Agnostic Front is gonna take you to school with a lesson in hardcore when they play Croc Rock with Hatebreed, Biohazard and more on June 16. See you in detention.
Welcome to Hardcore 101. If you'll notice on your syllabus for Monday, June 16, we will have a special guest professor, Roger Miret of Agnostic Front. Included in Roger's lesson plan will be discussions on the state of hardcore, MTV, sports and work, along with a special live performance, at which demonstrations in moshing, screaming, finger pointing and sing-a-longs will be displayed.
So don't forget your signed permission slips and notebooks, because there will definitely be a quiz. To give you a head start, we talked to Roger for a few minutes about several different topics, including those that will be covered in class. So consider this a gift, because the quiz will not be graded on a curve and if you fail you die. This is a class you should not skip. Now get to reading.
PULSE WEEKLY: So you're at your home right now. Do you live in the heart of New York City?
ROGET MIRET: I live in Queens. It's one of the five boroughs, which is the heart of New York.
PW: What's your opinion on the state of hardcore today with all the different influences like metal and emo and shit?
RM: Well, that's what it is, you know? Scenes evolve, people change, things happen and you have to go with the flow. That's what's been good with Agnostic Front, we've always gone with the flow. Everybody borrows from each other. A certain band is inspired by you, but at the same time you go check out these other bands, you get inspired by them, too. There are a lot of different influences.
To me hardcore has always been more than just the music. It's definitely lyrical stance more than anything, but sometimes it can be a little too much one way or the other -- that's what makes Agnostic Front kind of special, in my own opinion. When I stopped [doing music] a few years ago and started going to a lot of shows and wasn't in the middle or the center focus of anything, I really missed not only the lyrical part, but the actual sound, the classic New York hardcore style sound, was what made it what it is today. That's what we do in Agnostic Front, we're more into the classic stuff.
PW: How do you balance touring with AF and Roger Miret and the Disasters?
RM: I wasn't really trying to balance anything; the Disasters record was on hold for a while and when it came out I decided I really wanted to jump into it pretty hard. It's more punk-oriented stuff; I'm more into that style than any other styles. I've been focusing a little bit more on [Roger Miret and] the Disasters, but it's not easy because I have a family, I have a wife and daughter, so it's hard going from one to the other, but I manage to do it. The only thing that's really hard about it is that I'm trying to break one band in. If the Disasters were in a comfortable position like Agnostic Front, then I could really enjoy my time doing both and not feel like I have to work one harder.
PW: It seems like you've been no stranger to trouble.
RM: Yeah, unfortunately.
PW: Do you do things differently now to avoid it?
RM: Of course I do. Not only because of my wife and my daughter, but I'm an ex-felon myself. I'm at an age where I want to have a good time, the last thing I want to do is worry about a fight or this or that. That's one of the things that kind of jaded me from the hardcore scene, that's what made me stop for a little bit for the first time ever. I don't want people who come to our shows to get hurt. I mean, I understand that people have different points of views and expressions or what they believe in, but I don't feel like that's a reason to hurt someone else.
Sometimes innocent people get hurt at what might be their first show and they'll be like, "No way, I'm never going to that again." I'm not into it, man, what I consider to be mindless violence is totally ridiculous. I mean if you have to resort to violence, if you have to, you have to, but if you can avoid it, do that.
PW: If you could bring back one New York hardcore band, which would it be?
RM: I would bring back Killing Time. But my favorite band of all time, they are back but not with the original line-up, would be Urban Waste, I loved Urban Waste. I loved The Abused; Gilligan's Revenge was a great band too. There were a lot of great bands.
PW: What kinds of things do you enjoy that people would be surprised about?
RM: You mean my hobbies? My biggest hobby is building cars with my car club, mostly cars from the 30s; I have a really cool '32 Coupe. Musically I'm a big [Johnny] Cash fan and stuff like that. The oddest type of music that people would not expect me to listen to would be jazz, there's a lot of good stuff out there. When I'm with my wife is when I just sit down and listen to that, just kick back and relax.
PW: Do you ever see yourself slowing down more or retiring from hardcore?
