Sentiments of riot and rebellion are stitched into the fabric of punk and metal, and there is no institution of authority more despised by Stray than the police. This isn’t anything new, from Body Count’s Cop Killer to Dead Kennedys’ Police Truck all the way through to FEVER 333’s Long Live The Innocent, musicians have used their platform to call out the actions of those employed to protect and serve.
Euthanasia’s third track, III, is Stray’s latest ire-drenched tirade against police brutality, written as a threequel to Badge And A Bullet parts I and II from 2013’s Anonymous and 2015’s Subliminal Criminals respectively.
“After Part I we’d get people say to us, ‘Not all cops,’ and even we used to say, ‘Yeah, this is about the bad ones,’” remembers Tom. “Now on III we’re like, ‘Fuck all of ‘em, abolish police.’ If you’re on the other side of that argument then we’re against you.”
Lyrically, Tom says, it draws both on personal experience and global news stories, citing the lyric ‘Hold up, no knock, 32 shots, apartments holed up’ as a reference to the killing of Breonna Taylor, and ‘The riots only start when the stormtroopers roll up’ as a response to what he witnessed at protests.
“I would see that with my own fucking eyeballs; it was going from protesting to full-on gassing people in minutes,” he says. “The last [protest] I went to, my wife came with me. She was pregnant and tear gas can cause a fucking miscarriage, so we stopped going from there. But we were there and marching and chanting and all this shit, then you get a text alert saying there will be a curfew at 6:30pm and it’s like 6:21pm, so you get the fuck out of there. But when it’s 6:31pm they’re doing rubber bullets, gassing. You’ve got literally nine minutes to leave.
“I see a cop now and it triggers me,” he continues, visibly riled, explaining that he feels at this precise moment how he did when writing III. “We wrote that song because we wanted to. You’ve got four people with a short fuse, short temper, and people that are getting fucking pissed. We don’t write [songs like III] because people expect it or because it’s our brand – it’s because we fucking hate them.”