriot Walk” was their response to an anti-gentrification demonstration by a black bloc of about 30 / 40 people that had occured a few days ealier. During this black bloc demonstration, some vandalism had occurred … rocks were thrown, windows were broken, etc. This led to about $100,000 in damages to businesses on Locke Street. Because the demonstration occurred immediately after an anarchist book fair organized by The Tower, arrests were made of people associated with The Tower and The Tower itself was vandalized.

Hamilton Against Facism, local anarchists, Hamilton District Labour Council, Shut Down Hate and other groups all worked together to counter this “Patriot Walk.” and came together under the banner “Locke Street Anti-Fascist Counter-Rally,” all together about 150 people.  There were a lot of riot police in the streets and the two sides were kept separated by the police. In spite of the heavy police presence, the Counter-Rally was able to disrupt the “Patriot Walk” and claim victory.

Older ‘old school’ neo-nazis like Paul Fromm and Marc Lemire also make Hamilton their home. These two were active in the Heritage Front in the 1990s. The Heritage Front was based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and was, at the time, the largest and most important white-supremacist organization in Canada.  In fact, Marc Lemire was one of the leaders of the Heritage Front. Toronto Anti-Racist Action, of which I was part, was formed at that time to fight the Heritage Front.

In 2019, it was discovered that Marc Lemire had been employed by the City of Hamilton over a decade, in the city’s IT department. After an investigation, he was let go from his job.  And, Paul Fromm ran for Mayor of Hamilton in the last local election.  Thankfully, he did not receive very many votes.

Also in 2019, the Hamilton Pride celebration, held in a local park, was attacked by a  group of far-right homophobes, christian fundamentalists, neo-nazis, and queer bashers.  There was a big brawl and the police did nothing but arrest queers who were defending themselves against these haters.

Interestingly, some of the Pride participants (the anarchist “pink bloc”) had created a huge thirty-foot wide, nine-foot tall black banner that they placed directly between the haters and the Pride celebration.

In the days following the attack, there was a lot of repression and more arrests, particularly of anarchists associated with The Tower. Queer activists / anarchists like Cedar Hopperton were targeted, harassed and arrested. Of course, there were many acts of solidarity, counter-demonstrations and Days of Action in support of those who were arrested and who’s only crime was defending themselves against attack.

Collectively, those arrested are known at the “Pride Defenders.” While some charges against them have been dropped, some of the Pride Defenders still have court dates coming up.

This has been a very small and incomplete look at the fight against fascism in Hamilton. If you would like more information, I would suggest a couple of websites:

Anti-Racist Canada

North Shore Counter Info

How was Rebel Time Records born? Why did you decide to create a record label? How were the beginnings?

Rebel Time Records started in 2008. At the time, I was working with Insurgence Records. Insurgence Records focused strictly on skinhead and hardcore bands (and their respective scenes) that had something to say. Of course, a fantastic label!

But, there were also some great punk bands with something to say that were maybe not such a good ‘fit’ for Insurgence. I remember that bands like The Rebel Spell and Broadcast Zero contacted Insurgence Records hoping to be ‘signed,’ however, these bands were more punk than skinhead or hardcore. Sadly, there was no home for these bands…

So, after some discussion with Phil, one of the guitarists with Broadcast Zero, we decided to create a record label that would deal in socially-conscious, politically-charged, left-radical political punk rock. Our motto would be “rebel tunes for rebel times.”

Initially, our focus was on Canadian bands such as Broadcast Zero, The Rotten, Cambridge, The Rebel Spell, The Class Assassins, etc, however, lately, we have been honoured to be able to work with like-minded bands such as Spanner (militant ska-punk from England), Urban Vietcong (street/oi/core from Italy) and Afterboltxebike (hc punk from Mexico).

To date, we have just over 20 releases, with more to come! Often, these releases are co-productions with like-minded labels such as Dure Realitie, Fire And Flames, Anfibio Records Casual Records, Rusty Knife and others. All labels well worth supporting!

You have edited very heterogeneous bands: either geographically (Italy, Canáda, México, Great Britain, etc.) or musically (punk, Oi !, anarchopunk). How do you select them? What attracts you?

Someone famous once said “there are only two kinds of music – good music and bad music.” Of course, Rebel Time Records only deals in “good” music!  

