Anti-Flag Plays Oakland Metro Operahouse for 20th Anniversary


Calling all Punk Rockers of all ages - one of the most notable shows will be going on not only tonight, but tomorrow, too.

Whether you have been into punk rock for a short spurt of time or still hold on to the subculture's messages, values and lifestyle, you have quite certainly listened to the iconic, internationally renown punk band Anti-Flag. 

The punk rock lifestyle has definitely stuck with these musicians and political activists.  This year marks their 20th anniversary since they formed in 1993.  They will be playing at the Oakland Metro Operahouse on 630 3rd Street.
Classic songs will be revived throughout this tour.

"It's going to be a lot of fun. There will be songs we haven't played in 15 years. The real life of a song is playing it live. Songs that haven't had life in a long time will now have life when they're sung along to," says Pat Thetic, drummer and one of the founding members of Anti-Flag, 

With the amount of material they have produced over two decades, drummer Pat Thetic was asked if they remember all the songs they are going to perform. 

"No. [Laughs]. We are up to at least 120 songs It's hard to remember all of them. We had to practice quite a bit to remember them.We also have different sets. We have our opening sets and our headlining sets. Those are fun to do."

With a two night set, the variety of songs will get everyone fired up allowing them to more than likely hear one or more of their favorites. 


When talking to a band that has been around for as long as Anti-Flag has been, there are not many original questions to be asked - whether it is about their political stances, musical evolution, experiences around the world, or their personal lives. However, Pat Thetic still offered interesting insight on the topics.  

After playing for so long, a typical musician would hold a strong sense of confidence and maybe even a bit of an ego with their musical creativity and abilities. Pat Thetic is not a typical drummer, and Anti-Flag is no typical band. 

Pat Thetic offers an abundance of humility when it comes to talking about drumming. "The evolution of me as a drummer is to not suck as badly. It's a joke, but very real. We had ideas when we were young, but didn't have the ability to make them work. As we get older and have an idea that we can't make work, we find the middle ground. I realize more now what I can't make work and what I can."

"With drummers, it's much more a body experience. Drums within punk rock and hardcore, the drummers are trying to express something. We are all trying to do something to make ourselves known that is outside the box. I've never been a very good drummer, sometimes we f**k up and it doesn't work, but it makes it more interesting."

 There is a large amount of genuine humility and gratitude that exudes when Pat Thetic speaks. And it's assumed that the other members feel the same way when it comes to making music, politics, and their experiences. he ego other musicians seem to get as their fan base grows seemed to be nonexistent when talking to Pat Thetic (or when reading or watching any other interviews with him or other members of the group).  s appreciative as they are for their fan base, their creative drive is not necessarily dependent on people.

How does a band create so much music, stay so passionate, keep up with the recording, touring, interviews, and their own record label? 

"The nice this is we don't have to get that from the outside. e are interested in creation of music and activism. we might not find it in a show sometimes, but we find it in the four of us and the eight of us [the other crew members that work with them at home]. We're into the creation of something new, pissing somebody off, making a statement that's not socially acceptable at this time in history.

The goal is to create this message and create a way of making people hear them.  The music, shows, the tour, the website, the tweeting, the record label are all vehicles to make people hear them."


When traveling to different cities, countries, and continents for so long, choosing a favorite place to play becomes a difficult thing to do.  

Pat Thethic talks about some of the his favorite cities and countries and the morphing of the punk communities within cities. 

Moscow - there's a wild west feel about Russia that you can't get anywhere else in the world. Australia - Sydney and Melbourne because the weather is nice and the people are great. We've been very lucky to experience these places around the world.  But even playing Cleveland is fun. Cleveland was fun in the [mid 90's] because there were a lot of punk rock kids. Then there were none for a while. In 2004 they were there again." 

"Different cities go through different phases in their music community. You're talking to a small group of people and that morphs and changes. People grow up. They haven't been to a show in 10 years and then come to this 20 year anniversary show. They can always go back and the energy and the passion are still there."  

"There is no city that has a constant large punk music community. There is always that 400 to 500 people that come out.Those are the people making music and are trying.  They believe they don't need a record company to make music.They are going to do it no matter what. And the beauty is we connect with those people."

Punk rock in your teens and early adulthood entails anger, frustration, rage, being vocal for causes you believe in, and speaking out against things you believe are wrong.  For many punk rockers that grow up, the punk values may stick (or may not) and expression fades.

 Not for Pat Thetic and Anti-Flag. When asked if that anger they felt when they first formed the group 20 years ago still exists today, he was quick to respond with a yes. 

"It definitely does. The only difference is when you're young you don't think about consequences. With time, we thought 'Well, if we express ourselves in this way, we have a better chance of someone hearing the message." 

Pat Thetic believes people don't really care about music these days. "Music has become an accessory. Music is about video games, commercials, being an accessory at the mall. It's not about the expression of one angry person. That's not happening. Not in my world. I don't see that. We're waiting for young people to say 'F**k it, let's just do it.'"

Anti-Flag has a hard look to them. But don't be fooled. They stand for people without a voice, the people that are being ignored, and the people that are being mistreated - whether it's internationally, domestically, or locally. In short, Anti-Flag's politics consistent of not dropping bombs on people, stopping economic exploitation, people in power giving some up for people who are suffering.

Anti-war, same sex marriage advocate, and treating people with their rights regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexuality. Their stances are what attract many of their fans. Not only do they enjoy the music, but the meaning behind the music.

Anti-Flag (which consists of Pat Thetic, Justin Sane, Chris Head, and Chris 2) is set to be touring for all of 2013. Yes, the whole year in the U.S. and abroad to commemorate their 20 years of music making. It will be a long time before they return. You don't want to miss your chance to see one of the most dedicated bands to the punk scene that have substance to their content and an abundance of energy. 

You can get more info on Anti-Flag at

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