Punk Rock Hates America?
November 10, 2016
Becoming Caligari
November 15, 2016

2009 Interview With “Noisy Neighbor Magazine” from Germany

NN: Do you still get “stage-fright”? Sorry, seems to be a question of a 12 year old pupil magazines writer … but as you are used to be on stage with a band… isn’t it pretty different to play “alone”?

MG: I do still always experience some sort of symptom from the amount of anxiety I feel before I perform. I always have from the very beginning. It has never changed.  I Even though my confidence has grown exponentially over the years, I still do,  to some degree always feel like vomiting a little bit before I step onto a stage (laughing) It is different to play alone and to be honest I much prefer it.  For my audience it becomes a completely different experience to hear the older songs of my catalogue played the way I interpret them acoustically. The show has become a vocal showcase and forces me to translate the soul of the songs as they were intended.

NN: The lyrics on some tracks of your live records tracks , e. g. WORMWOOD and FROST BITE, are written by Damien Echols who is on death row… as many of our readers not know the story behind – can you tell us something about that, about Damien, about your relationship?

MG: Damien Echols is an Arkansas death row inmate.  He is one of The West Memphis Three. Damiens’ situation is dire and he is reaching the end of the process that allows him to argue for exoneration.  His story is an eerie echoing of Americas Salem witch trials. Damien was accused of the satanic ritual killing of three 8 year old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas in the early 90’s. The only problem is that the state used evidence that proved that Damien enjoyed reading books about witchcraft and religion, poetry and science. They proved he really enjoyed heavy metal music and wore black all the time. They made clear that his life was tumultuous and tough. They failed to provide any type of solid evidence that would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there accusations were true. There is actually more evidence that proves Damien didn’t do it then there is that proves he did. The police had absolutely no other answers for a small poor southern Christian Arkansas community about who killed these kids so they ran with what made the most sense. What made the most sense was that Damien worshipped the devil and sacrificed these kids for him. That’s ludicrous. But that story held up in an American courtroom and apparently still does.
I am just someone out here that wants to contribute to the effort to bring justice to this otherwise miscarriage of it.  Beyond all the fog is an innocent man who spends most of the day by himself in a tiny cell. His energy and his outpouring of art and creation and communication is incredible.  There is so much to learn from all of the different ingredients to all of this.
I am fortunate because I had the opportunity to become the vehicle in which Damien could express himself though song which was totally new to him.  I am forever changed for having been apart of that process with him.  When I ran out of money when making the record with Damien I reached out to my fans and supporters for help  I asked for donations and in return contributors names and messages were included on the back of the Illusions album.

NN: How did you come to join Marky Ramones BLITZKRIEG?

MG: Marky called me up while I was out on the road last spring and asked if I wanted to come out and sing for his band he was calling “Blitzkrieg”.  I said yes because Marky is one the greatest drummers in the world and exhibits a respect and energy towards the legacy of The Ramones that I quite admire.

NN: The tour took place November/December last year, I think – I am a bit curious – can you tell us a bit about Marky and the tour? 

MG Yes, the tour happened in November and December of 08. I learned 32 Ramones songs inside and out in two weeks after I got the call we were going to Europe to play. I had my own tour to finishup and I when I got home I only had about a week before we left.  I was beside myself at the chance to stand in the place where Joey once stood.  Man, talk about standing on the shoulders of giants…I was really excited.
We started the tour in Italy and made our way to Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania and Greece. I’m sure Im forgetting some but thats the gist of it.  The Ramones invented American punk rock and I am so happy to be able to give new life to it in this way.

NN: You are often said to be the “founder” of the “conservative punk movement” – can you explain what people mean when they call you a “conservative punk musician”?

MG: Some people mean different things when they call me that I assure you.  The conversation I was looking to have quickly turned ugly and ended up with me not being able to work and essentially blacklisted from most of the organizations I needed to work with in order to make, promote and tour my music.

NN: So, hmm, if I understand you right … it is difficult to discuss that without becoming very – let’s say – “emotionally”? Be sure that I def. Do NOT know, what it means (I have an idea, not more …) – so feel free to explain … and trust me – I will remain FAIR… for me the words “conservative” and “punk” are a bit… let’s say: contradictorily…

MG: And there are a great many people that agree with you. I don’t belive the words to be synonymous to the overall definition of punk. Punk is individualism. Over the years, it has evolved into an overt socio-political movement.  A few years back this interview would not have been happening because no one would have bought your magazine if my name appeared in it much less an interview and ….that is where punk went off the tracks.

