Strike Anywhere Save Animals, Storm a Bush

Richmond, Virginia’s Strike Anywhere stopped in for the Hellfest show in New Jersey before their recent Toronto show. When they weren’t playing, they were hanging out at the FaunaVision and Oasis Sanctuary booths.

The non-profit groups set up tables at the festival to raise awareness about animal advocacy and offered a place where bands could drop by and speak to fans about these issues.

“We met the people from Fauna and Oasis actually at a show. They had a table set up at a venue we were playing at and we just became friends through talking to them and believing in what they were doing,” said Thomas Barnett, Strike Anywhere’s lead singer. Their mission is to rescue animals that are victims of abuse, whether it is intentional or because of neglect, rehabilitate them and finally find a suitable home for them through adoption.

The band is no stranger to rescue missions. After hearing a neglected dog barking day after day in his neighbourhood, Barnett walked into the dog’s owner’s back yard and cut the pooch free from his chain. Barnett’s friends subsequently adopted the dog. “I still get to see the puppies, which is cool.”

He is so outspoken about these issues that PETA2 tracked him down at a show and asked for this thoughts.

“I’m not the most attractive spokesperson, but they cornered me, shoved a camera in my face and I was somehow more articulate than I’m being right now,” he said when pressed for details about the public service announcement.

The relationship with PETA2 came about because the band’s hometown of Richmond is close to PETA2’s headquarters in Virginia Beach. Other relationships are a result of touring and demoing. Mike Burkett, AKA Fat Mike of legendary punk band NOFX and the co-owner of FAT Wreck Chords, is friends with the band.

“The people at [FAT] are like our west-coast family,” Barnett explained. “We would record our demos in our bedrooms and post them online, and that’s when Fat Mike first heard us.” Fat Mike put together a compilation on his record label featuring bands that supported the movement to oust American president George W. Bush from the White House called Rock Against Bush.

“Every citizen of the world should be able to vote for the American president, because the U.S. effects so many people globally, more than any other nation,” Barnett stated. “If Bush gets re-elected after several weeks of counting this time, riots will last weeks, not half a day. American punks will rewrite American history.”

The band put on a great, politically charged punk rock show that night. A predominant mix of mohawks and fluorescent hair colour speckled the crowd at the Fun Haus and set the stage for an electrically charged set from the band.

Mexican Disaster Squad, Engine Down and Rainer Maria kicked off the evening and Strike Anywhere rocked the stage to the point where the ceiling began to sweat and the floors became slippery. They even incited a mosh pit in the Fun Haus’ limited space, where brave souls flipped gravity and chance the bird by body surfing in a pit that consisted of far fewer individuals than any self respecting crowd surfer should cruise on. Barnett, with his long blonde dreads, bounced around the stage in a fashion that was reminiscent of video game character Sonic the Hedgehog at times. He whipped the pit into frenzied waves of grinding punk hysterics.

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