No Cause for Concern? Issue #9 | June 1984 | Page 15 | Sab Grey Interview
IRON CROSS have only been together for three years yet they have picked up an incredibly nasty and totally unfounded reputation for being violent, racist skinheads. In this interview, done at Sab's house on December 26th, 1983, he explains what's behind the rumours. The band is now working on an album and they too hope to play in Canada.
DAVE: How long has Iron Cross been together and what were your basic goals when you first formed?
SAB: When we first started in April of '81 we didn't really have any goals. We just started because we were bored.
DAVE: As time went on, what happened?
SAB: We learned how to play our instruments.
DAVE: And from that came...?
SAB: Our first record. I don't know what we wanna do now. We just want to play and be hugely successful and make pots and pots of money.
DAVE: This, of course, is sarcastic.
DAVE: What I mean by the question is that you told me before when Iron Cross got together is that you didn't want to be in the same format as all the hardcore bands. You never called yourself a hardcore band. To start off with, the tempo was slower and the themes were different. Was that from the English influences in the band?
SAB: That's because that's what we wanted to play. It wasn't that we set out and said "okay, we're gonna be a skinhead band". That's just the way it developed because of the personality of the band. We started playing and we didn't want to play fast. There were already really good bands that were doing that. Why play that game? We just wanted to do what we wanted to do.
DAVE: You recorded your first demo in August of '81. Compare the band then to what it is now. How has it changed.
SAB: We were shit then. That first demo, that's not even a bass player who was in the band. That was a friend of ours who sat in for the tracks because we needed someone. It was rush recorded, we had very little technical skills. We were all pretty much new at our instruments. It was the best we could play at the time. Obviously after two and a half years you're gonna be better.
DAVE: Let's talk for a minute about the bad reputation Iron Cross got let's say from somewhere like Maximum Rock n Roll.
SAB: Well, Maximum Rock n Roll hated us before the first e.p. came out. They hated us from the very first thing we recorded which is their right.
DAVE: Do you think it has something to do with the name?
SAB: Yeah, they found something fascist in it. It never really occurred to us when we thought up the name of the band, plus we were skinheads and we weren't pointing the finger at Ronald Reagan. They're all mad at us.
DAVE: So songs like "Skinhead Glory", are they meant now to be tongue in cheek?
SAB: I'm not ashamed of anything I did back then [summer '81]. I'm not ashamed of anything I've done but it didn't mean to have any fascist overtones at all. It just happened to be the way we felt. It wasn't militant to the point of "Well, I don't like the way you look so I'll beat you up". We weren't into that. We were just ourselves. We weren't like the other punks so we were different.
DAVE: I guess people couldn't accept that. People like Maximum Rock n Roll.
SAB: And once they talked to us they realized that we were wonderful [sarcastically].
DAVE: So you found newer outlooks, new things to attack?
SAB: We developed. It was natural, we all developed. Mark became a really good guitar player and our bassists have successfully improved. Also our lyric writing has improved.
DAVE: How do you feel that the scene has changed since the summer of 1981?
SAB: It's more diluted. It doesn't have the sense of direction it once did. There's a lot of good stuff coming from different camps. Back about '81 it was very straightforward, now you're more sussed and you have to be more cynical about bands.
DAVE: Is that because all the thrash bands are starting to sound the same?
SAB: Yeah, it's becoming trendy, isn't it? Almost fashionable.
DAVE: So what's Iron Cross trying to do? Shake that up a bit and get people mad?
SAB: Yeah, show them how it could be done. [laughs] We're not playing by the rules.
DAVE: So what's the story on these t-shirts?
SAB: We're gonna do a whole series of them. One with a woman in leather, one with a woman tied up, and one with naked boys because they're things that offend people. It's all done tongue in cheek anyway.
DAVE: What will you say to your critics who don't appreciate Iron Cross and haven't got a nice thing to say about you?
SAB: Who cares? I'm not interested in their opinions. They've got their heads up their asses.
DAVE: What will Iron Cross be doing six months or a year from now? What hopes do you have for the band?
SAB: Hopefully we will be releasing an album and playing more out of town.
DAVE: Is the D.C. scene not for you?
SAB: What's the point? We have a strong following here so we're just preaching to the converted. Whereas if you go out of town you have a chance to play well, to win them over. It's a challenge, a fight and that's where Iron Cross has always been the best when we're up against things. We've never been one of these bands that's had everything handed to them on a liver platter. We've always been the band who's been fucked over, never had any equipment, had to struggle to get gigs and we're a lot stronger for it.
DAVE: Let's talk about a song on your new album called "Wolf Pack". What brought that about?
SAB: It's just about people and there are people who derive a great deal of pleasure from pummeling helpless people and I don't think it's too cool. At the time there was a group who were running around attacking lone homosexuals and it was just the old bully-boy attitude of "Look, I've got six dozen friends and you're dead meat". That kind of mindless attitude is just shit. So that's what it was about and I just used the motif of the old man because it was someone everyone could identify with. I mean anyone who says beating up an old man is cool obviously has his head so far up his ass he doesn't know what he's talking about. But it's not just about beating up old men. It's about beating up anybody who you don't like the look of, for no reason. I'm not into beating up someone for the way they look because I'm not into someone attacking me for the way I look. [at the time of the interview, Sab had green spiked hair and was wearing bondage gear]
DAVE: Let's talk about America. What do you think about America?
SAB: [laughs] This shouldn't take very long. People in this country are so fucking proud of their ignorance. They give you shit and they know nothing about you. They don't know shit. Yet they will give you shit because of it, because they are glad they know nothing about it. Some punks are the same way.
DAVE: Do you like seeing a line drawn between punks and skins or is it all the same thing?
SAB: It's all the same thing to me. If you're an asshole, you're an asshole! It doesn't matter what clothes you wear. If you're going to draw a line then you're just being a racialist. If you want to say there's a difference between a punk and a skin you might as well say there's a difference between a white and a black.
DAVE: That attitude seems to be different than it was two years ago when you were a skin.
SAB: Well, you should always be proud of what you are but that doesn't mean you have to put down everything else. You should put down what's wrong.
DAVE: How do you differentiate between what's right and what's wrong?
SAB: It's how I feel. To a lot of people I may be wrong but fuck them. They're not living my life. I am, and I'm responsible for my actions and I have to accept the consequences of my actions!
DAVE: What do you know about Canada off the top of your head?
SAB: Eh, Bob and Doug McKenzie and that's about it. There's logging and beaver trapping and beer, hockey, lots of space and I know fuck all about Canada.
DAVE: Do you want to play there in the future?
SAB: You bet. Love to.