Rock Against Bush

Punks protest the Prez

One thing we know about this lineup of punky malcontents is that they don't want George W. Bush to become president again. In order to achieve this aim, they've all agreed to put aside all bipartisan spitting and mosh-pit shoving for a cause they can all rally behind -- good, old-fashioned American hatred for one's commander in chief. If you would like to know more about this particular set of nihilists, here's the refresher course:

Anti-Flag is a Pittsburgh foursome that hates organized religion just as much as it hates fascism with a dress code. Since 1993, it's accrued a loyal following that wears patches of the flag upside down. It took four years for bassist Andy Flag to get offended by the band's name and quit. Unfortunately, the fans have not taken to wearing patches of Andy turned on his head. How much does your Anti- hate Bush? Look no further than its 2003 Terror State album, which contains the hit "Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L.)."

Midtown hails from New Jersey, where John Kerry's lead over Bush is narrowing. Its punk politics are of a more personal, emo nature, so hatred of Dubya manifests itself in introspective diatribes like "God Is Dead," "Nothing Is Ever What It Seems" and "As Long As We Keep Our Bodies Numb We're Safe."

Patch work: Anti-Flag makes its mark on the punk scene.
David Cooper
Patch work: Anti-Flag makes its mark on the punk scene.

You might remember Mike Park as the Korean lead singer of Skankin' Pickle. His debut solo album, For the Love of Music, skanks along on an acoustic guitar, mostly, but still has its share of anthems like the anti-racist platform "From Korea," which informs ugly Americans everywhere that "My eyes are small but your eyes are closed." Park is donating 5 percent of royalties from this album to the Plea for Peace Foundation. Take that, you war mongers.

The hardcore screamers of Strike Anywhere from Richmond, Virginia, can almost be described as melodic punk, except for their bursts of shouting in unison. And Portland, Oregon's Epoxies provide a breather from loud, fast politics with an almost retro New Wave punk sensibility that will remind you of kinder, gentler times, when the only weapons of mass destruction were synthesizers.

Rage Against the Machine's conversion into the Chris Cornell-led Audioslave might lead some to think that Rage guitarist and co-founder Tom Morello's political rock days were behind him. But meet his political folk alter ego, The Nightwatchman. Morello actually worked for a spell as a California senator's secretary before forming Rage, inventing heavy metal/rap in the process. While The Nightwatchman remains unrecorded, Morello plans to release an album with System of a Down's Serj Tankian on Election Day. Wonder how many people will miss out because their heads are in ovens.

 
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