November 30, 2003


Rockers Unite to Oust Bush: Moby, Henley, Matthews ask fans to "get involved" (DAMIEN CAVE, November 26, 2003, Rolling Stone)

Bruce Springsteen told a crowd of 50,000 New Yorkers on October 4th to "shout a little louder if you want the president impeached." Two weeks later, John Mellencamp posted an open letter to America on his Web site, declaring, "We have been lied to and terrorized by our own government, and it is time to take action." Meanwhile, Moby, Eddie Vedder and Michael Stipe are organizing a TV-ad campaign that will run anti-Bush commercials during the week of the State of the Union address in January; Dave Matthews is railing against the war in Iraq in interviews; and at press time, at least three multiband rock tours planned to take aim at Bush-administration policies. Green Day, NOFX, Tom Morello, Dixie Chicks, Don Henley, Willie Nelson and Steve Earle have all played (or plan to play) for political candidates or causes. Hip-hop stars have also gotten involved. "We have a voice and a responsibility to speak out," says Jay-Z, a member of Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit, which aims to register 4 million voters before the 2004 election. "People listen to us."
Welcome to the increasingly partisan world of popular music -- where President George W. Bush is a marked man. Thirty major artists interviewed for this story cited many concerns: U.S. policy on Iraq, the Patriot Act, the Bush administration's assault on the environment, the economy and the media. But they all agreed that as the 2004 presidential election gets closer, it is time to mobilize. "The America we believe in can't survive another four years of George Bush," says Moby. Adds Lou Reed, "We must all unite and work for whomever opposes Bush, regardless of whatever differences we may have. Our motto: Anything but Bush."

At least when the great jazz men were alienated they relocated to Paris. Couldn't rockers do the same?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 30, 2003 6:24 AM

The day the music died?

Posted by: Barry Meislin at November 30, 2003 8:08 AM

To quote the title of one of political rocker's Frank Zappa's albums-- "Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar."

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 30, 2003 12:23 PM

How I wish we could deport all of our rock music performers to Paris. I admit, however, that my reasons are aesthetic rather than political: I dislike having my ears blasted off whenever I enter a bar or attend any function that features an emcee.

And wouldn't that be a great way of getting even with the French for the recent conduct during the Iraq war?

Posted by: Josh Silverman at November 30, 2003 6:35 PM

I'm still waiting for Alec Baldwin to leave the country.

Posted by: Southerner at November 30, 2003 9:07 PM

They couldn't make anywhere near the money they make here in France. The French think that Johnny Halliday is a rocker, of course they think that Jerry Lewis is funny.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 1, 2003 1:19 AM

It's good to see the Dixie Chicks calling themselves rockers now, at least. Now if we could just get rid of a few more Nashville Top 40 Country Artists, the genre might have a chance.

Posted by: kevin whited at December 1, 2003 10:18 AM