They Provoked the WAR // PLAGUE…
A Chat with Andy “Leffer” Lefton of WAR // PLAGUE

Home Interviews They Provoked the WAR // PLAGUE…
A Chat with Andy “Leffer” Lefton of WAR // PLAGUE
This Article Is Brought To You By : Cold Ones And Rolled Ones With Ami Lawless
Written By: Josh Mosh
May 30 2011

I met Andy Lefton in the early 90’s, maybe at Wax Trax in Boulder (when there was a Wax Trax in Boulder) or maybe at show.  Denver and Colorado in general were in a lull as far as Punk Rock went back then and as a response we both had bands (FLUX of DISORDER and FIA) that were trying to correct that as we compared ourselves to the like of AUS-ROTTEN, DESTROY and other DIY punk bands of the day.  Naturally our bands aligned themselves with each other and we played many a show in an attempt to kick Colorado in the ass. 

Andy and I have crossed paths a few times since then, I saw him a few years ago when CLUSTERFUX played in Minneapolis and again this last summer at the WARLOCK PINCHERS reunion show.  Leffer is a lifer and it only seemed fitting that we chat with him and get the low down on PROVKED, WAR//PLAGUE, his work with AMEBIX and everything else that he has his hands in.

Thrashhead: Let's start with FLUX of DISORDER.  The scene in Colorado in the early 90's was pretty bland, not a lot of "punky" punk bands.  Were their local bands that you were into or found inspiration from?Think free. Know that there is a greater world out there that can help enrich and better the lives of so many that have fallen victim to mass media or consumer garbage.-Andy Lefton

Andy: FLUX of DISORDER.....man, what a name that was, eh? It truly depicted our influences at the time (not that mine have changed much, ha!). Punk is in my blood and growing up in a small town in Colorado where things of that nature were taboo, was difficult at times. So finding fellow mates to do the band was 7th heaven for me (and them as well). The closest thing for me at the time was venturing to Boulder, which was approx. 10 miles, but for a 17 year old kid, may as well been 100 miles. I was introduced to punk around the age of 15-16, and oddly enough stumbled upon a gig at Penny Lane in Boulder with DEAD SILENCE headlining. THAT experience converted me that very moment. So DEAD SILENCE was a massive contributor to my upbringing in the local scene. At that time, things were a bit odd for bands. I don't recall a real big DIY scene, but there was a huge indie music community. Another local favorite I totally dug was WARLOCK PINCHERS. They were that crazy, funk, punk, rap rock that always had amazing shows. I use to sneak outta my Bedroom window when I lived in Erie and go see them play.

Some other bands rode their coat tails to some degree. I remember bands like FORESKIN 500 and AGENTS OF CHAOS that did the whole drum machine, punk, rap combo. It worked, but got a bit tedious after awhile. There was also the Donut Crew that did a lot of work on the hardcore side of things with KEEP IN MIND and many others. AGAIN was a great band as well, but sadly never saw them live. Other traits that started to take effect was the whole indie, emo thing. Not the emo we know today, but once the sounds of FUGAZI got into the scene, it seemed everybody and their families jumped on it.  It was quite a separated community between what I considered punk and others considered indie rock. Once that came on strong, bands like HOBBLEDEHOY and BELL JAR really started hitting the circuit. It was such a turn off for me, because there was no camaraderie in any of the local music and everyone was competing with each other. I actually played in Longmont's first hardcore punk band called NEW BREED with my close friend Jarrod...we're still very close today and always joke about doing a reunion. I suppose this is where I got the taste of the underground and just simply separated myself and wanted to start up something different....more raw, abrasive and well.....punk as fuck!

So, as for local bands there really wasn't a lot to be influenced by. DEAD SILENCE set the path for true punk DIY ethics and education on animal rights, vegetarianism, etc.  Everything else just wasn't for me, and frankly, I felt ostracized.

Thrashhead: When did FLUX OF DISORDER get together?  Why? How did the band members meet and come together?

