the Suicide Pilots
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the Suicide Pilots

Band Alternative Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Busted for being punk"

Busted for being punk; [National Edition]
Warren Kinsella. National Post. Don Mills, Ont.: May 17, 2007. pg. A.16

The band's logo, admittedly, is a bit crazy. Found on their MySpace page, the Suicide Pilots' unofficial trademark depicts a cartoon plane about to slam into Parliament Hill's Centre Block. By now, the chances are excellent that you have already seen the punk rock band's self-designed graphic. The logo, along with the Suicide Pilots, became front page national news in recent days. Their drummer, you see, is a 27-yearold former Environment Canada temporary employee named Jeff Monaghan, who was frog-marched out of his workplace last week by the RCMP. In handcuffs, no less.

Monaghan's alleged crime, for which he has yet to be charged, is leaking some inconsequential agitprop about the government's plan to abandon the international Kyoto environmental accord. Following questioning by the Mounties, Monaghan excoriated the government in a press conference on the Hill.

"The proposed charges against me pose a profound threat to the public interest," said Monaghan, whom many bemused reporters felt compelled to note was dressed in a shirt and tie, and not bondage pants and a biker's jacket. "They are vengeful, and they are an extension of a government-wide communications strategy pinned on secrecy, intimidation and centralization."

"Secrecy, intimidation and centralization": based upon my own limited experience in Ottawa's corridors of power, that pretty much sounds like an average day at the office. Most members of the parliamentary press gallery fully know it, too.

So, given the fact that he has yet to be charged; given the fact that the handcuffs stunt was, from the perspective of the Public Service Alliance, completely without precedent; given the fact that Ottawa-based leaks, and leakers, are as commonplace as grains of sand on a beach; given all that, what -- precisely -- is whistle- blower Jeff Monaghan's crime? Given that he was, as he said himself, "the lowest ranking temp employee in the department, possibly the entire government," what warranted the handcuffs, the RCMP press release and the dramatic arrest by gun-toting federal police? Beats me. Not a clue, actually.

This is, after all, a government (like the government before it) that trumpets its enthusiasm for whistle-blowing legislation. This is, after all, a government (like every single government that preceded it) that partly achieved power through strategic leaks, and the eager assistance of leakers who leaked them. This is, after all, a government (like every other government extant on the planet) that calls in the cops to investigate politically unhelpful leaks.

But this, too, is a government that then does a whiplash- inducing volteface, and loudly sings the praises of whistle-blowers (Heck, it even gets them to run for seats in Parliament, as did Allan Cutler, unsuccessfully in 2006) when the leaks are politically useful. Confused? Me, too.

When stripped down to its base elements, therefore, Jeff Monaghan's crime is, well, playing drums in a punk rock band with an idiotic logo and some equally moronic tunes (one, titled "Harper Youth," likens the Prime Minister to Hitler). If you read the Toronto Star's smirking account of the whole affair, that's certainly the impression you'd get.

No reference to the actual leak in the Star headline, just that Monaghan is an "anarchist" and "a punk rocker in a band that compares Harper to Hitler." Plenty of detail about the dumb Suicide Pilots logo, plenty of snide commentary about his style of dress, and even a derisive references to the fact that punk rocker Monaghan sounded "shaky and nervous." The leak? Not as interesting, I guess.

The point? The point is that the RCMP, the government and the news media cannot convict Jeff Monaghan of something that all three of them -- the Mounties, the legislators and the journalists -- all benefit from on a regular basis. So they try him for the offence of punk rock, instead. Simple.

As one Ottawa columnist noted, "The Conservative promise of open and accountable government is fulfilled by RCMP goons slapping handcuffs on a young federal temp and hauling him off in front of his co-workers, all over a leaked piece of Tory propaganda [the] spectacle of Jeffrey Monaghan's arrest would have made any police state proud."

True enough. The whole sordid episode -- from my perspective of an ageing punk who, like Monaghan, loves Social Distortion and the Dead Kennedys --positively reeks of hypocrisy.

And the Suicide Pilots' music, as found on their MySpace page? Um, that reeks, too, maaaan.
- National Post


The War on Satire - CD - 2008
Turn Off That Fucking Demo - EP - 2007



The Suicide Pilots are an Ottawa-based punk band with influences that range from 1950s Blues and Rock n’ Roll to early ‘70s Garage Rock, late‘70s NYC and UK Punk, to 1980s American Hardcore. Band members include vocalist Nacl, drummer Bones, bassist Wib, and guitarist Peter Pants. As veterans of the Ottawa punk rock scene, the Suicide Pilots are pillars of the Ottawa underground, frequently playing basement shows or fundraising events for local anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian organisations. They have also played gigs with punk legends like the Subhumans UK and The Queers. Suicide Pilots shows are described as energetic, loud, and provocative – the band is known for its outspoken political messages and involvement with revolutionary politics. The band members are organisers within Ottawa's radical circles. Recently their drummer Bones captured headlines across Canada after his high-profile arrest for allegedly leaking secret government documents. Standing accused of being an “anarcho-bureaucrat” Bones, a part-time temporary worker, replied with a scathing indictment of the Harper Regime's environmental record. The national media, however, focused largely on the imagery of the band and their political messaging, including the lyrics to a local hit single, Harper Youth. The Suicide Pilots logo – a caricature of a plane flying into the parliament buildings - has also attracted controversy and has been the subject of heated debate in the national media, Ottawa, and the blogosphere. In December of 2007, the Suicide Pilots entered the studio with Ottawa-based recording engineer Dean Watson, in order to complete their first full-length album, titled “The War On Satire”. With the album dueout in March, and a Canadian tour in the works for late May, 2008 is shaping up to be the Suicide Pilots’ busiest year yet.