Interview # 9 – Agnostic Front
Interviewed by Jerry Actually and Jimmy Bile – entered on or around March 05, 2002
This interview takes place with Jimmy Colette and Mike Gallo of Agnostic Front in Portland, OR on 2/12/02 outside on the street at the Meow Meow. It was bit cold out, but a good interview none the less. It is after all, Agnostic Front.:
Jimmy Colette Being around a long time.
JA (Laughs) Enough Said.
JA A lot of Bands have been influenced by Agnostic Front, who are your influences?
JC I would have to say (pointing to Jimmy Bile) this guy’s shirt right here, G.B.H. – definitely an influence.
Mike Gallo Negative Approach
JC I would have to say, the Business, Cock Sparrer.
JA A lot of old Oi stuff?
JC A lot of old Oi. A lot of old Punk and a lot of early New York scene stuff like Urban Waste, Close To O… editor (a guy walks up and tells Mike and Jimmy, “Just so you know, bands get free water in the concessions.”
JA Wow, what a deal!
JA On Police State off of “Riot Riot Upstart” you have a pretty negative opinion of Giuliani. Has that changed in light of his publicly well accepted handling of the September 11th attacks?
JC Nooo, Definitely Not. You know the whole city turned against him for the last 5 months before that happened. Everybody turned against him and he’s really a scumbag. His true colors showed through. He just happened to be in the World Trade Center when it happened and got out and you know of course he’s in a position of power so he’s gonna take charge.
JA Saving face in light of tragedy?
JC Same thing if Mike (Gallo) was in charge, if you were in charge, if I was in charge, you’d take charge. That’s your job and that’s what you gotta do and people are going to listen to you cause you’re in charge. So of course you’re going to have the leadership qualities. And that’s what he gets paid to do. Just cause he’s a scumbag… and um you could say he’s a good leader.
JA So even despite that, you give him some credit for being a good leader at the time?
JC Obviously. Ya know anybody who is a leader, is a natural leader usually. It’s just you know, the guy’s a scumbag. It doesn’t change anything. Now he’s a hero. He’s a world wide hero and he doesn’t really deserve it. He got picked to be our mayor cause he was supposed to be a leader, ok of some sort. Whether he was the leader of the prosecutor’s office or whatever he was, he’s some sort of leader so he did what he was elected to do. So he shouldn’t be no hero.
JA Fair enough.
JA Prior to 1995 you had been absent from Agnostic Front for over a decade. What led to your early departure and how did you fill those ten years?
JA Yeah, honestly?
editor (somebody comes up and bring Jimmy and Mike some Turkey wraps and some cokes)
JC Yeah, pretty much yeah. You know I fell apart a little bit you know. I was into drugs for a while and jail and did some shit you know. I played with other bands…
JA Anything of note?
JC Not really, just a, it’s a fucked up story basically.
JA Since the beginnings of Hardcore, NYC and much of the bigger cities in the North East have always been the major source of Hardcore, do you feel it is still that same way today. What other Hardcore scenes if any do you feel rival that?
JC Oh definitely it’s always been New York, LA and England, I think ruled the punk and hardcore world. Now other places that are… definitely Boston, or course Boston was definitely in the running all the time. There’s a big Boston New York rivalry. You can put Boston in there with New York and LA and it still is. Basically, you know there’s good bands that come out of everywhere, but a lot of the credibility comes from New York and LA and Boston and London. Like Avail comes from Richmond VA, I think. You know, a good band.
JA Definitely, I love those guys.
JC Just cause they’re not from New York, you know, there’s a lot of bands like that. We just played with a band called “Rise Against” out of Chicago. It just happens to be sometimes people look at the label or the area the band’s coming from instead of looking at the band.
MG I think that the music is actually, it’s been around for so long now. So like it’s starting to branch out everywhere you know.
JC Every city and every scene is gonna have their own certain style and I guess some sounds are more popular than others. You know like upstate New York had the whole straight edge style, the metalcore straight edge scene. You know and that branched out and there’s a big scene of that in Utah. You know so it’s hard to say now, it comes from everywhere.
