Leftöver Crack Interview

Alternative Tentacles' Leftöver Crack has just released a politically charged hard rock album Fuck World Trade. If you're going to judge a book by it's cover, witness the black and white artwork gracing the front of their new release: the band and album name are in proto-metal old english style lettering; small satanic five pointed stars are upside down in the upper left and lower right corners; the main background image is of the second plane approaching the World Trade Center on 9/11; Rudolph Giuliani is wearing a Yankees baseball cap and a suit, smiling broadly as he holds a remote control for the about-to-crash plane in his hands; Dick Cheney is smiling and holding a box of matches, one of which is lit and held up for the smirking George W. Bush, who's standing at a gas pump labelled HALLIBURTON, using the lit-by-Cheney gas nozzle as a flamethrower, pouring flames onto the burning, yet still standing first tower of the WTC. The band's nihilism is genuine; their music is hard and sprinkled with many stylistic influences. With such overt messages infusing their work, they seemed like an interesting interview at the very least. Through the label, we were able to set up an email interview (they don't like phone interviews) with the group's outspoken vocalist, Stza.

Better Propaganda Editor Terbo Ted talks to Stza of Leftöver Crack

betterPropaganda:  Say there were no publicists in the world, and everyone spoke for themselves in their own voice. How would you describe your band Leftöver Crack?

Stza: Well, anything you may have read about us was most likely written by me, but I can tell you that the most important thing about L.O.C. is our various political messages. A Swedish interviewer recently asked me to describe L.O.C. in 3 words, so I told him Political-Grind-Pop, but we have many styles that we do just well enough to fool a lot of people, but not everyone.

bP:  You worked with legendary rock producer Steve Albini on this album.  He's done a bunch of very famous projects, and is still actively working with bands with indie street cred, folks like McClusky, Neurosis and The Ex.  Please explain what it was like to work with him, and how that shaped the sound of your current release Fuck World Trade.

S: It was really cool to work with him, even though one-time we got in a fight & he threw a chair at me, which caught me partially on the neck & so I couldn't really breathe, but he came close to see if I was alright & I kicked him really hard in his left shin & I kind of did this flailing on my back leg dropping all over his mid-section & then we got split-up by Neurosis who was recording the next afternoon, but came in early on our last day. I think the drums sound particularly awesome becaUSE OF sTEVE, BUT i JUST WISH THAT WE KNEW WHAT WE WERE better & could've afforded to do the whole record with him, instead we went to a guy that charged us very little & worked accordingly hackish, so the final product does display a degradation from what the record would have been if completed with Steve.

bP:  When I look at your band's album artwork, and listen to your music, I can draw clear parallels to the Dead Kennedys, who are undoubtably an influence on you guys.  What's it like to work with Jello Biafra, and be on his label Alternative Tentacles, the one he started while that band was still together?  He's obviously quite a fan of both music and political visionaries...

S: Yeah, the Dead Kennedys are the band that made us see the world in a whole new depressing way, that can only be denied by the naive/ignorant or greedy fucking liars. I don't know if Jello sees us as visionaries, but I do think that he understands that we want a record label that will not deny us our right to freedom of speech & art.

bP:  Your music is extremely political.  Where do you see yourselves in context with other songwriters over the past century who have also excelled at mixing music and politics, folks like Woody Gutherie, Country Joe and the Fish, Bob Marley, Jello, Chuck D, Paris and so on?

S: I would like to think that somewhere, somebody has a respect for what we are trying to do & say, as I know I would not respect myself if I did not say these things that I know to be true.

bP:  In your opinion, what musical acts are successfully mixing music and politics these days?

S: Dead Prez has a really strong message & 1905 from D.C. & to tell you the truth I can't think of too many bands or groups that I am aware of.

bP:  Peter Garrett, known for his political anthems and activist work fronting the Australian rock band Midnight Oil, has very deliberately retired from that form of show business to run for a New South Wales seat for the Labor Party.  Is civilization reaching a point where these celebrities would be more useful being a part of the government than criticizing it from the outside?  In the wake of success by right wing actors like Reagan and Arnold, should rockers who are active politically seriously consider infiltrating the system as candidates, household names like Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and so on?

S: Sure, I don't know why you'd mention Bon Jovi & the Boss in the same sentence, except that may be you are fixated on or from N.J., but, yeah, I think that someone like Bruce Springsteen is a good example of someone who can parlay his musical popularity into a government office seat & maybe would do some good, I mean, actors are ridiculous to think of as politicians, because they are puppet/whores for a living & they make no bones about being for sale to the highest bidder (look at some of the roles these people take) & are essentially professional liars.

bP:  The World Trade Center bombings are a central component of the artwork for your new album, Fuck World Trade.  In your opinion, who was responsible for the September 11th attacks, and why?

S: That's a question that I could not begin to answer, but I would definitely have to place a large amount of the blame on our Republican leadership & their hidden agendas as well as our Democratic leadership & their lack of ability to produce any tangible reforms in our government.

bP:  Did you see Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 911, and what do you think of him?

