Sam McPheeters is best known as the front man for Born Against, the best and most influential hardcore punk band of the 90s. He’s also responsible for Men’s Recovery Project, a scary band called Battle Snake (who only do songs about ATM charges) and the Vermiform record label, which is closing up shop this year. Lucky for us, though, Kill Rock Stars has swept down like an avenging angel to reissue Born Against’s entire catalog on shiny new CDs while Prank Records will be handling the vinyl. Now you can play these two-minute gems for your children and your children’s children and we’re guaranteed a bright future, free of any Reagan redux. VICE: In the late 80s President Bush waged war on Iraq and punk got marketed as prepackaged youth culture. These were key issues for Born Against and your own Dear Jesus fanzine. A decade later everything is even shittier. Have you removed yourself from the fray? Sam: I’m still as involved in politics as I was, but I’m wary of shooting my mouth off without understanding exactly what it is I’m talking about. Though I haven’t removed myself from any discussions on Iraq. I’m resuming the online columns on my own site and I write a regular one for Punk Planet. I don’t want to repeat the tone I took twelve years ago, though. Dear Jesus was the product of a stunted twenty-one-year-old; a bitter, lonely weirdo who didn’t read books and had poor analytical skills. I have no problem with the politics of those articles, but the tone of hysteria didn’t do anyone any good. So what about now? By ’93, for example, I understood that barcodes were not a political issue and barely even an issue of gesture. The problem isn’t consolidation or homogenization of culture, it’s the thousands upon thousands of independently released records and CDs that will be clogging landfills for the next 500 years. I’ve done my bit for the Earth Mother and gone bankrupt. Any 2003 resolutions? 2003 may very well be the year I buy a new pair of pants. Pleated. ARTIE PHILIE
9 Patriotic Hymns for Children and Battle Hymns of the Race War are out now on Kill Rock Stars (CD) and Prank (vinyl). Men’s Recovery Project have an album coming out this spring.