- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 1, 2001

Midnight Oil brings its inspirational and political brand of rock to the 9:30 Club on Monday.
Formed in the mid-1970s, the Australian group is in midtour of a quick visit to the United States before its official 2002 tour in support of next year's album, "Capricornia," which is based on the 1930s novel by Xavier Herbert.
"We have spent quite a bit of time over the last few years recording and working at home, and it was high time for a visit before the sun goes down altogether," lead singer Peter Garrett says from a bus somewhere in the Midwest. "We had just finished recording 'Capricornia,' and it was high time we came back and reconnected with America."
The band members Mr. Garrett, Rob Hirst on drums, Jim Moginie on guitar and keyboards, Bones Hillman on bass and Martin Rotsey on guitar are longtime political and environmental activists who have done much more than just introduce a worldwide audience to the worlds Down Under.
"I guess we are in part responsible for shining a light on where we come from, but our music is about getting things the right way around," Mr. Garrett says.
"The goal for us is to get a cluster of songs together that show that five people from the other side of the world can tell the right stories that people relate to."
Frontman Garrett, who is 7 feet tall, leads the troupe as much more than just a rock singer. Schooled as a lawyer, he has run for the Australian Senate on the Nuclear Disarmament Party ticket and just re-upped for another stint as president of the Australian Conservation Foundation after a five-year absence.
The band originally came together in 1971 as Farm; after years of regional shows and local success, it became Midnight Oil. A self-titled debut album followed in 1978 and established the group's rock-guitar-driven sound.
Midnight Oil's stance on a variety of subjects has been made through its music. "10 to 1," released in 1982, cemented the band in the hearts and minds of rock fans around the world while sending out a cry against escalating arms races.
"Beds Are Burning" from 1987's "Diesel and Dust" screamed out with raging lyrics and power guitar while bringing global attention to the plight of Australia's aboriginal natives. Midnight Oil followed up three years later with "Blue Sky Mining," an outcry for the mine workers of Australia.
"Each of our albums existed in their time of recording, and each meant a great deal to us then," Mr. Garrett says. "You cannot separate yourself from any one release or any one message, even though some albums are better remembered than others."
One message that continually has threaded its way through Midnight Oil's music is the human condition and individual response the need to overcome crises and conflicts that are based on color, religion and socioeconomic status.
Touring through the United States at a time of great conflict, the band sees itself as having a mission to fulfill and never considered canceling its shows. Its visit includes a preview of three or four new songs from the next album.
"This tour has been a real good experience in the sense that we have always believed that the right response is to confront the events by continuing to do what we do, only with even more passion, urgency and commitment," Mr. Garrett says.
"And we are astonished at the strong loyalty of the American audience that is coming out to experience the band, even though there is a little more tension, uncertainty and anxiety.
"We are trying to give these people something to take away from the show whether that be a sweaty body that has been uplifted or something more meaningful from the songs that we have played."

Quintessential punk icon Iggy Pop storms the stage at the 9:30 Club tomorrow, offering his brand of musical ferocity.
Iggy's musical history goes back to the mid-1960s, when he was the drummer for the high school band the Iguanas, and to his stint as leader of the thrash-punk band the Stooges before he took center stage as a solo artist.
Although he has had numerous successes on the punk-rock scene, his first mainstream hit was 1990's "Candy," a love-lost ballad from his "Brick by Brick," sung with the B-52s' Kate Pierson.
Iggy, still a physically toned and visceral performer, is proud to have his songs used commercially, as in the movie "Trainspotting," which blasted moviegoers with "Lust for Life."
At the non-punk-like age of 54, Iggy is still reaching out with raw rock 'n' roll through his 16th album, "Beat 'Em Up," released this year.


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