I wanted to write about a track from our new record American Spring. I think out of all of the songs in our bands history "Brandenburg Gate" is maybe the greatest example of how up for interpretation music can be.
For me it started in a real personal place. Before writing this record I had what I believed to be the most important relationship in my life end. I was searching for self worth and identity. Forced to face and work on things that ultimately could have been the same reasons for my relationships end. In my mind, the lyrics were not metaphorical. I had particularly difficult moments in Berlin, I was referencing those in the song. Knowing that Anti-Flag is not the type of band to put ourselves first I was worried at how my band mates would react to the song. I was worried they would have no personal attachment to it, and it's our experience as a band that those are the songs that die. The ones where all 4 of us are not whole heartedly behind either never see the light of day or are recorded and never played live. So hesitantly I brought it to the others.
Pat (the drummer in Anti-Flag) had a completely different view of Brandenburg then anything I could have seen. I was too close to it. His zoomed out perspective on the lyrics created this backstory about a love song for socialism. My imagery of Berlin and the Brandenburg Gate became a metaphor to Pat for socialism being seen as untouchable in America. How vastly far away universal health care and education seem to be to us in the states. He had parallels for each line. Ones that I would never had seen. We then shaped the remainder of the lyrics to both mirror and reference my emotions but our collective understanding of how no matter how far away the things you want or believe to be important or things you know to be just, they are attainable. The Brandenburg Gate was locked away during the era of the Berlin Wall. Closed form society. It now stands alive, tourists flock to it, it's a meeting point, a protest square. It was once also untouchable, these "socialist" ideas of treating humanity with the respect it deserves will not be untouchable for much longer.
(Side note. Having Tim Armstrong sing on the track was unbelievable to us. Having him sing the word "salvation" made my inner punk rock kid believe that anything is possible.)