Tag Archives: music

Cranberries etc peddle tobacco to Indonesian kids

Delores O'Riordan of the Cranberries giving a peace sign - or is she asking her fans for a smoke?

It’s that time of year again. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was ranting and raving against the likes of Wolfmother and Chris Carrabba for accepting tobacco sponsorship to play in Indonesia. Well, another crop of muso sell-outs led by the Cranberries (that’s what’s-her-face pictured left) are lining up like dirty little piggies at the tobacco-money trough to play at the Java Rockin’ Land music festival from July 22 to 24.

In other words, they’re telling Indonesian kids it’s cool and sophisticated and very, very sexy to smoke. Nice one, creeps.

Here’s a message from a kind reader, Marita Hefler, drawing my attention to the event and a petition against the show’s tobacco sponsorship. Marita writes:

Hi there, great writing – love your posts about the tobacco industry in Indonesia. Java Rockin’ Land is happening again 22-24 July, with Gudang Garam the main sponsor. There is a petition urging all the bands involved to demand the sponsorship be dumped, see: http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-international-bands-to-drop-tobacco-sponsorship-in-indonesia. So far, no artist has responded. Yet again, double standards prevail in the lineup: the Good Charlotte frontman is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and he and his brother have their own children’s foundation; 30 Seconds to Mars are active in environmental causes, and lead singer Jared Leto support Elysium, a charity to support critically ill children; Neon Trees have said they don’t want to be part of tobacco sponsorship and have played at an anti-smoking gig; Ed Kowalczyk is a World Vision rep. Blood Red Shoes have supported a cancer charity, and The Cranberries are well-known for speaking out about political issues. Apparently international bands just dump their principles in a bin before they board a plane to Jakarta. Disgraceful.

To these musicians I say: Do the right thing. Follow the example of Alicia Keys or Kelly Clarkson, and demand the tobacco companies cancel their sponsorship of the event. Failing this, cancel your shows. That’s the only way you can salvage your credibility in the eyes of people who care about kids in countries like Indonesia, where they are the explicit targets of an aggressive and foul Big Tobacco marketing campaign the likes of which the West has not seen in decades (because it was made illegal). By playing at this event you are being used by tobacco companies to create young nicotine addicts in a way that would be unacceptable and illegal in your home countries.

Acceptance of the tobacco money means you are either desperate for cash, or so greedy that you don’t give a damn about your young fans. Or both. Oink oink!

(Photo courtesy of Joe Crimmings Photography)


Tobacco ad of the day: the kids are not alright

This one goes out to all the bands that are playing at the Java Rockin’Land festival from Friday to Sunday in Jakarta, Indonesia. They’re all a bunch of monkeys doing tricks for the man from the tobacco company for scraps of pretty green. Totally uncool.

This American tobacco ad from the 1950s is targeting teenagers. These days it would be illegal, because of what we now know about the connection between tobacco marketing, addiction, disease and death.

But Indonesia might as well be back in the 1950s. In fact, it is subject to a bigger and bolder tobacco company campaign to create teenage cigarette addicts, and the bands playing this weekend are complicit up to their greedy necks.

A special mention must go to Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional, who a little more than two months ago played a benefit show before an audience of cancer survivors to raise money for cancer care. I guess Big Tobacco just made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Special mention should also go to the promoters, who argue that they are not forcing teenagers to light up. Smoking is a choice, they say. Yes it is, an extremely bad choice which responsible adults should not be promoting as cool or glamorous or masculine or rebellious or anything else but stupid and dangerous.

The bands who are playing this gig are puppets, nothing more. If they ever claimed to have any artistic integrity they are sell-outs of the lowest kind.

And the officials who allow Big Tobacco to run riot in Indonesia are even worse.

This is what Surin Pitsuwan, the secretary-general of the Jakarta-based Association of Southeast Asian Nations  (ASEAN), said this week at a conference on smoking in Asia:

I think the people must be informed that their health is being compromised by some of these public officials who are puppets of a campaign of persuasion. And the irony is these people know better, they don’t smoke, the entire family doesn’t smoke. They become the tools and the partners of strategies almost willingly and that is something that has to be corrected, but it is an uphill struggle.

Tools, puppets, monkeys … whichever way you cut it this song remains the same.

Here is a list of the Big Tobacco stooges who are scheduled to play at the pro-smoking Java Rockin’Land: ARKARNA, DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL, DATAROCK, DI-RECT, GALAXY 7, LIVING THINGS, MUTEMATH, NOT CALLED JINX, SOCIAL CODE, STEREOPHONICS, STEVE FISTER, Stryper, THE SMASHING PUMPKINS, THE VINES, WOLFMOTHER (plus a host of local acts).

(For more old tobacco ads check out the Stanford School of Medicine)

No cred for Chris Carrabba

Here’s a little clip of Dashboard Confessional’s frontman, Chris Carrabba, playing a charity show in July to raise money for cancer patients around the world. His performance wouldn’t merit any attention at all, if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s playing at a pro-smoking (tobacco sponsored) gig in Indonesia this weekend.

Check out the reference in his preamble to “experiences of cancer in my family”, and his praise for the “indomitable spirit” of the cancer survivors he is playing for.

Ready to puke yet?

Fans corner Dashboard Confessional on Facebook

Anti-cancer campaigners one day, tobacco marketers the next: US band Dashboard Confessional is sending pretty confusing messages to its fans about what it is they stand for. And some of those fans are starting to demand answers.