NN: I am not sure, if no-one would have bought it, only because your name appeared, because “we Germans” are usually interested in any discussion about political or socio-political phenomena … ok, maybe discussing!!! things like Hitler and the Nazis would be impossible, but I am pretty sure that no one would get around you, because you have a different opinion concerning the Bush-government or so … so: you think “punk” went “off the track”, because it starts “neglecting” individualism?

MG: “Punk” went off the tracks when it showed a zero-tolerance policy to people like me after they (bands and labels etc.) decided to partner with political organizations who were backed by millions of dollars looking to put their ideas and agendas into the minds of kids especially. My argument is that then gives young impressionable kids just one side the story. One opinion, one agenda one choice to make about their world around them.  The penalty for not thinking and agreeing that way is then the rejection of the “punk” community.  No booths at the Warp Tour in America had any centrist or moderate literature.  It is I who is often called fascist… yet it is me who was silenced and ridiculed for trying to advocate for allowing the other side of the issues to be presented to people so that they could make the choice for themselves about how they felt.

NN: So, and if I understood that right: You don’t see yourself as “righty” – a “right wing ideologist” – but as a person which is concerned about the attitude of the today (punk-) scene, which is in a way “left”, to oppress any “different” opinion? It is a certain” self-righteousness” which makes you angry?

MM: I don’t agree with the liberal left in America nor do I agree that punk rock should be forcing left wing ideology down the throats of kids who listen to that music or identify with that genre…not in America.

NN: Can you define, what exactly you dont like/dont agree with the “liberal left” – is this a “fundamental” thing – or is this only a controversy about “some questions”? I mean, I myself, sometimes have difficulties with dogmatism and any narrow-minded view of things …

MG: There is a psychic plaque here in my country. People are addicted to excess and a profound moral breakdown has occurred.  It has been building ….and has been helped along by leaders on the right as well…Our society has undergone a metamorphosis in values… people’s greed and corrupt sensibilities have left a blight on are already pock ridden souls. I disagree with the culture that idealizes youth and victimhood to the point that it has eclipsed adult virtues, circumspection, responsibility and restraint. Whatever it is identified as…left, right, conservative, liberal, rock or punk I oppose it and choose to live and think a different way.

NN: First: What do you mean with” victimhood”? (I can translate, but I don’t understand the meaning …) and:  I agree with you, when you say, a “moral breakdown” occurred … When I read these things you wrote: to me you seem to be more a “moralist-conservative” that a “conservative” in a “political” way – do you agree? And: How can we, in your opinion, “re-discover” our “values”?

MG: A “Moralist-Conservatist” makes sense…yes…I much more agree with political thought that favors small government that allows free markets and promotes individualism and success through entrepreneurship. I am “conservative” on some social issues but would be considered liberal or progressive or maybe even crazy on other issues… (laughing)
What I was trying to get across regarding “victimhood” was that I feel that there are a great many people who feel that they are entitled to success and nice things regardless of how hard you work or what you do with your life. People for example, who have greatly contributed to the financial destruction of my country.
Within this mindset I think often there is a feeling of being a victim to life.  People who refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions and failure and success…a blame everything externally mentality a lack introspection that it takes to take responsibility for yourself…much like a spoiled child.
I think we can rediscover values by being good examples to those around us who we might influence.  People need to make fundamental changes in their hearts and souls to transform themselves into anything…Those of us who believe that change is needed continue to live our lives and raise our children accordingly to then go out and live their lives that way.

NN: There is the quote in the German press – in German: “Was die Idee Amerikas so wundervoll macht”, so ihr Sprecher Michael Graves, der ehemalige Sänger der Horrorpunk-Legende Misfits, „ist die Tatsache, daß alles möglich ist. (…) Wir sind das Ideal. Wir sind Utopia. Wir sind näher am Paradies, als sie jemals sein können. Näher als vielen bewußt ist. Und dafür hassen sie uns.”  – the translation: “What makes America and its idea so wonderful. It is the fact that everything is possible. We are “the ideal”. We are Utopia. We are nearer to paradise that you ever can be. Nearer than most people know. And this is the reason they hate us”. (I hope, it is no misquote …) Do you/Can you understand that there are many people in our Country are kind of, let’s say: confused, about these words, because they see these words as an affirmation for their fear, that people in the USA are not willing to cooperate with the “rest” of the world, but that they are convinced that the USA means ti “knows it all better”, that they are not interested in any collaboration with other countries (topics: “environment protection”, “preventing wars”, “terrorism”)?

