GERRY HANNAH AND MIKE GRAHAM
of THE SUBHUMANS
by Ozgur Cokyuce and Ginger Coyote 

Ozgur Cokyuce and Ginger Coyote  recently interviewed Gerry Hannah and Mike Graham from the Subhumans.. We hope you enjoy the following interview....

Punk Globe - In 2005 the Subhumans reunited with the following lineup: Gerry Hannah on bass, Jon Card (ex of Personality Crisis (band), Stretch Marks (band), SNFU and D.O.A.) on drums, Brian on vocals and Mike Graham on guitar - signed to Alternative Tentacles and G7 Welcoming Committee Records.  What prompted the band to reform?
 
Mike: Gerry and Brian both had a bunch of songs they'd written and somehow came up with the notion that there might be enough of a memory  of the band out there that we could talk our way into some gigs and 
into getting a new CD released.  That prospect lured me in, and got me  to write a few songs too.  I think there was kind of a general feeling  that maybe we could take the old beast out for another spin, and use 
it to say some new things.
 
Punk Globe - The new album is "New Dark Age Parade. (The Subhumans also plan to re-release their earlier recorded material, which is no longer  available.) Tell us a bit about the new album please.
 
Mike: It's a rip-roaring fun-pack of tender melodies 'n' hard-nosed beats.  It's an emotional roller-coaster, and a cornucopia of virtuosity.  Mostly, it's about as good as we could manage.
  
Gerry:  Mike's kidding aside, I think everyone in the band agrees that New Dark Age Parade is the best thing we've ever done.  We feel the material is really strong, both lyrically and musically.  We were able to experiment with some new ideas, draw on some of the ideas we've been influenced by over the last twenty years and in the end, we played exactly what we wanted to play.  As well, we had total control over the production process, we worked with a great engineer at a great studio, the mastering was excellent and the artwork and packaging by G7 looks really good.

Punk Globe  -   I really enjoy the track "Mindless Tough Guy Act".
 
Gerry:    I thought it was a  fairly serious attempt at exploring some possible motivations for the macho/patronizing behaviour I've observed certain men engaging in.  Actually, I wrote the song about a former boss, but it could just as easily have been written about the numerous men (and a few women) out  there who hide their insecurity and vulnerability behind an aura of toughness and certainty.  It's hard to relate to people who insist on  behaving like that because you know they are never really being honest  with you and they sure as hell don't want you to be honest with them (the expression of genuine feelings scares the hell out of them).  As  well, who wants to be around someone who is constantly trying to make you feel small so they can feel big.  
  
Punk Globe –  How do you see the “inside”? How do you see the current climate of globalization? 

Gerry: I'm not sure what you mean by the "inside".  If by "globalization" you mean the unfettered movement of capital on a global level, I think it sucks.  For a few lucky/shrewd people it means wealth beyond their wildest dreams.  For everybody else it means  a "race to the bottom" (lower wages, minimal public services,
environmental degradation, less consumer protection, less political power in the hands of the individual or community, etc.).  One day, if  humanity lasts that long, we'll look back at this phenomenon and wonder how we were ever convinced to hand over the keys to the hen house to a bunch of foxes.  If one looks very carefully at the philosophy of neo-liberal economics, one realizes that it's more than just flawed logic; it's a form of madness!

Punk Globe  – A couple of years has passed since the events of September 11 in the U.S. what are your thoughts and feelings about what happened in New York and Washington?  What  has changed? 
 
Mike: "Couple of years?"  Five years, isn't it?  Technically, that makes it history already.  I had my alarm clock turned to a news station that morning, heard a brief report that woke me up right quick, stumbled out of bed to see the towers collapse live on TV before getting off to work.  It was shocking and surreal, but it only  took a few days before the bellicosity from the Bush regime started to  surface.  Like most everybody else around the world, I'm amazed at how the U.S. government took all the sympathy that came from the grievous 
injury  that the U.S. suffered and squandered it so quickly.
  
Gerry: I think what happened in New York and Washington on September 11th was tragic.  Many lives were lost, many more lives were ruined.  I do not condone the deliberate killing or harming of innocent civilians for any cause or toward any goal, no matter how worthy it may seem to be to the perpetrators.  It's simply unacceptable.  Having  said that, I should say (as many do) that if US foreign policy over the last 60 years, particularly in the middle east had been a policy of openness and fairness, not only could the events of September 11th have been avoided, but many other terrorist attacks as well.  If successive US administrations had supported and encouraged secular states and progressive movements in the region years ago, rather than  helping to prop up (and in some cases install) anti-Soviet/pro US tyrants and to  crush their opponents, there would've been far less  anger and resentment in the region towards the US.  Of course, that pointless massacre referred to as the "Gulf War" didn't exactly win the US a lot of friends in the middle east either.  Last, but certainly not least, by arming, financing and and giving Israel free rein to attack its Arab neighbours at will, to occupy foreign lands and to corral, imprison and assassinate Palestinians as it sees fit, America has made more than a few enemies in the region.  Poke a tiger  enough times and eventually it will rip your arm off.  

Punk Globe  -  Gerry, In the early 1980s as a member of "The Squamish Five" or "Direct Action" you committed robberies, firebombed stores, and toppled hydro towers, in British Columbia, and bombed the Litton plant  in Toronto…Can we say that, you don't agree with terrorism as a political tactic but you believe in taking strategic actions instead of making small peaceful protests to create a better world?

