The Music Industry Reacts to 9-11

EDITORIAL NOTE: Features articles are the opinions of their authors and do not reflect the opinions of the staff and management of Ink 19.

Serj Tankian (System of a Down)

Our whole world has been sickened by the terrible events in New York and D.C. I’ve been calling out to friends all week to make sure they’re OK. My heart goes out to all the families suffering because of this madness.

As American citizens, we are in the privileged position to be able to speak our hearts, even if other people disagree. I highly value the fact that I can make a statement with my intention being to sponsor peace and understanding of the tragic events that have been unfolding. I ask only that, for the long-term survival of our planet, we all concentrate on positive energies in our lives while pursuing justice.

I would not be alive if not for the American orphanages that raised my grandfather after the Armenian Genocide of 1915, so I have a lot of love and respect for the good things that America has and can continue to achieve.

• •

Darrin Pfeiffer (Goldfinger)

What happened on the 11th was an unspeakable act of evil that will not go unpunished. It’s really scary that things like this can happen in our own backyard. Our hearts and prayers go out to whomever’s been affected by this tragedy. I have faith in this country that those responsible will the found and dealt with.

• •

Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater)

Immediately we realized, “We can’t keep that cover [the cover of their new album showed New York City aflame, including the Twin Towers].” We called the label and found out immediately that Elektra had also decided to pull it. We all went out to pick up as many copies as we could.

My main concern with this tragedy is people’s tenderness. This has rattled everybody’s world, it certainly has me all upset. I thought about “what can I possibly to do to help?” We’re gonna go volunteer and give blood. A lot of us musicians came up with idea of idea of doing benefits — funds are needed most for all the relief agencies. I put the concert together quickly. People are sending donations to the Red Cross even if they can’t come to the show. It’s possible I might play to an empty house.

• •

Alex Skolnick of (Attention Deficit, Testament)

I got out of jury duty [in the courthouse near the World Trade Center] because of the attack. I would do jury duty for the rest of the year to prevent it from happening. We were watching the film that welcomes you to jury duty at 8:30, and heard this big explosion. We had no idea what it was. People stopped watching the film and listened to the news in their headsets. They were talking with people next to them.

When the film ended, our court clerk said, “You won’t be needed today, show up tomorrow at 10:30.” Obviously no one knew how serious it was at that point, and we figured we’d probably find out tomorrow what that big noise was.

When we got downstairs the lobby was filled with heavily armed police, and they were sealing off a lot of the doors and instructing us to, “Follow me. Walk north. Walk away.”

Then I felt, “hmmm, this sounds serious.” We get outside and saw every building being evacuated and people walking north. Emergency vehicles were coming through. There was a lot of smoke. I couldn’t see the Towers themselves.

I had ran into a friend at jury duty — we went through this whole experience together. We turned a corner to Mercer and Canal and had a perfect view of the Towers. My friend didn’t even want to look. At that point they were still standing, but they were both on fire. It was pretty disturbing, “this is a sad, sad day.” We just kept walking. The subways were closed.

I had to get home somehow. My cellphone wasn’t working, and there were transportation crowds gathering on every corner for the buses. I got a couple blocks up and suddenly heard a noise behind us. We turned around and watched the first Tower go down right in front of our eyes. Bizarre — you wouldn’t think it was real and we were watching it.

We walked some more, and got two blocks higher. Someone told us that a plane just crashed into the Pentagon. Whoa, it was total insanity. People were listening to the news around a truck blasting it, and we joined the crowd that was listening. We didn’t know what to talk about — the planes, the Pentagon, the collapse.

Suddenly people starting yelling again — pointing at the other Tower coming down– they were completely in shock.

We found a coffee shop with three large TVs each showing different replays. It was packed, everyone was silent except for the TV news. Seeing the Pentagon, the Twin Towers, and replays was an affirmation that it was real and actually happening.

I was able to reach my wife on the phone, and I told her I was safeÖ She wanted me home so bad. I tried to find a bus, but there were no buses. I walked across to 8th Avenue and 14th street — 30 blocks from the Towers. A bunch of people were at the bus stop. The bus comes and a mob gets on — we went through the back doors. The bus driver put her hand over the token taker and said, “Just get on the bus.” Nobody paid. Halfway uptown — before 42nd Street — traffic came to halt. I walked 40 more blocks.

By the time I got home, I got messages from people I hadn’t heard from in ages. I watched news for the next two days straight. I had only ran into a couple of other people who saw it happen firsthand.

