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Punk against Bush

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CMU reports on punkers banding together against the President.

Rock The Vote – but with a political agenda – we like it! Good Charlotte,
Pennywise, Green Day, NOFX, Alkaline Trio and Sum 41 have all agreed to
participate in a new compilation album called ‘Rock Against Bush’. Organised
by NOFX singer Fat Mike, who owns independent label Fat Wreck Chords, the
album will try to encourage the punk community to take an interest in
politics, and more importantly to use their vote against the Bush administration. The album will be accompanied by a number of live shows immediately after its release, and in the lead up to the election itself.

Fat Mike: “About a year ago I decided to use my influence to get bands together to speak out about the president. I think it’s our responsibility as citizens and musicians to do so. He’s wrecking the country and the world.
He’s starting wars for no reason, our economy is in the toilet, he’s ruining the environment, and he does things like cut taxes when we need money. We’re trying to build a coalition of kids 18 to 25. We want punks and other disenfranchised young people to vote as a block, which no one has ever done
before. Kids are the biggest group of people that don’t vote. We want to change that.”

Mike admits that the name ‘Rock Against Bush’ might cause opposition at some
colleges and radio stations and that a name change may be required. “Certain
colleges won’t advertise it as Rock Against Bush, and a lot of radio stations won’t mention the name either. So we may just call it the Punkvoter tour or something, but to us it will always be Rock Against Bush.”

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About Marty Dodge

  • Alex

    NOFX made much better albums before they got a social conscience. They have a huge catalog of catchy, clever, funny music. Between “The Decline” and the new CD, it seems like every other song is just another whine about how everyone who doesn’t see the world their way is a stupid sheep. I’d rather hear more songs about Fat Mike’s obsession with big lesbians than his new love affair with Michael Moore.

  • Kel

    What these “punks” fail to understand is that voting for Democrats will inevitably lead to statist solutions to purported problems. Where did the anarchist ethos go? They should be towing a small government, libertarian line — not shilling for Democrats.

  • frost@work

    I think what Alex and Kel both seem to be missing is that one of the key idealogical points behind punk rock is the freedom to speak for yourself. Fat Mike tells people to use their brain, then turns around and says “think whatever you want as long as it’s this _______.” It’s a shame that he’s rallying behind one specific party. Punk rock isn’t about political parties… it’s about issues.

  • Eric Olsen

    I don’t even think it’s about issues – I think it’s about questioning authority of all kinds, questioning underlying assumptions, popping pomposity and false morality. None of these things in volve any particular political leanings or issues. It’s more of a mode of operating than anything else, and that mode can be applied to anything.

  • frost@work

    absoultely Eric… I agree with you. Questioning authority includes the infamous Fat Mike.

    What I meant by ‘issues’ is that punk rock ideals focus much heavier on issues than on broad-based group support.

    Ultimately punk rock ethics boil down to a post-modern realistic version of fairness and equality. Telling me to dump bush and vote democrat isn’t punk rock… well maybe pop-punk, who knows?

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    Most punk is far too left-wing/anarchist for my taste, whereas metal/hard rock was always more libertarian.

    There are metal bands that tried to be political and lefty like Warrior Soul. Most people werent really impressed with Cory Clarke’s left-wing polemics. There were others who tried it, but they tended to be more subtle than Clarke.

  • BRICKLAYER

    But the ethics you speak of would certainly not pertain to all that is considered punk. I don’t believe Antiseen, G.G. or Poison Idea are much concerned with “a post-modern realistic version of fairness and equality”.

    Their “Punk rock ideals” are more along the lines of taking a dump in public and making you eat it. And hey, isn’t that more punk rock than Food Not Bombs?

