With Occupy encampments being dispersed all across the country, protesters are getting antsy. In New York, protesters took on Wall Street and tried to jam the Union Square subway station. In Los Angeles, protesters blocked traffic. Today in Phoenix, Occupiers are celebrating Free Speech Friday, meeting at César Chávez Plaza at 4 p.m. and planning a "nonviolent march through Downtown Phoenix at the end of the business day."
Those that criticize the movement claim it lacks cohesiveness and a plan for action, but Fading Point, a four-piece nu-metal band from Sierra Vista, Arizona, say the movement lacks something else: military grade Finnish gas masks and bullet proof vests.
In a press release sent out to the media, the band announced that the masks are on lock down.
From the band's press release:
A band representative said that Fading Point is completely against protests getting violent, destroying property or interfering with the police, such as the events that led up to Oakland's uprising. James Martinez, Fading Point's bassist stated "No one can achieve their goals by getting arrested. It certainly wont help you get a job or cut government spending by causing law enforcement to spend more time and money controlling the situation; however, more riot-control measures will certainly recur in the near future..." The gas masks were paid for by the bands incessant gigging and through contributions made by those who want to ensure others are kept safe via the Music for Masks Program, instituted by the band...
The band procured the masks from local "survivalists" (read: the kind of dudes who stock up on this stuff for the end-of-freaking-days. How metal, right?!). Future plans? Bullet proof vests.
The band's throwbacky metal jams (if you like Korn, well...) aren't exactly the stuff of future Occupy theme-song glory (I nominate The Replacements "Goddamn Job"), but the band says the goal isn't to be political, but to keep protesters safe in the "certain upcoming riots." The group, vocalist Mike Fabian, guitarists Randy Brown and Tim Stinson, bassist James Martinez, and drummer David Lea, sat down as a group to offer unified answers to my questions (hmmmm) via email.
KUPD? Do you need some Occupy correspondents?
Fading Point: We actually have played two thus far, a little over a month ago in Oregon then California. We were plugged in, there is usually power outlets located outside shops and in parks...you just have to know how to find them! The response was good. The protesters are out there for long periods of time and the music probably helped make the time go by faster. Anywhere you get a lot of people -- sports events, rallies ETC -- there is usually music. We were hopefully able to provide that. I listened to the music posted on the band's site, and it didn't seem very political. What political beliefs does the band share? Does the band identify with the Occupy Movement, and how so? You're right, we aren't really a political band. Most of us have really good jobs, even for this economy, so we aren't complaining. However, the fact that protesting and speaking one's mind is allowed and encouraged in our nation is what keeps us in check and makes us great. On that note, there are loons in every crowd, and we think that parts of the movement have gone astray from their own original calling, but that's not for us to decide.
We identify with the Occupy Movement because everyone has struggled at least once in their life to get by and those are very emotional times. This issue, nation-wide, is a very emotionally heated topic and to us, music is all about emotion. So even though we aren't supporting one side or the other, we are trying to convey those emotions musically and hopefully people will relate to it. That's what music is all about...that connection. Music for Masks has been set up by the band to procure gas masks for protesters. Are any other bands or organizations involved? No other bands are involved. We have offered but really, with no services or promotion in it for the bands, there is no reason for them to. I think they know it might also isolate fans as much of Arizona is very conservative. That's why we just will get involved how we see fit but don't push political views (for any side) on anyone. The Music for Masks is just to help protect people against police who might overreact in a situation.
We want our fans, present and future, to be safe when they do whatever they do with their lives. We definitely don't support or encourage the more extreme protesters who entice the violence and start conflict, that is not how free speech works and raising tensions can only end badly. Any upcoming Phoenix dates? We don't have any Phoenix shows planned. Unfortunately, we all work pretty long hours and spent all our vacation time on our last trip, which is the one where we ended up playing those two shows. Also, what we are realizing is that the entire nation has become extremely concerned with these protests. When we originally played, sentiments were divided, yet respectful. Now with people on both sides getting more anxious and riled up, it might not be the best circumstances for us to plan, possibly getting all of our equipment confiscated and ending up arrested. So we will help out anyone in need either by charity events, providing gas masks, or by just working our behinds off to put out some good music.