Rob Larson
Anti-flag recorded "The Bright Lights of America" in just 3 1/2 weeks.

Anti-Flag bassist Chris #2 (born Chris Barker) said his band's new album, "The Bright Lights of America," was a project to solidify the band's place in punk rock history.

"We wanted to make a CD that would last longer than the band," #2 said during a phone interview from Austin, Texas. "We wanted people to listen to this CD 30 years after Anti-Flag's last concert."

That's not to say Anti-Flag is on a verge of breaking up. Au contraire. The band — Chris #2, guitarist Chris Head, guitarist/vocalist Justin Sane, drummer Pat Thetic — is as strong as ever, making this album was another shot of caffeine to it system.

"We knew it was going to be an ambitious project," he said, "and we wanted to do things a little different."

Thus, the string and horn arrangements.

"We talked with our producer (Tony Visconti) about what we wanted to do," #2 said. "And he was adamant that we play as many of the instruments as we could. While we didn't play the strings or horns, we played the tympanies, the mandolins and anything that he wanted us to play.

"He also knew we wouldn't make this kind of CD in New York. So, he moved us to a live-in studio in Kentucky. We slept in the studio. We ate a the studio and we recorded at the studio.

Chris #2 said it usually takes three months to make a CD but this one took 3 1/2 weeks.

"It all came down to trusting him. We have a hard time trusting someone who tells us how to fix our songs. But we liked his production on other people's albums and felt he knew what he was doing.

"He is focused and we're scatterbrained. So, it was a good mix."

Throughout the year, the politically charged Anti-Flag has caught flak because people misunderstand the band's name.

"It does get old having to explain our name means no boundaries, no country, no prejudice and no labels," said #2. "People think because we're called Anti-Flag that it means we're un-American. But it's the totally opposite."

Although the band takes itself seriously and supports issues such as human and civil rights across the globe, veganism, environmentalism and anti-war, it does like to have fun.

"I just got back from our little April Fool's joke," #2 said on April 1. "We made our own versions of USA Today and filled them with stories that should be in there and stocked as many of the USA Today vending machines in the city."

If you go

What: Anti-Flag, Street Dogs

Where: In the Venue, 219 S. 600 West

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

How much: $16.50

Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499