Iconic underground ska band Strange Tenants may be 37 years young, but this year has been one of their most exciting and productive with the release of their 8th album Militant Style, an autobiographical book and a documentary on the band underway. The title Militant Style references the unique power ska drumming technique of their late drummer Jeff Denny, who passed away last year, as well as reflecting the agitational politics that drives their lyrics. As noted on the inner sleeve of this album “if you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing”.
Ian Hearn Mackinnon – Strange Tenants song writer and band member on what inspires his song writing
My fave songs of our new Militant Style album:
LOVE IS BLIND
This started life as a rock song with a strong rhythmic guitar riff which I later substituted with the main brass lines on the ST version and reggaed it up.
This song is about obsessive love and addictions of all kinds and the dark side to obsession and addiction. Every one of us experiences this at one time or another, in one form or another.
GREY SKIES (Over Collingwood)
A lilting and reflective autobiographical reggae tune.
Five generations of my family have grown up in and around Collingwood and this track is an observation on the changing nature of the suburb, the little 19th century workers’ cottages and brick factories being replaced by high rise public housing estates, the old generation dying off, the new waves of migrants bringing new life to the district.
Collingwood is something of a metaphor in this song, as the song could easily apply to old, inner city, industrial, working class suburbs all over the world going through similar metamorphoses.
I DON’T WANT TO FIGHT YOUR WAR
A full-on punky ska track, reaction to the phoney and illegal wars waged by invading western armies over the last two decades in the middle east. Not only have the not won peace, they have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians and our own troops – mostly to serve the interests of oil companies, arms manufacturers and other corporations who profit from wars.
Today, when you play their music, recorded without endless overlay tracks, drum machines, loops and modern sampling techniques, listen to the quality of the songs, the honesty of the lyrics, the freshness of the musicianship and their standout vocal talents.
Upcoming show: Saturday 1 December – The Curtin, Melbourne VIC