Andy: So long ago it seems. I want to say that we really started getting the ball rolling around 92. When I was in NEW BREED I started venturing out around the Boulder scene (see previous question). During High School (1990, Skyline H.S.) I started running with the goth, punk, misfit and riff-raff crowd. Through my ties there was how I met Pete...who would become FLUX's bassist. I actually helped him learn some of the bass and that's what started the idea. Around '91, I started going to Erie High School and that is where I met Dwight, who would later become our vocalist. In a town of about 400 people, there really wasn't much to do and Dwight and I were constantly bored. I remember NEW BREED had our last gig at a grange hall just north of Louisville and Pete came up with this dude named Pat, that coincidentally played the drums. So after being introduced to Pat along with some under age drinking, we spawned the idea to jam together. So after a few more encounters and talking/drinking it over we all just sort of came together. I remember the feeling I had when we did this. I was so overjoyed and felt so liberated. We were all quite amateur at playing but knew that it didn't take much to thrash out 3-4 chords of mayhem....and that's exactly what we did. We always jammed in Pat's basement (PPHQ: Pats Partying Head Quarters) Pete and Pat lived just a couple houses apart from each other, and at that time, I was homeless. So at times when I couldn't sneak into Pete's house, I'd just sleep in my car and wake up to walk over to Pat's and jam. We jammed about 3 or so times a week. My Ma lived WAY the hell up in the rockies, so when I had enough gas money, I'd sleep there and just drive down those days to jam or just hang out.  Dwight never had any experience screaming or doing anything gutteral. Pat was still quite fresh to the skins and Pete was still green and getting his bearings on the whole bass thing. As for myself, a two-bit guitar and what ever distortion pedals (yes, many patched together) and amps I could wire together. None of us had any money, but were able to know someone, that knows someone kinda thing to get equipment. It was sheer chaos, and we loved it!

Thrashhead: What releases did FLUX OF DISORDER have?

Andy: Well, we have three 7” records, all 3 being splits with ARMISTICE, UP YOURS and the other with VOMITUS.  A demo cassette called “Bastards” exists somewhere out there that had some other recorded material on it, including some 7” tracks. Ultimately, we were supposed to have a full length L.P., but due to money and other things we just broke the songs up into 7” releases. We do have a lot of unreleased songs that were recorded at Doghouse studios, but never did anything with some of those older tracks. I still have the master tape, and have thought about resurrecting them under Organize and Arise, but that would be down the road. I know we had some comp tracks as well, but can't quite recall which comps we were on. I think there was a cassette release called “Even in Prison We Riot”.

Thrashhead: What are some of you fondest memories of FLUX OF DISORDER?

Andy: We were ambitious about the band. I felt that we really went beyond the whole “garage band” mentality because we actually cared about what we were doing. It was fun and we appreciated each other and were very tight as friends, so the memories are good. We attempted a U.S. Tour and I think we only played about ¼ of it. We still drove to our destinations, but the gigs were set up so poorly that most everything just fell through. It didn't stop us from having a blast though. We hit up Canada during Spiderland Fest, and saw/met a lot of really good people. We then went down the East coast and played with WHOREHOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES and TOXIC NARCOTIC in Baltimore. It was so damn hot (100+ degrees) that we all just stayed in the only bar (Sids) that had air conditioning and drank wicked cheap beers all day. Bill from TN had a major potty mouth and the bartender’s policy was “NO SWEARING”, so Bill kept on getting threatened to be kicked out. He was definitely testing the bar keeps patience.  One fond memory (separate from tour) was when we drove to Eugene, Oregon for the Resist & Exist fest in '95. It was really fun and the collective work between everyone there really made it a universally pleasant experience. We had a couple ties up in Minneapolis and were very intrigued by the whole Profane Existence collective and the punks, crusties, etc of the city. So we used to make these random trips up there over weekends (drive 16 hrs for a day and half and drive back). We played the Bombshelter, which was a killer gig! I believe that was with SUBMACHINE and The PIST....oh and local heros SKATER BAIT! The memories sometimes get mashed together because we did this more than once. I still have the announcement flier for the gig which was written on a torn up paper grocery bag and some random half-assed art work. Totally D.I.Y.! I think the fondest memories with these mates was just being together and living it without a care. We lasted 5 years....maybe more, but sadly a lot of things just happened in life, which is normally the case. We just diminished. I don't even think that we had a proper discussion about breaking up or anything. So maybe we're still a band, since we never officially broke up. I'm still in contact with the guys, besides Pete. Who currently lives 7 miles from me here in Minneapolis! I'll still contact his wife to say “hello”, but with no sign of Pete. I was currently in Denver for the WARLOCK PINCHERS reunion show and was able to see Dwight and Pat. It was such a great time and really brought me back to how important and memorable our friendship were/are.

