Hitler bad, Propagandhi good. Oh no wait, that was The Vandals. Who cares? It can apply to Propagandhi just the same as they once again prove on "Supporting Caste", their latest album on which they shred like crazy while filling our heads with the kind of riot-inducing food for thought they have been known for for quite some time already. Here's an interview we did with David "The Beave" Gullias. (photo courtesy of Mandy Malazdrewich).
PRT: The bio sheet that came with the new album helps us 'music journalists' out with some of the accolades we can use in our reviews. It made me wonder which five albums you would describe as ground-breaking, impossible to categorize and as works of staggering genius?
David: Haha...I don't know. I guess since Supporting Caste is my first record with the band I 'd have to say that one.
PRT: Thing is that a lot of music journalists do just copy stuff from biosheets. A trend that you see in regular journalism as well. I mean papers have a tendency to print the news they know their readers want to read about rather than writing about the stories that they should know about. Do you agree and what are your two cents on the subject?
David: I agree--you don't often read compelling pieces in the music-related press. It seems to me that most people working in the "music industry" don't really care about music at all. I'm not sure what they care about. Probably money.
PRT: To once again quote the biosheet... you are a bunch of visibly-aging prairie kids. Are bouts of arthritis what kept you from releasing a new album sooner?
David: Well, I'm only a soon-to-be visibly-aging prairie skid. I just turned 30; the other guys are approaching 40. But physical deterioration has had nothing to do with the band's sporadic release of records...yet. Todd's been nursing a bad knee for a while and nearly re-injured it kick-boxing right before leaving for tour. Jord's elbows are making some cracking sounds and he nearly lost his eyeball playing hockey, again right before tour. And Chris has a broken finger that never healed properly and is now literally useless and really painful. I think these are all signs that we better hurry the fuck up and record some more records before the end comes.
PRT: Your new album is called "Supporting Caste". How would you describe it to someone who hasn't heard your previous albums yet?
David: To my ears Supporting Caste sounds like a logical extension of what came before it. As a huge fan of the band for years before joining them, one of the things I loved most about their music was the progression I could hear from record to record. They never stagnated to conform to the flavour of the moment that was making a lot of bands from California rich. They always challenged themselves to do better. And this has not changed. The addition of me on second guitar has probably added something new to the mix, but I don't think Supporting Caste stands out at all as a departure from the past.
PRT: I read that you'll tour more than ever before and that there are even already plans for a new full-length. What happened?
David: Well basically we're just really happy and excited to be in this band right now. We worked really hard on the last record and are having a blast playing the tunes for folks. But we're also really anxious to get to work on some new tunes. Todd and I have been getting together for a few weeks showing each other some new riffs and I can't even believe how amazing this shit is sounding!!! But we're really focussed on touring and playing our new songs from Supporting Caste as good as we can, so there are no actual plans to start working on new stuff. But it is on the horizon!
PRT: In the past you've done some tours in areas where not a lot of other bands play... have you ever ended up in weird situations like the ones NOFX found themselves in judging from their new DVD?
David: Yeah, in the last few years we've been to places like Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Scandinavia and New Zealand which has--obviously--been pretty amazing. I haven't seen this NOFX DVD you're talking about, but I can almost guarantee we did not end up in the same "weird situations" you say they found themselves in. We met some really cool people and just really enjoyed our time in these places that we've never been to before. Snorkling in Costa Rica was definitely one of the highlights of my entire life.
PRT: Talking about Fat Mike... the new album isn't out on Fat Wreck. Is there a particular reason for that split?
David: It was simply a matter of them not showing much interest in our new record. We worked very hard on these new songs and we like them a lot and are excited to get out and play them for folks. We just wanted to work with people that share this excitement.
PRT: You used to run a label yourself, G7 Welcoming Committee. Is that definitely over with or are there plans to blow new life into the label at some point? I hope so because you had the best press releases!
David: I think Chris started loosing interest when Derek (the other guy running G7) moved away. He missed his buddy too much and I think sitting by himself in the office filling orders made him sad and lonely. Plus, between writing songs, practicing, recording and touring, the band has been taking up a lot of our time lately. So it may just be a matter of not having the time to invest in the label at the moment. I don't really know what (if any) plans there are for G7 in the future. You'll have to ask Chris.
PRT: You have already been around for quite some time... being as socially aware and politically active as you are, does it ever get frustrating if you don't see things changing over the years up to the point where you've been thinking about throwing in the towel?
David: If you mean throw in the towel as a band, who knows what the future holds. Right now this does not seem likely for a very long time. The four of us are good friends and we really feel like we're on a roll right now as far as our playing and our song-writing goes. There are lots of reasons to want to leave the world of playing in a band--from the corporate and commercial coup of music and its resulting dismal state to the often grueling and depression-inducing life of being on the road. But right now I see no end in sight. If by "throw in the towel" you mean stop caring about the world around us and become apathetic dicks, no fucking way. We all have an obligation to care about the consequences of our actions--especially those of us in the industrialized West. And to simply care about our fellow Earthlings, human and non-human.