S: I did see it & I find Michael Moore to be extremely abrasive and annoying, especially when it comes to that embarrassing heart-string pulling he always half-assedly attempts, he seems like a real creep to me, but at the same time I am really happy that he can be extremely popular & expose so many of the lies & hypocrasies in our society & government. And also, I think that what he said at whatever awards show he won at was good, even though it could have said a little better. We need people like him, because he not only can see through the media's bull-shit, but he is that lowest common denominator fat slob that can translate this data to your average stupid American.

bP:  Why is your band releasing it's album while the Republican National Convention in NYC is taking place?  Most small labels in the industry seem to save their late summer releases for September 21st release, qualifying them as a 'fall' product...

S: I just wanted it to come out before September 11th & before the elections, I actually wanted a september 7th release, but A.T.s distributor wasn't releasing anything that week, so, it just happened to be another surprise coincidence, but not as much as our first L.O.C. record Mediocre Generica being released on September 11th 2001. I think I also wanted this record to come out exactly 3 years after the other one because it can draw attention to the fact that this record would have been done 2 years ago if it hadn't been for hellcat/epitaphs interference.

bP:  At some point, President George W. Bush will be a former President.  If you were to put a message in a time capsule, how would you describe what it was like to live during his administration?

S: Harrowing to say the least, an adventure in terror for the whole world.

bP:  What do you expect to happen in a second Bush term if he's re-elected in November?

S: I wouldn't venture to guess... more lies & death?

bP:  What are your thoughts on John Kerry?

S: He looks like a ghoul & he'll just do a bunch of wicked things in his own slow democratic way.

bP:  Your lead track on your new album is called "Clear Channel (Fuck Off!)," which pretty clearly articulates your position. If you were to describe Clear Channel- and your opinion about them- to someone who isn't informed on the topic, what would you say?

S: I suppose something about how they are a huge media conglomerate that is in a very business like way ruining popular Music in this country through their control of radio stations & especially their choke-hold on concert venues in most mAjor cities in the U.S. & U.K.

bP:  How much attention do you pay to the Black Metal scene, and what catches your attention from that genre?

S: I don't pay much attention, I hear things that friends of mine play or if certain people suggest a band, but I think it's completely oversaturated at this point, which makes it very hard to discern or even find good bands, my prerequisite is that they are not facsist or xeno/homo phobic or nAtionalistic racists.

bP:  Your band has some ska roots apparently, but those aren't very prominent in your current sound, only rarely coming to the surface.  Your band- while eclectic- is more punk/metal sounding than anything these days.  Do you listen to other kinds of music that your band doesn't reference?  Please explain what you're listening to, what turns you on.

S: I rarely listen to punk music unless I'm at a show, otherwise I mostly listen to music that tends to be pretty mellow with good melodies & if the lyrics are political or dark, then it will probably end up as a favorite. If I try to name names, I always leave something important out, but I will say that some of my favorite stuff ever is on Chumbawamba's first two records (pictures of starving children & never mind the ballots)

bP:  Your band is proud of its squatter and drug rehab roots.  Does anyone in the band have an iPod?

S: No, I'm not even exactly sure of what an iPod is, except that none of us have one.

bP:  Have you been following the situation in Venezuela, and do you have any thoughts on that topic?

S: I know that I have read about the "situation", but I don't think I know enough off hand to make an intelligent comment about it.

bP:  Has your new album been banned by any national retailers? Or does Alternative Tentacles not even bother with folks like Walmart these days?

S: I don't know who they try to deal with, but I know that several "major" retailers refused to carry the record, I know Best Buy is among them & Sam Goody I think.

bP:  Food stamps are in your album artwork.  What do you think of social programs like food stamps?

S: I spent many years on public assistance & I think it's a crime for the government to cut these programs. Instead of spending all of "our" tax money on war, we can easily reduce crime in the U.S. by funding public assistance programs & helping starving/desperate people not ruin their lives by breaking the law to feed themselves & their families, anyways, a lot of public assistance candidates end up in jail & the tax payers end up spending way more money to house & feed them.

bP:  Activists have been talking about changing tactics at demonstrations since the Seattle WTO 99 days.  Some people going to the NYC RNC demonstrations are talking about cutting their hair, taking out their piercings, and dressing 'business casual,' with sportcoats, neckties and all that in order to avoid riot police profiling.  What are your thoughts on this topic, especially as someone who looks a great deal like the archetypal WTO 99 rioter fashion-wise?  Are news photos of a young kid in a suit and tie getting dragged down the street on his face by cops going to be seen differently than if it was some stereotypical dreadlocked tree hugging anarchist getting arrested?

S: Yeah, as a matter of fact I decided to go business casual at the NYC GOP convention protests, although my suit was filthy, I think that it would look better & confuse the pigs at the same time, but I'm sure that the crusties would get laid less if they didn't dress in the patched up/black garb that I love so dearly & who doesn't want to get laid?

bP: How many times have you been arrested and why?

S: You sound like the Canadian border cops when they had my whole F.B.I. file under their greasy little hands. I couldn't believe that someone had compiled crazy info like aLl the fake names I've been arrested under since I was 16. but to answer your question, I'm not sure of the number, it's probably around ten & ranges from shoplifting to disorderly conduct & resisting arrest, but... mostly shoplifting.  

bP: What's with the pretty piano bits near the end of your album?

S: I like nice quiet music & I figured that if some of our fans do then they can leave the record on through to the end.

bP: Tell us about your plans for the coming year:

S: Tour til new years & then I want to sail a boat to Guatemala & Central America to learn more Spanish.

bP: Thanks for your time.

S: De nada, gracias para ti.

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