Nico, if you had to choose one seven inch record that has a special meaning to you, which one would it be? And why?
Then, I’d probably choose the Myth Of Freedom 7” from ManLiftingBanner on Crucial Response Records. I remember that I was totally blown away by this slab of vinyl. Why? Well, I was a straight edge kid back in the days, but I was a bit fed up by the “stabbed in the back”, “better than you”, “me and my crew” kind of lyrics from most of the bands in the genre. Finding out about a band like MLB that was combining pissed off and fast HC with political lyrics was definitely an eye-opener back in these days.
In the same period, they released another 7” called Christmas Sucks under the name of Colt Turkey. Also a killer!!!
MLB also released a kick-ass 10” called Ten Inches That Shook The World soon after, and now they are back again ... so check them out!
Other great straight edge bands that combined politics and HC/punk at that time were Nations On Fire from Belgium, Comrades from Italy and Feeding The Fire from the Netherlands.
Later on, a couple of other 7”s blew my mind: the Downcast s/t 7” on Ebullition Records, the Acme The Demo 7” on Machination Records, the Seein Red Trefwoord Punk 7”, the Born Against s/t 7” on Vermiform … and probably a bunch more.
Are there aspects in your band’s music that you feel are inspired by MLB and this particular record? Maybe sound- or content-wise or concerning aesthetics?
Probably, yes, I still believe that HC/punk without content is like beer without alcohol (see, I’m not straight edge anymore ;-)). For me, HC/punk has always been a political thing. In fact, HC/punk inspired me to become the person I am right now. It’s because of records like this one (and the respective live shows) that I’ve become a pretty critical person. It’s always a bummer to see bands that don’t say anything in between their songs, knowing they have great things to say on their records. Why not do it live? Bands like ManLiftingBanner did it and probably still do. I always played in pretty outspoken bands myself (Outrage, Reller, Vuur, KingTerror and now Travølta) and I probably wouldn’t play in bands if I wasn’t able to voice my opinion and spread our “message”. The good part is that I’m now “singing” in Travølta so I’m the guy with the mic and can spread my opinions.
ManLiftingBanner are still around today (or better: again). Do you still follow them or listen to their newer stuff? Are they still making an impact in today’s hardcore scene (as compared to the 10” era)?
I still follow them and I own their new releases. It’s probably not as groundbreaking for me anymore as it was back in the days, but it still does the trick. I haven’t had the opportunity to see a MLB live show recently but I’ll certainly do if I get the chance!
I think MLB are still very relevant, more than ever actually, given the times we live in! Especially, in today’s world where everything is inspired by the mighty dollar $ign. Now, that a lot of people are turning towards a pretty fucked-up right-wing direction, it’s important to have bands that dare to question certain things and inspire people to think critically and fight this right-wing idiocy.
MLB have often been criticized – especially in a European punk/hardcore scene with strong anarchist leanings – for heavily propagating communism while not addressing the dogmatic aspects of this ideology. What’s your opinion on that?
Aren’t there dogmas in anarchism as well? People will discuss about ideologies, politics and dogmas forever (especially us, the lefties). Those right-wing idiots just need one leader and they go for it while we are discussing if someone is a Trotzkist, Marxist, Anarchist and so on. It’s a pity we are so divided. Hard times are coming and I think we should be united as individuals to fight the uprising of the extreme right movement.
And concerning MLB, I don't think that their thoughts on communist dogmas differ a lot from yours or mine. The thing I always loved about MLB was that they were spreading their message with passion and that did the trick for me. On the other hand, I think that the fundamentals of communism and anarchism are not that far from each other. Freedom, equality, liberty ... at least that’s how I see it.
But I probably listened too much to those commie bands back in the days. ;-)
Right now, I enjoy listening to:
- Marx Bros: new band of the Seein Red guys (some blatant self-promotion: Travølta is going do split 10” with them).
- Days of Desolation: a local technical grinding band
- The League of Mentalmen: local power-violence all-stars
- Smäris: local 90s screamo worship
- LifeSpite: a new band with kids from Reproach and Insult
- Suicidade: from Amsterdam and crust az fuck
- Sick Of Stupidity: from Holland, asskickin’ grind
- Meth Leppard: grind
- Jack: from Hungaria, powerful grinding stuff!
- Acid Rain: Malaysian punks
- Human Cull: from the UK, grinders
- Boak: from Scotland, power-violence, pretty impressive live
- Shackles: Australian power-violence, another band that blew my socks of live!
- Warkrust: from Brazil, crust (no kiddin’)
ManLiftingBanner -- Myth Of Freedom 7", Crucial Response Records (1991)