My wife, Ofri, is from Israel. She’s used to this kind of violence, but she says “the World Trade Towers’ plane crash was worse than all the terrorists acts combined.” Israel is a smaller country, the whole country has less people than in all of New York. This was the biggest terrorist attack ever. It doesn’t matter how used to it you really are — it’s still terrifying.

• •

Rick Derringer

I was on the bike when the news came on with the top of the World Trade Center on fire. I stopped, I couldn’t believe how many people were just taking it matter-of-factly. I had to call my friends in New York, but I couldn’t get through to them. Later in the day, I got some emails — we’re fortunate not to have heard someone who was missing. At noon all the churches got together, and we prayed.

I saw when Mayor Guilliani arrived in time to see people jumping out of the windows — some of them on fire. It’s a terrible way to encounter this kind of thing — you know you’re gonna die if you jump out the World Trade Center. “Surreal” is a word that’s overused, but I still feel this was very incredible for me to say. So little mention is being made about the bodies and the possibilities of finding them all.

I keep thinking of all the people who were on the planes, and all the times I’ve gotten on the planes in Newark, Boston, and Washington DC. It could have been a flight I was on and all of a sudden the guy is commandeering it.

Anything I say, it’s gonna feel like I’m running for Miss America. I’m an active Christian and often think of all the differences in the Christian religious — Mennonites, Baptists, Lutherans, Episcopalians — if we all believe the same thing and use the same BIBLE, why do we have different names and are in competition with each other? And when we worry about things on that level, and this happens — it goes beyond the point of religious differences.

It’s also confusing when you read THE BIBLE. It says, “An eye for an eye,” and also “Turn the other cheek!” I feel you’re not supposed to be someone’s doormat — you’re not supposed to take this punishment.

I do know in the end — they’ll get their REAL punishment in the correct way.

• •

Steve Morse (The Steve Morse Band, Deep Purple)

One of the big things we’re taught is when your plane is hijacked is to let the air traffic controllers know without say anything to the hijackers. There is a special transponder code given to them. You try not to make eye contact with the terrorists. You try to convince them that there are limitations with what the plane is capable of doing — the weather or lack of fuel would make their mission seem impossible. Try to convince them that their hijack won’t work, and you try to get them on the bomb as soon as possible.

I was in the air, flying an errand when the announcement came over my radio that they were grounding all the planes. I landed and called from my cellphone to find out what was going on. I still haven’t heard from all my friends up there.

It’s possible to clamor for more rules and regulations at the airport, but if it’s their objective to create terror in peoplesÇ lives, they’ll find a way. We can’t alter our freedom as Americans — that’s what these terrorists want from us — they’ve admitted that they want to destroy our way of life and they’ve won that by keeping me out of the air. Terrorists can create mayhem anywhere.

The terrorists are not gonna affect our freedom, my big message is planes don’t kill people — it’s the terrorists. It takes is a sick mind and lots of planning to do what they did. We couldn’t defend ourselves against that.

People should recognize that the fourth flight — the plane that went down in Pennsylvania — had someone who figured out what was going to happen, and they brought down the plane intentionally. Any pilot would crash the plane before they’d let some hijacker hit any kind of group of people.

As a pilot, I would have joined a moratorium out of respect for the people that died — every pilot would have joined a moratorium.

• •

Don Brewer (Grand Funk Railroad)

I will wave the flag along with everybody else and am entertaining the idea of going after ALL the terrorist groups. We know who the enemies are — let’s go get ’em. They hate the United States.

For too long, we played the political games over the oil fields, and were seen as bad guys for bombing IraqÖ If we’re gonna be blamed for everything, we should take control of all the peace-loving people in the world of which these beasts are a threat.

Enough of this over-liberalism when it comes to allowing people into this country. If you go to South America or Switzerland or Germany, there are armed guards all over the airports. Police are carrying Uzis. They shouldn’t be allowed in this country — period. I’m all for taking the bull by the horns.

We (the band, Grand Funk) grew up with the whole hippy peace love movement. That liberal view doesn’t work when you’re talking about these beasts — they don’t have value of human life. To them, we’re just another insect that’s consuming air and food. We’re their enemy — why are we their enemy? Because we’re siding with the people that we think are on the side of right — the Israelis, Germans, French, British.

I am a major pacifist but these people are too much of a threat to the world. They have lots of nuclear weapons and biological weapons. We should go after all the terrorist groups all over the world and get rid of them.

These bombings change everything, it’s a different poker game now. I hope we deal with it. We don’t want them in our country.