We are a political record label, so we look for bands who’s lyrics and message are socially-conscious, left-radical and politically-charged. Bands with inspirational, incendiary and insightful music and lyrics are what we are attracted to … songs of protest and resistance, songs of love and rage!  

We are very fond of the Pete Seeger quote: “the people are on the march and must have songs to sing” … 

Also, we look for bands that “walk the talk,” bands that are active in their local scenes (musically and politically). For example, members of Mexico’s Afterboltxebike are active in Communistas Unidos, produce a political punk fanzine (Incendiario) and make documentaries on the Mexican political punk scene.  Members of Spanner take an active part in running a local social center / community co-op called Kebele in Bristol, England. Members of Urban Vietcong are active in the social centers Ex Caserma Occupata and Centro Politico 1921 in their hometown of Livorno. The Fallout are active union members.

And, because the struggle is world-wide, we don’t limit ourselves geographically. Our most recent releases are from Italy, Mexico, England and Canada. While we are separated by distance, we are joined together and united by a common struggle, vision and purpose.

I think Pete Seeger summed it up best: “Songs are funny things. They can slip across borders. Proliferate in prisons. Penetrate hard shells. I always believed that the right song at the right moment could change history.”

Hopefully, Rebel Time Records is releasing some of those “right” songs! That is our mission!

As a record label, how has the 100% digital change been? How has the business evolved (in a non-profit sense of the word) with the arrival of platforms such as Spotify? Why did you choose Bandcamp to spread your music?

For me personally, Rebel Time Records has always been more about the music and the message than about the medium. It’s more about ‘propaganda’ than profit. And, anyways, there is no profit!  Rebel Time Records is a labor of love and a very expensive hobby…

The almost 100% switch to digital has been both a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, now it is much much easier for Rebel Time Records to get our music and message into the hearts,minds and ears of people.  As a means of ‘spreading the  gospel,’ as a way of spreading left-wing political ideas, these digital media platforms are very efficient and cost-effective.

Services that the label uses like Spotify, Youtube, Facebook, Itunes,  Bandcamp, podcasts, etc, etc,all provide simple, convenient, almost instantaneous and generally free / low-cost ways for people to access our bands. So, that is a positive evolution for sure!

And, as a ‘consumer’, you don’t really need money or a turntable or CD player or cassette player to listen to the music, just an internet connection and your phone or tablet or computer. 

And, as a record label, using, for example, a service like Bandcamp, we don’t really need money to disseminate and spread our agitprop! Also a very positive evolution. Download some or our releases for free at our Bandcamp  site!

On the other hand, while ‘free’ is good, unfortunately, money is a necessary evil and the switch to (almost) 100% digital has ensured that there is now even less of it coming in than ever before.  There are still bills to pay!

Streaming services pay literally pennies per song play / download. Some  pay even less than pennies per song play. 

Most importantly, I think these miniscule payments devalue and diminish the hard work,energy, effort and ‘blood, sweat and tears’ that bands put into their craft and their art. 

Being in a band is an expensive proposition. Instruments, recording time, rehearsal studio time, gas for the van, etc, etc. It all costs money and nothing is free.

Well, nothing is free it seems, except for the music. 

So, please supports the bands! Attend a show, buy a shirt, buy a CD or cassette, pick up some vinyl! And, speaking of vinyl and cassettes…

We talked about digital music, but on the other hand you keep producing discs in vinyl format and, even stranger, in cassette. Why?

Ha…yes, that is a very good question! It is a question I ask myself almost daily!

The short answer is that there is still a demand for ‘physical’ product. At least for now.

While digital / streaming is cheap, easy and convenient, it does not allow for ‘ownership.’  

Digital media is not tangible, physical, or tactile, and there is less to ‘experience.’ 

You can’t hold a Spotify playlist in your hands and admire artwork and liner-notes as you can with a record ( or cassette).   A Bandcamp download doesn’t allow you to look for those little hidden messages sometimes found in the run-off grooves of a record. And, you certainly can’t have fun browsing through a record store for something to add to your Itunes collection! 

Fans ( and bands!)  like to have something they can hold onto. And, I understand that. And, I will say, that it is generally fans of a certain (older) age who are interested in holding onto a physical product (and, holding onto the past!)  I think the younger generation is quite content with digital media, it is all they know. My son is 14 and has only ever ‘consumed’ music via computer, tablet or phone … he know’s of no other way.

But, as noted, physical product can be very expensive. While CDs are inexpensive to produce, sales of CDs are going down. And, while vinyl is very expensive to produce, sales are going up! 

