Vibes, Love, Revolution
Fear Nuttin Band
Fear Nuttin Band blend Jamaican yardie culture with American hardcore punk in the hybrid genre of “yardcore”. The Massachusetts-based group also throw in plenty of pugilistic politics and sharp satire. Front man Prowla and guitarist Christafari Regan spoke to Green Left's Mat Ward.
Tell us the significance of releasing your latest album, Vibes, Love, Revolution, on US election day last year and tell us what you think of Barack Obama's second term so far.
The significance of our release date was that we knew it would be a day that people would remember. We thought it was fitting that on an election day we released something of a statement on politricks and the issues of the world. We talk about some of the things that politicians won’t say and when looking at the timing of our record release it was an obvious choice. Obama's second term…We hope for the best. There are some obvious positive outcomes from both of his elections as far as the image of the black man. Unfortunately, there are many who will never be strayed from racism and many who don't recognise their own racism. Hopefully, Obama will re-think some of his policies such as drone programs, NDAA, and his inability to have a fight with the powerful rather than compromise four fifths of the way to their agendas.
Three of your band’s members are from the US and the other three are from Jamaica. On the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's independence last year, Obama said: "Jamaica is an indispensable partner... and is a leading political voice in the region." Tell us about the political situation in Jamaica and your opinion of it.
The political situation in Jamaica used to be conflict between parties constantly (JLP vs PNP) with nothing much being done about the crime rate and other important projects that had to do with the improvement for the general life of the citizens. But today it is a little different, with the parties now moving forward, generating some progress, while some officials still remain corrupted, thus thwarting positive plans for the future of this small yet significant paradise.
In your new song "Fear Nuttin" you say, "a hungry mob is a angry mob / people occupy the street because them know them get rob". What did you think of the way the Occupy movement was neutralised?
The Occupy movement was a beginning of a dialogue that the people were having, but privately. We all know how our world is shaped by the powerful corporations that play by their own rules. Wall Street and other influential players run our politics. They provide all of the funding and people are becoming hip to that. They understand this and that’s why polls show the favourability of our government - specifically congress - is around that of a cockroach. Unfortunately, the Occupy movement was effectively silenced on a national level - although they have been a major source of aid to the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. I think this happened because people still get a lot of their information from TV and other corporate media outfits such as Fox News and CNN. These outlets will never tell you something that upsets the apple cart. Instead of discussing what the protesters were trying to accomplish, they spread disinformation to make them look like lazy anarchists, the takers crying and being ungrateful to the makers. The other problem is that we have a short attention span in the US. After a while, we become focused on the next thing in the so-called "news". It is very hard to bring change even when everyone claims they want it. The Occupy movement was gaining ground with the oppressed and disenfranchised, so they had to be discredited and marginalised by the people whom deemed it necessary, whoever that was. If people protest peacefully about equality in any way they should be allowed to do so.
In "Fear Nuttin" you also say, "dem all a track we thru we smart phone GPS / so dem set up the phone store with the deal fi less". Can you expand on that?
The lyric about the smartphone GPS is a commentary on how, through technology and the new laws they sneak in, we willingly submit to being tracked. It sounds a little paranoid, but the technology is there, the laws are there. Make the technology cheap and soon enough we will all have bought into the program. The ones who keep a tireless vigil on the minority have got tricks up their sleeve. They make all phones with GPS tracking now. That’s one way of keeping track of your whereabouts - so in the regions where there are more minorities they sell the cheap, affordable phones so everybody can acquire a chip.
The video for "Fear Nuttin" features plenty of mushroom clouds. Intellectual and activist Noam Chomsky says it's remarkable the human race has not yet been destroyed by nuclear war. Is it an issue that you think has fallen off the agenda?
The issue of nuclear war will always be on the agenda as long as there is hatred for each other. Until we all find a common ground on which we all stand and see eye to eye as one people of mother Earth, and not as different people from different parts of the same place, that threat of self destruction will always be looming over our heads like a dark cloud. It seems like we always hear the politicians and corporate media talking about nuclear weapons, but only when it comes to someone they don’t like getting them. They don’t talk about how many we have, or other countries who they claim as allies. It's scary to think how many are out there. It is a miracle that something hasn't happened yet. But, like we see with the proliferation of firearms, the more you have out there, the higher the likelihood of something bad happening.
In “Think for yourself” you say: "When I wake up I look pon my TV, I see the propaganda trying to persuade you and me." Tell us about that.
The TV is selling you a bill of goods that is not beneficial to you. Eat this crap, drink this crap, vote for this crap, ignore this problem and focus on this fake problem. The result is a society that doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know what is going on. It’s all around us, the media streaming sense alongside nonsense. TV plays a major part of everyday life, so people are easily manipulated into believing everything on the news and talk shows, so it is used to program its viewers into behaving a certain way.
In “Senseless” you address “quarrelling and senseless killing” and cite conflicts over oil. Recently, Reuters reported: "The sudden boom in US oil and natural gas production could eventually lead to a shift in relations with the Middle East as the United States becomes a net exporter of energy." What are your views on the US oil boom supposedly negating the need to wage war on the Middle East?