• •

Svala

I’m deeply saddened by the horrible events that took place in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania last Tuesday. I was actually in New York when it happened and I was devastated and scared. My home country, Iceland, has great sorrow in their hearts by this, like everyone else in the world. We have to unite as one and stay strong. My prayers go out to everyone that lost their loved ones. God bless America. One love.

• •

Anti-Flag

It has been exactly two weeks since the events of September 11, 2001, and we still find ourselves in a state of grief and shock. These events have devastated us, as they have devastated all of the world’s citizens. We deeply grieve for the victims and surviving family members of these heinous attacks.

We have been asked many times, “Why does Anti-Flag hate America?” In these very uncertain times we want to make it very clear that we do not hate America, what we hate are the problems that plague our country: corporate control of our government, homophobia, sexism, mistreatment of veterans, ageism, police brutality, exploitation of lesser economically developed countries, just to name a few. Therefore, in the spirit of the founders of America, we raise our voices in dissent to draw attention to such problems in an attempt to improve life for all, not because we hate America. For 10 years, Anti-Flag’s main goal has been to unite people and fight against violence and oppression. The content of our songs and even our name is meant to break down the artificial barriers we believe are used to separate people, corrupted patriotism or nationalism, being the issue we most often target. The most important underlying theme we have stressed in the past, but want to stress now more than ever is that we do not support killing or oppression of any sort, by anybody. Therefore, in the spirit of the founders of America, we raise our voices in dissent to draw attention to such problems in an attempt to improve life for all!

We know what we believe in, so now we are faced with the question, “Where do we go from here?” After much soul searching we have decided that instead of getting pulled into the media fervor that calls for revenge or justice through military retaliation (we do not see that as a solution to the problem), and dehumanization along national and ethnic lines, we feel it is important to express an alternative viewpoint to violence and blind nationalism. We want those who are searching for non-violent solutions to know that they are not alone. Anti-Flag and our music will always stand with you. We do have a voice, small as it may be, with unity and perseverance we believe the call for peace will grow strong.

With the belief that music can be a powerful tool to rally people around, we have written and recorded a song that can be downloaded for free off of our Web site, http://www.anti-flag.com, and the Fat Wreck Chords Web site (http://www.fatwreck.com). Please attach it to your Web site and make it available to everyone. This song expresses in the best way we can the sentiments we have just outlined. We hope this song will be one of the many calls for a new global peace movement that encourages people to realize the madness that more violence will bring to this already insane situation. We also hope it will encourage people to think about the endless cycle of violence that violence creates.

While the attacks of September 11, 2001, were incredibly evil and inflicted a great deal of pain upon us and all citizens of the world, the horrific attacks do not somehow nullify past or present injustices carried out by the U.S. government, or any government, for that fact! That said, when we feel injustice is taking place we will not hesitate to raise our voices in the name of justice! We hope you will join us.

• •

Mark Robertson (Cairo)

This is a very unusual thing. Everyone is perplexed as to how these guys could’ve taken the planes. Obviously they had pilot skills, because anyone can turn a plane left or right, but to navigate a plane — turn it around and drive 100 miles to Manhattan — takes some training. The FBI is researching on how these terrorists were able to get the training.

All these attacks on America were a well-coordinated effort.

The minute the airplane went off course, the air traffic controllers would’ve called them. Probably no one answered the radio. It’s possible to pull the circuit breakers (on the plane) to shut off everything including the black box. At that point no one knows what’s going on in the plane. The plane is seen on the radar, but it becomes an unverified target. All the controllers know is that there’s an airplane going off course. They might have thought it was an emergency but were unable to verify. When the first plane crashed into a tower, they were able to figure out what was going on. And then the second one was also a tragedy.

Every city has targets that would attract a terrorist, and we’ve got the Air Force flying all over them. Here in San Francisco, they’re patrolling. When New York was attacked, the fighter jets escorted in all the overseas flights because if one of them tried to do something funny, the Air Force would have shot them down rather than having the planes crash into a bunch of people.

I heard about the attack on Washington and New York when I woke up. My wife was sitting there in tears, “I got some bad news — my nation is under siege.”

All my pilot friends start calling me — we’re a close knit group of guys.

• •

Larry

The senseless destructiveness has been what’s affected us the most over the past 24 hours. Being musicians, our whole purpose is to create music and positivity and make people feel good. But what happened yesterday was the exact opposite. Because there’s so much negativity, all of us feel right now that we’ve got to be 10 times as positive to battle it. As musicians, that’s going to be part of our responsibility. We try and elevate people from their normal day and everyday worries. I think now we’re going to be needed even more. It’s our responsibility to do that.”

