Expensive, bloody wars for oil are not popular or easy fodder for TV, film and music. I could be doing myself a disservice by talking about the war so openly in my first single "Soldiers of Misfortune," but I absolutely believe in my heart of hearts that that's what I have to do.
I go as far as having an American flag engulfed in a pool of oil in the video to make my point. It was important to me that we use strong imagery like that to support my views about this war and what I think it's really about. This war was not based on our freedom. It was not based on democracy. We might have been sold the idea of weapons of mass destruction, but in my opinion, it was all about the oil.
I'm a father now and am beginning to truly, fully understand how precious life is. I'm concerned about what we're doing to this planet and about the world we are leaving for our kids. It's not a new message but it's a message that is certainly being avoided by most of my peers. Thank god for my idols Bono, Al Jorgensen and John Lennon, who have taught me to speak my mind. I just wish the audience really wanted to hear it.
Although it may not seem like it to some, I am extremely supportive of and grateful to the actual soldiers who are overseas doing unbelievably difficult work on our behalf. Many of them believe in what they were told the mission was. Many of them want to help the Iraqis. Many are there because they believe in the freedom our country was founded on and want to help uphold it. Regardless of their reasons, they did not start this war, the "deciders" did. But now that we're in it, what are we going to do? We broke their country, therefore we have to stay and be part of the solution; otherwise it would be a humanitarian disaster.
Our former bass player, Sgt. Frank Cavanaugh, is one such soldier. He recently enlisted in the reserves and is serving over there right now. I am very proud of him. Another soldier, Justin Eyerly, who created one of the band's first FILTER fan sites, was also in Iraq. He joined the reserves in the late 90s because he needed college money. He got pulled out of school in his senior year and was called up to active duty. A couple of weeks after he was "boots on the ground," he was killed in action. His dog tags and inverted rifle display are on the cover of our current record, "Anthems for the Damned," as a tribute to him.
Whether you are in favor of the war or are against it, I think we can all agree it has become a complicated situation and that our soldiers could use our support. Personally, I'm trying to do what I can by playing for the troops like I did this spring in Kuwait with the OPERATION MYSPACE concert, visiting those who've been injured in the war at the Walter Reed Medical Center, and writing pro-soldier/anti-war songs like "Soldiers of Misfortune" and "What's Next."
On a more global scale, I'm trying to lessen my dependency on oil by driving a Hybrid and I'm looking forward to voting in the upcoming Presidential election. Every voice and every action means something. Whether you're in favor of Barack Obama or John McCain, we can all make a statement about the war and the direction of our lives here on Earth.