MG: The press has a funny way sometimes of taking things out of context and giving the impression of something that is just not accurate. That quote was from something I wrote called “Punk Rock is Dangerous” on March 21rst, 2004.  It wasn’t long after the attacks that happened in Spain. The column began with me posing two questions….” What makes America and its idea so wonderful? The possibility of anything at all? That is how I imagine people from faraway places felt when they watched us send a man into outer space and walk on the moon for the first time. We are the ideal”  I used the achievement of mankind’s ability to send a man to the moon as an example of what freedom, liberty and prosperity could achieve. I imagined that people who lived in tyranny and oppress
“We are nearer to paradise that you ever can be.”… I wrote, “We are closer to paradise then they could ever be.” – “…this is the reason they hate us”….
By “they” I meant people who would for example be willing to detonate bombs on a commuter train in Spain or fly airplanes into skyscrapers in New York City.
In that article I later went on to write that,  “I believe this is an age of extremism and in it teen angst is being used as a political tool.”  That’s nothing new in politics whether it is the left or the right doing it and should not come to anyone surprise, quite frankly in my opinion.  I then used the shootings at Columbine High School as an example of the level of ferocity that is present in allot of young people and the outcome of those who might be willing to act on that rage. I then wrote that we were “at war on many different levels” and that we face “mass death brought to us from radical thinking people bent on a mission from God that will stop at nothing to destroy us.” By “us” I mean people who do not believe in their idea of Islam.
We are close to paradise then those who live in tyranny and oppression because we have freedom and liberty… there are many in the world who can only dream about that.

NN: You talked about “radical thinking people bent on a mission from God” – ok, in a way, we both, I guess, have the radical Islamists in mind. But this is not the only “Radical religious group”, many people argue, that also in the USA and in many western countries there is a kind of (Christian) “fundamentalism” …

MG: Christian fundamentalists have not declared war on America. These barbarians have hijacked a beautiful religion seek to take over the world and will stop at nothing to kill all of us if we do not transform and submit to their worldview and domination. This is the same evil the world saw in the 1940’s. People think that the evil will come in a brown uniform with an emblem on it goose-stepping down Main St. but that is not the case. The enemy is at the gates and we’re opening the door for them.

NN: “In America elections are sometimes like choosing between two bowls of crap… the only difference is the smell.” you argued in our interview – what were your feelings this time during the actual elections? Was it different this time?

MG:  I actually heard a comic here in America say that… I can’t claim that as my own…(laughing)…but yes, the elections were very disappointing. There really is no difference between the Republican Party and The Democratic Socialist Party here in America. The leaders of this country have failed us. The American politicians…most of them anyway…tell the sheeple what they want to hear on the campaign trail to retain their power…these people will say anything to stay in power and they do and then they sell us out. They cut our throats and plunge our children’s children into debt. John McCain rolled over on the American people and his conservative supporters.

NN: Now elections took place in your country, Obama is the new president. What are your expectations, if any?

MG: My expectations are that the extreme leftists agenda will continue to proceed to advance even more ferociously. The liberal left seeks to silence conservative talk radio and writers and thinkers in general that dare speak out against their advance towards a 1000 years of darkness. The now former Home Secretary in Great Britain, Jacqui Smith has banned Michael Savage from Britain. She has linked one of America’s most beloved radio talk show hosts, who has 10 million listeners, with Russian skinheads in prison for murdering 10 immigrants and a Hamas murderer who executed two Jewish parents and bashed in the head of their four-year-old daughter.
Michael Savage was awarded the Freedom of Speech Award by the radio industry in 2007. He has repeatedly called for the lawful enforcement of America’s borders, language, and culture and is now a target here in America and apparently abroad as well. I experienced much the same treatment when I began voicing my opinions in 2004. Fiend Force Records who are based out of Germanys’ policy is anti-conservative. why? We are “Conservatives”.

