Music Musings :
Hard Rock & Metal
Chickenfoot Members Talk Occupy Wall Street
November 6, 2011 , 1:06 pm | By Bryan Reesman
Chickenfoot recently released the second video from the album III entitled “Three And A Half Letters,” which they performed this past week on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The song was inspired by letters that frontman Sammy Hagar was receiving from people in need during these troubling economic times. Given the fact that the new ‘Foot album was recorded prior to the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon, and since the song features Hagar shouting “I need a job!” during the chorus, would resonate with many people in that movement, I thought it would be interesting to ask the Chickenfoot members I interviewed for my recent Aquarian cover story what they thought of the OWS movement. Here’s what they had to say.
SAMMY HAGAR What do you think of Occupy Wall Street and the whole Occupy movement that’s been growing globally?
Wall Street? It just blows my mind the idea of taking Wall Street down. I’ve never been a stock guy. When I sold my tequila company, it went public then. I wasn’t public before. I don’t believe in taking other people’s money and doing things with it. Everything I’ve ever done has been my own money and my own thing. I don’t endorse. The closest thing I came to getting involved with a big corporation was when I sold the tequila company to Gruppo Campari, who gave me enough money to change my life. I did it because I was over my head. It wasn’t for sale, but they offered and I went, “Fuck! How can I turn this down?” And the company was driving me crazy. It was too big. It exploded and was taking too much of my brainpower and my beach time. I never put my money in stocks. I’ve had some every now and then, but it’s not my game. I have a theory about what you do with your money. You invest in your family, your friends and yourself, mainly yourself. When I built Cabo Wabo, I took my own money and built it in Mexico. I went down and took my money to buy the bottles to put the tequila in. I didn’t go to the bank or take on partners to invest in it. I did it all with my own stuff, and I’m a believer in that.
So what are your thoughts on the Occupy movement?
I think it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. I never thought I’d see anything like that in my lifetime, but I think a lot of people are angry about it. I’m kind of shocked by it. Chickenfoot wants to get a flatbed truck in and drive down there and sing “I Need A Job”!
Do support them then?
I don’t necessarily support them because I don’t believe in tearing down the system. I really don’t. I think tearing down the system is a real negative. It puts too many people in too bad positions…
We’re already there now.
We need to make change, but we need to do it through the right channels and slow enough to where you don’t just tear it down and leave rubble.
I don’t think that’s what they want to do. They want to change the system that’s there, but a lot of the media’s portraying them as anti-capitalists or hippies. Someone was complaining to me about how it’s a bunch of ranting college students, but I have pointed out that the only people that can afford to protest on a daily basis are broke college students and people who don’t have a job.
If they had jobs, they probably wouldn’t be down there doing it. We need to get ’em jobs. It’s a really difficult, fine line there because as I said, if you destroy that whole thing, our economy’s going to go into such a toilet that everybody’s going to suffer from it, and I’m tired of people suffering. That’s not what I’m into. But it does need to be reformed and needs to be changed. I can’t stand white collar crime. That’s worse to me than some poor guy in the street who’s broke, homeless and hungry and goes and steals something out of a convenience store. To me, that ain’t crime. Crime is when you’re rich like with Enron and those kind of things, those people who still cheat and steal. Those are bad people. That’s like the devil. I can’t stand that, and there’s a lot of that going on. So if we can change that, yes man, go down and protest, scream your guts out and do whatever you need to do. I say we need to get people working in this country, man.
Occupy Wall Street and the whole Occupy movement has spread all over the world now. What do you think of what’s going on?
We’re going to go out and do our part on tour. In every city that we’re in, Sammy’s even thinking of receiving and reading letters in every city and changing them in every city we play. It’s a cool idea if we can pull it off in a good way and not seem like we’re taking advantage of the situation. We just want to make people aware of their local food banks. If we can help out a little bit, why not?
Sammy joked about going on Wall Street and playing “I Need A Job”. Do you support all the protests that are going on?
Yeah. They’re trying to target people like me, the government, as far as taxing us up. I don’t know, I feel pretty strongly about helping people out. What can you say? I don’t know who’s going to be the one to have that key to unlock the thing to really make a change.
What do you think of Occupy Wall Street and the whole Occupy movement?
I think it’s fantastic. I’ve been reading books about the financial crisis, and I’m really mad. But I don’t do good walking around carrying placards and singing slogans. I’m just not like my friend Tom Morello. He’s perfect for that. He’s a genius and such a smart and good guy, besides being an amazing guitar player. But he’s at home in that. I participate from afar. This is America. People have the ability to let the powers that be know what’s really going on and what they’re thinking, and I don’t think they really need a solution. That’s not their point to say “this is what we want and this is how you’re going to do it for us”. That’s ridiculous to think that that’s the case. I think people have the need and the right to express themselves over the horror over of what transpired in the last 30 years between [all of] the administrations and, I hate to use the term Wall Street, because we’re really talking about a teeny 2% of people who really went nuts. The rest of the people are good Americans who are working just like the rest of us.