The Wallflowers When The Wallflowers debuted their first single "Reboot the…
- Posted on Nov 15th 2011 1:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
Julien M. Hekimian, Getty Images
In a recent Greenpeace video interview, which you can view below, the punk legend revealed that he was jailed in Greenland for two weeks in June after he and 17 fellow environmentalists stormed an oil rig.
Prior to the raid, Simonon had worked incognito as a cook aboard a Greenpeace ship, concealing his rock-star identity from fellow activists. (Evidently, they're not big Clash fans.) Early one morning, during a shift change aboard the Leif Eiriksson, Simonon and his cohorts climbed aboard and demanded to see the rig's action plan for dealing with oil spills.
"They basically said, 'We're not going to show you,'" Simonon said. "I think think they probably didn't have one. They said, 'If you don't get off the oil rig, we're going to phone the authorities of Greenland and say you've hijacked the oil rig, and the police will come and arrest you.'"
Sure enough, the law swooped, and Simonon spent two weeks in the clink. While behind bars, he continued cooking, and one of his fellow Greenpeace prisoners credits him with keeping the gang going.
"Jail food was horrible, but he saved us," the man says in the video.
Having fought the law and -- insofar as he wasn't locked up for longer -- won, Simonon is still trumpeting the Greenpeace cause. Last week, he joined Damon Albarn and the other members of the supergroup The Good, the Bad and the Queen in playing a concert aboard the organization's Rainbow Warrior boat as it sailed down the Thames.
If it wasn't quite the guerilla-style performance the Sex Pistols pulled off in 1977, when they rented a barge and tailed Queen Elizabeth II as she rolled down the Thames celebrating her Silver Jubilee, Simonon insists Greenpeace is making a real difference. In Greenland, he says, fisherman are starting to realize how oil companies are endangering their livelihoods.
"Slowly, hopefully, that will be a positive thing, and people can start challenging the government there about what is taking place," Simonon says. "Or at the end of the day find an alternative way, rather than just drilling for oil."
Watch Paul Simonon Discuss His Greenpeace Adventure
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