Browse by Title
V W X Y Z #  

Pat Thetic of Anti-Flag
Anti-Flag is a good old fashioned punk rock band that has been bucking establishment for over two decades. When the four-piece group played an acoustic set at Occupy Wall Street in New York City on October 8, 2011, they were right in their element. Song titles like "Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington D.C." and "The Press Corpse," help illustrate their left-leaning, activist position.

The Pittsburgh-based band formed as an angry cry against the Nationalist Movement that heavily influenced the punk rock scene in the late '80s and early '90s. The band's vocalist and bassist, Chris No. 2, explained to Punk News:

"It felt like the walls of punk rock were now allowing the status quo to come in, and that's where the name Anti-Flag came from. What will agitate and piss these people, make them question their nationalism, or kick the shit out of us. So, I think the messages that we do today are the same as that. We've just sort of found a higher road to sort of engage people."

Ten politically-charged albums later (including the latest General Strike), Anti-Flag cannot just be defined by what it stands against, but also by what it stands for. The band supports such organizations as Democracy Now!, PETA, Amnesty International and Greenpeace.

Pat Thetic, the group's drummer and a founding member, spoke to us about songwriting and - surprise - politics.
Pat Thetic of Anti-Flag
Dan MacIntosh (Songfacts): Let's talk about how you write songs as a band.

Pat Thetic: Yeah. Hi, I'm Pat, I play drums in a band called Anti-Flag. And songwriting has been an evolution for us as we've gotten to be older as a band. A lot of the songwriting originally was done by Justin [Sane], the singer. He would come in with a lot of the song together, and then it would filter through me. I would play drums to it, and it would come out the other side sort of modified based on the way that I play. That has been how a lot of the songs that we've written over the years have been.

But as we've gotten older, now a lot of times we just come in with very fragmented ideas, and all four of us will sit and modify them, the ideas, into something that is completely different than what they came in as.

Songfacts: You've evolved to be more democratic.

Pat: Definitely more democratic over the years. And it's interesting, because as we get older, people have much more diverse influences than we did when we were young. We all were sort of in the same boat listening to a similar style of music all the time. But now as we've grown up we're all listening to different things and being exposed to different ideas individually, as well. So that has definitely impacted our songwriting to a great deal.

Songfacts: What do you think is a song that you're most proud of, and why?

Pat: The song that I'm most of proud of is a song called "Anatomy of Your Enemy," and it's just a snare drum and sort of a spoken word song. It's not my proudest work as a songwriter, but the text of the song is very important to me, because it talks about how people in power create enemies, so we will all go off and kill them as a culture. For me, it's a song that is very important, because a lot of young people don't see these processes happening, but they're happening every day, and people are creating enemies around us all the time and if you can see that it's just a tactic, it's very easy to see through the tactic.

Songfacts: Do you take a political stance? Do you align yourself with any political party?

Pat: I do not align myself with a political party, but as Steve Earle said, I make an embarrassingly large amount of money for a borderline socialist.

Songfacts: (Laughs) I love Steve Earle.

Pat: Oh, he's great. Talented man.

Songfacts: So what were some of the bands that inspired you to form the group?

Pat: Well, we were inspired by bands like The Clash and Social Distortion and the Avengers and the late '70s, early '80s style of punk rock. Those are the bands that spoke to us. We took that and added the influences of the East Coast political and straight edge movements and sort of brought all that together.

Songfacts: Are you excited about the upcoming election, or are you afraid of it?

Pat: I'm always excited. As I've gotten older, I've realized that you're always going to elect a shitty person. But the only benefit to electing a shitty person is that every four years you get the chance of getting rid of that person. Because the only thing that really protects us is the fact that they can't continue to amass power for themselves if we kick them out after 8 years.

Songfacts: I think we take for granted the whole checks and balances.

Pat: For sure.

Songfacts: Particularly if you're looking at what's going on in a lot of the Middle Eastern countries where they don't even have that freedom.

Pat: Well, yes. And I agree. And people are like, Well, don't you love democracy? And I'm like, Well, I think democracy, there's a lot of benefit to it. But really the only thing that it guarantees us is that in 8 years, no matter how much of a douche bag this guy is, we can get a new one. So democracy doesn't make us automatically get a better candidate or a better president. It just means that they can't be there for 30 years like in a lot of other places in the world.

Songfacts: What does the name of the band signify?

Pat: When we were young, in the late '80s, early '90s, there was a movement in punk rock that was very nationalist and a lot of God Bless America. And it's interesting, because it seems to be coming back here in 2012. A lot more nationalism. We've always felt that punk rock was a statement against the status quo. So the name came out of this statement: it starts out as an American flag, but you realize that we all are wearing flags to some degree, whether it's your gender, your nationality, or your religion. So a breaking down of those barriers is what the name is really talking about.

August 1, 2012. Get more at

Comments: 1

Great concert at Woodstock Festival in Poland last week!
-JC from Poland

Where are you from?
Your Comment
 security code

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"
The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."
Dr. JohnDr. John
The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.
Christmas SongsChristmas Songs
Rudolf, Bob Dylan and the Singing Dogs all show up in this Fact or Fiction for seasonal favorites.
Tony Joe WhiteTony Joe White
The writer of "Rainy Night in Georgia" and "Polk Salad Annie" explains how he cooks up his Louisiana swamp rock.

