[Originally published: Issue #5, circa 1989]
[LOOKING BACK: The first real punk show I ever went to was at the Kennel Club with WHITE FLAG headlining. One of the defining moments of my life -- not so much because of any especially exceptional performances, but because the energy and the camaraderie among the crowd. I did like WHITE FLAG -- their unique blend of punk and 70s arena rock (I remember Pat Fear's leather jacket had a huge KISS logo on the back) was just pure bombastic fun. Amazingly, they continued performing for decades afterwards, especially in Europe. Sadly, Pat Fear (a.k.a. Bill Bartell) passed away in 2013 at 52 years old. RIP. -- Mickey]
WHITE FLAG have been around for a while. They've been very popular in Europe, and are now gaining an American audience. Here's an interview from their front-man, Pat Fear.
What's the present line-up?
Pat Fear guitar and vocals, Trace Element drums, Pick 2 Sticks Guitar, and Doug Graves bass.
What has the band been doing lately?
Getting the new LP, "Wild Kingdom" (Positive Force) out.
How many tours have you done?
Do you plan to tour again soon?
Yes. We'll come back East when the weather's better. We're from Southern California, and don't handle the snow very well. We're wimps.
What are the best cities you've played in?
PF: Well, Paris, Copenhagen (Denmark), and Gevle (Sweden). In USA, there's New York City, Philadelphia, Providence (Rhode Island) and San Francisco.
What do you think of the sound of the bands on the "Four Bands That Could Change the World" compilation LP?
Our stuff wasn't mastered very well, but all of the other stuff is cool.
Three of the four bands are on different labels. How did this come about?
I put it together because all of these bands are my friends.
How many records have you done?
Way too many. We've recorded about 8 LPs, but a lot more are either out of print or only available in Europe.
Do you think your style has changed dramatically since your first effort?
Yes. Now that I do most of the singing, it's more melodic. But it's still fast and powerful.
Is being in WHITE FLAG a full-time job or do you work?
WHITE FLAG is full-time. I'm too busy with the band to work a job.
No offense, but is Trace Element as bizarre as he comes across on the album?
No. He's much more bizarre.
I see a bizarre name mentioned on your albums Jello B. Afro. Who is that?
He's our old bassist.
I know BLACK FLAG means anarchy. Is WHITE FLAG a direct play on this?
WHITE FLAG means the last lap in road racing.
Does BLACK FLAG ever bother you about this?
Actually, BLACK FLAG are big fans of ours.
What are your favorite Dr. Seuss books?
"Green Eggs and Ham" and "If I Ran the Zoo."
What merchandise do you have available?
"Wild Kingdom" LP, $6 to Positive Force Records. "4 Bands That Could Change the World" compilation LP (with AOD, 7 SECONDS, F, and WHITE FLAG). Cassette has extra tracks. $7.98 ppd to Dutch East India. 2-color "Suicide King" t-shirts (large and extra large), $8 ppd by airmail to WetSpots Inc.
Any last words?
"Confusion be my epitaph." Write us.