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Agnostic Front Bassist Mike Gallo Discusses New Album "Get Loud!"

Where would metal be without hardcore? Some of you may not want to admit it, but hardcore punk changed the face of metal, influencing thrash on both sides of America and even today one can still hear its presence in modern metal music. There's no question that hardcore as we know it was nurtured and evolved in New York, where a legendary hardcore scene led to thousands of imitators, a documentary film and of course, its own heroes and legends. Of these, one band will always be top of the pile when it comes to both quality and influence; Agnostic Front.

Agnostic Front has been going for nearly forty years as of January 2020 and has always flown their flag for their music and their home city, becoming not just icons, but ambassadors for both. Recently, the band completed a European trek as part of the Persistence tour, performing with such other heavy hitters as Gorilla Biscuits, Wisdom In Chains and Billy Bio. At the final stop in London, I caught up with long time bass player Mike Gallo to discuss the tour, the band's new album "Get Loud!," artwork and why Agnostic Front defies political categorisation. You can watch the interview in full at the bottom of the page, or read the transcript below.

Diamond Oz: It's very nice to speak with you, seeing as I believe it's your twentieth year with the band.

Mike Gallo: Next year. I joined in 2001. My first album was "Dead Yuppies."

Oz: Well one thing I know for a fact is that you have a new album out now, "Get Loud!"

Mike: Yeah it's been really cool. From the writing process to the artwork to the videos and to a great response for the record. People really seem to be digging this record.

Oz: It's classic Agnostic Front so what's not to like?

Mike: Yeah, that's what everybody says. We play as many songs as we can but it's tough because we only have a forty minute set, so there's only so much we can squeeze in but we're playing a couple of songs. When we come back in the Summer time, we'll give everybody more of the new stuff but for this tour we're doing the classics. But it's been awesome, we had Sean Haggart doing the artwork for us again and I've always admired and loved his art so it kind of ties it altogether which is a cool thing and it'll keep us on the road for another four or five years! Right now we're working hard on this record and trying to do as much as we can.

Oz: Yeah, there's been a lot of promotion for it, not just the music videos but lots of clips posted online by Nuclear Blast.

Mike: Yeah, they've been behind us a lot. Tommy from Nuclear Blast has really put in his time with us to do all he can. He's done videos, some clips and stuff so it's been awesome having him and we've been with the record label a long time now.

Oz: Like you said you did two videos for "I Remember" and "Conquer and Divide," is it still a pain in the ass to do videos still?

Mike: It always is but you know what? The ones we did with this were kind of quick and painless. We did it with our friends from Boston and I think they did a great job. We did a couple of takes with a green screen type of thing, so we did it in a couple of takes. With technology and everything, they're able to be done so quick these days. Especially, "I Remember," there's certain parts where we're in it and a lot of old footage, which is cool, it ties the whole video together so it was actually pretty easy this time around. Then Tommy from Nuclear Blast did the lyric video for "Spray Painted Walls" and what was cool is that he actually put a lot of my artwork in it.

Oz: You'll have to do the artwork for the next album then!

Mike: It depends. I do a very pop art, graffitti style so I don't know if that always flows with what we do. I'm sure I'll eventually do a t-shirt design or something. A lot of my stuff is from the graffitti scene that I grew up in, in the late eighties/early nineties and then as I got older I got into pop art and stuff and I just kind of mix it all together. I love it, it's a great outlet and it's become my second job. You can see any of my artwork on my Instagram (MikeGallo1975) and I also have a webstore too (Gallo-Originals).

Oz: This album has a followed the pattern of releasing a record every four years since "Warriors," has that been the formula or does it just turn out that way?

Mike: A little bit of both. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we're trying to get on a lot of the bigger festivals and you need newer material to do that and I think at that time we're pretty itchy to get back in the studio and create something new. You've always got to bring something new to the table and give back to the fans. We are an active band and that's what an active band does. You gotta keep busy, keep on the road, keep writing music, keep giving back to the people and that's what we do. Just keep it going.

Oz: Something that's always interested me about Agnostic Front, is that when someone thinks of punk, they always associate it with left wing politics and that kind of thing. Agnostic Front's always seemed to be kind of been on the other side. Obviously not to like a Skrewdriver level or anything, but maybe more Republican.

Mike: I wouldn't say that. I think we all have our own opinions and I feel like in today's world, if you're not on one side you're like the bad guy. Growing up as a kid, what got me into hardcore punk; being yourself and being able to have your own opinions. I don't really favour any side. Like, people hate Trump, a lot of people love him... I don't know, I don't like him, I don't hate him, I don't like any politicians I think they all suck. If we didn't have him, we'd have Hillary, do you think she's any better? I think she's worse, though he's more vulgar and doesn't know when to shut his mouth. But a lot of people today, you're not allowed to have your own opinion or you get crucified. I definitely wouldn't say I'm a supporter of him. I wouldn't say I'm right or left wing, I've just got my own opinions and I think that's the way it should be. You shouldn't be told who you should vote for or what you should feel. Do your own research and make your own opinions of that. To me, that's punk rock, not following what everybody else thinks.

Agnostic Front will be teaming up with fellow NYHC legends Sick Of It All for a co-headlining tour this year, a trailer for which can also be seen below.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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