No Cause for Concern? Issue #6 | December 1982 | Page 5 | M.D.C review and interview
[Millions of Dead Cops
I really have to admire M.D.C. for playing Ottawa when they were getting piss all for it and for making sure that all of us who came out specifically to see them got in for free. And also that it didn't seem to bother them that the audience -- excluding the approximately 25 of us hardcore enthusiasts up at the front -- just sat there like assholes waiting to see the Tuinols.
After the show, we did an interview with M.D.C. All four bands members were there and showed themselves to be very intelligent and aware people which made for a lot of information being passed around. Unfortunately we can't print all of it due to lack of space but most of it's here so read it. These guys know what's going on.
Ron and Dave
Millions of Dead Cops is:
Dave - vocals
Al - drums
Ron - guitar
Franco - bass
[In digging through my basement looking for original photos and layouts, I came across the original, unedited transcript of the interview and since space DOES permit now, I've decided to put back some of the stuff I had originally cut out for space reasons. The additions are in colour but are still true to the original interview.]
N.C.F.C.: Why did you start the band?
DAVE: We're a political punk band. We were in Austin, Texas, and I felt ineffective in the direction I was going. I was being a college student and doing little political things on the side like No Nukes and helping out people in an Anti-Klan group and the Texas Farm Workers group and I felt like I wasn't really meant to be a pamphleteer or a telephone solicitor. I wanted to do something more with the energy. The Sex Pistols came through Texas and really encouraged the whole scene to happen there. Raoules came out of it in Austin Texas and just all of a sudden I was sticking my head into the club, liking what I saw and feeling free in the environment, to say political things, to be who I really was, not to have to live up to the boundaries of the Tex-Mex, honky tonks and all the other chique country 'n western -- or even the rock 'n roll Grateful Dead kind of stuff. I was looking for a scene where I could be completely free or 'avant garde' or whatever the proper word is. To vent out the energy that is pretty much in the songs on our album and the other songs that aren't on the album.
N.C.F.C.: When did you become aware of these things with the cops?
DAVE: When you grow up in AmeriKKKa you feel it. It started out with me pretty much because I was taking drugs and I was smoking pot when I was 15, 16, 17 years old and right away it was cat and mouse. They were planting narcs in our school and bringing dogs in and right away the people that were supposedly there to protect you and to serve their community were there to set up and bust 15-year-old kids. I was on my way to an Allman Brothers concert when I was about 15, 16 and I had a real bad experience where I was thrown in back of a police car, pushed around and handcuffed and threatened and they held me the whole night. What's even worse, I complained to the county executive of Nassau County where I was living and they sent bigger and thugier police out to my house trying to get me to reverse this statement. I said I really don't feel like I should or I have to and they said "you should if you know what's good for you..."
They didn't threaten me in so many words but they threatened me just in saying "okay, we'll remember this, we'll remember your face and your house and your street" and I felt a complete violation of my rights. It had always been drummed into me that good men in blue uniforms were out there to protect me and all of a sudden I just felt like they weren't out there to protect me. They were out there to control me and to bust me if I stepped over the line. Then I just started realizing that if this is me, middle class white kid from the suburbs, imaging how it is to people that grow up who aren't the same color or who don't fit into the same socio-economic plan.
I guess I was 11 or 12 when that Chicago thing happened with the Democratic convention, then as the Nixon years developed, Nixon was planting spies into peace groups that would start fights with the cops so the cops could go knock heads in and I just started realizing the perverseness of the state and what they would do to control the people in it. I started realizing that the police weren't my friends and the police are the klan, are the mafia. They're in it for the kicks or they're in it for the bucks. And it's basically around controlling people.
N.C.F.C.: Are you against the man or the uniform?
DAVE: I'm not against every man who happens to be an individual and for whatever reason becomes a cop. I think that they are human beings who have somehow been brainwashed into it, that are well intentioned in their actions and in what they're doing. I don't advocate killing millions of cops yet I can't help but analyze and just see what an overwhelming amount that the state wants the police to do to control people. It all has to do with macho and superiority "I got a gun, I got a club, and this is the law of the state". It gets so twisted that...I don't like cops.
We're not like the Weatherman Organization, trying to get people to knock off a cop yet I really can understand how there are groups that go around -- like I heard that for a while the Black Liberation Army was going around finding out which cop was going around killing innocent people, who the trigger-happy cops were that time and time were shooting people and they'd go knock them off. It's not like I support them but it's not like I don't support them. I don't know, maybe that's being real nilly-willy but I can see why there are people out there doing that. They're taking it on their own to protect themselves and their community.
