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Old 07-25-2004, 02:47 PM   #1
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Rock Royalty to Join Voices Against Bush With Fall Concerts

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo...adlines-nation

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Musicians will perform in swing states to try to affect election. Playing for a cause is a tradition, but injecting political views can be risky.

By Geoff Boucher
Times Staff Writer

July 25, 2004

Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, R.E.M., Pearl Jam and a deep roster of other rock stars will unite for politically minded concerts this fall that will give voice to dissatisfaction with the Bush administration.

The all-star rock shows, which are expected to begin in October and target campaign swing states, are in the planning stage but were confirmed by half a dozen music industry sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Insiders disagree on the unifying rhythm of the celebrity coalition. Some say it is the promise of the John F. Kerry candidacy, but at least one emphasizes the fear of President Bush's reelection. "There is a range of feeling about Kerry," the source said, "but a uniform belief that Bush must go."

The tour turns up the volume of the rock scene's role in politics, but it is not the only example of an apparent surge of commentary among artists. Rockers seem virtually unanimous in their anti-Bush stance, just as country music has seen a wave of passionate patriotism and support for the president, exemplified by the songs of Toby Keith.

MTV has been showing a video by the British dance-pop outfit Faithless that features a teen shipped off to Iraq only to return home wounded and disillusioned. Representing a different generation, Tom Waits and John Fogerty have recorded songs about Iraq. For Waits, it's the first political song of his four-decade career; for Fogerty, it's a return to his Vietnam-era songs such as "Who'll Stop the Rain."

Elsewhere, rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is steering a new voter registration drive, and the usually bratty punk-pop band Green Day has said its next album will be a political concept piece. Steve Earle has a new album laced with songs about Iraq and Bush and even a mocking valentine to national security advisor Condoleezza Rice. Blues player Keb Mo has an upcoming album of peace songs, including John Lennon's "Imagine" and Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth."

Introducing political commentary into music is sometimes a risky prospect — even if it's just a passing reference.

Last weekend, Linda Ronstadt was booed in Las Vegas for praising a Bush nemesis, filmmaker Michael Moore, while Ozzy Osbourne relented to critics and removed concert imagery that showed Bush and Hitler together on an overhead screen.

The countercultural mind-set and recklessness once at the core of rock music now seem relegated to the distant past, Elton John told Interview magazine. He said that protest had often given way to strict careerism in this corporate age.

"There's an atmosphere of fear in America right now, and that is deadly," John said. "Everyone is too career-conscious. They're all too scared…. Things have changed."

Tom Morello, guitarist with Rage Against the Machine and once a staffer to the late California Democratic Sen. Alan Cranston, is a veteran of politics-meets-rock. "I'm not surprised you're seeing this music being made, and I'm not surprised it's connecting with an audience," he said. "It's not just people who write songs — carpenters, teachers, everyone is ready for a regime change."

Morello was cited by some sources as a probable participant in the concert series, but he declined to confirm plans for the shows.

No album or song is likely to capture as much media attention as the concerts involving Springsteen in swing states, which are expected to take place in arenas.

Organizers have been tight-lipped since discussions of the idea caught the ears of some of the stars in April. At the end of last week, the formal announcement was scheduled for Aug. 4 in New York.

Other artists expected to join the lineup include Earle, the Dave Matthews Band, the Dixie Chicks, Bright Eyes, Ani DiFranco, Death Cab for Cutie and International Noise Conspiracy. There also are reports that Bob Dylan and James Taylor may be part of the bill.

The shows reportedly will benefit several organizations, chief among them MoveOn.org, the advocacy group that champions a liberal agenda through Web-based grass-roots efforts.

All-star concerts to raise money for philanthropic or political causes have become a tradition. The template goes back to 1971 with George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh and the no-nukes shows of 1980 that featured Springsteen and such artists as Taylor, Jackson Browne and Carly Simon.

Organizers have tried to keep the fall shows under wraps to spotlight the official announcement. Springsteen's manager, Jon Landau, declined to discuss the shows, and Young's manager, Elliot Roberts, did not return calls. When Bertis Downs, who manages R.E.M., was asked about the band's fundraising plans, he replied, "I can't talk about that."

R.E.M became one of the first bands to criticize the war in Iraq when it posted a song on its website in March 2003, the month of the invasion.

Others now joining the critical chorus include the Beastie Boys, a Perfect Circle and Jay Farrar, the alternative-country rocker who said Saturday that he resisted political messages in the past because the topic didn't fit his sensibilities.