  • BRICKLAYER

    But yo Marty, I think alot of that is because the bands know where their bread is buttered. Prototypical (but truly not typical)Harry Hessian (son of Joe Sixpack) wants to shoot guns, rob graveyards, and defile the school nurse. He wants the Pantera soundtrack of his life to validate his lifestyle. He does not wish to hear Phil Anselmo blather on about fixing the Medicare prescription drug problem (now, the non-prescription drug problem, that being they can’t get enough of them, is fair lyrical game). Of course, alot of metal goons like Zakk Wylde and psycho Phil seem like the militia type anyway. Or at least the lone gun man at a McDonald’s type (but not the “Lone Gunmen” type-those dudes were cool. Curse you Fox for another cancellation of a great show!) Harry wants free access to weapons, narcotics, and he wants to ride his bike without a helmet. Hey metal heads are Libertarians!

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    How about my “blood brother” Ted Nugent? He is very libertarian…guns, huntin’ and loud guitars.

    Of course some the death-metallers want to defile the local graveyard, shoot guns and shag the local animal population. (Or is that just in Norway?)

  • BRICKLAYER

    Truly. And I can’t wait for Ted’s reality series.

    I believe some Long Island Slayer fans also share the affinity for graveyard frolic and exhumation.

  • Eric Olsen

    This is a good discussion – the other problem with politics and music is that most musicians are content to let you know how they see it, they feel the need to know you see it their way. There is a place in art for advocacy, but it must sell itself from within, not because (insert misician) says so.

    And lastly (for the moment), artists in general tend to be absolutists and rather naive about the real world, which again is fine in the context of art: war IS bad for children and other living things, love IS the answer, and it’s swell for a story or painting or song or poem to point these things out, but this generally does not translate well to the real world of policy.

  • mike

    This idea that punks are leftists and metalheads rightists or libertarians is way overblown. When I was living in Hermosa Beach and Torrance in the early 1980s, an awful lot of punks I met were very racist and homophobic. Most of the rest were totally nonpolitical. It was the violence that got them all excited. The “anti-hippie” rhetoric of early punk often came across as right wing and anti-leftist.

    Henry Rollins would ramble on on and on at concerts and nobody would pay any attention to him. Then the kids would all get drunk and go beat the crap out of some Van Halen fans.

    I’ve met quite a few metal kids over the last few years who are leftist partly because of listening to Mudvayne, System of a Down, and Rage.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Wait, NOFX is against Bush? Well, why didn’t they say so earlier. I’ma write a check to the DNC right now!

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    Are you implying that being racist and homophobic is rightist? That seems to be the gist of some of the thing said. Are straight-edge punks extreme right or extreme left? It is certain they aren’t libertarian that is for sure.

    Punk has always been far more political than metal or hard rock, and that politics tends to of an left variety. Metalheads/hard rockers tend to be of a libertarian ilk with a few more rightist than that. Most rock bands are publically a-political for reasons of practicality, mostly due to career.

  • http://www.buzzgrinder.com Frost

    andrew: breaking news… not all people who would classify themselves as ‘punk’ are racist or homophobic. same goes for straight-edge (that just means they are vegan, don’t drink alcohol, no promiscious sex… nothing that’s ‘bad’ for your body). That’s like saying that if someone call himself a Christian then they are allied with the Klan.

    Oh, and in many cases it has been the outright stance against certain political policies that has propelled bands into the position they now hold.

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    Er Frost why are you telling me this? I never said punks were, it was Mike who mentioned those two things, not me.

    I know what are straight-edge too.

  • frost@work

    ohh, sorry andrew…my bad. I misread your post and jumped the gun a bit.

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    Heh, no problem.

    It seems some other rock musicians don’t want to let the punkers get all the glory.

  • Yossarian

    I have to say, I’m a big fan of Fat Mike and NOFX. In fact, I think their music gets better and better with each CD (although, I should say that I enjoy Pump Up the Valuum a bit more than War On Errorism). They’re tight.