AL: The cops are getting away with killing people time and time again. "Justifiable homicide". They shot some kid in the back. He just happened to be black, they didn't even notice. The cops, they represent the rich. They're a power structure. They're the front line of the right wing and I'm sure most people I know have gone through some unpleasantness with the cops. Weather it's just being treated like shit because you were driving your car too fast or right down to -- I had a very very good friend of mine shot in the back. He robbed a store, he was guilty as hell and he was running for his life through some woods and a cop pulled out a 30.06 and blew out half his chest. The kid was 17, first offense.
We went to a Black Flag gig and they were there with helicopters, they were yanking them out of cars and making kids -- 14- 15-year-old kids -- so scared and shook up and making people cry and intimidating people. And it seems like that's the kind of person you'd have to want to be to be a policeman. You've got to be the kind of person that want to shove authority down people's throats.
N.C.F.C.: So what if there were no police?
DAVE: I think they should have some kind of -- a good word I heard was "peace officer". Going in that direction. People that keep the peace, not people that make police. To police the areas, clean it up. And I think that's where society should be leaning towards. Towards peace officers and medical assistance and this has to happen in a society where there's better psychology and sociology available to the people and that's not happening.
AL: Like if less money was spent on the police force and more money was spent to feed the people that are desperate enough to commit these crimes.
DAVE: Set up programs where people wouldn't have to resort to crime. And a lot of crime is drug related, people that are junkies.
AL: A lot of crimes is caused by society and their way of curing it is to hire more police. Give people jobs. As an alternative we'd like to see more food put into ghettos.
DAVE: And better psychology and better educational systems so all the rampant street crimes and all that stuff, there just wouldn't be so much of it if people had better heads. They're not planning for society to be a better place for people to be. The school system itself that makes failure and passes and put all the emphasis on reading and arithmetic achievement. It should be towards human fulfillment goals and people would just not have the need to be a "criminal" and I don't mean a criminal in victimless crimes, I mean a criminal in victim crimes where you knock something over someone's head and you rob what's in their pockets.
N.C.F.C.: Do you want anarchy?
DAVE: We're an anarchist-oriented group. We think that's an alternative to the power structure CIA, FBI kind of police. Communities that are in touch with each other, that can control what's happening.
N.C.F.C.: The impression that I always get is like even if there was no government there would still be some form of authority some top line of people . Like Reagan would be gone but you got someone else. What kind of government would you like set up?
RON: Anarchy to us is like on a community level, like the punk scene if you take it for an example. It's like you're in a 'zine and we're in a band and somebody else got a radio station and somebody's got a club or whatever and somebody else is putting out albums and if you take each community and add up everybody that is part of each one of those to the national level, all those communities add up to the whole picture and that's what anarchy is all about, communities working together. There ain't somebody up there at the top and it's a pyramid and it drips down from there. That's not the way it works. Capitalism isn't working and neither is communism. At the smaller level is where you start, communities. That's what you guys are doing. That's what all the punks are doing all around the country and other countries. Just add it up. That's the whole picture and that's what we're striving for.
DAVE: You didn't need a policeman in there in that hall tonight with 50 or 75 people there and hopefully all around it's policed within itself. But definitely the whole gear of the plan isn't towards 21st century survival and the priorities are in nationalism and protect the state and class society to the point where there definitely is a need for a police system because the emphasis is not on --
RON: People's basic needs: food, shelter and clothing. That's what everybody needs and most of these rights are denied.
FRANCO: Even in the United States in the '60s a lot of time and energy was put in by a lot of people especially the black people, towards trying to secure the basic human needs for people. During the '70s and now in the '80s there's been a shift back to the right and there's money being taken out of the welfare systems and being put back into weapons productions because that yields a higher profit to the corporations through the government it's representing. So it's just a matter of understanding where the government is coming from and what their basic interests are and their basic interests aren't in supplying people's basic needs but rather feeding off the masses for the profit of a very few and the only way that can be changed is through the consciousness of the people, through talking about it and saying "hey, this is bullshit, we're not going to buy these products because they're supporting these assholes who are putting money into starting wars in third world countries" and it's us, the kids, that have to fucking go and fight those wars because the rich people aren't going to fight their own wars, they'll send the kids to fight them.
Al: That's part of the key, knowing where to spend your money not to support certain people when you know they're taking advantage.
DAVE: According to the United Nations, the world spent four hundred billion dollars on weapons last year. Think of the amount of energy four hundred billions dollars is. I think that if it was put into more productive energy you wouldn't have the need for as many police and as many walls as they have here.
N.C.F.C.: But me, I've never starved a day in my life so if Trudeau asks me to go and fight for Canada, should I go because "I've taken care of you for the last 18, 19 years"?
AL: But that ain't the way it works.
DAVE: You've made your arrangements with the land and your business and your parents have. How much of that is owed to the government?
