Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

John Feldman - Rocking for the animals

Armed with a passion for playing live and having fun, four guys came together to form a goodtime punk band. And in 1994 Goldfinger was born. In 1996 Goldfinger played more shows than there were days! They performed alongside huge acts such as the Sex Pistols and No Doubt. The band have also donated songs to various film soundtracks such as American Pie, Kingpin and The Waterboy. Goldfinger released their sixth full-length CD Open Your Eyes in 2002 which is when the band really started to hammer home a message of vegetarianism and animal rights. The title song of the album had a prominent cruelty-free message with raging heartfelt lyrics and an accompanying video.

Since then, Goldfinger have really pushed the veggie message wherever they go – through information stalls at all of their shows and organising protests for fans to attend before they see the band’s live performances.

Lead singer John Feldmann tells Viva!: “The movie Babe got me to become a vegetarian and then I got involved with animal rights and learned about everything else.” It was two years after the switch to a veggie diet that John made the decision to go vegan. He explains: “It wasn't that hard to become vegan for me. The only thing that was a little confusing was recognising animal ingredients that I never knew about before, such as gelatin or casein [milk protein]. Once you get familiar with that it's simple. No dairy, eggs and those sneaky ingredients were the only differences between vegetarian and vegan.

“I never knew what really went on behind the scenes with animal factory farming, fur farms and vivisection [animal testing],” John explains. “They keep it a secret and now I know why: it’s because they would be out of business if people knew what really goes on. I'm glad I found out what really happens and where things come from. I just want to show other people who have no idea that they can make their own decisions on what to eat, wear, and which products to use.”

 

What Goldfinger means to you!

Michael, 14, from Newcastle:
“I had never ever thought about going veggie or vegan but then I heard Open Your Eyes by Goldfinger. When I saw the video and listened to the lyrics that was when the issue really hit home. I then watched the video for Free Me, and before it got half way through I had burst into tears. Soon after that I became vegetarian and I later got the chance to see Goldfinger in concert and even got to sing on stage with them!”

Dan, 14, from Newcastle:
“It was the video for Free Me that turned me instantly veggie. If that doesn’t open your eyes, I really don’t know what will.”

And showing people the truth is exactly what John has done. Pretty much every live show that Goldfinger plays has an information stall giving out leaflets and videos detailing how you can put an end to animal cruelty. “We do get great responses with the animal rights booths at our shows. People tell me all the time how shocked they are about the videos and literature they have seen and that they are now either vegetarian or vegan. They always tell me how much better they feel now, physically, too.”

When I ask John what advice he would give to a young fan who wants to go veggie but is having problems with parents, he says: “I would suggest doing some research on vegetarianism and show your parents this is a better way of life. Hopefully they will understand - after all, we all know that vegetarianism is way healthier than a meat and dairy diet! Failing that you could make them watch a slaughterhouse video!”

Talking about gory videos, Goldfinger dedicated the entire video for their song Free Me to exposing the factory farming industry. The end result is a moving, acoustic track which draws you in from the second it starts. There is no doubt that this video has helped change the lives of many Goldfinger fans. When asked if factory farming is the most important issue to John he says: “It's all brutal, but I try and concentrate on this issue the most. Someone becoming a vegetarian can save 86 animals a year and a vegan saves 250. It's a simple change in diet to make a big difference for animals.”

And so as they say, the show must go on. Goldfinger are due back on tour later this year, and when I ask John about a possible return to our shores he says: “I think we'll be back in the UK maybe in October, I love it out there! Plus I get to go to the awesome veggie fast-food joint Red Veg!”

Check out www.goldfingermusic.com for up to date info on the band!

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