RM: Ha ha, unless I know of some kind of a hardcore pension, I don't know, unless someone plans on setting one up. I never had plans for anything. If you would have told me 20 years ago that Agnostic Front would be where it is today I probably would have not believed you, I would have laughed in your face. This has been my life; this is what I do. To me it's a way of life and I've been living this way, which people call hardcore, for more than half my life, since I was 16 years old, and I wouldn't change it for anything else. I love everything about it. For me to just stop doing it and do something else, I don't know what I'd want to do. I'm trained as a Harley-Davidson mechanic, so I've got things I could do, but I really like creating music. I feel like I'm more a musician than anything.
PW: Why is Europe your favorite place to tour? Is there something there that you just can't get here in the States?
RM: You know what's in Europe that lacks in America? Their open-mindedness, you know? America used to be like that. I guess America's a little more spoiled. Europe appreciates bands. I could go on tour right now with any band, it could be Agnostic Front or any band that you would think would never fit in this scene, they don't care -- they're just there to have a good time. They're there from the very first band to the very last band. I feel like a lot of the American scene is jaded, they'll come out only for their bands, they'll miss the opening bands who are really a big part of everything.
PW: And sooner or later those opening bands will be bigger and everyone is going to come see them anyway.
RM: Yeah. You gotta give support and get support, a lot of people come out to see the last band because that's the cool band and that's what they're gonna do. That type of theory doesn't exist in Europe yet, but I have a feeling it may eventually. They don't have an MTV-orientated scene. I'm not saying that the hardcore scene is totally MTV-orientated, but the youth that gets involved in our scene mostly comes from that genre, who then discover hardcore a bit later on, you know what I mean? But [Europeans] aren't jaded like that either; they don't have somebody like MTV dictating who they should like and who they shouldn't like, which we have here in America.
PW: Yeah, and it sucks.
RM: It does suck, a lot. Kids don't know any better. They want to find something they can feel they're a part of. Most of them are young kids and just don't know, no one's showed them. I'm not saying that any of those bands on MTV aren't cool or aren't the shit, some of those guys are kids that just have breaks as musicians and they're living it. What I am saying is that these kids don't know any better or any different and they go and they use that as their first outlet to discover an underground scene and get more involved with it.
PW: Well, you gotta come from somewhere.
RM: Exactly. Not everybody was born cool; you gotta come from somewhere. I just did a tour with Good Charlotte and New Found Glory with the Disasters and a lot of people were all like, "Oh well, blah, blah," and we just got a lot of people [at the shows] who never even knew about the genuine punk scene, which is really cool. My whole mission as a musician is to turn people on to the scene or to our music style and our lyrics, what we're about. If I could do that worldwide I would, that's my goal.
PW: You praise the working class. What kinds of jobs do you have?
RM: We all have jobs. It's been a little hard for me this year because I'm doing Agnostic Front and the Disasters, but Vinny [Stigma, guitar] has his own business going on at least, which makes it a little bit easier. But Mike [Gallo, bass] goes to work, Jimmy [Colletti, drums] goes to work, I go to work at the Harley shop. I can't live off of [Agnostic Front]. Some people could I guess, but we've never reached that level.
PW: Finally, being a New Yorker: Yankees or Mets?
RM: I hate 'em both.
PW: Ha ha, good.
RM: I hate sports; I'm not a sports type of guy. That question you could ask somebody like Vinny, he'd pick the Yankees. My drummer from the Disasters is a Mets fan. Being from Queens you're supposed to support the Mets, the Bronx and Manhattan are for the Yankees and Brooklyn always switches sides.
But I don't care about any sports at all, I hate 'em, I hate jocks. I like soccer, My daughter plays it. I do like that, but other than that, I find better things to watch. I love Court TV.
PW: Discovery Channel?
RM: The Discovery Channel, yeah! Monster Garage and all those bike shows.
PW: I love Monster Garage; Jesse James is awesome.
RM: Ah, Jesse James ain't that cool. Indian Larry, he's from New York, I gotta support Indian Larry. It's like asking me between Yankees and Mets, now it's California or New York; I gotta go for Indian Larry. I used to work with Indian Larry building custom bikes. He's the original Jesse James.
By Steve Swift