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Bush league


BY Evan Munday

Members of the Florida band Nation of Suspects wear their politics on their sleeves. Their motto:“Fight for the Right!”

Upon entering my local record shop, I noticed a striking new album. Rock Against Bush? The US president seemed to be under some sort of musical assault on the cover. I flipped the CD over. Excellent bands. Rancid. Bad Religion. Dropkick Murphys. But why are we rocking against Bush? Somebody’s got to fight terror. Do these people have an aversion to tax cuts? Funny, I didn’t know No Doubt were communists. Well, now I know who’s rocking against Bush, but who’s rocking for him?

Michale Graves

Graves is a former member of cult band the Misfits. In his new band, Gotham Road, he often performs with a skull painted on his face. The music has more to do with vampires than politics, but Graves has acquired a reputation as a columnist for the website conservativepunk.com. His support for George W. Bush may have caused some European venues to cancel Gotham Road shows this fall.

“John Kerry,” he insists in his column, “will help the enemy kill all of us.” Graves supports the war in Iraq, and is none too happy with punkvoter.com, a rival political website started by a group of leftie punk bands. “[It’s] anti-American and negative…. They’re not encouraging youth to vote, they’re encouraging youth to vote Democrat,” he says. But his old-school DIY ethic and disillusionment with corporate rock are hardly a vote of confidence in big business.

A.P. (American Patriot) Magee

Magee was the driving political force behind the Cleveland-based band, the Anti-Socialists (now disbanded), who flew the United Nations flag with a big X through it during their shows. He is better known as the radio host of WRUW 91.1 Cleveland’s “Domestic Terrorism,” a show that combines the punk rock of Murphy’s Law and Subhumans with audio clips from Pat Buchanan and other conservative commentators.

Further right than George W. Bush, Magee believes in small government, hates the UN, and thinks Christianity should play a fundamental role in government. “The government has its own agenda, which is not constitutional at all. It is we the people who are supposed to keep the government in line.” As for his leftie punk colleagues, Magee has sympathy: “A lot of these people, whether in bands or not, are good people with good intentions. They’ve just been suckered by the utopian lies of communism.”

Johnny Ramone

The late axe-man for the Ramones—the man whose sound socialist rock idols the Clash tried to emulate—was a vocal, NRA-supporting Republican.

“Bonzo Goes to Bitburg,” which chastises Ronald Reagan for his 1985 visit to the German gravesite of Nazi stormtroopers, was renamed after complaints from Johnny. The song became “My Brain is Hanging Upside-Down.”

Dave Smalley

Frontman for a number of influential punk bands, Smalley sang with All, legendary “emo-core” band Dag Nasty, and is lead singer for Down By Law, an innovative punk band noted for heartfelt lyrics and great melodies. The former straightedge singer with a master’s in political science now considers himself a “Gonzo Conservative.”

Most of Down By Law’s lyrics are politically ambiguous (although “This is the New Breed” attacks Bill Clinton). But in his column, Smalley describes the UN as a “poorly run, monolithic bureaucracy” and tax hikes as “demeaning to the human spirit.” To illustrate his views on affirmative action, he uses a musical analogy: “The Beatles were four white men. Should they have had to hire ‘someone of colour’ to fill a quota?”

Nation of Suspects

Nation of Suspects is a relatively new and small hardcore band from St. Petersburg, Florida. They are notable as one of the few punk bands to wear their conservativism on their sleeves. They have built a reputation for wild stage shows and a fierce hatred of liberals. Their motto: “Fight for the Right!”

Songs like “Liberals Can Die” and the future Iraqi Top 40 hit, “America: 2, Iraq: 0” outline their political stance. Consider these lyrics from the song: “Beat ’em till they couldn’t take no more/ Blood and teeth splattered on the floor/ Meanwhile on our nation’s soil/ The sheep cried ‘No blood for oil.’”

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Evan Munday, who coordinated the 2004 Great Canadian Literary Hunt, also draws and sometimes writes. He is internationally renowned for producing The Amazing Challengers of Unknown Mystery, a comic book chronicling the lives of Waterloo, Ontario’s greatest superheroes. He lives in Toronto.


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