Stream: The (International) Noise Conspiracy “Assassination of Myself”
The (International) Noise Conspiracy were the first Western rock ‘n’ roll band to tour Communist China. They are famous for their matching outfits and situationosocialist politics. We pulled this interview conducted during the most trying years of the Bush administration from the archives in honor of their sprint through California this week. This interview by Chris Ziegler.
What do the Chinese think of your politics?
Dennis Lyxzen (vocals): Everything we know about Chinese communists and Mao Tse Tsung is stuff we learned through Western eyes–through history books written by American scholars who were vehemently opposed to Communism. So you talk about Communism there and they get it–they realize we’re not talking about state oppression, but they also realize that twenty years ago there was no pollution, no crime, nobody had to lock their doors and there was always food on the table. And now it’s a country run by the mafia with pollution and crime. We have a song ‘Under A Communist Moon,’ and we were like, ‘We can’t play that in China.’ But all these kids asked us to play it–like ‘Those are the best lyrics you ever wrote.’
What a nice story.
Mao is still really big in China, like a folk hero, and it’s funny how people justify all the bullshit–’Mao was seventy percent right and thirty percent wrong.’ I think even the Communist party said it was a 70/30 split. That’s what we try to do with the INC–be seventy percent right and thirty percent wrong.
What do they think of Communist chic?
They have the same thing. You can buy Mao shirts, little Communist hats–it’s a mix between something historical, and they’re proud of it, but there’s definitely a little chic to it. A lot of twenty-year-old kids grew up under Communism–there’s a kitsch value to it. They’re not dumb, the Chinese.
Do you think America is in decline and China is going to control the twenty-first century?
There’s definitely gonna be a shift. Right now, America is the only real superpower. I think in all honesty that America in Iraq is a way to stabilize its position as a superpower: ‘If we can control the resources, we can control the world.’ But the century keeps ticking and Asia is definitely going to catch up. It’s definitely something to count on–not necessarily a bad thing to my perspective.
Some people are thinking America is going to become like the Soviet Union in the ’80s–bloated bureaucracy, crumbling infrastructure, lines for toilet paper–
I think it’s already happening. They’re kind of building castles out of sand. You’ve got a government that’s very bloated and self-righteous, and the infrastructure is falling apart–America has never experienced such differences between rich and poor, and that keeps increasing. It’s typical of what was happening in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.
As someone who visits every year or so on tour, have you noticed the country changing?
Totally, especially since 9/11. You can tell that America is really fighting for their position–you can definitely see from the outside how freedom of speech and freedom of expression are being subtly screwed over. Not like in the Soviet Union but in subtle ways–scare tactics, the whole un-American behavior thing. When we came over the first time, people were much more outspoken about politics. They were not afraid. And now they are. You might end up in Guantanomo–that’s a sign of a totalitarian state. Plus in the last election, only sixty percent went to vote–so thirty percent didn’t even care. And then of those who voted, it was a fifty-fifty split. So thirty percent of the population in the United States wants George Bush as president and seventy percent either doesn’t or doesn’t care.
There’s that 70/30 split again.
Seventy percent of America doesn’t want George Bush or doesn’t care–for me, that’s very undemocratic. America was built on the idea of a utopian society. When the Constitution was written, it was with the idea that this was the ultimate country–so people have a hard time understanding if you talk about something completely different.
How do you explain things to people?
Well, you talk about these ideas and people look at you like you’re an alien–I mean, I’m just presenting a different option here, folks. But most times people know we’re a bunch of Swedish pinkos and they kind of go with that. Sometimes people don’t get it–they’ve been brought up thinking that if you have money, you deserve that money, and then you can buy yourself education and health care. And I grew up in a place where social security and schools and health care are things that everybody is entitled to all the time, no matter what. People think that’s crazy, when I’m like, ‘No, I think it’s a good idea that everybody can go to school.’
What American city offers the least resistance to your pinko agenda?
I don’t know–it’s always easier to play the big cities. Though I do remember us playing Lubbock, Texas, and pretty much the entire crowd was against us–they were all there to see the Offspring and we happened to play before, and… I just spoke my mind. A lot. A LOT. People were telling me before the show that maybe I should tone it down, and I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s right.’ So I talked twice as much shit on George Bush–people were screaming at our sound guy ‘Fuck those guys!’ and he was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know those guys.’ Sometimes it’s good to have the crowd against you–you caused a reaction.
I’m sorry that’s how the birthplace of Buddy Holly treated you.
I think they forgot about the Buddy Holly roots.
THE (INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY WITH TAKING BACK SUNDAY ON THU., NOV. 13, AT CLUB NOKIA, 800 W. OLYMPIC, LOS ANGELES. 8 PM / $25 / ALL AGES. GOLDENVOICE.COM. AND WITH NIGHT HORSE, MOONRATS AND SLANG CHICKENS WITH DJS DANNY WANG AND LUIS FARFAN ON FRI., NOV. 14, AT THE EAGLE ROCK CENTER FOR THE ARTS, 2225 COLORADO BLVD., EAGLE ROCK. 8 PM / $7-$8 / ALL AGES. MYSPACE.COM/FYEAHFEST. THE (INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY’S CROSS OF MY CALLING RELEASES TUE., NOV. 25, ON VAGRANT. VISIT THE (INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY AT INTERNATIONALNOISE.COM OR MYSPACE.COM/INTERNATIONALNOISECONSPIRACY.