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More Endorsements

I saw Death Cab For Cutie last night, and in case you were wondering they seem to feel pretty strongly that you should vote for John Kerry. Similar sentiments have been voiced by virtually every band I've heard over the past few months. It'd be interesting to know why musicians tend to be such lefties. As you can read in this Democracy Corps analysis (PDF) college-educated white men prefer Bush, and non-college white men prefer Bush a lot. Unless they're in a band, apparently. My excuse is that I'm Jewish. More to the point, the specter of bands coming to Washington, DC and working little political messages into their sets is always bizarre. The audience at the 9:30 Club is a lot better-informed about politics than your average show crowd and, dare I say it, your average band. This stuff is what we do all day!

October 24, 2004 | Permalink

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» Gift Basket from Tom Jamme's Blog
Sweet Blessings, a new Christian-based online shop featuring cookie bouquets, candy bouquets and gift baskets, opens with a campaign to donate a portion of all profits to Habitat For Humanity. The devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while not a... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 7, 2005 8:26:03 AM

Comments

Umm....Matt? There are a whole lotta people living and working in DC who have absolutely nothing to do with politics-I was one of them once. Maybe the bands know their audience better than you.

Posted by: flory | Oct 24, 2004 1:47:07 PM

Left wing musicians have the true entrepreneurial spirit to try and make a living at what they love, music - right wing music fans usually just sell out for the highest paying job working for the man, so they can support their extensive bootleg CD collection

Posted by: anon | Oct 24, 2004 1:48:29 PM

The truth is that conservatives are just crap at the arts, or at least the arts that have some life in them.

This is how it's been for a long, long time --since bohemian Paris at least, and probably beyond.

Try finding an innovative right-wing band, a witty conservative comic, or (ack) anything in the Christian rock category that doesn't bring back memories of eastern bloc party hacks trying to create 'western' sounding pop music to show that communism is as progressive capitalism. Non-progressive ideology will always strangle true creativity.

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Oct 24, 2004 1:55:20 PM

grass roots of music
political insider
deaf ears don't inhale

Posted by: * | Oct 24, 2004 1:57:00 PM

Actually, Matt, don't take this wrong, but what amuses me most about your post is the fact that you make this observation at all.

It must be our difference in age. I'm 40, and my adult music tastes came of age when punk was already established (really already on its way out). For us it was given that all good music was subversive of the status quo.

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Oct 24, 2004 2:07:43 PM

Talk about lame-ass music acts, did anyone catch this on SNL last night?

"Saturday Night Live was not as "Live" as people expected last night. Musical Guest Ashlee Simpson poorly lip-synched her first song, and then a technical glitch or mistake led to the wrong vocal track being played for her second performance proving her fraud as she stood there confused while her recorded voice filled the airwaves . Simpson's band picked up the slack, attempting to save the show as Ashlee walked off the stage. Just a minute in (on a musical segment usually four or more minutes long) SNL pulled the plug, cutting quickly to a commercial."

http://www.angrycountry.com/stories/294.html

I want an investigation!!!! And maybe I'm in luck, according to the Saturday NY Times:

"Eliot Spitzer, the New York State attorney general... is casting his eyes on the music industry, particularly its practices for influencing what songs are heard on the public airwaves."

Posted by: angry | Oct 24, 2004 2:10:19 PM

I saw Bright Eyes with Jim James and M. Ward a few days ago, and Conor Oberst also made an endorsement. It was quite sly and well done, actually, and I hail him for it.

As far as I'm concerned, during these last two weeks, anyone in any profession that has any opportunity to say anything ought to take it. Even a small chance that it could change a single mind is enough to make it worth risking either the scorn and hatred of conservatives or the irony-dipped condescension of young over-educated hipsters like Matt.

Posted by: Realish | Oct 24, 2004 2:12:27 PM

flory:

"There are a whole lotta people living and working in DC who have absolutely nothing to do with politics-I was one of them once. Maybe the bands know their audience better than you."