The band’s Facebook page features a plug for the upcoming gig in Jakarta which is being sponsored by a major tobacco company. Tobacco sponsorship is bad enough anywhere it occurs, but in a country like Indonesia it’s absolutely repugnant.

Most of the responses to Dashboard’s Facebook Wall post are typically mindless, but a few of DC’s fans obviously have a conscience and are voicing their concerns:

Confused fans might also like to send Chris Carrabba a Tweet at @ChrisCarrabba. His third last post highlighted his participation in a cancer benefit show in July:

This Saturday hike with me to the top of Pikes Peak & support cancer care! We’ll play some songs at the top! More here: http://bit.ly/bsuh5w

He links to the Love, Hope, Strength Foundation. So what is it, Chris? You can’t have it both ways. Your fans deserve an answer.

The other US bands participating in the pro-smoking event include The Smashing Pumpkins and MUTEMATH. Here are links to their Facebook pages if you want to make a comment.

(Updated for typo, Oct 8)

Tobacco ad of the day: smoking like a Wolfmother

Nothing like a smoking Wolfmother to raise a strong brood of hairy cubs.

(Image via the Stanford School of Medicine)

Dashboard Confessional: where do you stand?

Chris Carrabba

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids has named and shamed US bands Smashing Pumpkins, Dashboard Confessional and MUTEMATH over their tobacco-sponsored gigs in Indonesia next month.

Meanwhile Stereophonics are copping it in their home country of Wales from anti-smoking group Ash Wales. Australian bands The Vines and Wolfmother have already been publicly attacked by University of Sydney health experts.

So far only Wolfmother seems to have responded, effectively saying it doesn’t care that it is being used by the tobacco industry to push cancer onto children. People are paying them, so they’ll play.

That’s fine. I’m not sure whether Wolfmother has ever pretended to have much of a social conscience. They seem to care more about hair.

But Dashboard Confessional really needs to give its fans a serious explanation. Band member Chris Carrabba has played at cancer benefits, for chrissake. In July he performed for 200 cancer survivors at a fundraising show for Love Hope Strength, the “world’s leading rock and roll cancer foundation”.

In August he played at a gig to raise money for American and Canadian children mixed up in the sex trade.

What about the Indonesian children who might be tempted to take up a lifetime addiction to tobacco after seeing how cool it is at Dashboard Confessional’s show in Jakarta?

The charity gigs are highlighted on the band’s website, so their fans may be forgiven for being a little confused about just where exactly Dashboard Confessional stands on issues such as tobacco industry marketing to children in developing countries.

(Photo courtesy of Will Fresch via Wikimedia commons)

Wolfmother all shook up over tobacco money

Andrew Stockdale

Australian band Wolfmother is sending mixed messages over whether or not it will play at a tobacco-sponsored event in Indonesia next month.

Noel-Redding haired frontman Andrew Stockdale was reported last week to have said the band wasn’t going to play the Java Rockin’ Land festival alongside The Vines, The Smashing Pumpkins and others because he didn’t want to “line my pockets” with filthy tobacco money (the gig is being sponsored by Indonesian cancer merchants Gudang Garam).

But the band’s manager quickly stepped in to tell ABC radio Stockdale had “thought about his job as a performer” and decided to do the show after all.

Being a “performer” apparently means entertaining anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances as long as the money is right, kinda like a monkey.

Jakarta is full of trained monkeys which trade their independence and freedom to perform for scraps of food. A few more probably won’t make a difference.

The manager added that even if Wolfmother was being used to encourage children to take up a lifetime addiction to nicotine, this was “none of (Stockdale’s) business”.  

A strange choice of word that – “business” – because it seems that is exactly what it is to Stockdale and his pals.

The band’s website confirms they will play the gig:

Wolfmother will be playing at Java Rockin’land Festival on October 10th. This one is for the fans in Indonesia who have parted with their very own cold hard cash to see Wolfmother. We realize their [sic] are sponsors and we neither support or [sic] condemn the sponsors affiliated with the festival. We are very much looking forward to what we hope will be the first of many shows to come in Indonesia.

As angelicIV notes on Aussie music web-zine Mess and Noise it “shows how powerful the tobacco companys [sic] are in indonesia…if you read the last line of the release it basically says yeah without buying into the tobacco companys [sic] we loose [sic] the market.”

Living in Indonesia and knowing only too well how powerful the industry is, I’d say that assessment is spot on. It’s also an indication of the growth of the rock music scene in Indonesia in recent years. Incomes are increasing as the country continues to modernise and open up following the fall of the Suharto dictatorship.

A country of 240 million people with 40 million internet users and A LOT of kids who want to rock out to anyone with a guitar and a leather jacket (eg Slash) is a potentially massive market for Australian music.

Meanwhile the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids has written to Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins to plead with him to pull out of the gig:

Indonesia has few laws to protect its youth from this type of egregious tobacco marketing and the tobacco industry aggressively promotes its deadly products with dreadful success. Tobacco use kills an estimated 200,000 Indonesians each year, and approximately 35 percent of the population smokes. At this rate, 1,644 Indonesians will die from tobacco‐related illness during the three days of the Java Rockin’Land festival.

 (Photo of Stockdale courtesy of mrmatt via wikimedia commons and the monkey by John E. Lester via flickr)