But now, he said, he would feel derelict if he didn't speak up. "And there will be a lot more artists doing the same thing if Bush gets reelected."
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Old 07-25-2004, 03:27 PM   #2
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I'm glad Springsteen is getting out there and voicing his opinion on the democrats side. I wonder if conservatives will stop listening to him now.
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Old 07-25-2004, 05:15 PM   #3
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I certaintly don't begrudge anyone their own viewpoint or opinion of our current president, but a concert of artists coming together to basically let Bush know "we don't like you" seems such a waste of time when compared with other causes they could be championing. What do they hope to accomplish? I imagine the Bush-haters are going to be cheering them on while the Bush-lovers are going to be shaking their heads in dissaproval and the undecided will most likely still be undecided when all is said and done.
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Old 07-25-2004, 07:07 PM   #4
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I agree with maude that this will essentially be preaching to the converted.

However, I think what it comes down to is that this election may be so close that the deciding factor will be voter turnout. And since the target audience of a lot of these sorts of things (concerts, the P.Diddy thing) are young people who generally do not vote as a majority, the hope is that some of them who don't like Bush will be convinced to go to the polling stations in November.
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Old 07-25-2004, 07:58 PM   #5
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I don't really like musicians giving wide open and obvious support for one side or another. I prefer them sending a message, without spelling it out, naming a name etc. It's not smart for them, it can really backfire, no matter how right they are. At the same time, they shouldn't be afraid to if thats what they want. The Dixie Chick reaction was just pathetic.

However, I think all these bands really need to do is just push voter turn out among youth. I'm sure that youth vote majority Democrat anyway. Just push them to vote and you'll get the result you want.

Can I also just say that Toby Keith performs some of the most vile 'music' ever recorded.
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Old 07-25-2004, 08:22 PM   #6
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I hope people will just vote. Personally I am a Kerry supporter, but I'd rather people voted and voted for Bush than not voting at all. I just want to see a really good turnout on Election Day.
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Old 07-25-2004, 09:33 PM   #7
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Verte is right. C'mon people just get out there and vote!! Even if it is something like the Constitution Party or some random libertarian. I just hope people do not base their opinion on what their favorite celebrity says. Get out there, investigate the issues on both sides and then make up your mind. If your guy/gal loses, hey, it's not the end of the world. Try again next time.
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Old 07-25-2004, 09:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
And since the target audience of a lot of these sorts of things (concerts, the P.Diddy thing) are young people who generally do not vote as a majority, the hope is that some of them who don't like Bush will be convinced to go to the polling stations in November.
I agree. It did occur to me after I'd posted that this concert might get some fans of these artists more politically aware and willing to go out a vote, which of course would be great no matter who they decide to vote for. It's such a tragedy in our country that so many people don't excercise their right to choose their leaders, a right that so many in this world would love to have, and a right which many have died fighting to protect.
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Old 07-25-2004, 10:13 PM   #9
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Old 07-26-2004, 12:10 AM   #10
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Ho. Ly. Crap. If'n this is true, I'm gonna pee my pants. I'm in a swing state surrounded by swing states.
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Old 07-26-2004, 12:14 AM   #11
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It definitely isn't the best career move to openly support any politician. If these people care at all about your career they would realize that they have fans on both sides of the spectrum (for example, I remember reading that Jon Bon Jovi wore a Gore-Liberman t-shirt during one of his concerts this past year). It also opens them up to ridicule because they may not come across as the most intelligent people ever (i.e Ozzy Osbourne and his Hitler photo). It annoys me when some of these artists are mad because people complain about their politics and then refuse to buy their CD's watch their movies..etc. You have the right to say what you want and we have the right to stop buying your things!
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Old 07-26-2004, 12:21 AM   #12
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Damn. I feel sorry for conservatives who write off musicians because of their political leanings. They'll have no good music to listen to.
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Old 07-26-2004, 12:24 AM   #13
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Yeah, with the audience thing, (losing support for backing a particular politician) they'd know they were doing that, so I guess that's up to them. I was referring more to the 'smarts'. There are people like say Bono or Chuck D who would have no problem backing up their actions with intelligent thoughts, but for the majority.....

Overall I think it's best to put a message across that makes people think and make a choice, not shove a direct belief down peoples throats.
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Old 07-26-2004, 04:54 AM   #14
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Instances of Doucheitude and Why it Doesn't Matter

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Old 07-26-2004, 07:47 AM   #15
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Originally posted by achtung_zoo
I remember reading that Jon Bon Jovi wore a Gore-Liberman t-shirt during one of his concerts this past year).
Well, just because some of his fans may not agree with his political views, that doesn't mean that he shouldn't continue to support a particular politician.

Quote:
Originally posted by achtung_zoo
It annoys me when some of these artists are mad because people complain about their politics and then refuse to buy their CD's watch their movies..etc. You have the right to say what you want and we have the right to stop buying your things!
Very true-you definitely do have that right. I think the main problem artists have with that, though, is that people are willing to just drop their support of their favorite artist simply because they don't agree with their political views. And personally, I find that to be kinda silly, too-geez, my dad doesn't always agree with what Ted Nugent says, but he's still a fan of his music.

But again, though, you're right about being entitled to not buy an artist's things if you don't agree with their views.

Angela
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