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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
Gerry: I think that's often the case. I think it's because over
time, propaganda and disinformation tend to
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
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.