Leftover Crack's Stza on School Shootings: "Our Government Is Directly Responsible For Worse"
While dishing out a manically mode-shifting blend of pop-punk, third-wave ska, and death metal, the lyrical content is equal parts gutter punk and Food Not Bombs.
The Crizack mashes radical, left-wing anarchism with hard drugs and reactionary politics (the constant "killing cops" motif being the brightest example) as well as a penchant for provocation and antagonism.
Scott "Stza" Sturgeon, the band's outspoken frontman and chief lyricist, and his freebasing bandmates will be rocking the fuck out at Churchill's Pub in Miami tonight.
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So Crossfade shot him some questions via email about the complex -- often contradictory -- philosophy of contemporary punk rock's most controversially crusty crew.
Crossfade: Would it be accurate to say that the band has become more specific with its political messages over time? The imagery you've used over the years illustrates this better than anything, from fetishizing Columbine to 9/11 conspiracy theories.
Stza: I think that our lyrics discuss many subjects that most bands find taboo, and these things have defined what separates us from other punk bands. So, a conversation about us might very likely entail some of the ideas that we explore.
"Rock the 40oz" t-shirt depicting the Columbine shooters.
How do you presently relate to the band's early fascination with the Columbine massacre? I understand the logic behind empathy for Harris and Klebold, and said empathy's relationship to mental health issues, bullying, conformity, and so on. But the lyrics to "Rock the 40 Oz" and the accompanying t-shirt didn't really seem to be about any of those issues.
I would never censor our art because of what our death-loving American culture is fixated on at any given moment. I stand by the fact that our government is directly responsible for worse massacres of children on a monthly basis and that's being generous. Why do Americans only care about the American casualties?
My fascination with the Columbine killings was more focused on what the culture that the adults in that community had created, and how it was inherent of a general sickness that infects America at large, and the suburbs especially. As for "Rock the 40 Oz," I'd like to note that the song was written and recorded many months before the Columbine shootings.
I think that the t-shirt art that you mention was so far fetched that it was obviously tongue-in-cheek.
Would today's LOC ever write comparable lyrics or design comparable imagery relating to the recent Sandy Hook shooting? Would previous incarnations of LOC have joked about or appropriated that shooting had it happened in another era?
No. As much as I love to be offensive, there are many topics that are off-limits, even for us. Children being traumatized and butchered is surely one of them. But on that note, if high-school kids are old enough to stand trial as adults in this country, then I can surely use them as fodder...
|The cover art for Leftover Crack's 2004 full-length, Fuck World Trade.|
Relatedly, what does the cover art for "Fuck World Trade" mean? There is a lot of signification, but there also seems to be an element of pure antagonism and/or provocation, much like the Columbine imagery. Do you subscribe to any of the myriad alternative explanations of the September 11th attacks?
Yes, I do. I think that the three politicians on that album cover let the events of 9/11 transpire, at the very least. And it's likely that they were involved on other levels that go way beyond just letting thousands of people die so that they could get rich and kill hundreds of thousands more.
Is there someone in particular your other band, Star Fucking Hipsters, is named for?
Yes, it was named after the self-important hipster cokeheads at Vice Magazine.
It's a very different band name from all of your previous projects, which have always been a little more sinister and/or sketchy. What accounts for that?
I can't remember, I think it was an attempt at being "fun-loving"...
Do you believe in hipsters?
Oh, they exist... Is there really debate on this subject?
Are punks a form of hipsters?
The ones that only care about fashion are.
What the fuck happened when you guys played West Palm and there was some kind of insane brawl? The whole thing seemed like an overly formal duel between skinheads and punks. Was there any real beef or was it really just crew/demographic tension?
Right before the police showed up, I was face-to-face with some of the kids, and they seemed really scared of me in particular. I asked this one kid why they were attacking us, and he started to tear up as he said, "Your band is called Leftöver Crack. And my brother smokes crack." Then the cops came and they ran. To be honest, I really don't think those kids had any solid idea why they were against us. I think most of all they were bored and from your neck of the woods. Stranger things have happened.
You spent some time in Miami, haven't you? What's your impression of the Magic City?
I love that it's at the edge of the world. By that, I mean that there is Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, and even Portland, Maine. But all of those other places are on the way to somewhere: Canada or Mexico.
But Miami is a city that really sits apart from the rest of Florida, and isn't actually on the way to any place. I think that really helps for it to hold onto its unique identity with much less influence from the rest of the country. I know a lot of bands don't tour there simply because it is not on the way to any other city. Even Seattle and San Diego sit in corners where you don't have to double-back to get someplace else. I honestly dislike Florida a lot. But Miami strikes me as its own thing, almost like how D.C. is not in any state. We made a special effort to play Miami again because we know the show will be great and that the people will receive us gladly...
Leftöver Crack has a history of being a particularly unsustainable enterprise: label disputes, tragic losses, feuding. What will be the next thing that fucks the band up for the next two or three years?
I disagree, I feel that we've sustained this project quite well, despite the chaos. We putter along at our own pace. And it suits us fine.
Leftöver Crack. With Crackbox, Juicy Karkass, Askultura, Baker Acted, Devalued, Guerrilleros de Nadie, and DJ Skidmark. Friday, December 28. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 7 p.m. sharp and cover costs $15. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.
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