Rocktober: Get Out And Vote!

Jerry Joseph - Jackmormons, The Denmark Veseys, Stockholm Syndrome

Is this election different than past elections, why or why not?

Jerry Joseph
I think every generation likes to think theirs is the most important moment and I am certainly guilty of that. Every election there are so many insanely crucial issues on the table it's dumbfounding as always the things that hold the public interest: flag pins, horny teenagers, Hanoi in the '60s while arguably Rome is burning. Unfortunately, that's been the American electoral experience for my lifetime - 51% voter turnout, I mean please. Two books that helped me get a little clearer picture this past year (paperback by the time I read them) are "The World Is Flat" by Tom Friedman and "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein. If Klein's book is true then this could be the moment we recover from the shock of neo conservative capitalism and fundamentalism. Are we smart enough to see the opportunity? I tend to be more pessimistic. I live in Harlem and everyone here seems to firmly believe that at the end of the day "Americans ain't voting for no nigga." If that's true, then sit back and enjoy the flames, the difference this time is how little will be left to burn by the next election.

What is the relationship between music and politics - and how, if at all, has this relationship affected your music?

Everything is richer with music in the background. Weddings and funerals and sex and drug use and yes politics. Though there are examples, Bob Marley being the obvious one, of a direct correlation between the two, it's generally an embarrassing joke that people take their political cues from musicians. I mean, not that I'm any good at this, but I make a living jumping around and acting like a 16-year-old. I would be loath to think I had anyone's ear. However, by design of the job, I am delusional every night and think maybe I do have a soapbox and should use it. That borders on the pathetic, case in point: in the '80s all I had to do was say "Free Mandela!" and I was a conscious dub warrior... That being said, I would love to write politically and intelligently, where the songs don't come off like a series of Southeast Portland bumper stickers. Hard to do and I lack discipline. Easier to run around with Immortal Technique blasting out of whatever and hope that covers it.

If you could speak directly to all American voters, what would you say?

You get the government you deserve. If McCain wins this one the only issue will be which motherfucker is holding the marshmallows?

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