Alec Empire, the band’s lead singer, is very much a political junkie — a fascination evident in his song “Black Flags,” which he dedicated to Pvt. Bradley Manning and the hackers in “Anonymous.”
The video for “Black Flags” makes this ever more obvious, as it features dozens of people wearing Guy Fawkes masks and skirmishing with police in the streets while Empire shouts about corporate control, suppression of journalists and the ongoing “class war.”
“But I’m not an anarchist,” he sings. “I’m on some sickle/hammer shit. Collective Bruce Banner shit. Over a piano pitch, cock and let the hammer hit. We’re here collecting damages, and handing out knuckle sandwiches.”
Reflecting on his history with Sony — having sued them for copyright infringement once before — Empire instantly knew what to do.
“It was this kind of situation… when you feel your whole work has been compromised. We are really and only about the political message,” he told Wired reporter Quinn Norton. “So when something like this happens it is damaging to our credibility and can’t really be repaired with paying some money.”
On his website, Empire explains that he “put ‘Black Flags’ into it… it was all hectic and they okayed [the ad].” And while he didn’t reveal how much they paid him, he added that all the money went to The Anonymous Solidarity Network, dedicated to supporting hacktivists’ legal defenses.
“Yes, I already got some hate, some even attempted to troll me (on Facebook???)…. but you know what? I don’t care because it just FELT V E R Y GOOD!HAHA,” he wrote.
This video was published to YouTube on October 19, 2011.
This video was published to YouTube on February 20, 2012.
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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