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Posted February 4, 2013 by Megan Rondeau

MINDSET are just a couple of “upstanding gentlemen ready to buck the system” one basement show at a time. Recalling the hardcore scene of the early 2000s, the Baltimore five-piece is keeping the dream alive with anthems reminiscent of Bane and Carry On. We recently caught up with guitarist Mike Clarke to discuss his personal animal rights convictions and how MINDSET hope to influence others to lead by example. Check it out, and enter to win the band’s new LP, out now on REACT! Records.

mindset photoFrederik Malthe

1. What prompted you to go vegetarian? Were there any bands, books, etc., that influenced your decision?

Mostly a guilty conscience. At the time, a lot of bands and a lot of my friends were into vegetarianism. It was sort of like my eyes were forced open. I didn’t become vegetarian right away, but once my eyes were open, I really couldn’t turn away from what I consider to be an immoral, unethical, and uncivilized way to live. It’s weird because I would try and justify eating meat, the way I think a lot of people do—hiding behind apathy, jokes, etc.—but the truth is I was scared, scared of missing out on traditions, breaking away from what I had done the first 18 years of my life, etc. The initial step was really scary. I think a lot of people experience that and then somehow totally forget it and lack empathy for people who haven’t made the leap yet.

Bands influenced me more than anything—The First Step, in particular, but also Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Insted, The Nerve Agents. I remember seeing The First Step and thinking, “These dudes are just like me.” They weren’t granola heads, they weren’t having bongo jam sessions, and they definitely didn’t have sandals on. They were a badass hardcore band that went off with the most intensity every set. It was never a message of “You better stop eating meat.” It was way more like, “Here we are. This is what we are all about. Join the parade, man.” I think MINDSET continues that vibe. We certainly strive to be inclusive. I think it’s all too easy for a straight-edge band or a vegetarian band to come off as exclusive, but that’s the opposite of what we’re all about.    

2. What are some of your favorite vegetarian foods?

I’ll just give my top five vegetarian restaurants rather than foods in particular:

1. Shandel’s in Bridgeport, Connecticut

2. Golden Era in San Francisco

3. The Chicago Diner in Chicago

4. Great Sage in Clarksville, Maryland

5. Harvey’s in Canada (Harvey’s is not strictly veg, but they get major nostalgia points for creating a classic, greasy, fast-food vegetarian burger and fries.)

3. Of all the major animal rights issues, are there any that are particularly close to your heart?

This isn’t so much an animal rights issue, but it bugs me when you meet “animal people.” You know, their thing is they are “animal lovers,” and yet despite their “love” of animals, they have no problem wolfing down a chicken sandwich. It just seems backwards to me.

4. If a fan or friend were to approach you with questions about how to get involved with animal rights, what advice would you give him or her?

I’m not really into clubs and organizations or some sort of movement. I’d tell that kid to “be the change.” Set the example through your actions—that sort of stuff is infectious. The dinner table discussions are inevitable. You don’t have to go out and try and convert people. Your friends and family will see what you are doing, and they’ll want to know why. And I think that’s the most effective way to turn people on to vegetarianism. Let them hash it out in their own mind and come to their own conclusions. Nobody likes being preached at. In the end, it’s just casting stones in glass houses.

5. What does MINDSET have coming up that we can be looking forward to?

MINDSET just released our first LP, Leave No Doubt, on REACT! Records. We’ll be heading out to California in March.

For your chance to win a copy of MINDSET’s Leave No Doubt LP, leave a comment below telling us which bands have influenced your opinions on animal rights.*

*Three winners will be chosen at random from submitted animal-friendly comments in which the commenters tell us which bands have influenced their opinions on animal rights. One grand-prize winner will receive a copy of “Leave No Doubt” on vinyl. Two runners-up will receive a “Leave No Doubt” digital download. Entries must be received by February 11, 2013. The winner will be chosen at random and notified on February 12, 2013. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

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  • Profile photo of Faelove

    778 days ago

    Never Shout Never all the way!! Christofer has influenced me in so many different levels from music (getting into the ukulele, harmonica banjo and guitar) to becoming a vegetarian. He’s also helped me encourage some of my friends to become vegetarian as well! He is my biggest idol and inspiration :)

  • Profile photo of asleepatsea

    794 days ago

    Never Shout Never (Christofer Drew) posted a video on myspace years ago about the way animals are treated. This video is the very reason I’m a vegetarian, and he’s always had a large influence on me in that sense.

  • Profile photo of garrettsambo

    797 days ago

    Never Shout Never and Rage Against The Machine have influenced me.

  • Profile photo of saturdaynightfever

    798 days ago

    Carrie Underwood and Common!

  • 798 days ago

    Gorilla Biscuits “Cats And Dogs” for sure.

  • 798 days ago

    paul mccartney

  • Profile photo of AislynnCarver

    800 days ago

    Davey Havok from AFI

  • Profile photo of dancingwitch

    801 days ago

    the band which has motivated me to be and remain a vegetarian for the rest of my life is Wings and I love the way Paul Mc Cartney and Linda Mc Cartney advocate about vegetarianism

  • 801 days ago

    Earth Crisis, The First Step, and Youth of Today are a few bands that stand out in my mind.

