ROCKTOBER 2004 : : VOTING ON THE MIND

As JamBase rolls into Rocktober and we all approach the 2004 Presidential Election we have asked a few of our favorite artists to give their opinion on a number of questions we'd like to see America give some thought to. Every day this month we'll have another musician and another outlook for your perusal. So come on in and see what's up, and please, whatever you do, and whomever you like, just make sure TO VOTE!

ROCKTOBER 2004
Click on the artist for their answers to the following:
• Why is it important to vote?
• Is this election any different than elections past?
• Do politics have a place in music? Why or why not?

1

Dave Schools
2

Saul Williams
3

Al Schnier
4

Rickie Lee Jones
5

Dan Bern
6

Michael Franti
7

Marc Brownstein
8

Rodney Holmes
9

Reed Mathis
10

Tony Furtado
11

Martin Perna
12

Rajiv Parikh
13

Reid Genauer
14

Eric McFadden
15

Darren Pujalet
16

Garrin Benfield
17

Aaron Redner
18

Steve Kimock
19

Jamie Masefield
20

DJ Logic
21

Michael Kang
22

Danny Louis
23

Josh Clark
24

Paul Barrere
25

Mike Dillon
26

Vernon Reid
27

Les Claypool
28

Drew Emmitt
29

David Gans
30

Zach Velmer
31

Steve Molitz

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DAVE SCHOOLS
Widespread Panic :: Stockholm Syndrome

Why is it important to vote?


By Mary Ruf
The main reason to vote these days is simply to let the powers that be know that you are a responsible citizen and that you do have an interest in what they are doing. Voting is a right and a responsibility. A government that thinks no one is watching is one which is moving towards unchecked power.

Is this election any different than elections past?

This election is very different from previous elections in that I feel the viability of our very electoral process is at stake thanks to the snafus involved in the 2000 election, especially the situation and resulting court decisions involving Florida. Check the percentage of US citizens that have actually registered to vote and then look at the number of those people who actually bother to cast their votes (especially in local and off-year elections) and you will see a shockingly low percentage of Americans using their guaranteed right to take part in their government. This can only say to the politicians in Washington that we either don't care to take part in the process (dangerous) or that we are giving them a mandate by silence to continue with their policies. The only way to make our voices heard is by taking the first step and going to the polls.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Of course politics has a place in music! Artists can only reflect and reinvent what they see around them. Some artists choose to make social responsibility their sole focus while others may take a more subtle tack. This is true in all artistic media. In the end it is up to the artist to choose his or her stance and then to project that message outward. I think this may be the difference between art and entertainment. As far as politics and music go, I always thought Frank Zappa said it best by emblazoning the back of his records with the message: "Don't forget to register to vote!"

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SAUL WILLIAMS
Saul Williams

Why is it important to vote?

Well the importance in voting is in learning how to play your part in the decision making process. Learning that you are part of a collective and that your voice counts. That's the importance of voting, is learning the importance of your voice.

Is this election any different than elections past?

Yes and no. I think that I'm old enough to really give a fuck. However the fact remains that the true powers that be are not affected by elections. So the real change that we want to come about will only be changed on the surface through voting. We have to make some strong inner changes, some strong inner decisions as individuals that will do the... I'm not a Christian but I'm about to quote Jesus, where he says, "It will turn son against father." You know, "My truth will turn son against father blah blah blah..." That's the type of shit that has to happen truly in this society. So the guy who is the heir of you know "such and such corporations" that manipulate so many people in whatever other nation that they manufacture their products in. The son that's the heir has to say, "You know what dad; we're going to make your company philanthropic when I become the head of it." So the change is going to have to occur by us having the courage to stop perpetuating what our parents instilled in us. And that's a very hard thing to do. Because what did our parents instill in us? Our parents instilled that we're different, we're better than that, we're chosen (laughing cynically) all these things that make us different, that distinguish us from humanity, and the lesson of today has to be our oneness with humanity. We have to find the courage as individuals to stand up against the bullshit that we face in our individual particular plight. To say that we are one, in the face our friends, in the face of our loved ones, in the face of our family, and in the face of the law.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

It always has. You think about what put U2 on the map it definitely wasn't their album Pop, it was more like their album War. That had a fucking voice and it means something. What put Public Enemy on the map? I mean even if we talk about fuckin' Iggy Pop and the MC5 and punk rock and all these cats talking about the bling generation, that meant something for all those kids to stand up and say "FUCK THAT! I'm fuckin' wild!" That was important for that era. That was a political statement. The fuckin' Beatles were political. From their transition from "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" to "A Day in the Life" that was political!

