For You Part II
Part 2 of 2
by Tyler Jacobson
In part 1 of my interview with Pat Dinizio, we found the Smithereens
front man pondering the fate of America. This is because Dinizio's
own fate will be left up to the people of New Jersey. Should
he convince them to do so, Dinizio will be their next Senator.
The outcome may have been determined by the time you read
is first and foremost a man of passion. His beliefs are firm
and well justified. Dinizio is of the new breed of politicians
who believe America should be given back to the people from
the government, that government should be a tool for the people,
rather than the other way around. It's hard to disagree with
a man who can back everything he says, doesn't evade questions
and truly believes in his vision.
Dinizio told us he was leaving the reform party to join Jesse
Ventura's Independence party, but as of yet, it doesn't appear
that an official announcement has been made. This of little
consequence, really, as his ideals are true to the ideals
that founded both parties.
Because we're in a free market economy, shouldn't business
owners be allowed to conduct business with any other business
or country they choose?
"Yeah, well, it depends on how you look at those things. If
an American corporation that's making a billion dollars a
year figures out through the efforts of one of their bean
counters that they can make 1.1 billion by down sizing, a
nice word for 'firing', 25,000 employees and moving that business
to Mexico or China, who's getting hurt?
"Look at it this way, we're exporting these jobs and industries
to these other countries and we're paying these people virtual
slave labor wages and enslave them. The money's just going
into the hands of these greedy corporate executives. They're
not spreading the wealth. I'm a capitalist, I just believe
the system is inequitable.
"A friend of mine who worked at Verizon, Bell Atlantic, went
on strike. The chief CEO there got a $16 million bonus for
the past year and then they offered the employees a raise...
3.3% spread over three years. Are you kidding me? What's fair
and what's not? Who's speaking up for those people? That's
what this campaign is about. It's about the working class
people in America who feel like they don't have a voice."
How would being a Senator effect a CEO's salary?
"That's something I have to figure out when I get there. I
think the in being a Senator, first, you have to have the
empathy for the average American, the average American who
puts in their 40 - 50 hours a week and is happy living here,
knowing that they're getting screwed but still persevering.
In light of that, you have to have empathy for the people
who are hurting, you have to care about the country,you have
to be on a crusade. I believe that it cannot be looked at
as 'another job'. It can not be a stepping stone to power
and opportunity. You really have to do the elected public
service, that's the word I choose, that truly reflects the
will of the people, that's not going to be influenced by corporation,
someone who is invulnerable to that. That's where I believe
I come in. I don't care about that stuff. I care about doing
the right thing."
Have you taken illegal drugs in the last 25 years?
"Yes, I have. I don't know anyone who hasn't. God bless anyone
who hasn't taken drugs.
"We were rock stars for 20 years. We did everything that rock
stars should and shouldn't have done. And that's a fact and
I'm not going to stand here and tell you I was an angel, but
that being said, everything I did in my life brought me to
the point that I'm at. It made me who I am for better or worse,
and I believe for better.
"What America is about is giving people a way back. It's about
redemption. Would you condemn somebody for doing a few stupid
things in their life and not give them the opportunity to
move on and do great things for their country?"
How do you feel about first time offenders who are given lifetime
sentences for selling marijuana?
"I think it's a little extreme, don't you?
"This is a subject that I haven't given much thought to, because
really, it's not in my life. It's not something I think about
because I don't do those things. So, it's not preeminent in
my mind when people ask me about drugs and legislation or
legalization. We need to take a look at legalizing medicinal
marijuana. Certainly,we need to take a look at that. In terms
of the other stuff, I really don't know. We've got enough
vices as it is. Although, you talk about 'Well, we could legalize
it and look at all the tax money and the tax money could go
into helping people go through rehab and all that'. Therein
lies madness. Drugs equals madness equals... the old ways
are a death trip, brother. If medicinal marijuana can help
certain people and it's controlled, then it's worth looking
at and don't quote me and say that I said that I'm in favor
of it, I said it's worth looking at.
