I can usually contain myself when I hear about what band I’ll be going to see. But I might as well have been dressed in a kilt because I became a giddy little school girl when I heard the words “Agnostic Front”. On Sunday, November 16th, 2008 I met up with vocalist Roger Miret outside the Kathedral in downtown Toronto; and before I got battered an bruised in the mosh pit, we conversed briefly about the hardcore lifestyle, the hardcore scene and their 2007 release Warriors.
Your new album Warriors was just released 10 days ago, what has the response been like so far?
Miret: Oh, it’s been great! I’m shocked to hear it was just released 10 days ago here.
I read November 6th; honestly I haven’t picked it up yet.
Miret: Oh, that’s a year ago.
What? Oh, okay! So I messed up!
Miret: No, no. A year and 10 days ago so holy shit, for you guys it just came out!
No, that’s my bad man!
Miret: That’s okay man, but the response has been pretty good, really good. I mean, it’s one of my favourite releases with Agnostic Front, I’m really stoked about it and I can’t wait to perform here tonight!
So this is just a secondary tour to promote [the album]?
Miret: No, we’ve never toured Warriors in the United States or Canada. This is the first actual tour for Warriors, even though it’s a year later. It’s just that we’ve been to Europe 3 times and South America, we’ve been touring the world! We left the States for the end.
So this album is obviously your favourite, as you just said. How does it compare to your previous recordings?
Miret: I think Warriors is the perfect, true collage of everyone of Agnostic Front’s records. It has bits and pieces of Victim in Pain all the way down to Another Voice. It’s a true representation of Agnostic Front today, tomorrow and forever since it has all the ingredients of all the different albums, I think it’s just a perfect blend of whatever for any Agnostic Front fan.
Well, which track would you recommend most to your fans?
Miret: “For My Family” is one of my favourites, “Dead to Me”, “Warriors”; shit, I’ve got a lot of them that I like.
Ok, well your band has mad a few music videos including one for the song “For My Family” off the new album. I’ve heard some people say that this is selling out, what is your position on that statement?
Miret: Selling out doing a song called “For My Family”?
No, making a music video.
Miret: Oh, No! We paid for that ourselves by the way, nobody gave us money. We funded it as a band because, you know, it’s a different world today; today’s world is more of a visual world, not an audio world like it used to be. People want to see what the band’s like. They want to hear the band and then meet the band. I think it’s a great idea; this has been going on forever and ever. Now with the internet around, I think it makes a lot of sense to show, and not only represent the band but represent your point and get it across visually. I think it’s very important; it’s far beyond selling out. People don’t understand what that term “selling out” means. To me selling out means if I were to stop doing this and go work for McDonald’s then I would sell out, you know what I mean?
[laughing] Do you guys tend to party while you’re on the road or do you focus more on the music?
Miret: I focus more on the music and my message; I’m not a party type of guy. I’ll drink occasionally and have a beer; I don’t do any drugs or smoke, I don’t do anything like that. That’s just myself, the other guys in the band, some of them like to party. We don’t party anything heavy. We stick our parting to just root stuff, you know to basically drinking, a little bit of weed here and there which the other guys like and that’s about it really.
Well what’s the most fucked up thing that’s happened on tour?
Miret: Shit! Well, nothing on tour is fucked, it’s always when you’re on tour and you hear bad news about stuff back home that’s fucked up, like two days ago my daughter’s house burnt down to the ground in Santa Barbara in those fires. So I’ve been dealing with that, that’s why my mind is really kind of a mess right now, you know she lost every single thing. Stuff like that, you know, when you’re on the road and find out things like that, it’s fucked up, you know?
Yeah for sure man. Your band’s website states quote, “‘Hardcore for Life’ isn’t an empty slogan or a musical dead end. No one is born with tattoos. No one’s born hardcore. But when the ink or the music sets in, you’re changed.” How has hardcore changed your life and what does this statement mean to you?
