KORN Frontman Talks BP Oil Spill

Andrea Larrabee of SuicideGirls.com recently conducted an interview with KORN frontman Jonathan Davis. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

SuicideGirls.com: How did the BP boycott come about?

Jonathan Davis: That thing started out, for me, just seeing what was going on. I was just disgusted with that company. Myself, personally, I wasn't going to buy any of their products. I told my management about it and they're like, well, let's boycott it if you feel that strongly about it. So we started the whole boycott just to send a message to those companies. If enough people don't buy their products then they'll feel it. We're not going to put them out of business or anything, it's just [about] trying to say that you need to be held accountable for destroying these people's lives. Why didn't [they] spend that extra money to make sure that this didn't happen? Hopefully by us doing that — and we're getting more and more bands that are joining everyday — it'll send a message to those oil companies to spend the money to make sure it doesn't happen again. Because it's only one well - there's hundreds of them in that gulf, and thousands in the whole word. They need to be held accountable to make sure the safety measures are there.

SuicideGirls.com: This kind of corner-cutting seems to be something that's endemic in the whole industry. I don't know if you remember the Exxon Valdez spill that happened 21 years ago.

Jonathan Davis: I remember that as a kid, yeah.

SuicideGirls.com: That was basically caused because Exxon were too cheap to repair or replace a broken sonar on the tanker. And the situation after the spill was exacerbated because the company was too cheap to implement safety measures they'd already promised were in place which were a condition of operating out of the port in Valdez. Two decades on, we've learned nothing, and are dealing with a similar but far worse situation.

Jonathan Davis: Well, BP, basically, if they'd have spent seven million more dollars and two more days this would have never have happened. It's just them being cheap.

SuicideGirls.com: What do you mean by that?

Jonathan Davis: It came out on air that if they'd have used a more expensive — the proper — concrete, which would have cost seven million more bucks and an extra two days for them to pour it, that that wouldn't have happened. All that stuff, it's just retarded.

SuicideGirls.com: If we're going to prevent anything like this happening again in the future we have to penalize BP today as a deterrent for other companies who might be tempted to put profits above safety. And it feels like BP have left us to clear up their social and environmental mess, while their priority clean-up-wise appears to be sucking up the oil so they can sell it.

Jonathan Davis: Yeah. Like they had the idea to funnel it into a tanker. They're worried about the fucking oil and not the people [whose livelihoods] they've destroyed. I mean they've got more money than god — we'll just pay everybody and everything will be fine. But there's no amount of money that these people could get. Some of those places [that have been affected] have been around for hundreds of years. They've been passed down from family to family — like this oyster factory on the gulf coast I saw. This guy, his dad gave it to him, and his grandfather, and his grandfather before that. It's been like a hundred years. And they're going to have to close their doors because they don't know what's going to happen, if the oysters are going to be ruined forever.

SuicideGirls.com: Knowing what happened after the Exxon Valdez disaster gives me huge cause for concern with regards to this spill. I mean those affected by Exxon Valdez were originally awarded a $5 billion settlement, but the oil company, because they had deep pockets and they could, appealed and appealed against it. After being held up in court for years, the settlement was ultimately reduced to $507 million, and it took two decades for the first payments to reach those who were entitled to it, by which time people had committed suicide, succumbed to illness caused by the pollution, and their livelihoods and those of their children had been destroyed. The money got there way too late to help, and it just seems like the same thing is going to play out this time.

Jonathan Davis: It probably will because those companies are untouchable. Obviously the government's not going to do anything about it because [the politicians] make back door deals with them. The bottom line is oil is our life. Our wars are fought over it. Everything is surrounded by this stupid fucking brown shit that comes out of the earth...[It's something that] everybody has a vested interest in so it's up to the people - us - not just sit by and let shit happen and depend on our government to work it out. It's on us to do something.

SuicideGirls.com: You talk about oil being our lives, but really the wealth generated by it only benefits a tiny percentage of already obscenely wealthy Americans. I had a very profound experience a few years ago when I went to Norway for the Øya Festival. While I was there I learned that a massive percentage of the country's oil wealth goes back to the people. The money pays for health care, social services, education, and the arts. Meanwhile, the oil companies drilling in California don't have to pay any royalties to the local or federal governments - even though the oil is being sucked from beneath land that belongs to all of us. And we have a bankrupt state.

Jonathan Davis: I know, it's ridiculous. It's so ridiculous. There's countries in Europe and all around the world, people got it together. It just seems like here, in the States, it's so fucked up. I see it first hand because in the town I live in, where we did the "Oildale" video, there's hundreds of pumps around in Oildale but it's the most impoverished, fucked-up place I think I've ever been to. All these people who live near the oil fields, they don't receive anything. They're poor, it's overrun with drugs, it's disgusting, and if we [got] something out of it it'd be amazing. Just the fact that in Norway, they've got social services, art, everything — fuck! I want to move to Norway.

Read the entire interview from SuicideGirls.com.

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