So, really, for a record label, while there is less and less money coming in from digital sales ( and CD sales ), there does need to be more money going out for physical / vinyl product.  This can be hard on the wallet! (cartera / billetera)

So, yes, sometimes, as a cheaper way to produce a physical product, we will make a cassette! Cassettes are a bit a niche market for sure, but they are a kind of ‘unique’  and inexpensive method of providing fans with something they can hold in their hands.

Returning to your productions: how was the meeting with Afterboltxebike? What do you like in that band?

I was first introduced to Afterboltxebike in 2016, after I saw two of their videos on Facebook. The videos were for the songs “Pavilichenko” and “De Que Lado Estas?”
Musically, the songs were very catchy and memorable with sing-a-long choruses and the lyrics (about class struggle and anti-fascism) were righteous. Good stuff!! I had to know more about this band!

I got in touch with Diego, the singer/guitarist and did a bit of an interview with him for the Rebel Time Records blog. I was impressed to learn that Diego was not only a musician, but also produced a zine (Incendiario Zine) and was working on video documentaries about music and politics in Mexico.

When Afterboltxebike released their 8-song digital demo in 2018, we were happy to put it up on the Rebel Time Records bandcamp page so that hopefully the demo would reach more people.

Now, in 2019, Rebel Time Records (with Incendiario Zine) is very proud to have released a cassette version of digital demo. The songs have been remixed a little bit…

What attracted me to Afterboltxebike was, of course, the music, but especially the lyrics. Songs about waking up very early in the morning to go to a shitty job,songs about ETA and YPJ/YPG,songs about anti-fascism and anti-colonialism, and, especially, a song about reading!! How many bands have done a song about the importance of reading?? For me personally, literature/books/zines are very important and a big part of my life, so it was inspiring to hear the band sing: “Read to study/ Read to learn/ Read for liberation.” Go read a book!

What also impressed me (and is very important to me) is that Afterboltxebike “walks the talk” … Diego not only produces a political punk zine and makes punk documentaries, but he (and, at the time) other members of the band were active in local left-wing political organizations and struggles. Like DOA said: “talk minus action equals zero.”

And, lastly, for me personally, working with Diego and Afterboltxebike has given me the opportunity to learn a lot more about the Mexican punk scene, Mexican history and the current political situation in Mexico. For this I am very grateful…

What are the other activities of Rebel Time Records besides producing records? Concerts? Fanzine?

One of the other activities is a radio show called Rebel Time Radio, on CKMS 102.7 FM out of Waterloo, Ontario. Mike (and sometimes Dan and Elisha) spin tunes every Wednesday at 9PM.

It is a punk rock show with a (very!) political flavor. We play a wide variety of punk, hardcore, ska and oi while having a laugh at politicians and rich people. We’re anti-fascist, against sexism, want to wipe out homophobia and transphobia, and generally can’t stand it when powerful people take advantage of others. In sum, these are rebel tunes for rebel times!

We did, in the past, publish two issues of a fanzine called The Rebel Times. You can find both issues here: The Rebel Times … 

Of course, we also host concerts.

We do host an occasional “Punk Rock Matinee” at a club in Hamilton called This Ain’t Hollywood. These shows happen on Sunday afternoons and are all-ages.

Also, for 3 years in a row we hosted a two-night event called Rebel Fest, with the motto “Our Music! Our Message!”.

Now, generally, we do a Spring Offensive tour and a Fall Offensive tour with the aim to support and spotlight bands that have something to say and something to sing about. Most recently, we were very happy to have Urban Vietcong from Italy play our Fall Offensive 2019 shows!

What are your projects?

An ongoing project of mine is the Arm The Spirit archives – an online archive preserving the history of left-wing / left-radical / revolutionary / autonomist / anti-imperialist / militant protest movements.

From 1990 to 2000 I was part of a small collective in Toronto that published a magazine called Arm The Spirit – For Revolutionary Resistance.

Over the course of those 10 years, we received many, many publications from all over the world and we saved most of them. So, now I am scanning and uploading those publications to the internet.

At the moment I have uploaded 1,800+ documents / magazines / papers. You can find material in many languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Turkish, Japanese, etc) and covering many topics (anti-fascism, armed struggle, political prisoners, militant struggles, etc).

