Since frontman Justin Sane (né Greever), 37, and drummer Pat Thetic began playing together in 1988, after watching the steel mills of their hometown, Pittsburgh, close down and leave tens of thousands unemployed, Anti-Flag has mined a fierce political agenda over the course of nine albums, mixing emotion and intellect — and melody — to sweep its fans into a fervor of deeply felt commitment to both the band and its point of view.
“I always see Anti-Flag as a gateway into activism for kids,” Sane explains. “Activism can feel very overwhelming; ‘I’m just one person. What can I do?’ But if you nudge the door open for people, they get involved.
“It’s inspiring, exciting for me to hear a kid say now that they volunteered on the Barack Obama campaign, or that they’re now a member of Amnesty International, ’cause Anti-Flag opened their eyes. The idea is to give kids a sense there’s something more to this music than simply a haircut.”
Anti-Flag is offering more of the same on its latest album, “The People or the Gun,” and on its current “The Economy Sucks, Let’s Party!” tour. If anything, Sane notes, circumstances have only solidified the connection between the band’s message and its audience.
“What we’ve seen from the exchange with our fans is there’s this need for people to have a place and a way to share their pain,” Sane says. “Music seemed for all of us to be this kind of catalyst for helping us to get through the suffering and the hard times. And it’s not been getting any easier, so we’re still at it.”
Anti-Flag, Aiden, Cancer Bats and the Menzingers perform Tuesday (Jan. 12) at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $16. Call (313) 833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
Send your thoughts and comments to