“This opportunity I’ve been given, and everything I’ve been doing, I don’t have any say in it,” Cruz says. “I don’t have a choice. I have to fucking do this. I have things inside of me that swell up when I go through this, but it’s what people put into what they hear and what they then take out of it that’s the magic. I need to do this, but if it’s not making a connection, I have no right to be here. My favorite part about America is the pain of the poor people and what they create out of it – the culture that the poorest people of this country have created. From that came blues, jazz, rock’n’roll, and, to me, coming from nothing and creating something is everything to me.”You can hear how that is – how true that still is – from the beginning to the end ofSongs of Armor and Devotion. It’s a punk record, but it’s also much more than that. It’s a political record that addresses the state we’re in, but at its core is a heart and humanity –and a belief in that humanity – that overrides everything else. It’s pain and sadness and hope and rebellion all wrapped into one powerful statement that also serves as a culmination of the band’s three decades together. And while the record seesStrung Outstill writing at the height of their abilities, at the same time, when Cruz reflects back on these songs, he thinks they represent something monumental for the band, even if he’s not entirely sure what that actually is. “I find that it’s time for a new adventure,” he says. “I feel like I’ve given what I needed to give toStrung Out. I feel like we did what we needed to do and it’s time to move on. I’ve grown. I’m not angry like I used to be – I feel like this was the end of something, and now it’s time for a new life. I look back on the record and I think ‘Done.’ For me personally, it’s a new beginning. We still have a lot left and as long as we listen to each other and we care about what each other has to say, I don’t see an end forStrung Out. I just don’t want to repeat things that I’ve done. I can’t write like that anymore.