You can find more info / links at the Arm The Spirit blog

And, I have recently received a big archive of movement material from the Dragonfly Farm (a commune here in Ontario) and it contains left-wing material from the 1960s onwards, so I am also working on scanning and uploading that material.

You can find more info at the Dragonfly Archive

Something you want to add?

Thank you OjoXOjo and RASH CDMX for doing the interview and for helping to keep print zines and political music alive! Thanks for your ongoing commitment to spreading left-radical politics!

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read the interview! 

Thanks to everyone who supports record labels such as Discos Machete, Dure Realitie, Incendiario and Rebel Time Records and  everyone who supports the politics that these labels are based on. Thanks to everyone who supports the bands that are on these labels. It is greatly appreciated! 

 ¡Ponte trucha! Vivan Los Sonidos de la Revolucion!

The Fallout – The Times Have Never Changed

… “the people are on the march and must have songs to sing” (Pete Seeger) …

… “just like us you want to figure out / the pain and injustice all about / we picked up our guitars / and we wrote some songs / about protecting rights / and correcting all the wrongs” (The Fallout) …

Don’t care about the Bob Dylan you quote / Books you’ve read or poems you wrote / I see suffering I see no hope / The times have never changed / That’s what drove Phil Ochs insane / The times have never changed / Protest songs of ’67 / Against a war you never ended / All that posing and pretending / The times have never changed / That’s what drove Phil Ochs insane / The times have never changed / The more things change / The more they stay the same / Happens time and time and time again / All I know for sure is we have endless, endless war / The times have never changed

… here it is … proudly presented to you by Discos Machete and Rebel Time Records … “The Times Have Never Changed” … 15 tracks of partisan and unapologetically political agitp(r)op punk rock … songs of unity, inclusion, solidarity and struggle … it’s movement music, it’s people’s songs … and it’s currently a free / pay what you can download on bandcamp … on all other digital platforms shortly, followed by CDs … dig it …

… 15 balazos de punk melódico y político … canciones de amor, rabia y resistencia, de unión, de inclusión, de solidaridad y de lucha …

… ¡Estos son los sonidos de la revolución! …

It’s happening again / Our bleeding hearts are overflowing / Spilling out into the streets / You tell me one more time / No one can change the world / That’s exactly what they say / Every time we come close to overthrowing / All our despair they hope to shatter our dream of global unity / No one is free until everyone is free / To liberate a world oppressed all we really need is / One more movement by the people / One last struggle for the world / Let this be a movement without borders – without nationality / A revolution without gender / – without sexuality / A struggle for all people all races all ethnicities / No segregation – liberation without triumph in defeat

The Fallout – The Times Have Never Changed

Coming soon, and hot on the heels of the recently released and well -received 4-song EP “Raise Your Flag,” is The Fallout’s 14-song full-length “The Times Have Never Changed.”

It’ll be out on Rebel Time Records and Discos Machete.

Discos Machete is a new record label based in Mexico City.

The label’s raison d’etre? “Machete Records is an independent label based in Mexico City. From our barricade we seek to support, promote and disseminate anti-authoritarian, anti-fascist and politically committed musical projects. Long live the sounds of the revolution!”

This will be The Fallout’s first long-player since their 2007 release”Dismantlement” which came out on Insurgence Records.

As always, you can expect 14 tracks of hard-hitting, catchy-as-hell, sing-along, three-chord punk rock coupled with well-crafted, well-articulated, socially-conscious lyrics. Songs of union, inclusion, solidarity and struggle.

From their bio: Taking their cue from Pete Seeger’s quote “the people are on the march and must have songs to sing,” The Fallout mete out partisan and unapologetically political agitp(r)op punk rock.

And, as one astute reviewer noted about the band: “The Fallout make you wanna get up, dance and then go and do nasty but well-deserved things to animal abusers / fascists / cops while happily humming one of their delightful ditties.”

