MDC from SP #6, early summer '83

'John Wayne was a Nazi!'
PHOTO: CLAIRE SUTHERLAND
MDC have caused quite a stir in the past year or so. Millions Of Dead Cops is a name that is likely to raise more than a few eyebrows. Whether you agree with them or not, one must concede that this is a band with a lot to say. I got that impression during a short talk with vocalist Dave at the Rock Against Reagan show at Amherst. Personally, I think they carry their political stance a little too far, but their commentaries against police brutality, the "multi-death corporations" and the fucked-up administration that runs this country are not far off the mark. I just think they jam it down our throats a little too hard. I saw the Baboon Dooley cartoon referred to in the interview and found it pretty damned funny. The cartoon satirizes Dave's verbositiy. Dave's interviewed by Baboon and delivers long-winded diatribes to such mundane questions as "What do you think of ice cream?" (Dave's answer--"a product of agribusiness exploitation leading to mass starvation in the third world.") I got the feeling Dave didn't find the cartoon too humorous. Don't get the wrong impression; I think MDC are a great band and pretty much agree with what they say. Their first album was one of the best of '82. Their approach is a bit heavy-handed, though. Besides myself, Marc and Russell were present for this interview...

Marc: How did you feel about John Crawford's "Baboon Dooley" cartoon about MDC?.

Dave: They're accusing me of destroying the scene. Stuff like I'm ordering kids out to be slaughtered by the cops. I don't think it's true. I think he's trying to make comedy out of certain situations. I think he's got deep-down resentments. I get a little freaked out when all these people come up to me and go, 'Man, you guys are killing punk rock.' (Talk about accusations of MDC being too political)... It's been political from the Sex Pistols on, to the Dead Kennedys. We were a band 3 1/2 years ago and we've been doing politics since we started. Everything's based on politics--from "Anarchy In The UK" to "Holiday In Cambodia" to "Dead Cops." We're not destroying anything. I think he's just pissed off--a little sour grapes because our success and the success of Maximum Rock 'n Roll. Max RnR's selling 5000 issues and he's sending his comics to Tim at Max RnR and Tim said 'I'll take some of your comics, but I want fresh material. I don't want one that's been in 10 'zines.' From that moment on, he's been on a crusade. So, to me, it's sour grapes. All I know is I've played New York and Crawford's never at the gigs. He sits back and writes.

Al: Somewhat like "Defamation Innuendo" by the Circle Jerks where the guy slags a band he hasn't seen.

Russ: In what way were the Sex Pistols political? Weren't "God Save The Queen" and "Anarchy In The UK" the only really political songs?

Dave: I think the whole thing was a political and social statement. People were so pissed off just looking at the Sex Pistols. Same with the Clash and lots of groups. UK Subs, Crass... they've been political since '77 or '78. We started as a group in '79 and now we're getting noticed. We finally saved our nickels and got a record out and we made a thousand copies at first, then another 1000. And it's finally happened. We've been doing it for a long time... I don't want you to think I feel that good bands have to be political. I like unpolitical bands, too, like the Butthole Surfers from Texas, the Big Boys... They're not talking politics all the time. I still like 'em. I think there's room for everyone in the scene. You've gotta do your own thing.

Al: I got pissed when I heard what the Bad Brains did to the Big Boys (Singer Randy is gay: Brains, who are Rastafarian and vehemently anti-gay, ripped Randy off)

Dave: Yeah, they're on a weird trip. They think they're God, Jah sent them...

Al: What happened in Lansing? I heard you guys are banned from there?

Dave: Doc Dart of the Crucifucks made a poster with all these dead cops on it and then to promote the show, two people went around with "Dead Cops" written on their faces. The cops have been closing down the shows and they don't let any punk rock happen there.

Marc: What kind of planning went into this tour?

Dave: Youth International set some stuff up and we came to the East Coast and it's been sketchy. We've been trying to pick it up ourselves. They've been giving us some input and some money. You just trudge on and do it and hope the local people get it together. You had 500 people or so, it's free, you get the job done, you sell some concessions, get enough gas money to go to the next town.

Russ: Do you see any similarities betwen this tour and what went on in the 60s?

Dave: I don't think Woodstock was so political. This is a political event. Woodstock was, 'everyone get their ya-ya's out, taking their shirt off, putting up tents, let's go ball in the woods,' and this is directly involved with Ronald Reagan, and the United States foreign policy. So I don't think it's so much like free love in the woods, but there are political connotations. If you want to make the connections between the 60s and the political thing, there are similarities, but yet there's differences. I think it's good that people are aware that the United States is fucking up the world. They were in Vietnam and they are now in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Central America. I think it's good that these connections are there. I feel like the people that were doing hippie, rebellion things--that was cool, and we're making another kind of statement.

Al: It's a different way of approaching it.

Dave: Yeah, and it's different because punks are different. It's time to reflect where we're at today. We don't want to live in the past.



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