In what will likely shock every North American music fan, Ukraine's Antytila trades guitars for military fatigues

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      For as long as there’s been punk rock, and the hippies and pioneering folkies before that, war has been a go-to source of inspiration for songwriters.

      Go back to the 1940s, and Woody Guthrie was drawing up the modern blueprint for protest songs with works like “Tear the Fascists Down”, as well as making the idea of going to battle seem either inspirationally patriotic or subversively idiotic with “When the Yanks Go Marching In.”

      The ’60s gave us Creedence Clearwater Revival’s blistering “Fortunate Son” ("And when the band plays 'Hail to the Chief'/They point the cannon at you”), and Pete Seeger’s enduring “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” (inspired, fittingly, considering what's going on in the world today, by the Ukrainian folk song “Koloda-Duda”).

      Flash forward—or back, depending on the direction you’re coming from—to the ’80s, and Stiff Little Fingers was raging against taking up arms with “Wasted Life” (“Stuff their fucking armies/Killing isn’t my idea of fun”), while the Clash chimed in with everything from the blistering “Hate and War” to the almost pensive “Call Up” (“Maybe I want to see the wheat fields/Over Kiev and down to the sea”).

      And let’s not forget U2’s War. Even though, like almost everything ever recorded by U2, we'd like to. 

      What do all these musicians have in common? Easy—it’s entirely debatable as to whether any of them have ever held a weapon, seen a battlefield, or had to listen to Gunnery Sergeant Hartman scream “What’s your major malfunction” in basic training.

      That lack of first-hand battle experience makes perfect sense, considering that—with rare exceptions like Jason Everman—musicians tend to be on the “war sucks” side of the argument, rather than in the “lock and load” camp.

      Still, as Stiff Little Fingers noted with the “Wasted Life” line “I can see the connection/With another time and a different place”, sometimes things get complicated.

      Which brings us today to Antytila, a Ukrainian pop-rock band whose six albums have led to stadium-headlining-status in its homeland.

      The group is now making headlines not for its music, which draws on everything from pop-punk to alt-rock to electro-alternative. Instead, what’s almost surreal given the band's star statues is that, like many formerly peace-loving residents of Ukraine, the members of Antytila today live in military fatigues. And they pass their days on the frontlines helping provide first aid to wounded soldiers, loading weapons, and generally stepping up like their fellow Ukrainians who’ve fought against Russia, on the streets and in the forests, ever since Vladmir Putin decided to invade just over a month ago.

      Antytila frontman Taras Topolia has posted a video this week designed to give fans—and fellow musicians—a look at how he now spends his time.

      Standing in front of a ruined home at one point, he says, “Destroyed by the Russian fires, houses and thousands have been killed by the Russians, troops, Ukrainian people. You should know this, that we have no choice but to defend our country, and we will do this until we get the victory of course.”

      Think about the balls that takes. And then ask yourself how likely North Americans would be to see Miley Cyrus, Flea, Garth Brooks, or Ted Nugent holstering a weapon to protect America from a foreign invasion. Actually, totally scratch that on two fronts, because Cyrus would likely be right there in a thong astride a wrecking ball, and Nugent would be armed with not only an AK-47, but a bow and arrow modified with frog poison. Which he got from killing the frog with a beer bottle. But you get the idea.

      Watch here. And then marvel at the fact that some musicians have bigger cojones than others, especially when a war is justified—at least on the home front.