By Less Lee Moore
Recently we’ve been treated to new music from the venerable White Flag, an excellent EP called Keepers Of The Purple Twilight. Released on Target Earth in March of this year, all five songs are fantastic, featuring the White Flag hallmarks of clever, witty lyrics, which are often belied by hooky, but rocking tuneage.
One intriguing factor is that lyrically, the tunes are pretty introspective, perhaps pondering where a band like White Flag, who has been consistently making music but continually underrated over the years, fits into this weird world of American Idols and Justin Biebers.
If you haven’t been paying attention to White Flag, we’re here to help fill in those gaps for you. What follows is a conversation with singer, guitarist, songwriter, and main Flag-waver Pat Fear about the history of the band, including just a few of the “28 years of stories” he’s accumulated about punk rock, playing Greenland, The Shaggs, Os Mutantes, Gasatanka Records, and being the most connected band in the universe.
Popshifter: White Flag started in 1982, is that correct?
Pat Fear: Have you been reading the bio or something? (laughs) Just kidding! It actually started (laughs) about a mile from where I grew up. Our first gig was at a high school graduation party.
Popshifter: What inspired you to start the band? Was it a response to the uber seriousness of the punk movement?
Pat Fear: It was. I’d been immersed in punk rock since 1976, but the people that started in the band with me were not—in fact they were diametrically opposed to it—but we all had the same smart alecky sense of humor. The band was formed for two reasons: one, because I was very frustrated with the punk rock scene in L.A.; it had started out with very sensible, cool people and ended being the exact opposite, with these morons who just wanted to go to shows and basically fight. It was a reaction to the ethics and etiquette that were missing.
I’m not from Hollywood; I’m from Sunnymead, California, which is now known as the thriving metropolis of Moreno Valley. Back then it wasn’t even a city; it was just an area called Sunnymead.
We had no public transportation, no stoplights, no supermarkets. It was a farm town. The only reason people lived there was because they were wheat farm or orange grove owners or their parents were stationed at the Air Force Base. It was pretty much exactly like the movie Over The Edge, except less sophisticated.
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