    Having said that, I can’t help but get irked every time Fattie opens his mouth on politics. He’s just another punk spouting off on things that piss him off, offering no solutions. He does little more than give the 14 and 15 year olds out there (who are mostly too young to understand or even care about the true issues) a reason to yell, “Fuck Bush!”

    Bush is wrecking the country and the world? How so? Is there a decent, logical, valid explanation for this? Of course not. It’s just the typical rhetoric.

    He’s ruining the environment? How? He’s done no such thing. Anyone that says this is not looking closely at the facts. He’s ruining the economy? Not hardly. Look at the stock market. When did it start it’s steady decline? At the end of 1999… one year before Bush took office. Even more, the economy is turning around now faster than most economist had thought possible. Starting wars for no reason? This makes me giggle the most. Obviously, he’s never heard of a U.N. resolution.

    I don’t mind a punk band standing behind a party. That’s no big deal. But, for a band, or for anyone, to have such blind hatred of another party is absurd.

    As long as NOFX is a band, I’ll enjoy their music and go to their shows. But, I’ll be the one in the crowd that truly thinks for myself, rather than think the way Fat Mike wants me to.

    (my two cents)

  • mike

    The White House is going to be devastated to learn that it’s lost the punk vote.

  • Eric Olsen

    Very well-put and thoughtful Yossarian: love the music, ignore the rhetoric. People are supposed to grwo out of an ehtos of negativity when they get older, but some never do.

  • allison

    of course president bush is ruining the economy! we aren’t even aloud to look at the energy policy, a lot of which was written by the oil comapanies themselves!

    president bush didn’t even sign the kyoto treaty.

    in 50 years if things go as they are now at least half of the animals on the endangered list will be extinct.

    and yossarian, i’ll agree with you that mike does just give kids a reason to yell “fuck bush” but i really don’t care why people hate bush just as long as they hate bush, and a lot of kids do know their stuff against bush

  • http://prozack@mindless.com Zack

    Yossarian-You admitted yourself that you are a NOFX fan…..14 or 15 year old?

  • Scott

    For everyone who thinks that Fat Mike is saying “Vote Democrat” perhaps you should take a stroll over to the punkvoter site. Nowhere does it say vote democrat it simply encourages for young people to register to vote and vote against Bush. I believe there is a third party canididate by the name of Ralph Nader.

    Secondly, what is the difference between Fat Mike organizing the Rock against Bush tour and the soon to be endless supply of commercials slandering John Kerry being paid for by “Friends of George W. Bush”?. Isn’t it the same thing? At least Fat Mike is trying to get young people to vote.

  • kent

    the whole political punk thing isn’t a surprise to those of us up in Canada, as we have grown up with bands like D.O.A. and the Dayglo Abortions. There are a number of left wing political bands (and not just recently either). Kreator have recorded a number of anti-fascist songs, for example. The whole notion of metalheads not being political is changing. It surprises me that more metalheads are not left simply because the right represents the greater threat to their ability to listen to the music they (and I) love.

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    Well considering the whole laballing/parental guidance thing came via the PMRC… run but one Tipper Gore…I would dispute that. Its a myth that the right want to limit your freedom to listen to whatever music you want.

  • robot

    i saw nofx on conan the other night. im really disappointed.i keep hearing all this crap, bush ias an asshole bla bla bla, but what would they have done different?we took the war to the enemy.have you forgotten the near 3000 people that lost their lives in a cowardly attack from a group of warmongers that say they will kill us all even if it means they die in the process? i think fat mike ought to keep his fat mouth shut.

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    Punx against Bush. It’s about time. Back in old punk days (1975 to 1985) we all hated Reagun. For the same reason. Not paying attention to domestic policy.

    So at least this resurgence of punk rock has a cause. It helps!

    peaceloveguidance

  • Jason

    Is there a website with info on exactly what Bush has done that is so bad? And what are are the “punk” solutions to these problems?

  • Eric Olsen

    Jason, actually there is here, not that I agree with it, however. There is also Conservative Punk, novel concept though it may be.