Here’s one of the new tracks:

Dead eyes with a cold blank stare Black heart doesn’t feel or care Driven only by market share and a need to survive Figure heads full of shit and lies When are we gonna realize We don’t have any rights if we don’t organize Set us up, set us up just to knock us down Gotta run, gotta run run you out of town Gotta gotta gotta gotta get rid of you There’s only one thing left to do Gotta gotta gotta gotta get rid of you Profits first and people last Take advantage of the working class Hysteria created en masse to conquer and divide Lapdog with authority A governing minority Save money through austerity so viscous and bile Some day we’ll finally see Damage and depravity We’ll drag you through the streets as you beg for mercy In the rubble and the decay As your system fades away We’ll rebuild the ash and clay in solidarity

And, what the heck, here’s another new track that will be on the platter:

It’s happening again Our bleeding hearts are overflowing Spilling out into the streets You tell me one more time No one can change the world That’s exactly what they say Every time we come close to overthrowing All our despair they hope to shatter our dream of global unity No one is free until everyone is free To liberate a world oppressed all we really need is One more movement by the people One last struggle for the world Let this be a movement without borders – without nationality A revolution without gender – without sexuality A struggle for all people all races all ethnicities No segregation – liberation without triumph in defeat

And, hey, while you’re waiting for the new album, please feel free to listen to / download (for free) the band’s previous albums which have just been completely re-mixed, re-mastered and re-released:

Dismantlement (2007 / 2019)

What Is Past Is Prologue (2004 / 2018)

Turning Revolution Into Money (2004 / 2018)

Afterboltxebike – 3-Song EP Out Soon

In association with Incendiario Fanzine, Discos Machete, Dure Realitie and possibly one or two other like-minded labels, we’re happy to announce the forthcoming release of a 3-song EP from Afterboltxebike!

INCENDIARIO is a political hardcore punk and straight-edge zine from Mexico. You can read a fantastic article about the zine (and download PDFs of the first four issues of the zine at DIY Conspiracy.

DISCOS MACHETE is a new label out of Mexico . From their statement of purpose: “Machete Records is an independent label based in Mexico City. From our barricade we seek to support, promote and disseminate anti-authoritarian, anti-fascist and politically committed musical projects. Long live the sounds of the revolution!”

DURE REALITIE is:  “a self-managed and militant Montreal association that wishes to promote a revolutionary culture through artistic outlets. We believe that a label that shows clearly its political positions will support, promote and develop scenes where all forms of discrimination and reactionary ideas won’t be tolerated. Dure Réalité wishes to act as a bridge between Europe and North America. We will contribute to the exposure of local, national and international bands and collectives. The objective of this project is to offer logistical support to bands who wish to tour in Canada, the United-States and different European countries, as a support for the production of new material, musical promotion and diffusion for bands who are clearly antifascist, anticapitalist and/or feminist. Centered more particularly on punk, hardcore, skinhead, reggae, hip-hop and graffiti counter-cultures. Dure Réalité will offer its services for event organizing, distribution, promotion, musical production as well as a media platform.”

On the upcoming EP, you’ll get songs dealing with class consciousness, working class revolution and hating cops, ICE and the National Guard, all done up in Afterboltxebike’s inimitable style.

The band’s first Rebel Time Records release, the 8-song “No Pasaran” cassette was described thusly:

“Anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, anti-racist, and one hundred percent communist punk from Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The cover shows the band sitting in front of a table spread out with several classic punk records including Black Flag, Bad Religion, Operation Ivy, and Sick Of It All but their sound is more of the vein of street punk and at their toughest reminiscent of early Fucked Up. The lyrics are all in Spanish and are what you would expect from an anti-authoritarian band with subjects such as killing fascists, living in an exhausting working class society, and the importance of reading (“read to study, read to learn, read to liberate!”) As part of the proletariat, I identify with much of what they’re pissed about, particularly the lyrics in “No Pasaran”: “I’m sick of waking up at 4AM day after day, not to go running, not to eat, not even to watch TV… moonlighting not for fun but for necessity…” That’s me! Good stuff! –Juan Espinosa (Razorcake)

Here’s “De Que Lado Estas” from the “No Pasaran” cassette:

No tengo duda estoy convencido Que mis patrones son mis enemigos No aspiro a ser como uno de ellos Mi fuerza esta con los obreros Las cadenas que te tienen atado Están en tu cabeza, están en tus manos Nuestra trinchera te está esperando Nuestro camino está muy claro Revolución del proletariado Nuestro sendero está iluminado Por los comunistas que han luchado ¿De qué lado estas? ¿Del patrón o del proletariado?

I have no doubt, I am convinced That the bosses are my enemies I do not aspire to be like one of them My strength is with the workers The chains that have you tied They are in your head, they are in your hands Our struggle is waiting for you You are with the bosses or with the exploited ones Our way is very clear Revolution of the proletariat Our path is illuminated By the Communists who have fought What side are you on? Of the boss or the proletariat What side are you on?