FRANC'O: And you're talking about your social level. There's people way below you that are fucking starving and what do they owe them? They have nothing. Most people are sweating blood that went into creating whatever a nation is and they're not enjoying any of it. They put in a lot of man hours and they get so much per hour then end up spending it all on bills and food and it's like you're giving your life just to pay the rent and whatever and there's nothing else over that.
DAVE: While they commit all these atrocities all over the world they got you spinning your tails trying to acquire some more materialistic bullshit.
AL: Money and consuming. It's just like when a kid wants something and you give it to him to pacify him. That's the way they're doing it, on a bigger level. They're making you think that by consuming more you fell better but actually material possessions don't offer nothing in your life. They don't make it better, it's people that make it better. Who gives a shit if you got a bigger Corvette or a bigger house, if really don't make no difference. You don't need that to survive. That's a big myth that material possessions bring happiness.
DAVE: They get all these people who tell you you're having a great time and it's all really bullshit to get your mind off what we're talking about -- 21st century survival, making it a better place for all the inhabitants we share it with.
FRANC'O: The media goes as far as controlling what you think about because what they report on the news and what you see as programs on TV are geared to make you want to buy a big fancy car and a big boat and all the newest make-up, it's not geared to make you think about anything else except what they want you to think about which is like government approved behavior.
DAVE: It's all based on men to be rich and powerful and women to be sexy so rich and powerful men can buy rich and sexy women so they can fuck and it's a real shallow fuck. It just really is. Right down to the subliminal parts in alcohol ads in Playboy or something and damned if you don't see dicks and pussies in the ice cubes. It's all there just to think about "get laid". How to get laid: be richer. How to get richer: be greedier. Compound your wealth and think about yourself and think about the system that lets you think about yourself.
N.C.F.C.: So how do we become more aware and find out about this sort of thing? It's not as if the government's exactly telling us.
DAVE: You've got to start using your own mind, plus people told us. It's not necessarily like we're all geniuses exactly.
FRANC'O: Instead of sitting around and watching TV all of us are talking to each other and that's the way information gets passed around so if people get their head out of the TV long enough to talk to each other then maybe we can share information that the other person doesn't know about.
AL: And you've got to know what's hip. Like Mother Jones is a real responsible magazine.
RON: That the other thing. They don't put any of that sort of thing out there on the shelves so you can buy it. You have to know where you can get those books and find out about stuff like that because they don't make that stuff readily available.
FRANC'O: Just like punk rock. The media sensors punk rock. You can't listen to the radio stations hardly anyplace and hear punk rock music. You have to actively search it out.
RON: MTV and Billboard magazine and FM stations all work together and determine their little chart and slap it to you on the TV and you go "Oh, this is what's latest, this must be cool" and you go out and buy it but nobody actually called in a voted for that song. They just determine it and people end up buying it just like that.
DAVE: Punk's just been a natural thing. Take the way ---'s dressed. It's real individualistic yet it's probably real inexpensive to put together. The whole thing that went from the hippies generation that wore rags to this and that then all of a sudden Joni Mitchell and Steve Stills and Gerry Garcia started wearing furs and driving Bentleys and completely sold out it's Peace and Love and my Bentley" and to me that what's where punk came out of. Just fuck all that materialistic crap.
Not everybody in "punk" or "hardcore" share the consciousness or it's real surface. Then as soon as they get the real opportunity they'll opt for the money. That's the difference between respecting bands and really not respecting bands.
RON: Like the Dischords, And and Minor Threat. They got it together. They're not just getting fat on their money, they're putting into the Faith, the Scream, Dischord Records and they're putting it into all these bands so they're putting it back into the scene just like Biafra, Alternative Tentacles, Dead Kennedys, they're putting it back into the record company and that's what we're going to try to do but then there's other bands that go out and buy a winnebago and tour the country--
DAVE: Take trips to Hawaii, go on vacation with the GoGos
DAVE: The new GoGos' album is called "On Vacation" and that's just typical of "ha ha ha, we made it" and we used to be punk girls and hang out in the same sleazy sweaty clubs with you but now we sold a million records and--
?: We don't care about you
RON: "And we're putting out for Rolling Stone". I don't know if you saw the cover. It's the Gogos with all the GoGos in their underwear and the caption reads: "The GoGos put out". They're not selling music anymore, it's just sex.
DAVE: There's some people I really respect out there. Like I don't think Public Image ever really sold out and even Patty Smith had the grace to just quietly disappear into suburban New Jersey and not sell designer jeans. She did her thing and that's all she wanted out of it and it's all she wanted to give. She didn't sell out. Other people just sell out.
[At this point it just turns into a giant slagfest that I still -- even now almost 20 years later -- can't bring myself to publish.]
