New band: Crazy Arm are eclectic punks with a political message
interview with Crazy Arm…answers by Darren Johns (singer/guitarist)
It’s great to hear a band with something to say. What are you trying to articulate?
Thanks, there’s a few of us still around. I’d like to think that we’re going for that middle ground somewhere between Woody Guthrie and Crass: reaching people through shared experiences, campfire singalongs and matching black shirts. Lyrically, we don’t often come across as a rabble-rousing band but the way we do things and what we stand behind define our politics clearly enough: anti-BNP/EDL activism, refugee support, Stop The War coalition, Palestine solidarity, anti-corporate campaigns, animal liberation groups and so on.
Do you think that there is a change in mood since the demonstrations earlier this year or are we still being complacent?
I don’t think anyone can afford to be complacent any more. Quite literally. This is a very volatile time and it’s reflected throughout mainland Europe and the Middle East. But when lawful demonstrations are countered with increasingly reactionary measures, as with the anti-cuts and students movements, it’s hard not to feel a sense of disillusionment with accepted avenues of protest. Iraq was still invaded in 2003 after 35 million people worldwide had taken to the streets, which shows how much the odds are stacked against us. When the cuts really start to bite in, I’m certain that the national mood will grow much fiercer.
Your music is a very ambitious range of influences. Explain!
It’s the result of a lack of discipline! When we formed the band we didn’t know what direction we wanted to go in. Some of the songs ended up sounding a bit like my last band [Dischord-influenced punks The Once Over Twice], some were adapted from folk-roots songs that I’d played solo from time to time, and other songs were the result of us just enjoying playing together. Five years later and we’re still not sure where we’re going and that’s just how we like it. It didn’t seem to bother The Clash. We’ve recently finished recording our second album which may or may not be inspired by Murder By Death, Baroness, Peggy Seeger, Constantines, 16 Horsepower, Austin Lucas and gospel. Some people think that we should be more disciplined but where’s the fun in that?