No matter where the resources are, oil or otherwise, the war over who owns what will go on, because even though it’s from one Earth, everybody wants to claim rights to it because of money and greed.
Also, in regards to “Senseless", Americans often cite the right to bear arms as being synonymous with democracy. Author William Blum says: "Do you really think the people could hold their own in an armed battle with the police and the military? Mass suicide." What are your thoughts?
In America, we have the Second Amendment, but it seems that people on either side of the debate make no sense. It’s all or nothing with a lot of people. Because the Amendment is written so oddly, it can be interpreted many different ways. Did they mean that you had to be part of the well-regulated militia to have arms? It does not mention the word “guns” - it uses the word “arms”. Is there a limit to what kind of arms one can have? If you choose grenades or nuclear devices as your arms of choice is that your right? If they regulate that and say no, are they infringing on your rights? Where is the line, or is there a line? There are so many unanswered questions as to what this Amendment really means. But in the meantime, you have to wonder as they strip away all of our other rights of due process, privacy, right to trials, warrantless wiretaps and illegal search and seizures, what rights are you protecting with your gun anyway? Your right to a gun? The government is taking away people’s rights every day without firing a shot. Some say it is to have the ability to overthrow a government that becomes tyrannical. At this point, I’m not sure if that is possible with the weaponry, firepower and technology they possess. Good luck with your AR-15. Your local police force has way better weapons, training and technology. Lastly, having a right to do something doesn’t make it right. You have the right to be a racist, you have the right to like Hitler - it doesn’t mean you have to follow that path. I am not comparing people who want to own guns to racists or anything. I know enough people who are responsible gun owners that understand what I'm talking about. I am simply stating that with rights come responsibility. There are many who want to glorify guns. Just because one has a right to arms doesn't mean we need to glorify it and flaunt it. I feel that is irresponsible and actually works against their own cause. I believe prohibitions ultimately do not work and often lead to more problems, but it is sad to see many people trying to make political statements here in America by walking around with their weapons openly thinking they are proving their point when all they are really doing is scaring people. How does anybody know if the stranger with the big gun is a good guy or a delusional freak? Be sensible. There are many politricksters and pundits on both sides of the argument who push emotion over logic and are just using the issue to raise money or ratings - and you can't fall for their script. Unfortunately the actors and actresses in Washington and the media are just putting on a show while they quietly undermine the rest of the constitution and sell everyone out.
In “Herbalize The Nation” you say:
How many accidents and deaths occur from marijuana?
None that's in comparison to alcoholics driving Hondas
Speeding on the freeway killing babies, fathers, and mamas
Then got the audacity to start bashin’ on marijuana
Political propaganda, never been the answer
What is the purpose of keeping marijuana illegal, in your opinion?
It calms the nerves and is used medically in many ways and was never attached to mind-altering drugs like alcohol or cocaine or meth and so on. They keep it illegal to keep people from being peaceful. They like to see us at each other’s throats so they can give us a rap sheet, which prevents us from elevating in “society”. The other reason is money. There are profits to be made. Prisons are becoming privatised and run like hotels. They have to keep the beds filled, so they keep laws and prohibitions to ensure their quotas will be made. Drug cartels - and now, we are learning, banks such as HSBC - are making a lot of money off the illegal trafficking and paying no taxes. If you don’t think these powerful entities have close political affiliations to protect their business, you are naive. Alcohol companies are known for contributing money to the prohibition side because it is a competitor to their profits. The pharmaceutical companies do not want to allow it into the marketplace because it is a competitor to their profits as well, if you can grow your own treatment rather than be a slave to their corporation, shelling out thousands of dollars just to deal with pain and nausea that marijuana can alleviate. Industry has an enormous impact on the politricks. Why does oil run the energy game? Because they spend more money buying politicians to keep the status quo policy. It’s the same with marijuana. It is great to see some progress being made in our home state of Massachusetts. We decriminalised under an ounce four years ago and in this last election we voted to allow medical marijuana in the state through ballot initiatives.
On January 11, Bloomberg reported: “Four years ago, US President Barack Obama said his energy and environmental advisers would work to develop a ‘new hybrid economy’ based on wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. He could end up assembling a second-term team for a different task: how to manage the boom in US production of oil.” Yet in your new song “Betta Days” you say:
You no see the sign dem?
MOTHER EARTH get beat up too much and now a big change a climate!
Now it a get a purging!
Now the fullness a tings it a come into view a new era emerging!
What gives you such hope?
JAH first. GOD gives hope to us. It is written that after all the destruction that is in progress and which is to come, there will be peace on Earth and mankind will have no choice but to live in harmony to upkeep the new world. There will be new ways to produce energy instead of the current way that’s draining the earth of its natural make up. After drinking the milk from the mother, every infant is weaned and is forced to find an alternative, right?
Hear the album and check out the lyrics on the band's YouTube channel.