Thrashhead: I see Dwight and Pat from time to time at big shows.  Where did Pete land?  Do any of the others still play music in any capacity?

Andy: Dwight and Pat....good dudes and I miss them. Pete? That's a pretty deep story and I believe some of his relocating to Minnesota was due in part to becoming a father. Man, was that a surprise! Pete was playing bass for us in DEADSTATE (Post F.O.D.) and he literally up and left....so weird. Later we found out that he got his lady pregnant and went up to MN to be with her. So, a very responsible action on his part, but a "goodbye" would've been nice. He and I use to be like hand and glove and he helped me out a lot when I was couch surfing. I randomly email his wife to touch base and see how things are, but I can't really say why Pete won't get in touch. See, when I left Colorado, I was going straight to Minneapolis. At that time, I tracked Pete down and we connected again. He and his lady said that I could stay at their place till I got on my feet (something like 6 weeks or so). They lived in Plymouth, which was a crappy little subdivision with too much patriotic pride for my taste. So after landing a job and finding a place in the city, I moved out and got to work within Mpls doing music, working for distros, etc and just doing what I came to MPLS for....punk and school. At the time I didn't have a reliable means of transportation and, so Pete said I could leave some stuff in their basement (about 30 silk screens and a couple small boxes). A couple months go by and turns out that Pete tossed all my stuff and later found out that some feelings may have been harbored....I really can't say what or why, but that's where communication died. Sad. So Pete and his family are currently 7 miles from me. I don't know if he's playing music at all. His wife fills me in here and there, but that's about once a year....if that. I know Dwight is rockin' in some band but I don't have that info in front of me now. I don't think Pat is playing right now, and I'm not sure if he even played after F.O.D. After seeing Dwight and Pat at the WARLOCK PINCHERS reunion, I was totally floored. I think when I moved to MN, some sort of mental and emotional wall was put up and then coming back after a decade just blew me away. I wish I had more time to hang with those gents.

Thrashhead: What year did you move to Minneapolis?  You mentioned you had some ties up there.  Was there a plan or was it just pack up and go?

Andy: I moved to MPLS in late '99. That was a VERY difficult move. I was rooted in Colorado for so long, and then all of sudden, it seemed there was nothing there for me, and I was in a horrible state of mind. My first love had left me after 6 yrs and after only knowing that for so long, and then it was no more....devastated me. At that time the decision was made, I was in a sort of "rebound" relationship and man, was that a bad idea. I mean, you earn as you go and I wouldn't change it for anything, but it's the hind sight that kicks you in the ass. So with a newer relationship and my state of mind being unclear, the decision was made to high-tail it outta CO. and find new roots in MN.  With F.O.D. under my belt, I met many good folks along the way, and many of those folks were in Minneapolis. So it was just a natural instinct to be "hey, where else am I gonna go?". I also want to state, that my last days in CO. were spent going to college as well. Colorado didn't have much to offer for degrees in what I wanted to do, so that helped in my decision to move. I always said to myself "get the fuck out and just start fresh". I'm a creature of habit, so making such a change really did take quite some time. I am so very happy I did make the decision because it gave me some serious insight in my life and the surrounding world. Don't get me wrong, Colorado is still in my heart and I attempt to make frequent trips back. I was just able to find more opportunities in MN than I had in CO.

Thrashhead: When you got to Minneapolis did it live up to your expectations of being the punk mecca that it seemed to be?

Andy: Yes! The place blew me away...in so many ways. I mean, at that time I was completely care free and I could live the epitome of the punk life (not quite sure what that really entails, but for me, it worked). I was so use to having to drive 20-30 miles for a show in CO. and in Minneapolis it was like "just go 4 blocks this way, then 3 this way and look for all the punks standing outside". It was an absolute mecca for me. It definitely filled the void that I longed for. So that stint lasted a good couple years, then it was back to school (had to claim residency for a year) and getting my shit together. I don't want the term "Mecca" to think that I'm being arrogant about the whole thing. Other places on the planet are just as lovely. It's just a population of folks that I could relate to and work with. You see two (maybe three) different worlds being here (just like any other place). There's the crowd that lasts...diehard punks that kept their shit together and their hearts are in the right place. Then you see the jaded and burned out types that piss and moan about all of it. In the beginning you soak it all in and embrace all the experiences. Then after a while you see the diversity in the community. You come to some conclusions and for me; it was being productive and working with the die-hards and "lifers", because their hearts and minds are genuine. I can't get jaded in what I love and appreciate; it's not in my blood to do so. So with that...UP THE PUNKS :)

Thrashhead: How long were you in Minneapolis before PROVOKED came about?  Did you play in any other bands before PROVOKED?