One would assume that the highly-than-normal political atmosphere in DC would lead to a population with a higher-than-normal political intelligence. I do not think MY was suggesting that the audience at that DCFC show could name the entire Senate, but just that they were more likely to be interested in politics than "standard" fans.

Posted by: Martey | Oct 24, 2004 2:29:39 PM

I have been singing with an opera chorus for a long time. When I first started, there were few, if any, right wingers. Instead, there were a number of gay singers, who were generally lefty, to the extent they cared (many classical musicians don't care). Now there seem to be a fair number of crazy right wingers.

I think that some of this comes from the large number of church musicians churned out by religious-oriented colleges in my part of the world. They seem to have missed the liberal part of liberal arts.

Posted by: masaccio | Oct 24, 2004 2:49:48 PM

I suspect that band members form their political alegences based on social policy rather than a thoughtful analysis of economic or foriegn policy.

I am going to be stereotypical her:. I suspect they tend to enjoy recreational pharmacudicals and see the drug war as a concervative issue. They are more likely to lead sexually promiscuous lives, don't buy into the "family values" crap, and want no restriction on abortions. Their art tends to extend the envelope of the culture and they are put off buy all the hand wringing about pornigraphy and suggestive lyrics.

Posted by: Robert Brown | Oct 24, 2004 3:00:32 PM

s you can read in this Democracy Corps analysis (PDF) college-educated white men prefer Bush, and non-college white men prefer Bush a lot. Unless they're in a band, apparently.

Didn't Gore win the Post-Graduate demographic while losing those with only a bachelor's degree or some college?

I think so called intellectual elites (artists, musicians, scientists, writers etc.) have always been to the left culturally of the general populace of their era. over the past 40-50 years, cultural liberalism has come to be synonimous with political liberalism (ie. being a Democrat or Green) as such the trend is more obvious these days.

Posted by: WillieStyle | Oct 24, 2004 3:28:04 PM

I think it's a given that creative artists will skew liberal.

But still...that doesn't explain Death Cab For Cutie. Let me think about this.

Posted by: space | Oct 24, 2004 3:28:19 PM

Masaccio, the classical music demographic is really weird. My son's youth group was about 30% Asian (mostly middle-class immigrants), 10% other middle-class immigrants, 20-30% church people including several Mormons and Adventists, 20% children of musicians, and 20% hippies or children of hippies-- with overlap. (Gay-straight breakdown is unknown to me, and illegal even to think about much.)

There should have been a black contingent, but there wasn't, for reasons I don't want to think about.

Posted by: Zizka | Oct 24, 2004 3:36:10 PM

Martley:
I do not think MY was suggesting that the audience at that DCFC show could name the entire Senate, but just that they were more likely to be interested in politics than "standard" fans.

That's my point. No. I had a very large circle of friends, all living and/or working in DC - none of whom had any interest whatsoever in politics. And we were far more representative of the town as a whole than the relatively tiny minority who work directly (Hill, White House) or indirectly (journalists, lobbyists etc) in politics. They just get all the press.

Posted by: flory | Oct 24, 2004 3:43:06 PM

Try finding an innovative right-wing band

Hey, not so fast. Just a few minutes ago I heard Jerry Falwell on CNN bragging about Christian rockers selling millions of zillions of records.

Posted by: abb1 | Oct 24, 2004 3:43:15 PM

Concrete Blonde at Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill, NC a couple of weeks ago - outspokenly anti-BC04. Of course, had they been outspokenly PRO-BC04, they likely would have been booed off the stage despite their righteous rockingness. College educated white men may prefer Bush, but likely not the college educated white men that are likely to go to the 9:30 Club or the Cat's Cradle, so it's hard to say how much of the bands' between-song stuff is heartfelt and how much is pandering. Prolly some of both...