NN: … after, If I remember right, he was accused to “fostering extremism or hatred”. He, Savage, also claims that liberalism and e. g. same-sex marriage are degrading American culture …

MG: Liberalism and same-sex marriage do degrade American culture that is my opinion… that is Michael Savages opinion and millions of other people’s opinions. Michael Savage has been added to a list of murders and rapists who have committed brutal acts of violence …he has been banned from a western democracy for having an opinion. The type of people who would do this thing are the same people who want to reinstate the fairness doctrine here in the US…the same people who want to control the information and opinions that Americans get…the people who want to silence all dissenting opinions and arguments but their own.
Liberalism is blossoming into a new world order right before our eyes. People thought George Bush was dangerous…Barack Obama is off the charts. He’ll soon be in Dresden Germany where he’ll most likely apologize for the allied bombing of the city during the last war in his speech. His supporters…the thieves who have conducted the greatest robbery in American History… and his street soldiers…the blind and the ignorant sheeple who know more about Britney Spears life then Anne Frank and care more for fighting for their right and freedom to eat a Big Mac then freedom of speech…these people who care more for the rights of the murderer then the murdered…they hate America and they will applaud him and say “move forward oh great leader …we’re with you.”

NN: …What do you mean?

MG: Obama and his supporters are trying too and succeeding …so far… in a complete makeover of America that is built on radical leftist ideologies and positions.  There worldview is profoundly different than mine and many other like-minded citizens of my country.
President Obama is a left wing radical. The main stream media do not challenge anything he says or does…they do not question him on his policies or positions and they portray him as some sort of God.  Obama is a masterful orator who has a talent for taking all sides of a position. He reveals himself cryptically and says very little to the public that has not been scrutinized, scripted and put in front of him.

NN: In Germany and Europe Obama seems to be a bit like an “Messiah” – is that feeling towards the new president of the US comprehensible for you?

MG: I have been writing and talking about this since 2004. I have been saying that the liberalism of America will lead us down a path to slavery.  George Bush set us up and Barack Obama has put a knife in the heart of America.

NN: What do you think should be the consequences of the worldwide finance crisis? Is it – in your opinion – possible to change anything?

MG: I don’t have all the answers. But it’s funny how the companies that should have come apart…the companies that got us into this mess in the first place and their bureaucracies and lobbying groups all got bailed out…they all got saved and the people got screwed. America is creating a system that rewards laziness and failure…an entitlement society that takes from the rich and the middle class and gives to everyone else…this system will slowly continue to de moralize us and starve us of hope and leave no place to rest but the arms of the ever-expanding Federal Government.
There are no programs for people who have paid their mortgages on time…or people that didn’t lie on applications and get themselves into a situation where they were facing unsustainable debt. There is no reward for all of the people that have lived there lives responsibly and as hard and as honest as they could all along while paying their taxes and propping up and supporting all those who don’t or won’t.

NN: What began to sink our ship in the first place? … Individual and huge corporation’s unsustainable debt reckless greed and corruption. What makes anyone in the world think that by placing an unsustainable amount of debt on the countries’ backs that it will then solve the economic problems we have…? that is what got us here in the first place?

MG: Wait until inflation kicks in. Here in America we just print money when we run out of it…no problem.
I think that a big part of the solution is to elect leaders of integrity that stand on the principals that “we the people” set forth…we have to elevate and elect candidates, or run for office ourselves, and remain guided by our founding documents. I think conservative Americans should continue to stand up and speak out for who and what we feel we are and what we know this country can be and should be.

NN: But don’t you think, that the ‘fiscal policy” of the Bush-government and its believe in the self-regulation of markets has to assume a certain responsibility for that?

MG: What makes anyone in the world think that by placing an unsustainable amount of debt on the countries’ backs that it will then solve the economic problems we have…? that is what got us here in the first place? Wait until inflation kicks in. Here in America we just print money when we run out of it…no problem. I think that a big part of the solution is to elect leaders of integrity that stand on the principals that “we the people” set forth…we have to elevate and elect candidates, or run for office ourselves, and remain guided by our founding documents. I think conservative Americans should continue to stand up and speak out for who and what we feel we are and what we know this country can be and should be.