Andy: Well, I think PROVOKED stared in 2001. Prior to that I was in PONTIUSPILATE. PP had been going already and they threw me in as a second guitarist. That was quite the transition for me musically. Going from crust punk to blazing grind thrash brought me up to speed rather quick. It was funny, (other) Andy broke his arm in the first month or two of me being in the band, and he also sang and played guitar. So with him not able to play his axe, I didn't have that back up sound to cover any of my mistakes. So a gig came up and I was wicked nervous. I was the only guitar, but worked out just fine. Talk about a crash course, HA! That lasted about a year or so and within that time frame PROVOKED was born. On one of our drinking ventures, we had some chats with our close friend Joe who was the drummer for SCORNED at that time. So other Andy from PONTIUSPILATE (yes two Andy's with both names ending in "L"), myself and Joe decided to get a project together. In the very beginning, Dan from Profane Existence was doing vocals, but that didn't last due to his other obligations (we were almost called OVERTHROW). So with summer on the horizon, many folks were traveling through town. Long story short, we recruited Scaba from Texas on vocals and Grant from Seattle on Bass. Those two relocated to MPLS (like so many) and we just started writing music immediately and didn't stop till 2007. We did a U.S./Canada tour in 02 then a European tour in 03. At that time Scaba left the band to stay in Germany, and we were totally gutted on that loss. So after a few half-assed auditions and few gallons of beer, we brought on our close friend Kerri who took the helm after Scaba. We went off to do another Euro tour in 05 and our second L.P. with Kerri, but sadly in 07 we broke up. I think it was a mix of spending/living so much time together and constantly working at touring and releases that we felt burned out. That was one of the best experiences being in that band and those people are forever my family.

Thrashhead: When / how did you become involved in House of Misery internet radio? 

Andy: As for the House of MIsery? I lived with Jon for about 5 years. That dude is my closest friend here and I absolutely love the guy! Being able to hear MISERY jam every week and write new tunes was a total punk rock wet dream! The radio thing only lasted a few months I believe, but what was done was totally rad. Just sittin' in the MISERY basement with some beers and rockin' some good tunes was a great time! I now live one block from Jon, so we get to chill quite often.

Thrashhead: Tell me about your artwork.  You've done some graphics and video for MISERY.  You did the graphics for the AMEBIX DVD and I believe you are doing the cover for the new album...

Andy: Gee....honestly I'm not really sure how to approach this. Words can't explain the excitement I've had over the last couple years. Never....and I mean NEVER in a million years did I ever anticipate me being considered an “artist”...or even someone that others would go to for “art”. When I was younger, all the way into my 30's, I always wanted to do art and really express myself in drawing and painting, but never had the talent. I even took courses in high school and college and never could understand proper techniques like shading, lighting, or ever draw a straight line...seriously...I can't, for the life of me draw a straight line. My penmanship (IMO) has always been faulty and I blame everything on my penmanship...HA! Still to this day, I am completely baffled and confused about this whole artist thing and I'll explain why.

I was always surrounded by good artists. From my Mom to even Dwight (F.O.D.) was an amazing artist. I would sit in my room, with scraps of paper and try to put down on paper what was floating in my head. It was so damn frustrating because I couldn't do it, and would get really frustrated. So that's when I would pick up books, look into classes, get inspiration from other artists. Oddly, one of those pieces of inspiration was some of the AMEBIX art....incredible stuff. I loved the simplicity of the monochromatic look as the imagery really put you into a whole different world. So with my frustrations with not being to actually produce art, I threw in the towel. I came to the conclusion that music is my only outlet and that'll have to suffice, which I was quite happy to do!

As I mentioned before, one of the reasons for leaving CO. was to pursue a degree. I knew that doing some sort of art was pretty much outta’ the question, although I never thought what I wanted to do, was considered “art”. I have always been a die-hard sci-fi fan and loved anything VFX (visual effects) or special effects based. So I did a little bit of research (pre-internet) and saw that 3D/CGI was a new breed of industry that was looming on the horizon for average folk. Meaning, some schools were starting to teach the 3D curriculum in their media classes. I went to Front Range college in CO. and did the majority of my gen eds, then looked into some media classes in Minneapolis to see what they offered. Turned out that one of the schools there just opened up a 3D animation and media production course covering film, video, editing, audio, etc. The whole nine yards! So not only was I able to dive into the digital realm of animation, but also learned quite a bit about video and script writing.

