These days, it’s hard enough for a Punk band to remain a cohesive unit for 26 months, let alone 26 years. But guitarist Chris Hannah and drummer Jord Samolesky have managed to keep Propagandhi active and relevant since launching the band in 1986.
Since then, Hannah, Samolesky and a variety of bassists (including John K. Samson, who left in 1997 to form the Weakerthans) have maintained a strong political and social viewpoint in their lyrics while evolving from Punk Pop and Skate Punk to a denser Metal presentation in recent years.
Propagandhi had played for six years, recorded several demos and went through two bassists before Samson’s arrival, which was quickly followed by an opening slot for NOFX and a deal with Fat Mike’s Fat Wreck Chords label for its debut, 1993’s How to Clean Everything. After 1996’s Less Talk, More Rock, Samson left and was replaced by Todd Kowalski, whose heavier songwriting style — evidenced on 2001’s Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes — nudged the band toward its current sound. After 2005’s Potemkin City Limits (where Hannah pulled an Andy Kaufman, recording and performing as “Glen Lambert;” the gag ended in 2006 with the firing of “Lambert” and Hannah’s “return”), Propagandhi added its first fourth member, second guitarist David Guillas, whose former band Giant Sons had long been cited as one of Hannah’s primary influences.
Propagandhi’s Hardcore/Thrash Metal tendencies screamed to the forefront on 2009’s self-released Supporting Caste and were solidified on the just-released Epitaph debut Failed States (featuring a cover painting from Kowalski). Whether railing against sexism, racism, homophobia, imperialism and other political issues or soapboxing for veganism, animal rights and a variety of radical left wing missions, Propagandhi sets their causes to a needle-pegging soundtrack. Earplugs and a social conscience are a must.
PROPAGANDHI performs Saturday, Nov. 3 at Madison Theater in Covington with guests Off With Their Heads and The Menzingers.