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    Punk solutions? Get rid of Bush.

    plg

  • Vlax

    i think it’s stupid to use your ‘powers’ in the music industry to do something like this. unless of course you only joined a band to say things like WE HATE BUSH! but than that’s not really music. so i think this rock against bush or any future president is and always will be immaturely stupid

  • Kristen Drozdowski

    Dear Whom It May Concern,
    Your stupidity makes me sick. How can you be so ignorant? How dare you say these things about OUR President. Do you honestly want John Kerry to be OUR fucking leader? That pussy, couldn’t even wipe his own ass. You should do some research about John Kerry. He’s a war hero for four fucking months? He was discharged because of self-inflicted wounds. What a great man he is, huh? Look into his war days. The false knowledge that you are spreading through the air waves, with the help of Hollywierd’s finest, is going to be the downfall of this country. If John Kerry gets elected and he pulls all of the troops out of Iraq. I hope you personally feel responsible, when American life is no longer safe. America will get what it fucking deserves. Unfortunately, I am only eighteen and I will have to deal the aftermath of all of the stupid fucking people, like you.

    Sincerely,
    Kristen Drozdowski

  • Piper Kilbury

    You know, folks, my advice for voters is just to look at the platforms of the various candidates. Bottom line, these artists aren’t speaking out to try and bully their mindless fans into voting Democrat. They’re trying to point out social injustices that they notice. Libertarian or not, is there a candidate? Not really. The options are, keep Bush and keep things the same or vote for “the other guy” whomever he may be.

    Let’s face it, we’re living in a culture of fear. Cheney said if we don’t vote for Bush, we’re going to get attacked by terrorists again. What’s that if not bullying us into doing what he says? And regarding the 3,000 lives that were lost in the September 11th attacks, what about the 1,000 american lives that were lost in the war against Iraq, a country that NEVER atacked us. A country WITHOUT weapons of mass destruction. And how many of their children and civilians have we killed in bombings? I’m pretty sure the toll reaches about 3,000 by now.

    Just, do what you want. Read the platforms of the candidate and go with the one who seems most appropriate to you.

    –Piper Kilbury

  • picasso

    I consider myself a staunch liberal, and I’ve been a punk rocker for at least four years (I’m 17). I do enjoy NOFX’s music, though they’re not my favorite band (Bad Religion is, NOFX #2). Everyone must understand that punk politicas have always been erraric. For example, the Sex Pistols were flat-out anarchists, The Clash were widely renowned (as renowned as an 80s punk band could be) as ardent leftists, and Johnny Ramone (RIP) was a staunch Republican. However, it is acknowledged that punk generally has a liberal bent. Since its inception, punk has always been politically charged, and in my opinion, many punk songs are some of the most thoughtful and socially aware pieces of music I’ve ever encountered (the likes of “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “Liza and Louise” can be discounted).

    I find it gratifying that punk is finally trying to consolidate its many diverse opinions into one cause. Punk rockers are not by definition drunken, atheistic bums. Case in point, me. I don’t wear combat boots and a four-foot-tall purple mohawk (no offense, those of you who do), I believe firmly in the value of education (I’m in the top 5% of my graduating class this year), and I write editorials for the local paper in this ultra-conservative corner of New Mexico (you wouldn’t believe the pissed-off letters I get). Hippies also bug the crap out of me. Incidentally, I’m also on a Secret Service watch list of people not to be allowed anywhere near the president and have been kicked out of a Bush rally before I even got in. All for what? For having and opinion? Making a public statement? This is one reason to be alarmed at the Bush Administration. There are many others, though it’s difficult to summarize them into a ten second sound bite suitable for digestion by the generally apathetic 18- to 25-year old. Forgive my rambling, but the point is, Fat Mike and Co. obviously feel strongly about this, and if you want to make a difference, you must try. To me, that is what “punk” is all about.

