MICHAEL FRANTI LEAD SINGER, MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD
Franti Official Site
His music may sometimes be soft spoken, but both on the street and the stage, Michael Franti’s message is loud and clear – power to the peaceful! Franti is a musician, poet, filmmaker, and social justice crusader whose radical message of peace and uncompromising principles have pushed him to the fringe of the mainstream. This, however, has not stopped him from obtaining long-term success, impressive global sales and international recognition. After turning his back on a major record deal in 1994, Franti refused to fade into obscurity. Through his own label, Boo Boo Wax, a never ending touring schedule at international concerts and festivals, including his own annual Power to the Peaceful, a recent documentary film and even a Youtube channel, Franti has ensured that his music and his message are globally heard. From San Francisco to the streets of Baghdad, and the hotel rooms in between, Sounds Like a Revolution chronicles the inspiring and uplifting personal journey of this troubadour’s struggle for acceptance as a bi-racial child adopted into a white family and his subsequent motivation to give a voice to the voiceless. We the people have the power to bring peace and justice to the world; Michael Franti will provide the soundtrack.
JUSTIN SANE LEAD SINGER, ANTI-FLAG
AF Official Site
They’re young, they’re loud and they give a ****. Meet Anti-Flag, one of the most influential political bands of this generation. With songs like “911 for Peace”, “Angry, Young and Poor” and the “Red, White and Brainwashed”, Anti-Flag has become the voice of social discontent and youthful rage. Driven by his personal experience with poverty, front man Justin Sane leads the crusade of educating poor youth about the predatory recruitment practices of the U.S. military. Furious over a provision in the No Child Left Behind Act which provides the military with private information about every child in the public school system, Anti-Flag fights back using the same grassroots DIY techniques that made them an indie success. Sounds Like a Revolution illustrates how their music and message is transcending the traditional punk rock genre, geographical borders and physical space to create “a new kind of army”, one that’s “too smart to fight, too smart to die and too smart to kill”. But like all calls to oppositional activism, not all are digested easily into popular culture. Victim of big box censorship policies, Anti-Flag is forced to decide between their principles and reaching a wider audience.
MIKE BURKETT A.K.A. FAT MIKE LEAD SINGER / BASSIST, NOFX
In 2000, George W. Bush won the Presidency by 537 votes. Only days before the election Fat Mike played to over 30,000 kids in Florida and in his drunken haze never mentioned a single word about the vote only hours away. Fat Mike would later realize that had he told his audience to vote and a few of them acted upon his advice, he could have changed the course of history – “We could have had a different President”. Determined never to make that mistake again, he turned his apathy into activism and started punkvoter, the first ever punkrock lobby force aimed at mobilizing disenfranchised youth into a never before seen punkrock voting bloc. With exclusive interviews, the film follows Fat Mike from his early years of booze, drugs and apathy, to his new role as political campaigner against Bush in 2004. See how punkvoter and music lead organizations that sprung out of ’04 fed the youth movement for change in Washington in 2008 to elect the first African American President, Barack Hussein Obama.
PARIS HIP-HOP ARTIST / PRODUCER
Militant hip-hop artist and Public Enemy producer, Paris is famous for his smooth rhythmic stylings and infamous for his raw uncompromising indictment of racism, violence, political corruption and injustice. After his song “Bush Killa” dropped, so was he from his label, thanks to a visit from the Secret Service. In yet another act of defiance against the governing powers, both corporate and political, Paris started his own label, Guerilla Funk Records, to “ﬁght the climate of corporate suppression that currently exists”. Sounds Like a Revolution follows Paris’ career as he consistently challenges censors with his provocative lyrics and cover art. Paris dealt with artist censorship in a post 9/11 world after he released an album entitled “Sonic Jihad” with the image of a plane ﬂying into the White House on the album cover. Without a doubt, he created a firestorm of controversy. Unrepentant Paris responded, “it looks like something that was done to capitalize on tragedy…my rebuttal to that is, THIS government is capitalizing on tragedy.” Sounds Like a Revolution reveals how Paris’ guerilla tactics and web-based approach empowers his audience to usurp traditional distribution channels and create opportunities for artists who challenge the status quo of race, politics and art. Paris shows us that real hip-hop isn’t only about cars, women and bottles of champagne. It’s about rhyming a revolution.
PETE SEEGER AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC ICON
Musician, singer, songwriter, folklorist, labor activist, environmentalist, and peace advocate, Pete Seeger is a music icon and arguably one of the most important protest singers ever. In the 1960s, it was his variation of an old spiritual “We Shall Overcome,” that has become an anthem of the crusade for racial equality in America. At 89, Seeger continues to play and advocate for causes he believes in, his optimism and love of music continues to inspire a new generation of musicians.
DAVID CROSBY SINGER / SONGWRITER
As a founding member of the pioneering American groups the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash (and later Young), he helped create and popularize the highly influential folk-rock sound that defined the West Coast scene in the 1960s. In 2000 he was inspired to write a book titled, “Stand and Be Counted”, the book assembled interviews with actors and musicians to explore the intersection of celebrity and social activism; it is one of the first books to document the activism and social awareness of contemporary musical artists making him one of the foremost experts on the topic.
THE DIXIE CHICKS
The Dixie Chicks rose from relative obscurity in 1998 to become one of the most popular female acts of all time. Generally a-political, they were thrust into a political firestorm when singer Natalie Mains spoke out against President Bush and have been weathering an intense backlash ever since. The Dixie Chicks have gone on to become outspoken proponents for free speech and have become card-carrying members of the ACLU.