Posted by: Tony Plutonium | Oct 24, 2004 3:49:18 PM

We saw Livingston Taylor and Christine Lavin at the Birchmere last weekend. Both were quite outspoken for Kerry and against Bush. For the Lavin concert on Saturday, there was a large group of Red-Hat Ladies in the audience, who had been giving out Bush buttons before the performance. They didn't get many takers, and seemed to enjoy the show despite Lavin's remarks.

Both performances were great, btw.

Posted by: Bob Munck | Oct 24, 2004 3:52:45 PM

I'm sorry, I still can't get past the fact that a band that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the Bonzos has named themselves after one of my all-time favorite Bonzos songs. Couldn't they at least cover Cool Brittania or Tubas in the Moonlight just out of a sense of responsiblity?

On second thought, forget I said that.

Posted by: DrBB | Oct 24, 2004 5:03:05 PM

DCFC is sold out in Chapel Hill, two nights, so i won't be seeing them. but, i am gonna go see Robyn Hitchcock on Election Eve, and I expect a bit of anti-Bush rhetoric. after all, he's the guy who wrote:
Limbaugh
He was talking through a bimbo
But don't
Touch that dial
Or that hateful smile

Kate said
"The flowers of intolerance and hatred
Are blooming kind of early
This year
Someone's been watering them"

We was listening
Ah, we was listening to the Devil's radio

and that's about as direct a statement as you'll ever hear from Hitchcock.

Posted by: cleek | Oct 24, 2004 6:28:40 PM

My theory (as an old theatre geek) regarding artsy types' politics is that they have to know that success in their sphere is at least 80% luck, with the rest evenly divided between raw talent & hard work. You rarely find much bootstrap sanctimony among successful performers, or at least not to the extent you do among their more conventionally-employed peers... this is why the few celebrities that are GOP-leaning often tend to be rather marginal talents who excel at self-promotion, since their work/talent ratio is a bit off.

Besides, it's not that surprising that people who are generally observant & well-traveled, with a very broad & diverse acquaintance, are liberal. Right-wingers in that position pretty much have to be either bitter & uncomfortable or simply manipulative & self-serving.

Posted by: latts | Oct 24, 2004 8:04:33 PM

Fratboys for Bush? You don't say.

You could see them all on MSNBC at the debates, in their dumb baseball caps and dumb shirts. Why haven't they bothered signing up for George's Marvellous Iraqi Adventure yet? Emulating Dick Cheney?

(And DCFC were on the Vote For Change tour with Pearl Jam too.)

Posted by: ahem | Oct 24, 2004 9:09:09 PM


I'm a leftist musician wondering why the Dixie Chicks have yet to be mentioned.

Or f'ing Toby Keith.

If The White Stripes endorsed Bush, would they stop playing them on the radio? Why do people find it so irksome when artists color outside of their lines?

Why is Bono doing iPod ads instead of trying to stop war?

www.winmx.com

Posted by: Strange Currencies | Oct 24, 2004 9:15:17 PM

Sure, Death Cab endorses Kerry, but what about PGMG? Isn't Andrea Zollo a neoconservative?

Posted by: c00kie | Oct 24, 2004 9:57:18 PM

I'm a college educated white man, and I really, really dislike Bush. Maybe that means my Indonesian great-great grandother is coming to the fore. On the music side, I just saw Patti Smith several weeks ago. She's definately anti Bush: she did a painful version of Radio Bagdad. The next week, Jenifer Smith did an updated version of her (non related) Rado Bagdad. Neither song started off life overtly political. Am I wandering OT, or what...?

Posted by: Peter vE | Oct 25, 2004 12:34:28 AM

A lot of really good fantasy writers (Gene Wolfe, JRR Tolkien, Tim Powers I think) skew conservative, though I don't know how much they care for (or would care for, in Tolkien's case) Mr. Bush.

Posted by: Tom Scudder | Oct 25, 2004 2:54:34 AM

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