    (my five dollars and two cents)

    -NK

  • http://www.mata-hari.de Horst

    Hi,

    you may be interested in this link:

    DOWNLOAD for DSL users
    http://www.ramonez77.com/beatonthebush.mpg

    DOWNLOAD for ISDN users
    http://www.ramonez77.com/beatonthebush.avi

    DOWNLOAD for MODEM users
    http://www.ramonez77.com/beatonbush.avi

    It leads you to the extremely funny anti Bush-video “Beat On The Bush” by Hamburg/Germany’s punkrock legends Ramonez’77. You find this videotrack also on their upcoming new Album “Rest In Pace”, wich is going to be released by Mata Hari Enterprises by the end of October 2004.

    Please let me know what you think of this and help us to spread this link around!

    Cheers,
    Horst

  • Eric Olsen

    very funny, thanks! “Beat on the Bush, Beat on the Bush, Beat on the Bush with a toilet brush, oh yeah”

  • bob hope

    first thing people need to keep in mind, is that Bush lied to the american public. first he and his staff said that there were weapons of mass distruction and they harbor terrorist in iraq. the findings have now concluded niether was found. the uraniam shipments can be used for many different things, that is not a basis for potential weapons of mass destruction. so like clinton he lied to the people and the world. now Bush keeps saying the world is safer, but it doesn’t matter. He lied thats the bottom fuckin line.
    Oh and punk rock has always been about questioning authority. That doesnt mean you have to sit back and let you, your family, and friends get fucked because you were to self ritious to vote. if you dont believe that shit about Bush read the 9\11 commision report. Be informed before you start talkin shit.
    PUNK IS A STATE OF BEING

  • http://www.downsizedc.org/ Alex Peak

    QUOTE: “Most punk is far too left-wing/anarchist for my taste, whereas metal/hard rock was always more libertarian.”

    Punk’s DIY attitude is very compatible with Libertarian principles. In fact, Billie Joe Armstring (lead singer of Green Day, a band that is listed up in the very first post) is a member of the Libertarian Party.

  • donna

    Kristin,
    I would LOVE it to be because of me, or fellow punks, that the troops were pulled out of Iraq.
    You’re the fucking oblivious one. Bush is destroying our goverment, not saying it was the finest before him either, but he’s doing his best to completly demolish everything. This argument is pointless, but I’m right.
    ha.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    When Punk started out as an anti-authoritarian movement the authorities it was rebelling against were mostly leftist, both here in the US and also in Britain and Europe. But the political affiliation of those in authority is largely irrelevant, since punk is clearly anarcho/libertarian so it’s just anti-government and anti-authority. There are plenty of people on the far right who are anti-Bush and opposed to the Iraq war as well.

    And BTW, if you’re under 40 you’re not a punk, you’re some sort of poser.

    Dave

  • godoggo

    Punk’s an attitude, man. Support the scene, man.

  • godoggo

    Seriously, though, it’s really about being a kid.

  • godoggo

    Apologies for the previous. Carry on.

    I’m going to have to just make an effort to steer around Nalle if I’m going to continue looking at this site.

  • godoggo

    …indeed, the entire “politics” section.

    Self-control, godoggo.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    By all means steer around me if the little bit of truth and common sense I spread is troubling to you.

    In the words of Mencken, I’m here to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

    Dave

  • godoggo

    Well, no, that’s not right.

    And I really don’t want to get into a thoughtful discussion of the topic of Dave Nalle, but this is as good or bad a time as any to express some thoughts I’ve been having about this site on which I’ve been wasting so much time during my unbelievably lengthy convalescence.

    I come here because, unfortunately, none of the independent music blogs I’ve come across seem to have enough readership to support much discussion – certainly not the blogs that focus on the types of music that I’m interested in. There are some really excellent e-zines with content that, let’s say, interests me more than any of the formal articles on Blogcritics, and perhaps some good discussion groups (which I haven’t explored much, since the format doesn’t much interest me), but the combination of individual articles with comments boards appeals to me, and it appears that a group blog like this seems to be the only way to make that work.