I did have some major learning curves to over come, due to not having a traditional degree in art. So how was I supposed to create digital art if I didn't know how to traditionally draw? A lot of patience and understanding. It was completely different than putting your ideas on paper. I'm not sure what it was, or how I overcame it, but working on a digital canvas helped me really understand how art worked. Like working with real time lighting, shading, 3 dimensional space and composition. Man, it opened up an entirely new world for me, and this is coming from a guy that couldn't even figure out how to turn on the computer....seriously!

So once I got a grasp on the idea of 3D and it's potential, it took a while for me to realize that I could do more than just animation and VFX stuff. I did a lot of fine tuning with the programs that I work with and also some research and education on matte painting, 2D/3D composite and whatnot. So I began to integrate my knowledge of 3D into the world of 2D and bringing all those elements together.

As for the video side of things: I love doing video work, although it's not my total passion, I do enjoy the work. I use the knowledge I gained from school to focus the video side of things with music. So, live gigs and whatnot. I did do some video stuff for MISERY, but it was quite limited, but gets the message across I suppose. I am actually in the midst of working with AMEBIX now on the “Knights of the Black Sun” track. It's an approximately 6 minute animated video, and has completely consumed me. Sometime ago, as I was attempting to hone my skills with the art stuff, I did a lot of reflecting and looked back on what really inspired me. One of the most iconic figures is the AMEBIX raven with the broken chain that once bound it. I love this piece and decided to recreate it in a more photo-realistic painting. So from scratch I digitally built the bird in 3D, along with the landscape and environments then did some post work in 2D.....then sent it to them. I was like “Hey, you guys totally inspired me growing up, and I wanted to say thanks by doing this”. Yea, sounds cheesy, but it's really how I felt...and still do! During this time I also found out that (pre-reunion) a certain label/person was in the midst of putting out a sort of “history” DVD of AMEBIX called ‘Risen’. At this time, no one knew where they were, what they were doing and so the whole mystery of the band was still looming. I jumped on this immediately and contacted the label doing the DVD. I said “hey, I have some skills in this and that and would love to contribute to this project”. They totally dug the goods and the rest is history. Sadly, the DVD flopped due to VERY poor marketing and the label that did the DVD had absolutely no knowledge of doing proper authoring of DVD's and it fucking flopped. I felt so gutted for the band that put all their faith and dedication into this label and it totally failed them. But the band is resilient and bounced right back. So with them knowing my background, and at this point the re-union was in the works, we worked together from that point on.

Someone did an animation for the band along with the track “Axeman” and it was this very vibrant and colorful flash type animation that didn't quite fit their theme. So for shits and giggles I worked on some animations stingers and would randomly send them to the band. They seemed to really dig it, so I think a lot of this back and forth set the stage for where I'm at now. When they flew here to the States in 09 for their reunion tour, I flew out to Seattle with some high-end camera gear and set up a multi-camera shoot for their set in Seattle. Then once they came to Minneapolis, I did the same. So with all this killer footage, I put together a DVD for them that would out-weigh that piece of shit ‘Risen’ DVD, and they were totally excited to see  what came to fruition on that. They deserved that and shouldn't have to settle for what that label failed to do. The DVD is still in the works and will hopefully be out and about within the next year or so.

So currently, I did the art for the “Knights of the Black Sun” single, spent the last 4 months doing the 3D animation for that track (also working with Fin McAteer who helped direct), getting the print art ready for the shirt designs and now I need to work on a 4 panel painting for the full length gate fold that's coming out later this year. (also with Fin's help in layout) So, when they say “be careful what you wish for”, I wouldn't have it any other way! Just to think, it was these guys who inspired me to become an artist and really feel complete about my life, and now to have the reward of working with them side by side and now I'm the one doing the art for them.......unbelievable.

Thrashhead: When, where, why and how did WAR//PLAGUE come together?  What have you done so far and what are you plans for WAR//PLAGUE? 