JA Definitely, I get a lot of stuff sent to me from around the world and a lot of times there’s good stuff coming from obscure places.
MG Totally and you would never know it, right?
JA Places I’d never think of going to in my life.
JC A lot of times bands move to places cause it’s cheaper to live. Like I know All moved to Ft. Collins, CO. Definitely, It’s hard to be a band in New York
JA The cost of living there is insane.
MG There is so much competition also.
JA Who are some of your favorite current bands?
MG Avail, Good Riddance.
JA It’s a shame about Blood for Blood (calling the new album the last) they were topping my list.
JC Blood for Blood, their new record is great.
JA “Outlaw Anthems” I think it is.
JC Mike’s band is one of my favorites, “On the Rise”.
JA Right on, I’m not familiar with them. I’ll have to check it out.
JC Roger’s (Miret) got a new band, “The Disasters” which is a great band. I like my band too, “Loved and Hated”.
MG (same time) He’s got a band called “Loved and Hated”.
JC (laughs) Plugin’ Plugin’
JA Hell yeah, that’s what it is all about.
JA I see from the Agnostic Front website that you’re a big fan or “Drink Drugs Sex and Music” not necessarily in that order, is that still the case? Or have you chosen an order for them?
JC Whatever comes along.
everyone (laughter all around)
JA If you had to choose, who would you say has the best tattoos in the band and why?
JC Me, cause their mine!
everyone (more laughter)
JC I guess everyone would have to say that, cause I, all the tattoos I got all mean something. If I were to explain each one of them, it would take three hours.
JA We’ll run out of tape long before that happens.
MG I’d have to say Roger has the most.
JA You’ve apparently been at hardcore for a while, what events in your life set you down that path.
MG Hating everyone else around you.
JC Being an outcast of society is what drew, I know Roger Vinnie (stigma) and I into the scene. And that’s how the scene began. I know when Mike came around it was a different scene. But it’s still probably the same reasons. For us it was only about 50 people tops that were around in New York. And that’s when everybody came out of the wood work and we were the outcasts of New York. We got tattooed cause we didn’t wanna be like anyone else. We said fuck you fuck your jobs.
MG People say you get a tattoo you’ll never get a job. Well fuck you!
JA I don’t want a job anyway.
JC We don’t want it. We don’t want it and that’s basically how we wanted to live. We wanted to live outside of society.
MG Now it’s trendy.
JC Now it’s trendy.
JA I know doesn’t that suck. Gotta keep going on.
JC So we stopped.
JA Although I suppose this a very hypothetical question, what would you be doing in life if you weren’t playing Hardcore?
JC Probably selling drugs.
JC To be honest, yes.
MG I’d be doing either construction or landscaping.
JC Time, We’d be doing time. That’s what we’d be doing.
everyone (more laughter)
JA Jimmy, I’ve heard that you do most of the writing for Agnostic Front; does that include music as well as lyrics and arrangement?
JA Interesting, I wouldn’t have suspected that. It seems that Roger is usually the most interviewed and what not.
JC Well, Roger has a lot of influence with the lyrics also. Basically for an Agnostic Front song, I write the lyrics for Roger. The lyrics I write that he sings that he doesn’t help with, they’re written for him anyway. They’re not basically written about me, a lot of them are written about him.
MG He’s got to sing them, so if he doesn’t like them he’s not gonna sing them.
JC A lot of them are written about his life too. But basically we all have kind of the same life but, I’ll think what he thinks about. And I’ll put it in more of a poetic way than he does. Most of them are his ideas, I get them on to paper faster I guess.
JA At most hardcore shows that I go to, the age of the crowd stays relatively the same over time at around 17-25 or so, explain?
JC It’s only in America. It’s because America’s very trendy and people… girls are very trendy. And it’s well known that girls aren’t very loyal fans, they’re great fans when they’re your fans, but they don’t stick around too long. They seem to change a little bit with life as they get older, they grow up sometimes.
MG You can’t say that for all.
