Simmons Unites Anti-War Stars

Lou Reed, Jay-Z, Dave, Missy, others join alliance

February 28, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Russell Simmons, Lou Reed and David Byrne were among the artists on hand in New York yesterday to announce the formation of Musicians United to Win Without War, an industry-wide peace alliance. Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, Outkast, Busta Rhymes, Roseanne Cash and Tweet are among the other members of the group, which will use its public platform to support weapons inspections, as opposed to invasion and occupation, as a means to resolve the conflict with Iraq.

The group took out several ads in the country's major newspapers this week. Members will also work in conjunction with social organizations like the Sierra Club, the NAACP and NOW, as well as the film-industry analog, Artists United to Win Without War, to enhance public awareness of the complex issues that make up the conflict.

Along with the rapper Mos Def, Simmons, head of Def Jam and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, has also recorded two thirty-second TV spots attacking the Bush administration's policies in the Middle East.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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