"And then there's the whole hemp industry. People can make
a lot of money from that and I think they did a long time
ago. Hemp was manufactured routinely. I don't know much about
it. I'm not the authority on it, honestly. I need to do a
lot of research on it, because it's something that should,
but hardly ever enters my consciousness,because I never think
about it. That kind of stuff is not a part of my life. "
Road Rage and Traffic Problems
Is traffic a part of your life?
"Traffic is anathema to me. I have arranged my life so that
I'm on the road as infrequently as possible. Unless I'm on
tour and I'm driving myself all around the country. I tend
to travel at hours of the day when other people don't."
Are you a road rager?
"Of course I'm not a road rager. I've seen and experienced
road rage coming at me, and you really have to keep a lid
on your emotions. There seems to be a whole new breed or generation
of angry driver out there and it may not necessarily be their
fault. Here in New Jersey, the infrastructure was created
for traffic 50 years ago. When most families had maybe one
car, at best. Now, just about every family has three and four
vehicles Roads cannot accommodate that amount of traffic.
There needs to be a severe and carefully thought out revamping
or restructuring of the infrastructure."
Napster: Who's wrong?
"Well, you answer the question. You're asking a musician who
lives generally on royalties from catalog. Review copies of
(The Smithereens latest album, "God Save The Smithereens")
went out a month or two before the album was officially released
in stores and on the internet, it was on Napster before it
was released. Going on Napster and using it continually is
tantamount to me walking into 7-11 and loading up a bag of
groceries and leaving and not paying, then going in again
an hour later and getting two more bags and coming back and
coming back and filling up my bag without any pay back at
all. Plain and simple, it's stealing.
"Now, the kids out there love it because they think they're
screwing the system and that may well be, because everybody
like to screw the system, especially when you're young, before
you become part of it by default. And that's understandable,
that's human nature and that's the nature of youth to want
to do that.
"I thought it was brave of (Metallica drummer) Lars Ulrich
to take a stand against Napster and put his career in jeopardy.
They lost a lot of fans because of that. On the other hand,
Metallica is not necessarily effected by Napster the way young
bands are. A young band that may have potential gets put on
Napster or Gnutella and their career could be over before
it starts because people are downloading rather than buying.
"Why pick on musicians? Music is a beautiful thing, it a universal
language that gets people through the doldrums of their day.
It makes people happy, it gives them sustenance People need
music, it heals. That being said, it's one of the most beautiful
of things that you can have in your life and, properly done,
it uplifts and enriches our lives. So, you've got people like
me trying to achieve that kind of thing and trying to make
people happy and uplift them through song and at the same
time make a living. If my music was going to be free to everybody
in the world that wants it, then I should be able to go and
buy the new apple computer, I should be able to get it for
free. My snow tires should be free. When I go to the movies,I
shouldn't have to pay for a ticket. If I want to watch cable
TV, I shouldn't have to pay for it. Why should I pay for my
Internet provider? I'm not paying for my music.
"Here's the bottom line: When somebody downloads one of my
songs from Napster,they're messing with my ability to put
food in my child's mouth, to feed my daughter,to pay my bills
like everybody else. They're stealing from me. I can't put
it any simpler than that. It's very personal to me.
"I'll give you an example, I did one of my living room tour
shows in Columbia,South Carolina and this well meaning individual
walked up to me, who was actually mighty drunk at the time
and I was kind of handling him with kid gloves. He was a little
past the sobriety limit or the civility area. And he said
to me, 'Pat, God Save The Smithereens, the new album is the
best thing you ever did.', and I said,'Man, thank you. I'm
really touched. I'm glad to hear that.', and he goes 'Yeah,bro,
downloaded it off of Napster. It sounds great.'.
