An interview with Roger Miret, of Agnostic Front, with his band Roger Miret and the Disasters. The interview took place in November 2002.
Rn: You said a year ago that the music scene for you died in ‘94, ‘95, do you still stand by that?
M: The music scene died?
M: I never said that
Rn: ok, it’s probably a mis-quote
M: It has to be a mis-quote, I would never say that, it’s great, stronger than ever, maybe different to when it started in the ’80’s but it never died. Maybe what they meant to say is we stopped playing for a while, cos we didn’t play in ‘94, ‘95, ‘96, that’s probably what it meant.
Rn: Do you still get a buzz out of playing, even after this long?
M: Yeah, I always do, I love playing, I love performing, It’s what I’ve been doing for more than half my life. It’s what I know best y’know, I just love spreading my message and having a great time on stage.
Rn: When you stop getting that buzz do you think you’ll stop playing music?
M: Course I will, that’s the only reason why I do it, the enjoyment, the fun, once that goes, what’s the point?
Rn: Has the New York scene changed since 9/11?
M: No, not at all, I don’t think so, I don’t think the punk scenes changed at all, I mean, I think if anything has changed since 9/11 it’s the economy of the United States, so not our scene but the yuppie scene has definitely changed dramatically. I mean the economy went to shit, but the punk scene no.
Rn: Does it annoy you that Dead Yuppies didn’t get the publicity that it should have done?
M: Of course it did, because of what happened, cos of 9/11 of course, Dead Yuppies got shafted, so it annoyed us, it bothered us, cos we still believe in what we believe, we’re a punk band, and we expected our label to back us up and instead everyone got nervous and scared and whatever.
Rn: Were you upset at Epitaph for not pushing it as they would have done?
M: Of course we were, yes.
Rn: What do you think of the current crop of bands coming out of New York, so Glassjaw, Thursday, DEP, do you have anything in common with any of them?
M: Absolutely not, except for the fact that I know a couple of the guys from Thursday, really nice guys, but don’t have anything in common with any of those bands, we don’t play with them, different scene y’know, I don’t like emo at all. I’m the anti-emo.
Rn: Do you think that hardcore is where metal and punk came together?
M: Nah, who knows what hardcore is anymore, look in the dictionary, it’s probably like two pages long, don’t know what the hell it is anymore, originally it wasn’t even hardcore, it was just saying what kind of punk music it was, cos back in the early 1980’s most of the punk bands were starting to do new wave or new romance or whatever, so they started saying well this is ‘hardcore’ punk, in other words this is real punk, and that’s where the term hardcore comes from.
Rn: Has the Resistance Tour been going well so far?
M: ahh, it’s great, it’s a great tour, it’s a big tour, brings a lot of different people together, it’s got its pros and cons, y’know there are some places where you play where the scene’s more of a metal scene, or a metalcore scene or whatever, and that’s where the cons are cos the hardcore punk scene’s a lot smaller than the metal scene, especially here in the UK. In continental Europe it’s pretty fair, pretty even y’know, sometimes even more, like Germany’s more favouritism towards punk and hardcore than metal style music
Rn: Do you think it’s fair when Henry Rollins says punk now is all about fashion?
M: I guess punk has turned into a big fashion of course, everybody knows that, you watch MTV y’know…it’s no longer a threat when a kid walks around with blue hair or even a mohawk it just doesn’t matter because you see it everywhere. It used to be a threat. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, if you walked around with a blue spiked mohwak you had to fight, cos somebody was going to say something stupid and that’s the way it was, and nobody understood you, you were just an outcast of society, but today punk and a lot of even some of the oi is very safe, very innocent, very easy, and it doesn’t mean as much as it meant back then to someone maybe like Henry Rollins who grew up from that scene, it was more of an underground, more of an evil scene, it was a real outcast scene, that’s probably what he meant.
Rn: Do you think that pop-punk has taken something away from the punk scene by having it so much more commercial, having it on MTV and the warped tour and things like that.
M: Back then there were like 20 bands in the states and each band was solely dedicated to their scene, their music and it backed it up and it was a very one on one type of thing, but now, it seems like there’s 20 bands in each city or maybe even more, cos everyone wants to do a band, and get on a label, get signed, that’s what it’s all about cos they make it easy, cos now labels are willing to take on three cute little boys, or four cute little boys, and make them into popstars or punk-popstars, and I think it takes away from it cos y’know they never really got a chance to live it, the lifestyle, cos if you don’t live it, you’ll never really know what it is, cos it’s not something you read on a flyer or you see in a book , it’s something you have to live.
Rn: How/why do you think you’ve lasted as long as you have?
M: Cos we’re a real band, we’re doing what we do and all the other bands that started when we started and stopped, just gave up, either gave up or they were never really into it, or they say they grew up, I don’t understand what they mean when they say they grew up, who the hell wants to grow up anyway? I wanna stay young till I die y’know, they just didn’t believe in it, we really believe in it. We’ve shown the test of time y’know, someone should give us an award, a medal or something, someone should nominate us for something, either for punk y’know enthusiasm, or idiots, either or, I’ll take it at this point y’know cos 20 years is a long time.
Rn: Why did you decide to start The Disasters?
M: Well the disasters were just some songs that I was writing a combination that I was writing during the Agnostic Front times, and some songs I wrote with my other band Lady Luck that quite didn’t work either, or in either of the bands so I just decided to put the songs aside, it was just gonna be like a solo release, cos we never rehearsed at all, we only had three rehearsals before we even made our record, I gave everybody tapes and they all learnt the songs and we went in, and after we made the record we decided that we really liked the way it had come out and maybe that we should maybe really be a band and start playing some shows and that’s what happened.
Rn: Are you happy about how it’s been received so far?
M: At the moment I am, I’ve got a lot of great reviews, it’s coming out of the box slowly, but I think it’s picking up, and everybody that ever came to a show really liked it, and I think it just needs a couple more tours and it’ll be fine.
Rn: Do you think the punk scene as it originally was and what it was originally about, is beginning to revive itself?
M: It’s hit and miss, I see it, but then again who knows what it was originally about, there’s definitely a big fashion thing about it, y’know it was all about anti-war, anti-religion, anti-society, about making your own things, no rules, going grabbing a garbage can throwing it through a McDonalds window or something like that which everyone bought into, they found a way of buying into, whether it’s into the malls and selling punk rock clothing, I mean, who the hell would have expected that, y’know even buying vegi-burgers at McDonalds, going from boycotting it to eating there. It’s strange. That’s what the first song, ‘Run, Johnny, run’ on the Disasters record’s about, that one line, ‘I threw the trash through Ronny’s window’, it’s a true story, story about me and Holly Flannigan.