Interview: Pennywise (on Sea Shepherd)

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 16.08.12 | Issue # 301



If you’re a fan of so-cal punk rockers Pennywise, you’ll no doubt have their latest album All Or Nothing on repeat in anticipation of their upcoming Australian tour. You also probably heard about vocalist Zoli Téglás collapsing on stage at Full Force festival in Leipzig, Germany. But what you mightn’t know is Téglás has a burning passion for activism. All Or Nothing being his first album with Pennywise meant his messages weren’t as apparent as he wanted, but when it comes to the stage you’ll often see him wearing a Sea Shepherd shirt and talking about the cause.

“It’s very powerful, being on stage, and I don’t think a lot of people understand that if you wanna preach a positive message, you’re gonna hit a lot of people with a positive message, if you wanna preach something negative, you’re gonna fuck up a lot of people’s heads. I think it’s our job on stage, and my job, to spread a positive vibe.”

After a few weeks of rehabilitation, although being slightly worried about returning to stage, he wastes no time in continuing work with Sea Shepherd and promoting them as much as possible. “I clean the toilets on the Steve Irwin, because I’m the new guy and the new guy cleans the toilets,” he laughs. So out of all the organisations out there, why preach the message of Sea Shepherd? Well, as Téglás tells, it’s an international organisation and, with touring all around the world, it’s a message that doesn’t weaken the further he is from home.

You don’t have to look far in WA to see Sea Shepherd’s work. 60km north of Broome you’ll find a place called James Price Point, which is the world’s largest humpback whale nursery. The whales in the area are often targeted by Japanese whalers, but, as has been plastered all over the news, Woodside and the WA Government want to drill and dredge up to six kilometres out to sea and construct a jetty stretching several kilometers right through the middle of it. Oil spillage, noise and other byproducts of the construction would affect the whales and other wildlife in the area. Sea Shepherd accepted an invitation from the Goolarabooloo native inhabitants to stop attempts at such a thing.

“I know they’re going to make money off this dredging and pipeline they’re talking about and it’s always, ‘Oh, we need more oil, we need more jobs’, but not at the expense of your pristine, beautiful backyard. Australia has such a beautiful coastline and there’s so many amazing diversity in types of fish. You really need to protect that, man, because everybody’s just looking to rape and pillage off your local waters.

“I think the best way to do that is to get into the Sea Shepherd conservation society and then, through that, find out one specific thing and focus on that. You can’t change the world, but you can save that one specific thing.”

Focusing on Sea Shepherd’s tireless efforts to protect sharks in the South Pacific, Téglás sheds his thoughts on shark culling as a method of reducing attacks. “By the billions every year sharks are being killed off. If you take sharks out of the ecosystem, you’re going to get a sick ocean. It’s not going to stop them from attacking people, they’re still going to attack people until you kill them all off. Maybe people should just be more cautious and careful about where they are, because we’re actually in their backyard. Why don’t you just come here and eat some of the [feral] cats in Hollywood hills? Fuck, man, we’re in their backyard.”

Daniel Cribb