Interview by: ~ Rana Kelly
Rana: This is Rana Kelly. I'm with Zoli Teglas of Pennywise. Zoli, thank you for talking to me today.
Zoli: Thank you for having me.
Rana: So you've only been the official vocalist for about a month and you're already abusing your power doing good deeds, I hear.
Zoli: (laughs) yeah.
Rana: So, I love philanthropic rock stars and I was so excited to hear about what you're doing with the Sea Shepherd Society.
Zoli: Thank you.
Rana: The Sea Shepherd Society is the focus of the show "Whale Wars." Do you watch it?
Zoli: Yeah, I'll be in it. I'm going on campaign with them after this next season.
Rana: Awesome, well then maybe I'll start watching it because the commercials make me cry I have not been able to actually work myself up to watching a show, but I'll watch it now. Going on the boat, that's going to be exciting, you know? Me, I would bring guns though.
Zoli: The next campaign that I'm going on is going to be a different kind of campaign. You know for them to go out and engage the Japanese is very dangerous with weather conditions and stuff, and it's dangerous because you've got these big boats crashing into each other. But, the next campaign we're going to do is the Mediterranean campaign to protect the blue fin tuna. It's being so over-fished it's going to go commercially extinct in two years, but in three years, it's going to go globally extinct.
Zoli: Yeah, so what we're going to do is try to stop poaching in the Mediterranean. The problem with that is that the poachers are Libyans, are Russian mafia, are Greek mafia you know French mafia. You know in one little boat you can pull in half a million dollars for Blue Fin. One Blue Fin tuna was sold on a Japanese auction block for £111,000 which is almost $300,000.
Zoli: So, what we're going to do is try to stop them from eradicating the species. And in the Mediterranean you don't have just one adversary like the Japanese, you're going to have five or six different fishing groups, fishing boats that are funded by different countries, you know like the Russian mafia.
Rana: (laughs) that's awesome! That is so awesome! Mafia wow Good luck with that, Zoli.
Rana: So, recently you protested at The Hump restaurant in Santa Monica. Give us a rundown of that.
Zoli: So what happened was I was working out at the gym and a friend came up to me and said hey, man, they're serving whale meat at this restaurant, at The Hump. That was about a year ago and friends of mine and the Sea Shepherds were coming back from their campaign harassing the Japanese out in the Southern Pacific. So these are people off a boat who risk their lives to try and stop the Japanese from killing our whales that are in a whale sanctuary, and right here in Santa Monica there is a restaurant that is serving whale meat! So, they said, let's go over there and check it out. So we went over there and tried to have them serve us whale meat. But, they wouldn't. They just served us all kinds of really bad and I don't eat any kind of fish or anything, I'm a vegetarian. So we were trying to eat all of this food and I was getting sick to my stomach, with all this sushi, but we wanted them to serve us. So after spending almost $480.00-$500 on dinner they didn't serve us anything. Anyway, to make a long story short, I met up with the guys from The Cove; that movie The Cove that just won an Academy Award?
Rana: Yeah, Ric O'Barry.
Zoli: Ric O'Barry, Charles Hamilton and I met up with them and said you guys do the undercover stuff, let's go back to The Hump and see if they'll serve us whale meat. So we went with two girls. One was an Asian girl who was a Vegan and the other was a Caucasian girl and we sat there and ate sushi and raw meats; raw horse meat. We were just like, turning green and they finally served us whale meat. We sent it later that night to a lab and it came back as not just whale meat but sei whale meat. It's a really endangered species of whale. It's the third largest whale in the world and it's really, really, really endangered. So, when we finally got them to serve us the guys from The Cove said we had to get federal agents involved. So we went back two more times with federal agents; and after The Cove won the Academy Award, you know, we knew it was time to bust them. They got busted on a Tuesday, so on Wednesday morning they ran a story in The New York Times about it but nothing in L.A. I said I've got to do something so people know about these places. By Friday, we had CNN there, we had A.P. (Associated Press), we had Channel 2, Channel 7, and Channel 11. The Cove people are still doing interviews down there. They're still actually protesting at night and putting up signs that say "this place serves whale meat." So, they got fined for $200,000, they might shut down the place, you know, it's a big deal, because you can't do that and some Japanese people are asking "are you guys against the Japanese people?" And we're like, absolutely not. Our culture, in America, it is illegal to serve marine mammals. You cannot eat whale in America. These people were flagrantly serving whale meat.. and this was the second time they've gotten busted for it but the first time nobody made a stink about it.
