Music Monday: Midnight Oil spills the truth



It was 20 years ago, give or take a day, that the band Midnight Oil played a half-hour concert in front of the Exxon building in New York City.

Performing on a flatbed truck beneath a banner declaring “Midnight Oil makes you dance, Exxon oil makes us sick,” the ever-politicized Australian band delivered an inspired set protesting the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

You can watch the entire 30-minute performance, along with interview footage, here.

For those who may not remember, the Exxon Valdez dumped some 11 million gallons of oil in six hours, just a few miles from the Alaskan shore. (Had Sarah Palin been there, she would no doubt have seen Russia reflected off its shiny black surface.)

While other causes were initially blamed, the Valdez disaster was primarily caused by Exxon's cost-cutting negligence in regard to the ship's radar. Already downgraded in the '80s, it had eventually broken down entirely, and the company decided to save money by not fixing it.

Fast-forward two decades to the current Gulf oil spill, which had executives from BP, Transocean and Halliburton shifting the blame back and forth during this month’s Senate hearings.

Ironically, Dick Cheney’s Halliburton is intimately involved in both the current spill and our two current wars. Something worth remembering this Memorial Day.

"We're a small screaming voice," says Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett toward the documentary's end. "But we'll keep speaking. If they don't listen now, someone will be listening tomorrow."

We can only hope.

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