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Controversial Rocker

Jerry Joseph has made some enemies recently because of his opposition to the war in Iraq and for his refusal to support the troops.

Suddenly, Joseph became the object of threats and bad publicity because he believes supporting the troops supports the war. After all, soldiers make the decision to join a military force and they should be held accountable. No one wants anyone to die but supporting an armed force that kills civilians is not an automatic duty, Joseph says. He sticks to his guns as the band prepares to play Alley Katz, May 11.

"People say, 'You gotta support the troops.' Well, I support them coming home. … In America we get a lot of mixed messages about what to condone and what to resist. There's a very fine line. I think … it's a very unpopular stance. The American left has been pussyfooting around. I think it is a very black and white at the moment. This is a volunteer army."

Joseph says he was vocal in the past about his politics but stopped "preaching to the converted" at shows in the late 1980s. A recent tour of Europe changed his attitude.

"We're not by nature a political band. I resisted talking about it…[But] I saw European protests. They ask where the American left is." When he returned to America, Joseph was up-front about his beliefs and it angered many people not normally lumped into conservative camps.

"I got sheets of hate mail from hippie-jam fans. It's not like I'm getting hammered by the Daughters of the Confederacy."

Joseph says he's "quit paying attention" to the criticism. He and the band are more interested in the tour promoting the band's first full-length CD "Conscious Contact." But though the fighting is mostly over and the hubbub surrounding his statements is fading, Joseph is unflinching.

"It's fine. I'm certainly not apologizing." — Ames Arnold

Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons play Alley Katz Sunday, May 11, at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $8-$10 and can be purchased at Plan 9. Call 643-2816 for info.

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