ROGER MIRET has been a key figure in New York hardcore for 30 years, most of them as frontman of the legendary AGNOSTIC FRONT, a band that forever redefined NYC hardcore. The singer—who has had his share of run-ins with the law and spent time in prison on drug charges—returns to his punk-rock roots on the new Gotta Get Up Now, his fourth LP with THE DISASTERS. As with all the Disaster-pieces, the album has a badass backbone, but offers some impressive artistic departures like “Jr.,” a vintage country romp that closes the disc. Miret spoke to Altpress about the new album and the life and times that inspired it. Also, check out the exclusive premiere of the new song, “Gotta Get Up Now,” below the interview.
One of the new songs, “My Own Way,” is about a person you knew making bad decisions, with bad outcomes.
Agnostic Front [have] been at this three decades. If that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what would. The hard times, overcoming them and still being here… A lot of people [I’ve met] ended up dead or in jail. Some of my friends are still incarcerated. A lot of them moved on to different lives, or they say they grew out of [hardcore]. I don’t know how the hell you grow out of a movement like this, unless you were never that committed or loyal to it.
Looking back, what’s the best decision you made in your life?
I can think of one thing I decided not to do—that was the best decision I ever made. But it’s very, very personal. I don’t think I’m ready to speak on it. I would have regretted it.
What about a positive decision?
My children. My family. I think that’s the best thing I’ve ever done to myself. My [most recent] prison term was the longest one I ever did. I beat it on an appeal after a couple years. But thank God I did that, because I needed to. That really shaped me.
What happened? It was a drug charge, right?
It was a drug charge. There were other things tied to it. [Prosecutors] put everything together. It was tied in with a major incident regarding some big crime families in New York. I don’t like to mention names. I was just a delivery guy. It was hypocritical, because I’ve always been more of a straight-edge type of guy; I don’t think I’ve had a drink in three years.
My favorite song from the Disasters is the acoustic “Everything I Do” [from 2006’s My Riot], which is miles away from what most fans think of when they think of your music. The new song “Jr.” takes it even further.
With “Jr.,” my wife was pregnant. It was 3 a.m., and I just jumped out of bed and went to my little recording area and started writing this song and doing the lyrics. I’ve always had [daughters], and [I was thinking] “Wow, I’m going to have a son. This is awesome.” I guess I was kind of having a connection with him, telling him, “I want you to grow up and do your own thing. Your mother and father will always love you, no matter what [you] do. You have to make your own decisions in life. I hope you get to travel and see the world like I did.” It’s like me passing the throne to him, saying, “Have a good life.” My guitar player from the Disasters said, “This song is great.” I said, “Yeah, but do you think it’s going to be a little too crazy? It’s a straight-up country song like Johnny Cash And The Tennessee Three-style.” He said, “Bro, we should put it on the record as a bonus.” I’m glad I did. Sometimes, if [lyrics] are too personal, I feel criticism is an attack. But family people get it.
What else is going on with your career?
I’m really excited about this year, because I think I’ve put together some of my best lyrics. I have the new Alligators single, and the new Agnostic Front album is coming in March. I’m really excited about this Disasters record. When I take a break from it and listen to it, it has that same charisma, that feel and energy of when I discovered punk. It’s nothing new, but [it’s] refreshing. It’s a tribute to those bands that formed me musically and lyrically. It’s a diary of my life. Having all those elements is very personal. I think the youth can relate to that. Hopefully I’ll make new friends and fans.
New York punks put tattoos on the map. Do you have any tattoo regret?
No. That one regret you were asking me about in beginning would have been a tattoo regret. alt
LISTEN TO "GOTTA GET UP NOW" BELOW!