  • Profile photo of DanLuberto

    801 days ago

    I have to say that Paul from Silverstein was the first person to show me the bridge between music and vegetarianism, while I didn’t go veg for a few years, I was really into the idea that bands I loved were vegetarian and straight edge, nothing beat the day my mom told me to turn down Minor Threat and told her I was listening to anti-drug music.

  • Profile photo of cassieiswe

    802 days ago

    never shout never, blink 182, smashing pumpkins

  • Profile photo of hakred

    802 days ago

    If any, probably P!NK. :)

  • Profile photo of minoritythreat

    803 days ago

    Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Noose.

  • Profile photo of voicelikemusic

    803 days ago


  • 804 days ago

    Good Clean Fun!

  • 804 days ago

    Bands that pushed me toward a vegi-lifestyle?
    1.Youth of Today – No More / 2.The First Step – The Higher Taste / 3. GB – Cats and Dogs

    …and after 5years of vegetarism Anchors’s Song “Wilma” gave me the final security that veganism is the best choice to make, almost 4 years ago now.

  • 804 days ago

    Canadian hardcore band from 90’s Chokehold and Youth Of Today

  • 804 days ago

    Te bands that influenced me on animal rights are System Of A Down, Rage Against The Machine, Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Gym Class Heroes, Limp Bizkit and GWAR.

  • 804 days ago

    Youth of today, Earth Crisis, The First Step, Insted

  • 804 days ago

    Definitely Gorilla Biscuits or Kingdom! Gorilla Biscuits because they made it fun for me to learn about animal rights and Kingdom because they made it easier to learn how to cook meat free by giving cookbook recommendations in “The Rage That Guides” album.

  • Profile photo of moonlitwings

    804 days ago

    any band who is willing to stand up is a great band to listen to :)

  • Profile photo of moecore

    804 days ago

    Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits and Instead were the biggest influences

  • Profile photo of klint2605

    804 days ago

    I’ve been vegetarian for 3 and a half years now and i’m working on a vegan diet that can sufficiently meet all of my needs. The bands that really influenced me to make these changes and stick with them are Gorilla Biscuits, Earth Crisis, and Noose. As far as GB is concerned, the song Cats & Dogs is what got me started. The song speaks for itself if you listen to it or at least check out the lyrics, but it initially passed on the message that true compassion is for all living things regardless of the views our/any society may have. Earth Crisis and Noose really reinforced this in a more philosophical way and took a much harder stance on the unethical treatment of any animals for any reason. So, once I truthfully believed that eating animals & their byproducts was the lesser option, new realms of immoral actions became readily available with more research. Vivisection, poaching/hunting, and sport (dog fights, etc.) all follow and they’re all actions to be denounced by as many people as possible. In my opinion, all three of these bands take a stance on these issues without compromise but they aren’t preaching. They get their message across very well. Props to Mike for mentioning the Chicago Diner!

  • Profile photo of borddo

    804 days ago

    was jamming to a lot of good clean fun when i got turned on to vegetarianism and eventually to veganism . that was about 7 years ago. and i have not looked back since. the best thing ever!

  • 804 days ago

    Youth of Today’s No More music video made me think about where any meat i eat comes from.

  • Profile photo of xmichaeldeanx

    804 days ago

    My main influence to first become vegan was from Mike Moynihan whom was doing vocals for Shai Hulud at the time. I did a tour with him in Canada & he spoke about veganism to me & showed me this sweet book he had. After becoming vegan, in which I have now been for 2 years, I really connected with a band I had been into for quite sometime but never really was able to connect with their lyrics besides ones about straight edge & just hardcore in general. That being said, my vegan anthem now tends to be “No More” by Youth of Today. I love that band & everything they were about. Which only makes since that I’m super into Mindset. Best hardcore band out right now in my opinion. XVX MD

  • 804 days ago

    Youth Of Today definitely helps shape my views on animal rights but no single song changed my views more than Gorilla Biscuits “Cats And Dogs”.

  • 804 days ago

    Gorilla Biscuits with the song “cats and dogs”
    Youth Of Today
    and the band xKINGDOMx
    these are the three bands that influenced me to go vegan

  • 804 days ago

    The Gorilla Biscuits’ song Cats and Dogs in particular stuck in my head and introduced me to vegetarianism as well as offering a different perspective to our eating habits and relationships with animals. Many other hardcore, youth crew and punk bands that I started listening to around the same time shared a similar ethos. Seeing pro-vegetarian/vegan flyers at merch tables at shows and reading zines also shaped my understanding and changed my eating habits for the better.

  • Profile photo of HugATreeTodaySeriously

    804 days ago

    Never Shout Never has influenced my opinion of animal rights by letting me know that uber-cool people like Christopher Drew can be vegan, too! (And even raw vegan!) In that way, I’ve realized that there is no truth to the vegan stereotype of some weird hippie who eats only bean sprouts and lettuce living in a commune. (Although I suppose I shoud have already known that, since I’m not a weird hippie sprout-eater but I AM a vegan.)

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