Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Ian Gillan & the Oils

Clarissa Wyler naive_fire at yahoo.com.br
Sun Jan 25 06:41:23 MST 2004

Hi :)
I was wandering in the internet and found this. don´t know if anyone will find it interesting, it´s a comment made by Ian Gillan (deep purple´s vocalist) on the Oils. It´s part of a Q&A on his site.


From:    markandb at netconnect.com.au (Mark Hodgetts)

G'day Ian

Congratulations on your last DF column.  It really made me think about GM food.  Its something that the average Joe just let's fly right by.  You obviously have some fairly strong views about a number of things which leads me to thinking about the lyrics that you put in to your songs.  Some of these are quite thought provoking but you don't seem keen on falling in to what I would see as a trap of becoming an issues band like say Midnight Oil.

How do you see  a band such as the Oils (presuming that you've heard of them) and the stands that they've taken over the years.  Does an artist, be he musician, author, actor, painter whatever have an obligation to stand up on issues that concern them or do they risk the possibility of being seen as grandstanding posers? Heath Ledger, for example got pilloried in the local press for his stand on the Iraq war, the Dixie Chicks have really copped it for their stand on the same issue.  The Oils made a not too subtle statement at the Olympics that probably embarrassed my Government (then again probably not).  This was largely ignored by the press and seen as what else would you expect from that bunch of Pinko Commie sympathisers.  

Anyway keep up the good work and best of luck with the new album.  Please come back to Oz.  I want my kids to see the best band that ever was.

Mark Hodgetts

G'day Mark,

Thanks for your letter and your thought-provoking observations and the question. Good question.

As you can see it's been a while since you wrote in to the Q & A and meanwhile the GM issue has improved greatly in the U.K. Due to massive public resistance there is effectively a moratorium on the issue; although the government spins it otherwise. Monsanto has actually withdrawn. This is a great relief, however you can't trust these Frankenstein food buggers; they are masters of attrition. Nevertheless I'm sure they will be watched very, very closely from now on. Who knows? Maybe the ripples of rejection will spread and force a massive reversal of policy on a global scale. Dream on.

Of course I've heard of Midnight Oil and their political activities and you have to respect anyone who stands by their beliefs. There are many celebrities who lend their names to worthy causes. The problem lies with the snide interpretation of their intelligence, commitment and very often their motivation, by the filthy press. Be a good boy/girl (MBE?) and lend your name but not your voice. What could you possibly know? You're a pop singer, or whatever. A noisy irrelevance. Just smile for the cameras and behave yourself. Leave the serious work to us journalists, pundits and captains of industry. We'll tell the politicians what to do, not you. Step out of line and you're history, step over the line and you never existed; we have the power! (Hee hee, no they don't).

I think you are right, our governments wouldn't know embarassment if it filled their pants, although I get the feeling that a good proportion of our backbench incumbents share the national shame we bear for the U.K. (sic) prime minister's appalling behaviour. It's a dichotomy. I want to wring his bloody neck for the lies and the recklessness at the same time as biting my tongue because there's an extrication issue now involving many many lives. 

On the bright side I could have had my head chopped off if I'd said that a few hundred years ago; so things are looking up (as King Harold said at the Battle of Hastings...I know, I know).

I wrote in the Dear Friends No. 28 (February 2003) '...I think the proposed offensive action against Iraq is stupid and amoral'...and, '...How then, in the name of such civilisation and sanity itself, can our British government reconcile these pacific, domestic tenets with a declaration of war upon a sovereign state smack-bang in the middle of a geo-political volcano?'

These issues affect all of us in my country and we have to speak up (or write down) to give substance to the debate, rather than swallow the often tangled party lines. However I do pay my grossly excessive taxes in the country where I live. Perversely, and now a year in advance, I am forced to watch large portions of them being thrown down the toilet as well. So it only seems fair that I can freely amuse myself at the expense of the castle full of rascals. Being resident in such a glass house as the U.K. I travel with great respect to my hosts, when abroad.

One important thing to remember, these days there is no dominant personality in DP, and we tend to have quite disparate views on a range of issues, so you'll get a touch of euphemism when we deal with sensitive topics. I like that because the GGggrrrrrr!!! is normally one or two layers below the humour.

I'm hearing about Australia and New Zealand concerts being booked for April, we shall publish the dates as soon as they are confirmed. Watch this space. 

Cheers, ig 
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