Search in Song Writing
Song Writing titles
9 Songs Where Stuff Is On Fire
90210 to Buffy to Glee: How Songs Transformed TV
A History of Plagiarism in Songs
A Very Dysfunctional Christmas: The Saddest Songs of the Season
Adam Turla of Murder By Death
Album Cover Inspirations
Alex Kerns of Lemuria
Almost Famous
Anatomy of a YouTube Star: How Twelve Singers Found Fame on Social Media
Answering Machine Songs
Aretha to The Black Keys: The Muscle Shoals Story
Arrested For Your Art - The Story Of 2 Live Crew's "Obscene" Album
Artis the Spoonman
Bass Player Scott Edwards
Beats, Drugs and EDM: DJ Culture and Dance Music Demystified
Beau Bokan of Blessthefall
Ben Nichols of Lucero
Ben Savage of Whitechapel
Best Band Logos
Best Selling Albums Worldwide
Beyond Llewyn Davis
Black Women Songwriters
Bones Howe and the Songs of 1969
Brian Kehew: The Man Behind The Remasters
British Session Star Vic Flick
Buddha Gets Jazzier (with a touch of folk)
Canadian Prankster Punks The Johnstones
Carole King: Beyond Tapestry
Craig Wedren
Data Romance
Dave Hause
Depressing Songs That Sound Happy
Director Spence Nicholson
Dirty Dancing
Divided Souls: Musical Alter Egos
Does Jimmy Page Worship The Devil? A Look at Satanism in Rock
Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt
Facebook, Bromance and Email - The First Songs To Use New Words
Family Replacement
Flies on You
Frankie Valli
Gretchen Parlato
Have Mercy! It's Wolfman Jack
He's So Fine: The Ronnie Mack Story
Hidden Gem of Grunge: The Story of Truly
How the Dead Milkmen Came Back to Life
In The Cards
Incongruent Opening Acts
It's All You: Musicians Go DIY
Jack O'Shea of Bayside
Jaime Preciado of Pierce the Veil
James Mead of Kutless
Janis Ian: Married in London, but not in New York
Jay Nash
Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining Victims
Jayme Dee and the YouTube Effect
Jeff Berlin
Jenny Owen Youngs
Jerry Silverman on Baseball Songs
Jesus Christ Superstar: Ted Neeley Tells the Inside Story
John Sponarski of Portage and Main
Jon Patrick Walker
King Tuff
La La Brooks of The Crystals
Leonard Friend
Lip-Synch Rebels
Luckyiam of Living Legends
Lyrics as a Foreign Language
Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's Songs
Maia Sharp - A New Thing to Say, or a New Way to Say an Old Thing
Meet The 14-Year-Old Eddie Kramer Is Producing
Middle Class Musicians
Middle Class Musicians Raw Survey Results
Mister Heavenly
Modern A Cappella with Peder Karlsson of The Real Group
MTV: The Early Years
Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he Inspired
N.W.A vs. the World
New Year's Songs Auld and New
On The Road To Exile With The Rolling Stones
Part of Their World: The Stories and Songs of 13 Disney Princesses
Pat Thetic of Anti-Flag
PawnShop Kings
Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie
Phone Booth Songs
Play On, Roger Clyne
Rachele Lynae
Republicans vs Songwriters
Ritchie Blackmore Goes Medieval
Rock of Ages from the Band Perspective
Roget Pontbriand
Ryan Hobler
Sad Robot
Sandy Carroll
Searching For Sylvia
Second Wind Songs
Shelby Earl
Sleeping at Last
Songfactor's Choice: Best American Bands
Songfactor's Choice: Musical Power Couples
Songfactors Choice: Best Frontperson
Songfactors Choice: Groundbreakers
Songfactors Choice: Top Albums of the '60s
Songfactors Choice: Top Albums of the '70s
Songfactors Choice: Top Albums of the '80s
Songfactors Choice: Top Albums of the '90s
Songs About Movies
Songs Discussed in Movies
Songwriters Workshop: Collaborations
Songwriters Workshop: Part 1
Songwriters Workshop: Part 2
Soul Train Stories with Stephen McMillian
Stax Today
Steve Jobs Greatest Hits
Stevie Wonder talks God and Country at the ACMs
Still Bill: The Story of Bill Withers
Stoned in Song
Superman in Song
Surprising Guest Musicians
Tales From The Red Carpet
Ten Most Culturally Significant One Hit Wonders
The Best and Worst Songs of Will Smith
The Creative Side with Mark Addison
The Hongs
The Last Years of Miles Davis
The Most Controversial Album Covers PG Version
The Musical Impact of The Muppets
The Real Nick Drake
The Roof Is On Fire: An Old School Rap Story
The Royal Concept
The Soundtracks of the Soldiers
The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine
Tim Timmons
Top 10 Concept Albums of All Time
Top 10 Debut Singles
Top 10 Original Christmas Songs
Top 10 TV Show Theme Songs
Top 10 Videos of All Time
Top Albums of the Decade
Top Songfacts of 2011
Top Songfacts of 2012
Top Songfacts of 2013
Translator founder Steve Barton
Trip Lee
TV Themes the Last 4 Decades
Two Sides To The Story - He Said She Said Songs
Valerie Simpson talks about Motown in 1969
Wedding Bell Blues
What Made Big Star Shine
What Musicians Are Related to Other Musicians?
What The Heck Is Mathcore? Your Guide to Obscure Niche Genres
Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many Songs
Why Does Everybody Hate Nu-Metal? Your Metal Questions Answered
Worthy or Worthless: Quesionable Band Members
You're Running out of Reasons to Hate Neil Diamond
Other Songfacts Blogs
Songwriter Interviews
Song Writing
Music Quiz
Fact or Fiction
They're Playing My Song