N.C.F.C.: With the name like "Millions of Dead Cops" do you find there are more cops showing up at your gigs?
DAVE: We've been hassled. In Lansing [Michigan] they closed the show and little by little the cops pick up on it. Sometimes they nervously laugh and then they start eyeing the plates on the van.
N.C.F.C.: [talks about the Black Flag sticker.]
AL: Yeah, I've seen cars with them on 'em and I wouldn't want that on my car.
DAVE: I'm not nuts about the sticker yet I know they stick their necks out. The police have had it in for Black Flag for years. They might as well be Millions of Dead Cops in L.A. 'cause cops just hate Black Flag.
N.C.F.C.: How do they feel about you guys?
DAVE: Well in L.A. they really haven't zeroed in on us yet. We played L.A. about four or five times and we're still small enough and we're not up on the marque in bright lights and we used "M.D.C." If we sense something's not cool we'll go with M.D.C. and if the cops ask "oh, it's Mat Dixon and the Confederates". It's anything but Millions of Dead Cops. At the border we told them it was nothing.
AL: I was walking out of a club in Baltimore and these people stopped me and said "hey!" and there's these four cops inside the club and they're going "Hey, check out his T-shirt". [shirt clearly spells out Millions of Dead Cops]
DAVE: I can imagine showing it to them in some backwater town.
N.C.F.C.: If my band had the name "MIllions of Dead Cops" I'd be scared, especially when you hear about how easy it is for a cop to kill someone and cover it up.
FRANC'O: In Texas 1980 there were fifty plus Mexican American people shot by policemen and the policemen were never prosecuted.
RON: It happens in Austin. It happened two or three times while we were living there. The cops would come into a bar and there's a black man just sitting at the bar and they're pull him out with clubs and the guys says "what the fuck" and starts resisting and all of a sudden they've got him down shooting him to death.
DAVE: It's documented. The John Brown Anti Klan Committee documented a study where there were fifteen thousand police related homicides in the last ten years and of those,  were prosecuted and of those not one was convicted.
AL: Just recently they had those three black guys handcuffed to the boat and the boat sunk "Oops!" And when they were taking them out of the water they took the handcuffs off. Everybody saw what was going on but the cops: "No, there were no handcuffs".
DAVE: And it's so ironic. Those three guys that died, they were at a picnic celebrating freedom from slavery and they got busted for marijuana and to move them, instead of taking them through the picnic grounds they decided it would be safer to put them on a rowboat, take them across the lake to some other police car -- they would have had a riot taking them through the crowd -- so while they were rowing, the boat started to sink and tipped over and all three kids drowned. And this is happening all the time.
FRANC'O: The United States government placed a bunch of Vietnamese refugees in South Texas along the coast in a community where they could be fishermen because that's what they had been doing in Vietnam and the community got together with the Klan and they ousted all of those refugees. They said "these people are cutting into our fishing rights, they're fishing in the same water we are and we don't want them fishing here because they're taking away all our fish".
AL: And then they're saying "we fought for their country, a lot of good boys died fighting for Vietnam and what right do they have coming here?" We dumped enough agent orange on their country to kill 1,960,000 people yet they're saying "we fought for their country, our boys died there..." Shit, it's like we own them something the way I see it.
DAVE: It's pretty gross. The Klan headquarters sits right there on the highway east end of Galveston. Sits there like a post office.
AL: They're doing the pledge of allegiance and they're going "One nation under God with liberty and justice for all white people".
FRANC'O: And the parents teach it to their kids. There was an article in Life magazine that shows the caped hooded klansman holding a little six or seven year old boy, a real cute boy with a little cape and a little hat himself, and the kids just sitting there smiling not knowing what's going on. Meanwhile he's getting brainwashed every day of his life. There are whole communities in the south that are completely run by the Ku Klux Klan and there's nothing you can do about it because if you speak up against the Klan they will terrorize you, your family, they'll get you fired from your job, and they'll set fire to your house and nobody will give a shit because the sheriff's in the Klan too.
DAVE: On other levels they perform community services. It's weird. Like they'll build a barn if one burns down, they'll serve food to the elderly and drive them around town and stuff so they're in the social fabric of the whole land. It's a wasp cult.
[The interview doesn't end here but we're running out of space here so we'll leave you with one final thought:]
FRANC'O The more information that's out, the sicker the scene looks, the sicker the joke is and after a while people say "hey, this isn't a joke anymore, this is really something sick". A lot of people are living in la la land, they don't even realize there's a problem They don't realize 75,000 people die each day of starvation while we feed four times the amount of food that is necessary to feed the word, we feed that much to animals. But they're sitting there in la la land eating at McDonald's deserving their break today not realizing that they're getting scammed.