Gerry: Direct Action actually blew up a hydroelectric substation that was under construction at the time; no hydro towers were toppled and I was never actually involved in a robbery.  In answer to your question,  if by "terrorism" you mean actions that use or threaten to use physical violence against a civilian population in order to coerce them into doing your bidding, then yes, I disagree with the use of such a political tactic.  I disagree with the tactic whether it is being used by underground groups such as Hamas, the IRA, the Shining Path or Al-Qaeda--in rocket attacks on houses, nightclub bombings or suicide bombings in crowded marketplaces, or by states such as Israel,  Russia or the US--where whole communities are obliterated and 
thousands of civilians are killed and/or horribly maimed for life by massive military campaigns.  If this is what you mean by "terrorism", then I'm against it whether the bomb is delivered in a suitcase or dropped by a stealth bomber.
  
I believe that people have a right to know the truth and that if they are being deceived, they have a right to unmask that deception.  I believe that people have a right to be fairly represented in a meaningful way in a political system and that if that system continuously fails to represent them, they have a right to change it,
or if necessary, remove it.  I believe that people have a right to take action against oppressive regimes and institutions when normal, "acceptable" avenues for change lead nowhere.  That action may range  from peaceful protest, to petitions and boycotts, to civil disobedience, to open insurrection.  I do not believe that people have  the right to behave in the same manner as the oppressive regimes and institutions they seek to change or remove and that when they do, they  lose any moral authority they had to act against them.  When you start to view civilians as legitimate targets for your aggression or as "collateral damage" just as your enemies do, then you become your enemy and you might as well start your "glorious struggle" by killing 
yourself. 

Punk Globe  - History shows that violence will be used by the police and the state, and some in the opposition will always move in that direction as well. So what do you advice for young people? I mean, if someone is protesting the system or the laws or the government, doesn’t legal protest mean that you can protest them only between the lines they draw for you and how can that bring a solution?
  
Gerry: What advice do I have for young people?  The same advice I have for people of all ages: like Hendrix says in the song Straight Ahead, "Do what you know, don't be slow, you gotta practice what you preach".  I think I answered the rest of this question when I answered your last question 

Punk Globe – When somebody takes actions against something serious and important which most people are not aware of, they are looked as crazy people, jerks or something.  But when time passes or after they’re dead, they are recognized as heroes.  What do you think about it?
  
Mike:  Yeah, that's a bummer alright.  Gandhi never got a break, did he?
  
Gerry: I think that's often the case.  I think it's because over time,  propaganda and disinformation tend to take a back seat to the truth.   Lies need constant maintenance to be effective.  Once the maintenance  ceases, the truth begins to emerge--for those that are interested in looking for it. 

Punk Globe – Nowadays, as it has always been some young people see punk as a fashion.  They have anarchy tattoos, they dye their hair in different colors but they really don’t know what the real meaning of punk is. What is your feelings?
  
Gerry: I don't know what the real meaning of punk is either.
 
Mike:  Like you say, it's always been like that.  It was always a struggle to find meaning, or anything worthwhile at all, in a decentralized, undefined movement like punk.  Don't know if anyone ever did.  I wouldn't want to be too hard on anyone groping their way around, even if their interest seems superficial; maybe it'll lead somewhere in the end.
 
Punk Globe– Back to music…..What are your biggest influences in music and which  bands do you listen to nowadays?
  
Mike: Biggest influences: lots of old stuff like Iggy, Ramones, New York Dolls, Bob Dylan, Clash, X, Black Flag, anything with a bit of howl in it really.  Hate to give a list of what I'm listening to now,  probably sound like an old fogey who doesn't quite know what's cool anymore.  And that just wouldn't be true. 
   
Punk Globe -Tell the Readers about that wild show where you offered a couple- a case of beer to fuck on stage? People are still talking about that show.

Mike: It's funny what stories float around.  That was at a gig with a bunch of early Vancouver bands at Vancouver's Simon Fraser University, with Gerry and I playing in a pre-Subhumans band called the Stiffs.  
It wasn't that wild a show.  After it was over, when the bands were packing gear up, this hippy-like fellow offered to have sex with his girlfriend on stage if we could scrape up a dozen beers; everybody chipped in.  Not a very erotic spectacle, actually, and pretty much a waste of good beer.
 
Punk Globe  -How do you compare the crowds at shows in 2006  to the crowds in the 80's?
 
Gerry: Lots of the men at the shows in 2006 seem to have less hair and bigger bellies.

Punk Globe - Are you currently on tour promoting the new CD?
  
Mike: We are currently recuperating from touring across Canada and back, which is a long way, with only a few scattered pockets of civilization to be found.  I managed to get the flu the first day and carry it with me for the duration, which took some of the joy out of the experience, but it was great playing a whole bunch of shows in a row.  Might have to rest up a while and take some vitamins before trying it again, though. 
 
Punk Globe- "Fuck You" is an old Subhumans song, which is the verbal equivalent of a bomb.  At the moment, who are the ones that you wanna say “Fuck You” to ?

Gerry: That pompous, know-it-all, prick I see in the mirror every morning and those darlings over at the "Project for a New American Century".
  
Mike: All the haters, all the beraters, all the dictators.  The high and mighty in general, and all the generals in particular.

Punk Globe:  Any last words for Punk Globe readers?

Mike: How about these: Galvanize.  Chert.  Turbulent.  Quorum.

Punk Globe would like to  thank Gerry and Mike for taking the time to do the interview....
 

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