In the early 80s, TSOL helped define the Southern California punk movement with powerful, politically charged anthems. Today, Jack Grisham — the voice and brain behind True Sounds of {{{Liberty}}} — is taking his message a step further, by becoming one of 135 candidates joining the {{{recall}}} race to become California’s next governor.

With everyone from Larry Flynt to Arnold Schwarzenegger to Gary Coleman turning the race into a Network Battle of the Stars it’s easy to see Jack’s move as just a publicity ploy, especially with a new TSOL release in the works. But don’t say, “What you talkin’ about, Willis?” just yet. Jack’s got no ulterior motives. He’s just a simple family man — not to mention a lifelong surfer and community activist — with a solid grasp on the issues. And considering that the last time a recall occurred was in North {{{Dakota}}} in 1921, Jack sees what many pundits would call a political clusterf–k as a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for the average man chance to make a difference. So get ready: because if you think Jack’s live music performances are charged, just watch him stage-dive off his political platforms.

SURFING: We guess the first question is why run? It’s not just to sell albums?
JACK GRISHAM: Not at all. And here’s the thing that makes me mad about that question. I was against the recall. Whether or not Gray Davis did right or wrong, he wasn’t criminally responsible for anything. So that shouldn’t even have been done.

But I like to look at it as: are you going to complain? Or are you going to do something about it? And the real beauty of this situation is this is probably the only time in our lives that a regular citizen could stand up and be Governor of California without needing all the money or going through the whole process.

And, yeah, we got people making jokes about all the cranks jumping in — you know porn stars and whatever else — but what pisses me off, is more people haven’t jumped in. I would’ve liked to see the president of Surfrider run for Governor. Artists, activists — this is our chance! These people let it go by! I mean, we’re talking about getting somebody in the governor’s office who’s spent some time in the tube [laughs]! I mean, somebody who really cares about our beaches. Not just somebody who’s driving by on his way to a ${{{300}}} lunch. I mean, I go out everyday and pick up the filth that surrounds my house. I live right off PCH in Huntington Beach and it’s a f–king nightmare. And this was our chance to stand up and say, “No.” And I don’t just mean the beach guys, but snowboarders, offroad guys, everybody should’ve run.

Now that you say it, 247 applicants does seem light considering it took almost {{{900}}},000 names to start the recall process. But then, it’s a lot easier to sign a petition outside Albertson’s than it is to actually do something.
Well, this is why I’ve never liked politics. To me it was always a couple guys discussing the president over a latte at Starbuck’s but they weren’t doing a f–king thing about it. And here was a chance to really do something about it. And a lot of people didn’t stand up and take advantage of it.

So what issues do you think will appeal to surfers or coastal residents.
Oh, there’s millions of issues involved. I’ve got a lot of friends from Oz, man, and they don’t treat their beaches the way we treat ’em here. You’re not even allowed to mess around [laughs]. And we take our most valuable commodity in California and we take a shit on it. I live by a sewage treatment plant. And one of the funniest things — well, it wasn’t funny, it was sad — but I’m out after Clean Ocean Day or Earth Day and I’d never seen the ocean so dirty in my life. I mean, I’ve had earaches, I’ve been sick, rashes, sinus problems — and something’s got to be done about it. But it’s got to be done responsibly, also.

Then there’s health care. I mean, the whole reason I’m involved in this is I screwed up my back surfing Swami’s [laughs]. Remember last year? January 8 ? It was so good! And I came off the bottom of this solid double-overhead set and I felt like this little click in my back. It ended being dusted. And I didn’t make enough money to be able to afford health {{{insurance}}}. I mean, I’m a dad with two kids. I do labor jobs when I’m at home or whatever. And I went to the hospital to get some help and they said I made to much money to qualify for aid, but I still don’t ‘make enough money to afford health insurance. So I said, what you’re telling me is, if I quit my job, leave my wife and kids and hit the streets, you’ll fix my back. And she goes, “Yeah, basically.”

So that was one of the things — health reform — and, of course, the environment, and the undocumented alien issue. But mainly what I’m trying to do in my platform is champion the people. That’s really what it’s about, man. It’s almost split, like there’s California the business and California the people, and I’m looking out for the people. California is not a corporation.