• •

David Gans

My life as a musician is going to be indirectly affected by the new restrictions on travel, etc. It remains to be seen what will change in the world and the country and the business.

In my life as a citizen, I am hosting a conference on The Well (http://www.well.com) devoted to discussions of the attack from many angles. It’s not accessible from the public Web, but it is a busy place with a lot of good information being passed back and forth.

I am not optimistic about how the mainstream of American political and cultural life will respond to these events. It would be nice to see some response from the creative community, by way of inspiring a moderate, humane, and constructive response.

• •

Doug O’Dell (Ice Age)

I watched the second tower collapse at work. They dismissed us as soon as the second tower collapsed. I was trying to get out of the city, and it was becoming more and more difficult. I heard people screaming. Everyone was utterly horrified. Our survival instincts kicked in and we started walking up Lexington. Pretty soon, I was in Harlem at 125th Street.

I caught a Metro North home, and it was a very long ride. The train was packed and going very slow, and we were stopping at every stop. Everyone was certainly shaken. A lot of people were on cellphones and letting loved ones know they were okay. It was a surreal day that I’ll never forget.

I’ve made contact with as many people as I’ve been able to. Nobody’s missingÖ Everybody from my job was okay. But a former employee of Muze, Jeremy Glick, was on the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. I never knew him, but it was reported he called his wife from the plane and advised her that he and the other male passengers were planning to overtake control of the plane to stop it from the target. It’s speculation. I heard that he was young, married, and had a young daughter. It’s one of hundreds of stories.

There is a big pouring out of love, and I have been deeply saddened by the whole thing. I feel very unsure about where we go from here. I worry about if we are going to do an all-out war, what will it mean. We’ve been pretty complacent and we felt invulnerable for a long time. We’ve had an attitude that it could never happen here. The World Trade Tower Incident and the Oklahoma bombing were part of the history in this country, so this has really shattered the feeling of security that my generation had.

I’m definitely not a pro-violent person but I do believe that retaliation is necessary. If we don’t, we’ll only be more vulnerable. If we’re passive in something that’s as aggressive as this, then we’d be welcoming more of it.

• •

Dan Berggren

I was talking with some of our faculty about where we were when President Kennedy was shot, and how we turned on the TV a few days later and saw them escort Lee Harvey Oswald (the guy credited with assassinating the president), and then we saw Jack Ruby shot him. It was one of those chapters in history that people are not going to forget.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, my high school principal took some of us to a fallout shelter in the school, and said, “I may need to call on you to be my helpers.” He showed us where the emergency supplies and food was kept. That’s when it hit me about the seriousness of Kennedy’s address to us and that we’re going to keep the missiles and the Russians out of Cuba.

I was in shock when I saw the Twin Towers burning. After the shock came the numbness. Hour after hour of listening to it on NPR, it sinks in just as the buildings sunk to the ground.

What can I do about it as a teacher and a musician? One of the obvious actions is giving blood. The outpouring here is incredible.

Here’s something really odd about the rescue is that it is an aspect of the Internet and electronics age. People were making cell calls from their planes. I saw Bill Moyers talk with a humanities professor and a minister of his church about fear and evil and prayer. The reminder was FDR’s great line, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” The essence of terrorism is to make people feel afraid and to stay in the house. The fear is the one thing that’s telling us not to do what we want to do. I have a concert tomorrow night — what am I gonna say differently to help reduce fear and anger in my audience? The terrorists want us to be angry. I’m looking for ways to reduce fear and anger day by day.

I like the readiness suggested in Dr. Scott Peck’s book, The Road Less Traveled: “Life is hard, once you accept that and you can move on.”

• •

The Big Wu

Naturally, The Big Wu hopes that everyone will do what they can to help the wound that was inflicted on our country last Tuesday, from sending money to the Red Cross to giving blood, to volunteering in whatever way they can. The band also hopes this will serve as a wake-up call that, although the pain and suffering from Tuesday’s tragedies is incalculable, is actually just the visible part of the pain and suffering that goes on in this Land Of Plenty every day, year in and year out. We can’t wave a magic wand and fix everything, but each of us CAN make a difference in the small part of the world we live in.

• •

Dan Gibson (Power Windows)

The vast majority of people in the world want to live in a peaceful society, where people can do business with each other without fear of getting suddenly attacked by unknown parties. We should not tolerate willfully destructive behavior, and I hope that one of the outcomes of this event will be a body of international law enforced by an international police force with real teeth.

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