Today's featured activist-musician is Thollem McDonas. From SouthbendTribune:
"Activism and music have been a part of Thollem McDonas’ life for as long as he can remember. He gave his first music lesson at 13, and his activism started a few years later. “My activism started in high school,” the pianist, who performs Tuesday at Merrimans’
McDonas worked with the ecological club and started an animal rights group while in college. He became an anti-war activist in the run-up to and aftermath of the Persian Gulf War of the early 1990s. “It was natural for me that once (the war) got started to get into the streets,” McDonas says. “At the very least, I felt that I could not participate in society the way that it was."
Read more on SouthbendTribune.com here. (photo credit: Angela C. Villa/SouthbendTribune.com)
MAR 26, 2013 -Today's featured activist musicians that JTMP are spotlighting are Las Cafeteras, who "met in 2005 as students at free Son Jarocho classes at the Eastside Cafe in Los Angeles. The group says they use the folk music from Southern Veracruz, Mexico, as a tool to build autonomy, community and solidarity."
Read more on ColorLines.com here. Watch video of a performance by Las Cafeteras below of the traditional song, "La Bamaba" spiced up to reflect their activism. (photo credit: LasCafeteras.com)
MAR 22, 2013 - Yoko Ono, in an effort to get behind sensible gun legislation, has tweeted pictures of John's glasses he was wearing the night he was shot by a handgun, along with statistics of gun deaths and violence. The pictures are very moving, and show blood stains on the glasses. Check out the pictures at Yoko Ono's Twitter page. JTMP recommends everyone contact their Congress Member and Senator and tell them you support sensible gun legislation, such as universal background checks, a ban on military-type assault rifles, and a ban on high-capacity magazines.
MAR 20, 2013 - Several Michelle Shocked shows have been canceled after the singer, who has been known to "speak her mind" in the past, went on an anti-gay tirade the other night. Fans are outraged, and the blogosphere has not been kind to her. She was actually somewhat of a "gay icon" at one time, but not anymore after this stunt. Even after she tried to distance herself from her remarks, it looks like she may have burned a bridge. Check out the juicy details at Queerty.com here, and start up a discussion and tell us how you feel about this on our Justice Through Music Facebook Page here. Abby Huntsman from HuffPo Live has a video on the story below. (photo credit: CC/RKeaton)
MAR 20, 2013 - Pearl Jam and MoveOn.org have launched a campaign on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, to read and share a letter from an Iraqi vet who had to fight this immoral war. Pearl Jam's spokesperson Nicole Brandenburg said,"Our brave and incredible friend Tomas Young is dying. He asked us to pass along Chris's story along with his letter in the hope that -- as uncomfortable as it is -- people will take a moment to look death in the eye and remember him and the many others like him as more than a war statistic." The brave Iraqi War veteran is Tomas Young, and he penned a letter to former Vice-President Dick Cheney and former President George W. Bush criticizing the decision to go to war with Iraq, as he lies dying from a bed in hospice care. He writes:
"I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole."
To help out soldiers like him, contact and pressure your representatives to direct more funding to veteran care, and one can also help out by donating to the Wounded Warrior Project which helps out disabled veterans. For more information and to read the letter in full, check out TruthDig.com. Also, check out a great article about Tomas Young by Chris Hedges on TruthDig.com here, , and finally, check out the full MoveOn.org Iraq War campaign here. Pearl Jam's website also shares Tomas' letter, and also points out the 2007 documentary titled, "Body of War" which followed around Tomas Young and can be viewed on Netflix and purchased; read more on Pearl Jam's website here.
Share this letter with your friends, and join the conversation on Justice Through Music's Facebook Page here: http://www.Facebook.com/justicethroughmusic
MAR 18, 2013 - A group of activist musicians took part in a "Raise Your Fists: Music Meets Activism" panel discussion at a recent SXSW event, including Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event and Mike Mills of REM and shared their thoughts on how being a musician and an activist can change the world. Mikel Jollett said, "You don't have to be a huge band, you just have to be upset and want to do something." (photo: Mikel & Anna TATE - Credit: CC/Sake209)
MAR 14, 2013 - In more sad news to report, JTMP has learned that Clive Burr, the drummer for Iron Maiden on the first 3 landmark albums, and who has been battling Multiple Sclerosis for years, has died. His family and band mates are saddened and stunned by the event, for they deeply cared about the drummer, and were even helping him financially through benefit shows and a foundation to help with his rent and medical bills. MS is a terrible disease, and qualifies one for medical marijuana in many jurisdictions. JTMP calls for more funding for research into eliminating MS, and helping out people who are struck down, through no fault of their own, by this disease. Read more on this sad event on the Iron Maiden website. (photo credit IronMaiden.com)
MAR 13, 2013 - Our buddies over at Global Zero have teamed up with Michael Douglas and made a powerful video calling for Obama to get the whole world involved, and help rid the world of nuclear weapons once and for all. They issued a press release saying:
"Michael Douglas, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Tom Morello, Serj Tankian Join Other Artists in Support of Global Zero Campaign Calling on President Obama to Set World’s Course to Zero Nukes
Queen Noor, Valerie Plame Wilson Kick-Off Grassroots Campaign with Support from United Nations and 75 Leaders Urging Obama to Start First Multilateral Talks to Reduce Nuclear Arms
Washington, DC - Celebrities, musicians and major campaign organizations are turning out in support of Global Zero’s new international campaign calling on President Obama to set the world’s course to zero nuclear weapons by negotiating further cuts in massive U.S.–Russian Cold War nuclear arsenals and bringing other nuclear powers into the first international negotiations to reduce nuclear arms globally.
As part of the launch, Global Zero released a two-minute inspirational video narrated by Michael Douglas, which in its first week was seen by tens of thousands of people, aired in broadcast interviews with Her Majesty Queen Noor and former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson on MSNBC, CNN, Yahoo News and Huffington Post, and was promoted by the United Nations, MoveOn.org and Greenpeace as well as celebrities, bands and artists such as Richard Branson, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Serj Tankian and Tom Morello, among many others."
Watch the video below, and read more on the Global Zero website here.
MAR 12, 2013 - Ted Nugent, in an interview on XM 166 speaking to Brett Winterble, bragged that he killed 455 wild hogs "for the environment" last week in Texas, claiming the hogs "destroy all the nesting birds, they destroy all the turkey eggs and all the quail eggs."
Read more on RumorFix.com here.
MAR 11, 2013 - An organization that JTMP is part of, "Artists Against Fracking", have released a music video for their song, "Don't Frack My Mother". A funny song featuring many different artists, such as Josh Fox, Sean and Yoko Ono, and a whole bunch of other artists all chipping in for this hilarious protest song that is great for firing up the much-needed opposition to Fracking. Watch the video below, and for more info you can check out artistsagainstfracking.org