"Of course, I wanted to give him a lecture. Not unlike the
lecture I gave in 1986 to the brother in the dormitory at
the college in Charlotte, North Carolina. He said, 'Pat, I
picked up Especially For You, your first album. I bought the
first CD the day it came out and everybody in the dorm loves
it. All 30 of my friends here taped it.'. I said, 'Well, thank
you for spreading the word but let's have a little chat. If
you're 30 friends each let 30 of their friends tape it and
this happens in every dorm in every college in the country,
then the band that you really love called The Smithereens
will not have a second album. It's as simple as that. And
we won't be able to do this for a living and you won't ever
be able to go and meet us again.'. So, that's the bottom line.
"On the other hand, I don't believe the Internet should be
controlled or taxed. There's a five year moratorium on it,
so there's not gonna be tax. You know the government is just
sitting there, waiting in the wings to see what happens with
this experiment. It's like what Ghandi said, and it's on my
website, 'Unrestrained individualism is the law of the jungle.
People have to learn to put limits by themselves on their
own social behavior.', and the people are misbehaving on the
Internet These pedophiles are praying on young children who
are innocent. There are con people, con men or con women,
who are bilking people out of fortunes. There are business
that aren't legitimate that are ripping people off. If this
continues, if people are slandering and inventing whole untruths
about other individuals online, then somebody's going to come
in, brother, and shut it down. And then you're not going to
have the Internet,it's not going to be other people, it's
not going to be that real democracy that it is now, because
people abused it and they didn't respect each other. That's
what's going to happen. Unless people get on the mark and
start doing the right thing and start showing respect for
other human beings, as they're not doing with something like
Napster... it's disgraceful, it's not respectful. It's ripping
off another human being. Napster is another thing that's leading
us down that slippery slope into government intervention and
control of this beautiful thing called the Internet And it's
going to happen. They're waiting for it to happen, they want
it to happen and if people don't wise up and start behaving
properly, it's going to happen. You know it is. Nobody wants
it to, but it may happen sooner than later if people don't
start putting limits on their social behavior.
"I'm not a big fan of the notion that my daughter can go on
my computer access in a second, in a heartbeat, the most horribly
depraved images imaginable off the Internet I'm not a fan
that it's out there."
That the Internet is out there or that kind of accessibility?
"That that kind of thing is so readily available, where kids
can see it. Even with the so-called blocking and privacy devices,
they find a way.
"It's part of what we talked about before. I believe that
kids, children should at least have some semblance of the
innocence of childhood for a small portion of time. I think
kids are growing up way too fast these days. Childhood is
a beautiful time and an innocent time and we, as responsible
adults, need to protect kids from that type of thing. I don't
think they're emotionally ready, and they're not.
"Again, I'm not a huge proponent of censorship, but in that
regard, I might consider it. Bestiality, child porn? C'mon
Right. Who needs that.
"Well, I don't know if you're putting me on when you're agreeing
No. I totally support the first amendment and I believe that
people should be able to do whatever the hell they want, but
there need to be some sort of accountability and responsibility
"Right. Accountability and responsibility are good words.
That's why I have a big problem with Hollywood in terms of
them being in denial of the endless amount of rotten, misinformation
that they're sending people. It's not helping. We're not helping
the culture, they're not helping society and it's all in the
name of greed. Because if you pander to the worst base instinct
in people, people will go for it and that's not good. I think
you need to nurture people, give them something that's a little
more spiritually uplifting and not get them down and fill
them with feeling of corruption and depravity. I just think
it's not good. It's not good for our country and for society
as a whole. It didn't exist for many, many years and now we
have it. Are we any better for it? I think not. I think we're
worse for it. That's just my opinion. A lot of people will
argue against it. And again, it's starts in the home. You
can control your kids all you want and keep them away from
that stuff,all they have to do is go to the neighbors house
and see it."
When the senate was established, the idea was that any working
man could be a part of it and spend a couple years of his
life helping to make his country a better place. The government
was not built upon making career politicians. Somewhere we
lost that. Through the exploitation of our government by special
interest and self serving politicians, our collective interest,
faith and understanding in politics has been chipped at, leaving
a raw center. Dinizio is certainly idealistic and he may be
striving for an impossible utopia, but if the country lacks
politicians searching for that ideal world, it's a sure bet
we will never get anywhere near it.