Rock Sound catches up with Ignite frontman Zoli Teglas to discuss misperception, nationalism, and saving the pelicans...
As Rock Sound hits the shelves, Orange County hardcore punks Ignite are heading home after completing their European tour, including appearances at Give It A Name, and for frontman Zoli Teglas it comes as something of a relief. For the singer, time on the road means that there's nobody to take care of his other passion, saving pelicans.
"I feel really useless on tour," he informs Rock Sound immediately after a trip out to sea to rescue a group of injured birds. "When I'm gone nobody's out there saving those birds. There were three birds I had to leave out there because I didn't have the right cages today. I've got to go back tomorrow and the day after. Two of them, their bellies are cut-up and the other one's got a broken wing. When I'm on tour none of that stuff gets done."
The hardcore vocalist has been passionate about wildlife ever since he was a kid.
"Me and my brother were thrown in jail when we were young," he explains, "and we started working off the jail time by picking up trash from the side of the road. We opened this book and saw a picture of a pelican at a wildlife centre so we said, 'Can we work it off here?'"
His brother is now a successful veterinarian at the same wildlife park in California, while Ignite last year released their Rock Sound-approved fourth full album 'Our Darkest Days'.
The band are fiercely political and this has caused controversy both in America for their passionate anti-war stance and in Zoli's ancestral home of Hungary where, paradoxically, Ignite have attracted a right-wing skinhead following.
"The problem is that being nationalistic in America is different than being nationalistic in Europe," he says. "I'm against the current administration in Hungary right now. I don't like the fact that they sell everything off; they have no regard for the environment, everything's for sale, life is cheap over there. So I take a stance that people might call nationalistic but I'm just patriotic."
He continues: "I'm proud to be Hungarian. We're not the best race of people but they're my people and I'm very proud of them. I believe you can believe what you want. My family served in the military for that belief. If you want to be communist, even though I can't stand them, you can be communist. If you want to be fascist you can be fascist, as long as you don't hurt anybody else. Some people take my views too far. I'm not a right-wing person. I live in Los Angeles, for God's sake - it's a metropolitan place. I was very against the war in Yugoslavia and especially what happened in Sarajevo. That's nationalism at its worst. I have a staunch anti-communist stance and people like to point the finger at me and call me right-wing, which is not true."
Know It All
Line Up: Zoli Teglas (vocals), Brian Balchack (guitar), Nik Hill (guitar), Brett Rasmussen (bass), Craig Anderson (drums)
From: Orange County, CA
Sounds Like: Passionate and engaging hardcore as it should be. Stream the album at their Myspace. Then buy!
Current Release: 'Our Darkest Days' (album, Abacus / Century Media. Out now)
Download This: 'Bleeding'