All That Remains’ Frontman Phil Labonte Is a Libertarian

February 7th, 2013

Liberty Mosh Pit

In the music industry more generally and the hardcore, punk, and metal scenes more specifically, musicians are under intense pressure to conform to a narrow set of political views. When a Republican is in the White House, anti-government views are fair game. When a Democrat wins the presidency, however, most musicians tend to blindly back the government without question, even when the policies remain the same.

Outspoken former marine Phil Labonte, frontman for the metal band All That Remains, recently shocked the countercultural “cognoscenti” by espousing his libertarian political views in an interview with Mike Gitter for Noisecreep. Check out the band’s video for Two Weeks below, and let’s talk about the politics of metal after the jump.

Phil Labonte on Gun Laws

All That Remains is a part of the famed Western Massachusetts metalcore scene. Phil Labonte, however, is originally from nearby New Hampshire, a state known for its libertarian streak. He recently opened a gun shop to assist others in exercising their right to self defense.

In the Noisecreep interview, Labonte was asked about his opinions on local gun laws, “Where I’m from in New Hampshire, gun laws are phenomenal. We also have the lowest murder rate in the country and the third lowest violent crime rate in the country. Now I understand that correlation does not equal causation. There are a lot of factors that go into that. But, when you look at the most violent cities: Baltimore, Chicago, DC, Los Angeles –these are places that have very strict gun laws, and that doesn’t do a thing about whether or not there’s violence.”

The Pressure for Musicians to Be Card-Carrying Democrats

When Phil Labonte espoused his views publicly, he did so knowing the cost — that some people in the music industry might marginalize him for deviating from the unspoken rules. Musicians must support Obama, drones and all, and then blame Bush for anything that goes wrong. There is a script to some extent, handed down from the DNC by way of The Huffington Post, that musicians are expected to follow.

In announcing his libertarianism, Labonte expressed support for drug legalization, marriage equality, gun rights, and reductions in military spending. He decried excessive government growth, stating, “We don’t need all these federal agencies that we have. They’re a waste of money. They end up being bureaucracies. The government never ends up getting smaller. It only gets bigger. Once a federal agency is created it never goes away.”

It’s refreshing to see a musician resisting the pressure to conform to the self-contradictory political social pressures that permeate the music industry. For Phil Labonte, such resistance takes the form of advocacy for liberty. While his comments may throw some fans into cognitive dissonance, the libertarian community will likely make up the difference. Libertarians tend to support the few artists that share these views.

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

is a singer for the experimental mathcore band , a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.