Left to right: Kenny O, Brer Rabbit, Mackenzie Roberts, Jonny 5, Andy Rok, Jesse Walker.
Photo courtesy of 60 Cycle Media
Left to right: Andy Rok, Brer Rabbit, Jesse Walker, Mackenzie Roberts, Kenny O, Jonny 5.
Photo courtesy of 60 Cycle Media
Last month, CGG clued you into the hip hop band Flobots with a Good Band Alert , so you already know we're obsessed with them.
Now, much to our delight, one of the founding members, Jonny 5, took time out from his crazy schedule (from appearing on Last Call with Carson Daly to planning the Bots' upcoming US tour) just to talk to CGG! So let's get to it. . .
CELEBS GONE GOOD: How long has Flobots been in existence?
JONNY 5: Since January 2005.
CGG: And how did you come up with the name Flobots?
J5: About 12 years ago, I was hanging out with a totally different group of people from the band I'm in now, and we were throwing some names around. Someone said, Gobots go, but Flobots flow. The name stuck with me.
CGG: You're not only an artist, you're an activist too -- and usually at the same time. What inspired you to do this?
J5: In high school, Kwame Ture [aka Stokely Carmichael, a Black activist in the 1970's] came to my school. He talked a lot about socialism and racism. Most of the rich white kids didn't want to hear what he was saying, but I was intrigued. I went up to him and asked what I could do as a middle-class white person. In 1999, I participated in the WTO [World Trade Organization] protests in Seattle and was wrongfully arrested and imprisoned for a few days. It taught me that people in power can do whatever they want. I also realized that we the people don't exercise OUR power. It all turned out ok; I received financial compensation from the city of Seattle and I reinvested it in our non-profit organization, Flobots.org.
CGG: Tell us about Flobots.org 
J5: Currently, we have two programs. The first is Live at DCH, where several band members teach music classes at the Denver Children’s Home, a non-profit which shelters and supports abused kids. We received funding to build a recording studio in the basement and we conduct music and theory lessons and show the kids how to write lyrics. The other program is our activist street team. We're building a new model. It's different than the standard street teams that most bands have. Instead of just promoting the band, they promote doing good things in the community. We have about 1300 members so far. We're still building the infrastructure for our organization and are hiring staff who will maintain and grow these programs while we're on the road.
CGG: Are there any other causes or charities that are of particular concern to you?
J5: I'm very interested in finding ways to create peace through non-violence and innovative gang intervention programs. There's an organization called the Nonviolent Peaceforce  that I support [a nonpartisan unarmed peacekeeping force composed of trained civilians from around the world. In partnership with local groups, Nonviolent Peaceforce members apply proven nonviolent strategies to protect human rights, deter violence, and help create space for local peacemakers to carry out their work]. The Palestinian conflict is also a concern of mine.
CGG: Is there anything you'd like to add?
J5: Yes. I have a lot of respect for everyone involved with Do Something. People know best what they need in their own communities, and it's cool that you're there to support them.
Thanks, Jonny 5!
Do yourself a favor and check Flobots out. You won't be sorry! Their new CD, Fight with Tools, is available now and they're gearing up to hit the road for a ton of live dates. Make sure to check out their web site to peep their tour schedule  and also find out about their street teams . We'll be standing right up front and rappin' along with them when they come to NY! Look for Flobots' upcoming appearance on The Tonight Show on Thursday, June 5.
Now, check out these cool shots, below, of the band doin' what they do best in Los Angeles!
Images courtesy of the band