In May of 1990 the Australian band Midnight Oil were in NYC to play 3 nights at Radio City Music Hall. Several months earlier the Exxon Valdez tanker had run aground in Alaska causing what was, at the time, the largest oil spill on record. Upset that it appeared that Exxon was going to get away scot-free the band decided a “special guerrilla action” was the thing to do. So they set up on a flat bed truck and played a 30-40 minute concert in front of Exxon’s NYC headquarters.
Here’s a link to the documentary/concert film they made of that afternoon.
Black Rain Falls
Are Midnight Oil the last “popular” band (remember, they were about to play 3 nights at Radio City…that’s a hell of a lot of tickets) to really put their necks and careers on the line to speak out, protest, do something – anything – about the injustices that they saw? Maybe. The fact they they made great records and kicked ass live just made it even better. Easily one of the most powerful bands I’ve ever seen live.
Lead singer Peter Garrett made the ultimate “put your money where your mouth is” move when he broke up the band in 2002 and got into Australian politics to fight for, among other things, the arts, education, the environment, youth, and heritage. In June of 2013 he resigned his ministerial commission, and a few days later announced that he would not seek re-election at the 2013 federal election.
Here’s his brilliant resignation speech.
Even though he has stated that his music career is over (except for a few reunion shows at a number of different benefits) here’s to hoping that Midnight Oil will get back together more frequently and make some new records and get back on the road. The world needs Midnight Oil. The world needs more bands like Midnight Oil.