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AL SCHNIER
moe.

Why is it important to vote?

Not only is it our right to representation, it is also our responsibility. We need to be a part of the equation, or else democracy on this level cannot work. It becomes a tool for an elite lobby system that typically favors big business and not the welfare of the community at large (sound familiar?)

Is this election any different than elections past?

Yes. More than ever, our place in the world community is being jeopardized by the misled actions of our current administration. We should be leading by example, not by intimidation. If we focused on basic rights (human/plant/animal/etc), the environment, education and basic health care and stopped chasing profits, the world would be a much better place. We need to start thinking a little less short term.

Do politics have a place in music?

Yes.

Why or why not?

Music is a means of expression. Artists convey insight into the human condition. Music is also an escape (from that very same condition). The trick is balancing the two. Some of our greatest music is political - Bob Marley, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, The Clash, R.E.M., Pink Floyd, The Beatles. The key is that these artists have all created some of our best non-political music as well.

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RICKIE LEE JONES
Rickie Lee Jones

Why is it important to vote?

The question of voting is a complicated one. We live in a world where it is easier and easier to avoid the outside and stay totally in the inside. The circle of friends, of comfort, staying in a routine and not rocking the boat, or staying insulated with drugs or worry or sex, and never caring--never being able to care--about what is going on in India or Indiana or down the street. In that other part of town. It is important to vote to resist the atrophy that sets in to the muscle of concern. The question can't be whether or not you will win, the question is whether or not you are concerned. We live under a regime that has done everything but outlaw the vote. It has shown its contempt for the traditions of our nation every time it turns. From Bush's refusal to engage in debate, to inform the press, to inform the people, his choice of staff, his conflict of interests, he makes no attempt to disguise his contempt for the American people. He has no intention of telling us anything he does not want us to know, and he without shame--believes like any megalomaniac--that he [Bush] will decides what we are fit to hear and know. We are his peasants. He will decide if we can know that a nuclear power plant is leaking, that there was no just cause to invade the sovereign nation of Iraq and kidnap its leader and kill his children. He will decide that photographs of dead United States soldier's coffins cannot be published because it will make him look bad and folks will be even more against the war than they are. Imagine, forty years ago, if Nixon would have tried these things. We were a freer and smarter nation then. WE would not have tolerated, our press, our establishment - no "fringe left" but WE, The People, would not have tolerated for a moment this squall that is Bush. This storm that is his lies and contempt for the American freedoms we have won and cherish. Bush, faced with a real war hero, digs up people to attack him. Nothing is sacred; this is a man with no respect for anything. No respect for free speech, for peace, for a soldier, for a twenty year olds life, for the elderly, for little children. For anyone. No respect for the right of the people to know everything. He keeps all knowledge hidden and a uniformed and frightened people toddle to the voting booths. He snatched some kind of cap of fatherly dominance, I can't imagine how, and people now are prepared to roll back two hundred years of constitution and law in just three short years under the misguided and corrupt regime of Bush. Is it important to vote? The whole wide world is at stake. Our children may never know how wonderful American was just three short years ago, before this man forced his way through the door of the presidency. They may think it is for their own good that they don't know about corruption, lies, war, and betrayal. They may think it is in their best interest that the government monitor and control everything they see, hear, and learn.

Is this election any different than elections past?

This election is like no other, because this is not a fight of ideology, left and right, more or less taxes. This is a fight of good and evil. It comes down to that. This right winged extremist is no less frightening than his cousin in spirit Adolph Hitler. Hitler also was an outsider, a mans man, a regular guy who appealed to a base and poorly educated segment of a population, primed and ready for a fascist leader to tell them their way was the only way and that every one needed to be like them. That everyone wanted to be like them. He decided what they would learn and set a tone for the kind of spirit that would dominate the culture. It is very similar today. The difference is that we are the one and only nation engaged in this experiment called Democracy from the get go. We have fought hard not to let one person come in and take over and undo the laws many republican and democratic presidents and congresses have forged. There have been other wars, terrible wars. Never did we dream of undoing our freedom in order to protect it. You cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. This president seems to think it was a bad idea to have the baby at all. The freedoms American's enjoy are not what led to the bombing of 9/11. To take away our freedom is just that, it is not an answer to a problem. We were bombed because of the horror brought on by agents of our government by institutions like Halliburton. To take over Iraq and set that company up over there is just adding acid to an open wound. If the message is to be that we are strong, let it be. But this message seems to be that we are no longer engaged in the business of democracy, and that democracy is temporarily out of business in the United States until further notice. Let the notice be now. Let's win back our nation and put it in the hands of people who will not take away our rights (Americans) in order to punish the people who want to take away our rights (terrorists). You don't need to know how I voted or how much money I have when I get on a plane. We have to stop this machine in its path. The homeland security, the Patriot Act, the cessation of our right to know, we can and must vote these people out of office and stop the unmaking of the United States.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Politics have a place in music if they have a place in the musician's life; it's as simple as that. Music is just a human being writing down and singing out his/her feelings. You can't say some things are inappropriate for feelings and for putting a melody to. Everything we care about we sing about. Music, like all art, reflects the time in society, and emanates from the emotional make up of the musician. It might be unpopular socially to write a political song, like say 1976 when the Eagles are singing about life in the fast lane and no one wants to be reminded of the hippy thing eight years before. But that would not mean it was inappropriate to care, and so right. It just might not be lucrative. It is appropriate to say what you feel. To be effective, though, is another thing. If you are writing to effect, or to affect... because politics as a trend can be helpful to getting people involved and looking around them. This can't ever be wrong.

