“When every political idea has to become safe and categorized just so that it can be defined by disgusting “journalists” who¥s only aim is the selling of issues and the cashing in of paychecks, how can we then show the seriousness of the situation?”
Refused. The band that changed my young existence more than any other was right all along. In 1997 they released what is possibly one of the greatest punk albums of all time, “The Shape of Punk to Come.” In a sea of fun-loving, spiky haired pop punk acts Sweden’s Refused released the final album of their 7 year career and then swiftly broke up and returned home to never make music again. They made a great impression on many young punk fans who never got to see them and it gave their swan song more meaning. If you wanted more Refused you could buy their old albums, which weren’t very good, or you could just immerse yourself in the shape of punk to come. I liked Blink 182, a lot, and then I heard this album. I liked to play acoustic guitar and then I heard this album. I used to feel uncomfortable and confused talking about politics with my peers until i found my manifesto, The Refused Party Programme.
In the wake of our existence, in our parades and in our dances;
touch, see and behold the wisdom of the party program.
Essential in our lifetime and irresistible in our touch,
the great spirits proclaim that
capitalism is indeed organized crime and we are all the victims.
This next one is called Refused Party Program. ~ Dennis Lyxzen
After releasing the album they played the first three shows of their U.S. tour before breaking up.The last act as a united Refused came when they released their open letter to fans titled, “Refused Are Fucking Dead.” Filled with impassioned speaking points about the state of the world the letter shaped a group of fans political focuses and realized what they knew all along, Refused had always been about something much bigger than their songs. Below is the final press release from Refused. Occasionally a band comes along with a purpose, Refused was one of those bands until they imploded under the weight of their own neurotic insecurities.
“Refused Are Fucking Dead”
(The last official pressrelease)
Just like the political theorists and philosophers (Baudrillard, Foucault, Derrida, Debord and so on) we also managed with a sort of self fulfilling prophecy. A manifestation of an idea to a concrete action. When Quilapayuns in 1972 realized the importance of widening their spectrum of action by dividing the band into five different sections to be able to spread their ideas on as many locations and to as many people as possible they had realized theprinciple of collective massorganization. A division into five new directions means in practice five new projects that can challenge and fight the boredom and death that sneaks into our everyday life. Five new ways to make the political manifesto that once was known under the collective spanner of “the Refused Party Program” concrete, five new forces that can devour and choke every tendency of the bourgeoisie shackle that keeps us down.
So why does Refused have to die to be able to rise from the ashes like the Fenix??? It is impossible to take part of a revolutionary program when every aspect of existence has to be projected as entertainment and music, a tradition that both in expression and creation has been dead for far too long. We were hoping that we could be the final nail in the coffin of the rotten cadaver that was popular music, but unfortunately the reification was too big for us to succeed with our feeble attempts to detour this boring discourse.When every expression, no matter how radical it is, can be transformed into a commodity and be bought or sold like cheap soda, how is it then possible that you are going to be able to take “art” seriously? When every political idea has to become safe and categorized just so that it can be defined by disgusting “journalists” who¥s only aim is the selling of issues and the cashing in of paychecks, how can we then show the seriousness of the situation? When the single purpose of every song written is to accumulate capital for the record companies that will only kill every attempt at spontaneity and creativity, how are we then expected to create? When every show played just becomes another brick in the wall between people, between “fans” and “stars”, when we instead of getting communication and interaction are being forced to become nothing but consumers and producers. When people are being praised as geniuses and idols just because they play music or write books or something equally boring and “cultural”, when the widespread belief that their creation is more important than that people take part in everyday life…What does that say about the rest of us and what does it say about the system that we have? When we continue to uphold the bourgeoisie myth of self realization by saying that anyone can make it, just as long as they work hard, or pick up a guitar, we uphold the dream of good vs. bad jobs (rockstar = good, factory worker = bad) thus we also uphold the class system and the justification of it. When the self appointed elite talks about culture, the culture that tricks us into believing that there is such a thing as culture, without any thought or consideration of the political or economical system. When we become just another subculture with all the right attributes instead of a real counter-culture, then it is time to die, to revalue the position that we are in.
Refused “broke up” on the 26th of September 1998 in Atlanta, Georgia, and in a last feeble attempt to break the linear timeline that the modern ways of production has forced upon us we played the last show in Harrisonburg, Virginia on the 6th of October 1998. The show was interrupted after 4 songs by the local policeforce who thought that they’ve had enough. We knew that they were onto us but it was both a chock and a relief that they did not catch us until the last show. Then, after 7 years of trying, we finally managed to create our own timespace within the capitalist powerstructure. The crowd managed to manifest a moment of passionate living when they continued to scream “rather be alive…” to the corrupt and useless preservers of private property.
So what now??? We will continue to, at every attempt, overthrow the class system, burn museums and to strangle the great lie that we call culture. We will continue with new projects and forces to do everything that is in our power to overthrow the capitalist structure that alienates us from every aspect of life and living, smash the reification that forces us to dress in outdated identities and rules: we will continue to demand revolution here and now, and not in some vague future that all reactionary leftist fundamentalists and reformists are talking about. We want every day and every action to be a manifestation of love, joy, confusion and revolt.This is the last that we have to say about it, WE WILL NOT GIVE INTERVIEWS TO STUPID REPORTERS who still haven¥t got anything of what we are all about, we will never play together again and we will never try to glorify or celebrate what was. All that we have to say has been said here or in our music/manifestos/lyrics and if that is not enough you are not likely to get it anyway. WE THEREFORE DEMAND THAT EVERY NEWSPAPER BURN ALL THEIR PHOTOS OF REFUSED so that we will no longer be tortured with memories of a time gone by and the mythmaking that single-minded and incompetent journalism offers us. Instead we need to look forward. We got everything to win and nothing but our boredom to lose.