Ice-T (born Tracy Marrow) has proven to be one of hip-hop’s most articulate and intelligent stars, as well as one of its most frustrating. He has penned some compelling portraits of ghetto life and gangsters, as well as some of the best social commentary hip-hop has produced. In the 90’s his song Cop Killer created a storm of controversy…. all the while, he has withstood a constant barrage of criticism and controversy to become a respected figure not only in the music press, but the mainstream media as well.
NATALIE PA’APA’A BLUE KING BROWN
The infectious energy and passion from lead singer, guitarist and percussionist Natalie Pa’apa’a is a driving musical force of BKB, hailed by Santana as “the voice of the street and the band of the future!” The 8 to 11 piece powerhouse band combine cross generational grooves and a socially conscious sound to create world renowned power packed live shows. Natalie and the band represent a new generation of musicians who aim to educate their fans about social and political issues as well as make them dance. They have shared the global stage opening for musical greats; Santana, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Damien ‘Jr gong’ Marley, The John Butler Trio, The Cat Empire, Silverchair, and Powderfinger.
Street Sweeper Social Club
Few rock guitarists in the 1990s were as groundbreaking as Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, who has incorporated his love of music with his strong political beliefs. Tom spearheaded the Tell Us the Truth concert and pioneered Axis of Justice, a non-profit political organization whose purpose is to bring together musicians, fans of music, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice together. He also tours the world as The Nightwatchman and recently formed Street Sweeper Social Club with Boots Riley (The Coup), a group that aims to play “anthems for the revolution”.
BOOTS RILEY THE COUP
Democracy Now! clip
The Coup is one of the most overtly political bands in rap history. Lead rapper/producer Boots Riley was involved in political activism long before he was a musician; his fervent dedication to social change was the overriding influence on every album he has done. No stranger to controversy and censorship, Boots continues to speak out about media consolidation, US imperialism and social justice. He is also a member of Street Sweeper Social Club with Tom Morello a group that aims to play “anthems for the revolution”.
ANI DIFRANCO SINGER / SONGWRITER
Since releasing her first recording in 1990, Ani DiFranco has established herself as one of the most influential and inspirational artists of the modern era. Grammy award winning singer, prolific songwriter, record label owner and renown feminist activist and icon, Ani DiFranco is fiercely independent and has forged a successful career entirely outside the mainstream music industry.
STEVE EARLE GRAMMY AWARD WINNING MUSICIAN
Steve Earle is an American singer-songwriter known for his rock and country music as well as his political views. He is also a published writer, a political activist and with his uncompromising viewpoints, he has become known as “the hardcore troubadour”. His releases include the biting hard rock of Copperhead Road (1988), the minimalist beauty of ‘Train A Comin’ (1995), the politically charged masterpiece Jerusalem (2002) and the Grammy Award Winning albums The Revolution Starts…Now (2004) and Washington Square Serenade (2007). Earle also produced the Grammy nominated album, Day After Tomorrow, by the legendary Joan Baez in 2008.
Ministry’s frontman/guitarist/producer Al Jourgensen is arguably the leader of the industrial metal movement. Never one to shy away from a fight, Al has been outspoken and political throughout his career.
Henry Rollins is a post-punk renaissance man. The former leader of the seminal 1980 punk band Black Flag, Rollins keeps himself busy, writing books and poetry, performing spoken word tours, acting, hosting his own show and visiting the troops in Iraq. He is a hilarious and outspoken commentator on a wide range of topics ranging from the relevance of punk rock today to the campaign strategies of the democratic and republican parties.
Punk icon, Jello Biafra is one of the country’s most outspoken supporters of free speech and freedom (con- stitutional or otherwise.) Biafra is best-known as leader and vocalist of the Dead Kennedys, a pioneering punk rock band featuring smart, political lyrics with furious music. Today he tours the world as a spoken word artist addressing censorship, social responsibility, government follies and mistruths, educational overhaul, the decriminalization of drugs. He also runs the independent record label Alternative Tentacles, a company he started to avoid corporate censorship of his words and music. After watching a recent Iggy Pop and the Stooges show, Biafra decided you’re never to old to rock out and started his own band Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine.
Brian Baker (born February 25, 1965) is an American punk rock musician. He is best known as one of the founding members of the hardcore punk band Minor Threat, and as a guitarist in Bad Religion since 1994.
A member of the legendary MC5, guitarist and proto-punk icon Wayne Kramer returned to prominence during the 1990s as a solo performer. Born April 30, 1948 in Detroit, he co-founded the MC5 in 1965, teaming with the great Fred “Sonic” Smith to create the band’s incendiary twin-guitar attack; their first album, 1969’s Kick Out the Jams, remains one of the most influential records of the era, its raw, visceral sound laying the groundwork for the rise of punk a decade later.
JACKIE RICHARDSON : NARRATOR
JACKIE RICHARDSON (vocalist) is one of Canada’s most highly regarded stars of gospel, jazz, and blues, also well-known for her huge volume of stage, screen, and studio work. She grew up in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada near Toronto, where, at the age of 16, she began performing professionally for the first time with ‘The Tiaras’ Quartet, later performing frequently at Canadian Armed Forces bases across Canada, throughout the South Pacific, and The Far East. Since then she has acted in film, theatre, and television, and toured across Canada and around the world performing and/or recording with renowned artists including Ray Charles, Anne Murray, Dr. John, Celine Dion, Rita Chiarelli, Morgan Davis, Alannah Myles, Joe Sealy, Ken Whiteley, Kingsley Etienne, Jeff Jones, and Michelle Wright. She has appeared in films directed by Sidney Lumet and Norman Jewison, and starred opposite Christopher Reeve, Sidney Poitier, Jane Seymour, and Keifer Sutherland, and starred in stage shows including “No! No! Nanette”, “Anything Goes”, “Hello Dolly!; and “Raisin in the Sun”.