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Punk rockers Anti-Flag stay up with current events on new album

for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Given that global and domestic politics and social issues have always been Anti-Flag's stock in trade, the Pittsburgh punk rock group could hardly be expected to let last year's Arab Spring and Occupy movements pass without comment.

So rest it's saying -- or singing -- a mouthful on the forthcoming "General Strike."

"Everything that was going on last year was so inspiring," notes drummer and co-founder Pat Thetic. "That environment of revolution all over the world was something we wanted to talk about and was impacting us as we were writing. It hasn't happened in our lifetime where people all over the world people are standing up for their rights and willing to throw off the shackles of dictatorship and decide it's time to be in control of their own destiny.

"But having said that, fighting for democracy and change is always sticky business. It doesn't always go as well as you'd like. But it's still exciting to see it happen."

Current events are only part of the landscape on "General Strike," which comes out March 20 and is Anti-Flag's first new album in three years. The album also includes songs such as "1915" which references Joe Hill and social activism of the past in a deliberate attempt to give some perspective to more recent developments.

"The kids who are in the street today have a direct lineage to people who were in the streets in the 60s for the anti-Vietnam movement and the women's rights and de-segregation movements and all of that," Thetic says. There's a direct correlation to all that stuff -- and even further back.

"A lot of young people are not aware of Joe Hill or the Wobblies and what they did and how the reason we have a 40-hour work week is because of people willing to stand up and say working conditions need to improve. So those are things we like to address in songs as well. We may not have grown up with that, but we think they're very important to celebrate and want to transfer that knowledge to other people, too."

Anti-Flag, the Flatliners, the Have Nots and Wilson perform Monday, March 12, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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