The Refusers: Anti-Vaccination Rock & RollJuly 31, 2012 @ 4:34 pm (Updated: 8:25 am - 8/1/12 )
By Rachel Belle
Bainbridge Island Dad, Michael Belkin, thinks vaccinating children does more harm than good. But instead of just writing an op-ed or standing on a soapbox, he's decided to combine his strong beliefs with his passion in music. About two years ago he formed The Refusers, a protest rock band with a cause, and their title track, Do No Harm, has gone viral on youtube; watched by more than 200,000 people.
"This music is about something. That's one thing that I find lacking in a lot of modern music. The songs are 'Baby I love you, baby I need you,' or some kind of variation on that theme. We're about something. Sort of in the spirit of the Occupy Movement: There's something wrong out there and we're trying to make people aware of it. It's about awareness."
All 15 songs on the bands soon-to-be-completed album focus on the danger of vaccinating.
"We have a song called Little Prick which is a humorous little take about getting a needle stuck into you. We have another song called Get Your Flu Shot. Every time you walk into a drug store, these days, you're accosted by people trying to push flu shots onto you."
Michael's strong feelings come from a deeply sad time in his life, when his daughter Lila died.
"She was five weeks old and they said, 'Bring her in for her shots.' I said, 'Okay.' At that point, I didn't know anything about vaccines. I thought, 'Oh, great, it protects against diseases.' She became fussy and about 13 hours later it became gruesome; lips turned blue, foaming at the mouth, she died. They found a swollen brain and I'm absolutely convinced that the Hepatitis B vaccine she took did that."
A UC Berkeley statistics grad, and former Wall Street worker, Michael delved into the research.
"I testified to Congress about the Hepatitis B vaccine. The number of cases of death, from the vaccine, outnumbered the cases of the disease in the Under One age group. Hepatitis B, you get it from sharing needles or from sexual transmission. So they are giving this vaccine to newborn babies within the first 24 hours [of being born]."
Michael has gone on to have two more children, who have not been vaccinated, and his son Sebastian is the band's drummer.
"He's 11-years-old and he's our drummer. He's a good funk rock drummer! I played with Dallas Taylor, from Crosby Stills and Nash, I used to make my living in LA in the music business. My son, he started at the age of four, and he just came at it and he is a good funk rock drummer. The stuff he grew up with, Tower of Power, James Brown, he's not a copy cat, he has a really good feel for the groove."
Michael says he wants his son to grow up not taking things at face value, to investigate, to question, to protest if things aren't right.
"Any college in Massachusetts, including Harvard and MIT, the Hepatitis B vaccine that killed my daughter, is a requirement, so don't even bother applying. He's going to face that in his life. I want him to be an intelligent resister."
Michael thinks vaccines are unnecessarily pushed by money hungry drug companies and says his kids are not putting other kids in danger.
"Let me make something very clear: I am not making the decision about vaccinations for anyone but my own family. I don't want to make the decision for you or your children. But we are standing up for the right to say it's okay to refuse a vaccine."
Bonneville Media encourages site users to express their opinions by posting comments. Our goal is to maintain a civil dialogue in which readers feel comfortable. At times, the comments can descend to personal attacks. Please do not engage in such behavior. We encourage your thoughtful comments which: have a positive and constructive tone, are on topic, are respectful toward others and their opinions. Bonneville reserves the right to remove comments which do not conform to these criteria.