Rana: Yeah, and I read on CNN that they just released an official apology yesterday from the restaurant. Now, are there charges being served on Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, the chef, do you know?
Zoli: Yeah. You know, we don't want anyone to go to jail. I don't want people to lose their jobs and stuff, but at the same time, it's like, you know what you're doing. You know you're serving whale blatantly out in front of everybody. You think you're not going to get caught, you know. And it's like we're sending our friends to go risk their lives at the other side of the world, you know, dodging ice bergs and stuff, and..
Zoli: I've got friends that work in so many other Japanese restaurants that are just disgusted, you know, that these people are serving whale to the super rich. And the people that are buying it aren't Japanese. They're Caucasians.
Zoli: And they're killing an entire blue whale for maybe twenty five pounds of sushi.
Rana: Yeah, and the horse meat really bothered me too because it comes from these horse slaughter houses, these auctions, which are just a really, really nasty business. So, I'm glad that you're doing what you're doing. Now, you guys are working on new material with the band as we speak, right?
Rana: Can you tell us anything?
Zoli: The album is right now, pretty tracked and it's sounding like an old school type of Pennywise album. You know, like the first few albums, kind of like that. I'm really trying to keep my vocal performance and my writing style to have the Pennywise mentality in mind. You know, Jim writes totally different from me, and so I'm trying to blend the two styles together. So, we're still in early stages but we've got seven songs.
Zoli: I keep playing it for guys that don't like me being in the band, per se, but they love the band. All four dudes were like "this is good." That's good for me. My priority is the fans.
Rana: Good. I mean, coming in as a new vocalist is always a really dicey business for any band, so.
Zoli: You know, Black Flag did it well. Iron Maiden did it really good. AC/DC did it real well. I mean, there's a lot of bands out there that pulled it off. Or, you know, do you not want the band to not tour anymore? Some people are like without Jim you should break up the band. Why? You know, why can't you keep writing new music and keep moving forward? Jim's writing new stuff that's really good. I've heard that stuff too. You know, he's a nice guy, we're all real good friends, so why can't we keep moving forward with the band? It's all about this album. It's a make or break album, super, super important so we've been focusing a lot on it.
Rana: Well, I'm excited. I have one more question. How much did personal fear of Tim Curry and clowns come into play in your decision to join Pennywise? Are you having nightmares yet?
Zoli: I'm not a Sci Fi guy. I come from a background where I was raised in the country.
Rana: You've never seen It? You know, Stephen King? (laughs)
Zoli: No, I haven't. And, sorry to say, I hope people don't get mad at me for saying this, but I didn't know Pennywise was actually a clown. I thought it was from the "penny wise-pound foolish" terminology.
Zoli: You know, I went on youtube to watch Jim's moves on stage and all of these clowns came up and I was like "what is this shit?" (laughs) I didn't know. I didn't know.
Rana: (laughs) you're fired, man! Well, that's your homework assignment from me.
Zoli: It is. It is. I'll watch the movie for you, okay?
Rana: Saving whales is one thing, but watching It? That is the most important thing in the world right now.
Zoli: Yeah. Oh, and I've set up Pelican Rescue Team on facebook. If anyone has a warrant or a DUI charge or any kind of really big ticket that they need to work off on community service I can write them off. They can come out and get pelicans with me, because I've been rescuing pelicans for fifteen years and I just started my own non-profit. So if anyone needs to work off community service, please check out Pelican Rescue Team on facebook and sign up with us and I'll help you through the process.
Rana: I will put up a link.
Zoli: Don't pay the man.
Rana: (laughs) that's right. I will definitely put up a link. But, what you should do is have people with DUIs and shit-they need to go face the Russian mafia,
Zoli: (laughs) yeah, they need to get on the boats.
Rana: (laughs) they need to be bait. Well, thank you so much, Zoli, for talking to me today. I really appreciate it.
Zoli: Thank you, you have a wonderful day.
Rana: You too.