Monday , May 20 2024

No Beating Around the Bush: Impressive Array of Artists to Stage Anti-Bush Concerts

It’s too bad the atmosphere of repression in the United States is preventing musicians from speaking out on matters political:

    In an unprecedented series of concerts in nine swing states, more than 20 musical acts — including Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and the Dixie Chicks — will perform fund-raising concerts one month before the Nov. 2 election in an effort to unseat President Bush.

    The shows, which will begin Oct. 1 in Pennsylvania, will take an unusual approach: as many as six concerts on a single day in cities across the states expected to decide the November presidential race. Other stops on the tour are North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin and the key state in 2000, Florida.

    “We’re trying to put forward a group of progressive ideals and change the administration in the White House,” Springsteen told The Associated Press in the most overtly political statements of his 30-year career. “That’s the success or failure, very clear cut and very simple.”

    The artists of different generations and genres will tour under the name “Vote For Change,” with shows Oct. 1-8. But the money generated will go to America Coming Together, which promises on its Web site to “derail the right-wing Republican agenda by defeating George W. Bush.”

    The anticipated millions of dollars will be spent in the swing states before the presidential election, said ACT president Ellen Malcolm.

    The shows will be presented by MoveOn Pac, the electoral arm of the liberal interest group, with an official announcement expected Wednesday.

    ….The idea was hatched by several of the acts’ managers, and quickly expanded. “Once we started talking to each other, ideas started percolating and other artists started reaching out to us,” said Jon Landau, Springsteen’s manager. [AP]

Artists participating thus far include:
Pearl Jam
Bruce Springsteen
Dave Matthews Band
Jurassic 5
Dixie Chicks
Death Cab for Cutie
James Taylor
Ben Harper
My Morning Jacket
Jackson Browne
Bonnie Raitt
John Fogerty
Keb’ Mo’
Bright Eyes
John Mellencamp
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds

Sagacious words from the artists:

    “A vote for change is a vote for a stronger, safer, healthier America. A vote for Bush is a vote for a divided, unstable, paranoid America. It is our duty to this beautiful land to let our voices be heard. That’s the reason for the tour. That’s why I’m doing it.”
    Dave Matthews

    “As concerned mothers, women and most importantly concerned Americans, we are compelled to do what we can to inspire other voters to get involved in this year’s election. We hope our participation in the Vote For Change Tour will be a catalyst for positive change.”
    The Dixie Chicks

    “R.E.M. is very happy to be a part of the Vote for Change Tour. This unprecedented coming together of musicians underscores the depth of the desire for change in our country’s direction, and it feels right to use some of the freedoms granted to us in a democracy to try and effect that change.”
    Mike Mills

    “It’s about showing up and being counted. I’ll be there and I hope you will too.”
    Keb’ Mo’

    “There has never been a more important time to band together and bring about real change. I want to see Americans everywhere honor those who have fought and died for our right to vote by getting out to the polls on Election Day. Democracy only works if we work it.”
    Bonnie Raitt

    “This is the fourth presidential election which Pearl Jam has engaged in as a band, and we feel it’s the most important one of our life time. We believe in the power of the first amendment, and have always exercised our right to free speech in every aspect of our lives and music. This year there is no more powerful way for all Americans to exercise that right than by voting. Given the extreme political climate of a country at war, we are proud to stand among the many artists involved in this tour and to encourage Americans not only to vote for a president this November 2nd, but to vote for the change they wish to see in the world.”
    Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam

The lineups and concert schedule is here.

This seems to be taking the momentum of the “get out the vote” campaigns, and taking it a step further to actual candidate advocacy. Surely a pro-Bush concert lineup would be far less impressive aritistically: Toby Keith, Ted Nugent, Kid Rock, um … I wonder if they will bother.

Dave Matthews says he wants a less paranoid America, this would imply to me that he thinks the terror threat is being taken too seriously. My deepest concern is that it not be taken seriously enough.

Notice also that in no way is this presented as a pro-Kerry effort – it’s starkly anti-Bush.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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