Andy: This current band (WAR//PLAGUE) is the best band I've played in to date. Working with music all these years has been a continuing education. Starting in NEW BREED, FLUX OF DISORDER was to be as loud as possible and utilize as much distortion as possible, then transcending into PONTIUSPILATE and PROVOKED really brought me into a realm of more diversity and dynamics in the music I played. Now it's seems to be coming full circle and complete with WAR//PLAGUE. It's less about getting pissed up and chaotic as it's more about staying a bit sober for practice and really nailing sounds and timing we've been attempting for so long.

WAR//PLAGUE rose from the ashes of PROVOKED. It's both (other) Andy and myself from PONTIUSPILATE and PROVOKED, Sam on bass and Chad on drums. We originally had Chris from USELESS WOODEN TOYS on drums, but he had to leave due to some personal things in life. Sam was a crap shoot, so to speak. I shop at this Coop grocery store and this kid that worked there always wore this....you guessed it, an AMEBIX shirt. So we would exchange “hellos” and move on. So Andy and I were desperate to play music and get a new band going. So after some time, I finally approached Sam and said “do you play any instruments?”. He mentioned playing guitar, which wouldn't work since Andy and I already had those bases covered. So, I asked Sam if he wanted to be demoted...or promoted to bass, and he was all about it. We then contacted Chris and it all came together. So after a 7” release and recording a split LP with POLICE BASTARD from the U.K. Chris left. So we had a mild panic attack and did our homework on someone that would fall into the mix well with us. We had a really good friend of ours that was a drummer (Chad, ex-CALLOUSED, WRATH), but he also had a family and was doing the whole school thing, but we REALLY wanted him to drum, cuz his techniques followed everything we did musically. After some back and forth, Chad was able to find some balance in his agenda and it totally worked out. Due to his drumming skills, we have really taken the band up a notch and couldn't be happier.

 It really works out, because all the previous bands were all about rushing around trying to record and tour and play at a million miles/hour. But with WAR//PLAGUE, we know we're gonna’ be around for a very long time, and at the pace we're at, there's no rush and we can focus on writing good material and don't have to play a zillion shows. Slow and steady wins the race, ha! Word to the wise from the old punks!

We're finishing up material now for our second full length L.P. , while the split L.P is being released by PROFANCE EXISTENCE right now. We'll be recording in the next two months and possibly get a live 7” out on top of that. As long as this world continues to light a fire under our asses, we're gonna’ be here to call them out and protest what has failed in the human condition. So, our plans are to move onwards and upwards.  Play forever, and then some.

Thrashhead: Who write the lyrics in WAR//PLAGUE?  I really enjoyed the twist at the end of SMOLDER that offers hope!  All is not lost!

Andy: Well, we have all had a hand in the writing of lyrics, and we each have our own take on the world and it's socio/political environment. Meaning, we each have a different angle on writing, but are always in the same boat normally. Our lyrical content can take up an entire song, or only be a small handful in words.

Thrashhead: What do you want to accomplish w/ WAR//PLAGUE?

Andy: Accomplish? Man, that can be a tough question, but for us it's quite simple. There is so much power to individual and free thought. I feel our stance is based on the absolute of punk ethos and what a true community of our underground really means.

We don't approach our listeners about changing the world....leave that to the powerful, greedy and superficial, it will all roll up someday, and they will be standing in its path. We only want people to be aware of their environment, and we feel that having that knowledge, will intently lead to a smarter world.

Thrashhead: How did the split w/ POLICE BASTARD come about?

Andy: I've always been a die-hard POLICE BASTARD fan since their 1995 album Traumatized.  I loved their direct lyrical content and their diverse music approach. I was in London in '07 for the CRASS “Feeding” gig....well, Steve Ignorant and other members doing CRASS songs, and the last night of the gig, there was an “after show” at this place called “The Dome”. I was so beat after the CRASS thing that I would normally go straight back to our room and chill, but the after show had POLICE BASTARD playing along with other killer classics like RUBELLA BALLET. So my girl and our friends hopped the Tube to the show. It took us an hour to get inside. Raging punks all over the place having a blast. It was so surreal. I walked into Colin from legendary CONFLICT and was a taken back a bit. I talked with him for a bit and continued into the venue.

I was in contact with some of the members of POLICE BASTARD via social networks, and so I barreled up to the stage and Pid the vocalist said “Hey! You made it!”. So right after the gig, I spoke with the dudes regarding a possible collaboration, and from there on it was history. They were totally into it from the get go and from that point we worked to get things rolling.

Thrashhead: Any plans for a US tour? 

