AGNOSTIC FRONT’S ROGER MIRET TALKS WARRIORS AND STAYING RELEVANT

AF2Another month, another tour: currently trekking around Europe at the top of the Persistence Tour with Suicidal Tendencies, veteran hardcore pioneers Agnostic Front are about to re-release the greatly admired Warriors, nearly a decade on from its initial appearance. Frontman Roger Miret reflects upon the album with Calum Harvie.

We may think of Warriors as being one of Agnostic Front’s newest albums, but this year marks its tenth anniversary. Time flies. Re-released in a double-package with its successor My Life My Way, the album holds up well to scrutiny today, in no small part due to the run away success of the anthemic ‘For My Family’, which has dug itself firmly into the band’s live set.

“It’s a transitional record,” says Roger. “I think that album was, for me and the band, a great record. We wrote it on the road, and that was where Agnostic Front was at the time. It’s a combination of aggressive newer stuff, you know, with a song like ‘For My Family’ which is definitely more of an old-school, classic sing-along. So it was a good transitional record between Another Voice leading to My Life My Way.”

Writing on the road sounds like it might be a fraught affair, but Roger recalls that that the process was essentially straight forward. “You know what, to be honest with you, it was easy. We were in Japan and Australia at the time. ‘For My Family’ came to me on a plane ride between Japan and Australia. As soon as I got off the plane I said, ‘Look, I got a song’. We checked into the hotel, I asked Joe to get his guitar and Mike to get his bass, then I sang the lyric part, and the whole thing continued from there. And that’s how we did things; sometimes at sound checks we’d work on some riffs, too. And you also had the technology then to just send stuff back and forth. So later the guys in New York could just send stuff to me – as you know, I live in Arizona – and I’d work on it doing my vocals and whatever, then send it back.”

‘For My Family’ is a quintessential hardcore anthem, the kind of sing-along that mic-grabs are made for. “And when I got off that plane from Japan, I knew it was an anthem,” says Roger. “I wrote it for my friends who aren’t here any more, and that kinda channeled into me somehow, spiritually in some way. And I knew that it was a huge sing-along. The crazy thing though, I’m gonna tell you right now, is that it almost didn’t make Warriors! We were in the studio, I’d joined the band a few days later after they’d tracked everything, and I realised that ‘For My Family’ wasn’t there. My brother Freddy [Cricien – Madball] was the producer and I asked him what’d happened to it. And was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know, we don’t feel it’s as strong as the rest of the record.’ I thought, are you crazy? That’s an anthem. So said to the guys, ‘Go back in there and record it.’ And now, well the video’s got over 5 million views on YouTube.”

Agnostic Front - Warriors + My Life - My Way - Artwork“But Warriors – that’s just what came out of us at the time. Briefly going to Another Voice, that was a record that was just created by myself and the producer. Just him and myself in the studio. We came up with those songs, then presented it to the band, and they loved it and then they recorded it. Warriors, though, is written by the whole band. We were all writing. We felt really comfortable about where we were, which made it, for me, a great album.”

Right now, Agnostic Front are touring Europe as part of the Persisence Tour with Suicidal Tendencies, and others. Like other genres, hardcore is experiencing its fair share of band-revival nostalgia, especially on the live circuit, which contrasts considerably with Agnost Front who, to all intents and purposes, have been a constant since hardcore began. “Here’s what I think about that. I think it’s great to see a lot of these bands back – they’re my friends, people I grew up with, I’m happy that they’re enjoying themselves. But with bands like Agnostic Front or Sick Of It All, we’re bands which have been relevant for a long time. And then you get a band which has been away coming back on the scene and they’re bigger than sliced bread. People are excited to see them, I get it – look at The Misfits! I mean, I’m excited that people are getting a chance to see these bands in their lifetimes too. But my message to these bands that are getting back together is to give something back. That’s what hardcore has always been about. The true test of a band being really back together is if they’re making something new. It’s a little rough, too, because some of these bands are kinda stuck in that nostalgic sound, which is super cool but it’s kinda hard to get other people to appreciate that too. But, what you gonna do? I’m just happy that my friends are back at shows.”

“As for us, we enjoy it, man, that’s why we keep going and plugging away. We’re having a good time, and as long as that’s so, then why not? We have the rest of our lives to do anything else. It’s entertaining, and Vinnie Stigma himself is an entertainer, so it’s hard to get away from! We’re here, man, we’re still here.”

Warriors is re-released in a double-package with My Life My Way on 27th January by Nuclear Blast Records. Agnostic Front are currently touring in Europe with the Persistence Tour.

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