Miret: My life? Dramatically, those words really explained a lot, what you just said. It’s not something you read in a flyer or see, it’s a movement, it’s something you want to belong to; There’s a passion for it, it’s genuine, you know, it’s not just something [where] you’re like ‘Oh, I want to be hardcore! I want to play in a hardcore band! That’s good enough!’ People used the term “hardcore” loosely. A lot of bands use it as a jumping stone, you know, to the next level. Hardcore, it’s got a lot more to with then music. It’s a very, like I said, passionate movement. That’s what we’re all about, that’s where the roots are, that’s our message and everything else. To me, the lyrics mean more then the music, and that’s the way it should always be.
The scene has changed a lot since the conception of Agnostic Front, how drastic have the changes been for the band?
Miret: Well, those are the changes, I just explained pretty much. You know, like, people don’t really care about lyrics anymore. It’s kinda really sad, like they’ll listen to something musically and has a really cool beat down or something, that’s great, that’s good enough; but the message is the most important thing. With everything of growth, not everything, there’s always genuine people there too, you know, but as trends get bigger you a lot more fashionable people and people are in it just for the moment, and some grow out of it. I don’t see how you grow out of something if you have a deep passion for it. But there’s a lot of new kids and kids are just getting turned on to what we do and they’ll be like us, here for along time, it’s something that you’ll feel dedication too.
Yeah but then there’s always like, you’ll recall the Slapshot song, “Old Time Hardcore”, these kids don’t know where it cam from and stuff.
Miret: Well they don’t… I’m not better then anyone because of what I do, who I am and where I come from, you know? I give everybody the benefit of the doubt. Anything you get into, you should research it and figure its roots and try to really be a real strong part of it. I’m not gonna go up on stage and tell everybody that I started hardcore and expect everybody to fuckin’ pat my back, you know? It’s ridiculous, that’s egotistic shit. But, like I said, if you really want to be part of something and you have that much passion towards it, you’ll know enough to research it and find the history of it; and history is so important, history is everything.
Is this your only job or is everyone involved in some other sort of profession as well?
Miret: No, everyone’s got something different, I’ve got a band called Roger Miret and The Disasters and Vinnie has his own band called Stigma, which has Mike Gallo in it, our bass player. Our other guitar player, Joe, and Steve, our drummer are in another band called Inhuman. We all have different jobs: Vinnie has a tattoo shop, Mike apprentices over there, Steve works, Joe works, I have my own clothing line called Dirty Devil Apparel – which all my focus is in right now. It’s partners with Lucky 13 so a lot of my work is in California, I live in Arizona now for that reason, so we work a lot.
Sounds good. During the initial years of Agnostic Front did you ever think you would still be playing together, touring and recording 25 years later in 2008?
Miret: Well, that’s a good one because you know if you had told me 25 years ago that we would be the band we have become, you know, and we would influence so many people worldwide, you know, and come to places even like Toronto, I probably would’ve laughed in your face because as far as I knew we were just screaming our fuckin’ guts out and screaming for a cause you know what I mean? Screaming for a change. But here we are today, I’m glad things happened the way they happened, you know, I have certain friends who have stuck in it with me like Vinnie Stigma and Jimmy Gestapo and there’s a lot of old friends who have still stuck in it and continue to stick with you know the Sick Of It All dudes, Madball dudes, you know what I mean? I’m glad that they have the same passion I’ve always had and I’ve never thought of this day but I’m very honoured of it and very happy for it.
Well, looking back on the 25 years, is there anything you would’ve changed?
Miret: Um, you know, there’s a bunch of should-a’s, could-a’s, and would-a’s but where would that bring me here today. If my path would’ve changed and been any different, you know, and we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, so I guess everything happens for a reason. And I’m glad I’m alive, I’m glad I get to play another show here in the Kathedral to a lot of friends and I’m gonna have the opportunity to make some new friends.