Andy: Man.....I wish, as of now...no. We've been talking about hitting up Chaos in Tejas (2012), but we haven't heard back and it's a bit uncertain for Chad, since he just got a new job and they just had another kid. Something definitely will happen in the future, but right now, we can't say when or where.

Thrashhead: When did you start writing and working w/ PROFANE EXISTENCE?

Andy: I never really “worked” for PE, although I've contributed through the years on little things here and there. As of this year, I have started writing a column and doing reviews for the last few issues and don't have any plans to stop. It's a great outlet and keeps me in check with current events regarding our underground network, etc. Also, thanks to Dan at PE, he was able to help host the Organize and Arise forum that I set up, so PE is quite the asset.

Thrashhead: Explain the Organize and Arise forum a little.  What is it?  Where does one find it?  What is the purpose behind it or what are trying to achieve with it?

Andy: This is something that was spawned after the initial shut down of the PE forum. The PE forum was a place for the whole lot of us to congregate and network on a global basis. Sadly, it was ill-maintained and Dan pulled the plug out of being frustrated with the spamming and blatant idiots that would venture onto the forum.

So, I really wanted to start something fresh and reconnect with some of the old PE members and get the flag raised again so we could pick up where it was left off (besides the spammers and whatnot, of course). So after some research and speaking with Dan, I decided to open up shop and get Organize and Arise up and running. With the graciousness of Dan and PE, he offered to host it and so the new forum was born. The name actually came from my old record label I had when I was younger.

I contacted a close friend of mine in Germany (Heio) who has some great knowledge in the IT world, and helped get it established online. So I knew some friends around the planet that are trust worthy and dedicated to the punk community that could help me maintain the site and keep all the idiots out. So with that, we had a brand new online forum that many have come to for an international network.

With that, these people can help communicate what’s happening locally or globally regarding punk/crust/underground metal or hardcore tours, zines, info/record shops, music, distros and even your occasional party.

I think the biggest thing with O&A is striving to keep the DIY community up to date with each other and really use this technology to create strong ties and help each other when needed. It's a really great resource and thanks to Dan and all who have helped me establish and create what is now a huge punk network of great people with great minds and great intentions. Check it out here http://www.organizeandarise.org/

Thrashhead: Other than music and art what impact has punk had on your life? 

Andy: Everything! Punk has been my life force since I fell into it's grip. I'm not one for being on the soap box, so pardon me if my approach is a bit strong, but it really has been something of a force in my life. When I say 'force',  I mean in a global perspective. It has brought so much into light for me growing up and at times let me see the world for what it really is. Punk is education and it's alternative to living among the normalcy that plagues this place. In no way, shape or form can I say what is a correct approach to “thinking” like a punk. That just defeats the purpose and is based individually. It's not a phase and it's not an identity. It's a fire under the ass that keeps you on your toes and keeps the spirit alive.

It has put me in touch with real and genuine people and gave me a different light to look at. It's being aware and smart about life. It's coming together with friends all over the world and creating networks and life long relationships that normally wouldn't happen to any average “Joe”. I mean, look at this interview. Josh, I'd never know you if it wasn't for sharing the same interests that day in Boulder...whatever year it was, and now we'll know and share things till our graves. A pretty cool idea, I think.

Sitting in my room as a young lad, reading the lyrics to a CRASS or DISCHARGE song, looking at AMEBIX or ICONS OF FILTH art and thinking to myself....”damn, this is the world I want to be a part of”. Knowing that you're beyond just an identity and feeling welcome no matter the shit your life may consist of. That's what punk is to me. Being aware, being smart and knowing you're not a part of the normal standard of living or thinking in the generic consumer eye. Not being a drone and not giving into a superficial existence. Seeing it all for what it really is and how to rise above the materialism and shallow lives that so many live. That is punk.

Thrashhead: Any words in conclusion?

Andy: Think free. Know that there is a greater world out there that can help enrich and better the lives of so many that have fallen victim to mass media or consumer garbage. This is the approach that has added years onto my life and not taken. There are so many out there that have fallen victim to the excessive consumption of drugs or alcohol in the scene and it's quite sad at times to see such gifted and smart people fall off the deep end. I hope people, especially in the punk movement, realize their potential and know that they are an asset to this world and our community. We are all in this together and can create a strong and diverse underground culture. Thanks Josh for the interview, it's much appreciated. Cheers to all. Stay punk, stay aware.  Andy

Check out some of Andy's awesome work on his site.

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