American Head Charge on Flag Burning: Before and After Sept 11
Mike Hess
6/10/2002 10:01:55 PM

"It [flag burning] was simply done to piss people off, which now it obviously does."

Just three days before the New Day of Infamy, Chad Hanks of American Head Charge said of the burning of the American Flag, "I think it's funny 'cause I don't give a shit, and it's a big piece of cloth."

Not anymore.

"We're not monsters, and we fully understand what has happened," Hanks urged a week after the tragedy, with a seriousness that he normally only displays while on stage. "We know that people's lives have been lost and ruined. We love America, and enjoy all the freedoms that it offers us," he proclaims, also adding, "It [flag burning] was simply done to piss people off, which now it obviously does. Unfortunately, people want to tie in our actions with anti-American ideals."

Throughout the second interview, Hanks pleaded, "I'd like to stress publicly that we have nothing against America," in hopes that he is not viewed as a demon.

"We were playing a show in Fort Wayne, Texas the other night, and we brought the flag out. I had it wrapped around me, and then I threw it into the crowd," Hanks explains, as if he's telling a story huddled around a campfire. "It was being passed around, and it hit the floor somehow, and one guy absolutely freaked," he says, going on to describe how the enraged fan then threatened the band and its crew for their actions. "And fire didn't even come into the picture!"

This isn't the lone instance that AHC has felt the pressure for their once-overlooked stage act. Nor is AHC the only band feeling the heat from their actions or words.

Fellow Pledge of Allegiance tourmates System of a Down have been on the defense lately after frontman Serj Tankian released an essay explaining his interpretation of the attacks. Though very well-spoken and intelligent, music fans didn't want to hear Serj's thoughts on why this may have happened, and misinterpreted the writing to be anti-American (it was far from that).

"I know the guy [Tankian], and I know what he's like, and I can only imagine how horrible he feels," Hanks expresses with great emotion. AHC has also gotten some hateful responses from the public as well.

"There's people on our Web site threatening us and calling us Commies," he says in amazement, baffled by how a simple gag can turn into a reason for hate.

Needless to say, AHC has not burned a flag since the tragedy, and plans to keep it that way. "There's danger real enough where some psycho will take severe action against us," Hanks remarks. "Everyone is so hyped up right now, that I don't think anyone is thinking real straight."


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