JC Say when a trend hits, like the “mall scene” it’s gonna be a lot of girls and sometimes this attracts a lot of guys of course, and they’re the people that just come and go. The fans just go. There’s a lot of die hard women and a lot of die hard guys. But um I think when the guys get a little bit older they’re scared their not gonna get laid anymore so they start changin’ the way they dress.
everyone (laughter all around)
JC The women they just fade out, but the guys they get fuckin’ scared. So they puss out. But you look at South America, Japan, Australia every other country, you’ll see 55 year old skin heads at the show, or punk rockers. Charlie Harper for instance. I mean he’s not the only one. He’s not the only old punk rocker there is, you know what I’m sayin. I stayed in Amsterdam for a couple of weeks and I seen a 70 year old skin head, an old man. I mean he’s in boots and bracers and you’d never see him at a show, but that’s how he’s been living his life, I guess since he was young and he stayed that way. What you are is what you are. You don’t change with the times. That’s how we are. Even though Agnostic front stopped playing for a few years, nobody changed. Everybody’s still the same.
JA I can tell that in music.
JC We just come right back as the same people. We just aren’t like, we haven’t stopped hangin out with the people. We didn’t start going to discos or something like that ya know.
JA How did you get your start as a musician and were you shown a lot of support by your family?
JC No, not at all. Well actually my whole family, my entire family, aunts uncles grand parents and all that, they bought me my first drum set. And they were supportive when I was younger.
MG It does taste like glue! (the aforementioned turkey wraps)
JC Yeah, It tastes like glue, right!
MG (to Jimmy Bile and I) Would you like some glue?
JA No I’m gonna have to pass on that.
Jimmy Bile No thanks.
MG You remember havin this in junior high school?
JC (back to the questions) When they started hearin the drums playin, they weren’t too supportive no more. And as I didn’ go to school any more, it wasn’t just the music, but my behavior wasn’t normal I guess, they didn’t look upon music as something great, they probably thought it was something that was hindering my attitude.
JA Just a phase? You’ll get over it?
JC No they probably thought it was something that was hindering my attitude or something. No, I wasn’t supported with this. I’m still not.
MG My parents are a lot younger. I come from a family of musicians. My father’s not crazy about punk rock and hardcore, but he supports me.
JC (again with the turkey wraps) THIS TASTES LIKE FUCKING GLUE!
everyone (big laughs)
Jimmy Bile Portland Hippie Food!
MG What do they put glue instead of mayo on that shit?
JC It’s glue right?
JA Of course it’s not real turkey man, you’re in Portland it’s “Tofurkey”
JC (sounding bummed) Ohh…, Is it really?
JA God I hope not.
JA How did you come about with the lineup for this tour? Was there any special motivation for the supporting acts?
JC A lot of it is just falling together at the right place at the right time bands that are available. Also we don’t take out anybody we don’t like.
JA Of course.
JC So um, of course TSOL they’re a great band from way back when, they deserve it, they’re playing again and we wanted to play with them. I think a lot of people want to see two big bands one from the east coast one from the west coast together. Casualties from New York they’re friends of ours. They’re a great punk band. Course were gonna take someone like them in. We’ve been trying to take them out for years. It’s just our schedules don’t always match. Rise Against is a brand new band that I, I was actually, I played drums for F-Minus for a while when their drummer was absent and it was on the AFI tour and we liked the guys and our booking agent booked them, we said let’s bring these guys, but they’re not on tour anymore. They did their two weeks and you know.
JA One last question, if you had to be represented by a malt liquor, which one would it be?
JC (emphatically) Balantine!
JC (even more emphasis) BALANTINE!
JA Aw Yeah! I haven’t had Balantine in a few years.
MG I’d have to say Old E, though only because it’s essentially the only malt liquor I’ve ever really had.
JC Balantine is the old Skin Head beer. Balantine is what we used to drink in front of CBGB’s every Sunday…(laughs) To keep warm.
JA Well shit guys that’s the end of the questions, I certainly appreciate your time.
JC Ok, you can plug the other bands, “The Loved and The Hated”, coming out with a full length LP on uh, or CD whatever you call it now on GMM records. It should be out in June. “On the Rise” is recording right now, it should be out around the same time.
MG On Eyescream records.
JC And “Roger Miret and the Disasters” it’ll be out on Hellcat. All coming out probably around the same time.