    This is not at all true of political blogs. The most popular political blogs are fully able to support active discussion boards. And there are many, many political blogs from all over the spectrum that are both popular and excellent (and by excellent, I should add, I mean far better than I myself am capable of writing), and with generally sophisticated commenters. Whereas on those occasions when I come here to relax and read about some music weaken and look at the political section, I feel as though I’ve fallen into a sewer. It’s all gotcha and sarcasm, and in any event never close sophistication and insight of the better independent political blogs.

    In other words, in case this was unclear before I am not stearing clear of the political section merely to avoid Nalle, any more than I am avoiding Nalle merely because of his politics.

    So, do I hit submit or not? Yeah, why not?

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Marty Dodge

    Course not all “punks” are anti-Republicans…Joey Ramone was a Republican. And in his later years Joe Strummer supported the Tories in the UK…

  • scotjames

    Wow

  • Anarchy-Bob

    The only band even close to ‘punk’ on that list is NOFX, the rest are pop, or hardcore pop. Then again if it’s against an asshole who favors his rich friends over the poor american people, then unite and kick ass. I’m against any kind of government though, so attack them all.

  • http://mtredstar@verizon.net MT

    Marty — Joey Ramone was a democrat. Johnny was the republican in the band.

  • Zach

    Both parties are fucked. No bipartisan presidential candidate will ever do anything good for the economy, partly cause all they care about is themselves and partly because the president has little effect on the economy. As for Bush being an idiot, yes of course he is, but so is Kerry. It takes a certain type of person to become a politician these days, and it’s these people you don’t want in the office. To steal some lines from Lewis Black “In America we have a two party system. The Democrats are a party of no ideas, the Republicans are a party of bad ideas. The way it works is a Republican stands up in congress and says ‘I have a bad idea’ and a Democrat stands up and says ‘I have a way we can make it shittier’.”

    If anyone here actually wants to make a difference vote for a third parties, too many people believe in them but don’t support them because they think they have to stop the democrats or the republicans. If we keep letting these extremist two party people run the country one of the other will lead us to fascism, either in the form of neo cons or communist democrats….so to make things short (too late) vote for third parties and both republican and democrats can fade away.

  • WILLY ZINYA

    FIRST OF ALL [Edited] LIKE FUCK YOU’RE 17 PICASSO. AND WHAT CONSTITUTES A ” STAUNCH LIBERAL” HAVE YOU EVER HAD TO BE SO “STAUNCH” AS TO GETTING YER HEAD KICKED IN AND GETTING BACK UP AGAIN? THEN THE NEXT DAY, OR NIGHT GOING BACK TO THE SAME SITUATION? [Edited] MY COMMENT IS {IT COULD ALSO BE AN OPENING LINE FOR A “FUCK YOU SONG” BUSH & BLAIR, GOING NOWHERE} NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY OR DO THEY WILL ALWAYS FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!

  • Casey

    I just think it’s kind of weird that Punk has always been about anti-conformity and such, yet Fat Mike is telling people that Bush is a horrible person and you should go Democrat. I think Punk is being open minded about the world, not just in the realm of homosexuality or gender, but also politics. They should let the people make up their own mind instead of telling them what to do. I’m Libertarian and straight edge, but I did it on my own. I didn’t let the media or society tell me, I did it on my free will. I think what Zach said is brillian :)

  • Zilch

    wtf Willy? hahaha, nice.

    man, all this continues to lead us into further converse. i just wish i could have been born between the mid 70s-80s. Punk has been, still is and will forever remain by far the uncanny and beautifully outspoken voice it is today.

    Too bad its not as active as it once was.

  • jackmosh

    if your liberal or conservative, punk won’t fit in to these ideologies. it’s independent. so vote for a independent party. dems and repubs won’t help you.