Thursday, March 26, 2009

All i wanted was a Pepsi . . .

So i went out tonight to some gathering in a space where i am supposed to sit for an interview for 4 or 5 minutes of air-time (I should say cable or satellite time) tomorrow for Fuel TV. I rarely if ever go out at night anymore but i thought it would be a good idea to scope out the situation for the interview the next day and meet the folks i was going to have to deal with ahead of time. Fact is i knew I'd be able to get a glass of Pepsi with ice at the party, so i went out for 10 minutes.

When i was in my 20's i was practically addicted to Pepsi, then once i became vegan and more conscious of the planet, my health, and the corporate control over our bodies i eventually cut out Pepsi, for many years i'd go without any, more recently i started having them maybe a few times a year at most. Tonight i just had the craving after some crazy BBQ seitan my wife cooked for us.

On the subject of Pepsi, when i was managing Suicidal Tendencies back in 1983 as we were working on putting together that debut album (which i produced), I asked Mike after we did the demo with Spot, to change the lyric to Pepsi instead of Coke (yup, originally it was Coke), i admit i was being selfish and silly with my brand loyalty at the time, but i also convinced Mike that this way no one will mistake it for the drug cocaine, and why not go with the underdog and the whole Pepsi generation angle anyway... Well that seemed to work out pretty well for everyone involved i guess.

Here's the ST song and the video. I have a small cameo at around the 35 second mark, i'm on the left talking to the girl as Tom Araya - from Slayer- pushes Mike. (The Girl was Tom's girlfriend actually). Other notable cameos from hot skaters of that era, "Gator", Natas and Stedam.

Funny that some 25 years later (a few weeks ago) i'd get a call from an advertising agency wanting to use some old skate images of mine of Tony Alva for a new campaign they are working on, I let them know immediately that normally i would just say no out of hand, in assisting in the promotion of any corporate products, but since it was going to make good money for Tony who i know really could use it, and due to my old former brand loyalty as a teenager and twenty something, i figured maybe i'll consider... I did some research and found out that Pepsi as a corporation certainly was not as bad as Coke, they had actually done some pretty cool things. They were boycotted last year by a bunch of ultra right wingers who were mad they "gave a total of $1,000,000 to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays", and had recently even sold off some of their uglier assets such a Burger King and some other horrible food chains. The new campaign was pretty cool and even included Bob Dylan's blessing (using a lot of old/new comparisons).
I said tell me how the image will be used, and no you can't use one of my iconic images from Fuck You Heroes for any price, but maybe another less known image from the same period, and i'll think about it. They got back to me saying any shot i think would be good they would consider, but then i found out the usage and exploitation factor of the shot... Out of sheer curiosity I asked what kind of budget they had for the photos, they said they were paying a few thousand dollars an image, I had to laugh, a major campaign in more than a dozen major cities across the US? I told them there was no way i'd do it for anything less than six figures, i thought relatively speaking this was fair (even though i had never received that much for a legal usage before - sometimes it's just fun to fuck with these advertising people - obviously i'd be giving some of the money to causes that campaign against obesity or something like that if they actually paid it). They said they had no authorization for that much and would have to ask the client, I said if you want the best you obviously have to pay for it, if it was a charity project i'd give it away, but c'mon this is one of the largest corporations on the planet, "they hired your agency, what's that cost?" (silence)... In the end, she was polite and wrote me an e-mail back after a few days, they decided to go with another image from another photographer that Tony recommended, I'm sure it was probably Wynn Miller, who was pretty much Tony's personal photographer back in 1978 and he got some great shots of Tony back then, although often a bit over produced for my taste. I sure hope he got paid better than what they told me they were offering...


  1. Didn't Chile experience a CIA funded coup - Allende overthrown for Pinochet - at the behest of Pepsi?
    And more recently, allegations of Bush2 working for both Pepsi & Coke in India?
    I love a little sugar water from time to time too, and some respect to the money going out to good causes like HRC and gay rights, but the past shouldn't be forgotten and certainly can't be covered up by spending money on PC causes. It's a tough nut tho - hell I can't really support Nike's sweatshop politics but I'd rock some Stecyk Blazers, and I don't want to support child labor in Indonesia but when I go surfing in winter I need a wetsuit to keep me warm. All I wanted was a Pepsi, all I got was a ball of confusion.
    (BTW, is the first skater off the ramp a young Natas?)

  2. And i also read they did some good stuff in the south against segregation in the early days of the struggle. In the end i am very happy i did not do it just for all the same reason's i always stay away from major corporations and of course the reasons you've stated above, but taking the risks they did on race way back when and on gay issues so recently, i give them a little credit .