My intention is to be a part of the big broom that will sweep these hard times into the past. That Bush will be an aberration, a flaw, a momentary lapse in judgment, and not the anti Christ, the thing that hid in the bell tower of freedom all along, waiting to eat it from within. Scary monster? You bet. There are always people waiting to use our freedom to gain power and then roll back the freedom for everyone else. You must be especially attentive to the techniques people employ. They will always use them on you, sooner or later. We want a moral person. Our morality is not a sexual topic; it is a topic of the fabric of being. We will fight for your right to disagree. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you... This is the kind of American I grew up in and it is the one I intend to fight for, and I will not stand for it being distorted and retold as if it never was really that way at all.

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DAN BERN
Dan Bern

Why is it important to vote?


By Patricia Masisak
If you look at the struggles of the past to simply be allowed to vote--for blacks, for women, in other countries--you begin to see that it's not something to just take for granted. It is not the only thing to do as far as participating in what we still hope is a democracy, but it is an undeniably important one. And it's the only way to get Bush and his cronies out NOW.

Is this election any different than elections past?

The right has gained control and fallen off the edge. They make centrists look like Abbie Hoffman. With such clearly dangerous people in power, I think this election takes on greater significance than anything in recent memory.

Do politics have a place in music?

Ask Woody Guthrie. Billy Bragg, Michael Franti, Ani DiFranco, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger. To even ask such a question (granted you may be being rhetorical) shows how fragmented we've become. Music and politics have been interwoven since the first caveman plinked two rocks together. If you change the music, you change the soul of a society.

Why or why not?

I think I answered above, but... I welcome all the musicians coming forward and speaking up. Musicians have a long-term trust relationship with their fans. And they have a platform, a stage, every night. It's only right that they speak out, if that's how they feel.

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MICHAEL FRANTI
Spearhead

Why is it important to vote?


By Anton Corbijn
It's not who gets elected that determines the equality of a democracy, it is how many people participate and the foreign policy of the U.S. government dramatically effects the day to day life of people around the world that can not vote in our elections. So when we ignore the ballot box, we are ignoring potentially billions of people who suffer at the leadership of this nation.

Is this election any different than elections past?

To me This election is no different than any election in the past. The only reason that this election has the illusion of being so important is because we have reached a crisis state due to the lack of participation in previous elections. If all of us had taken it upon ourselves to be more aware, this right wing take-over by a C-minus college student, neo-conservative might not have happened.

Do politics have a place in music? Why or why not?

Music is the expression of emotion covering the full rainbow of issues and concerns that all of us have and it is impossible living in the world we are living in today for people not to have strong feeling about the war, homelessness, lack of health care, lack of education resources, clean air or clean water and jobs, all of which are effected by politics. Rock and rap music have always been about rebellion, and in keeping in that spirit, it is important for artists today to raise their voices when they see there is an under-representation of concerns of the people and an over-representation of the concerns of the Corporation. But as much as there is a place for politics in music, music should also equally represent the other wide range of emotions that we all express, included among them, happiness, love, sadness, fear, anger and celebration. I don't know if music can change the world overnight, but it can help up make it thru a difficult night.

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MARC BROWNSTEIN
The Disco Biscuits

Why is it important to vote?


From ConcertShots.com
Participatory democracy only works really well when everyone participates. If you choose not to exercise your right to vote, you forfeit your right to defend your basic freedoms. Voting may be the easiest way of ensuring that the decisions that are being made are representative of the way you feel.

Is this election any different than elections past?

Well, for one we are at war. And that is something that hasn't been happening in an election year in my lifetime. Well definitely not a war of this magnitude and danger.

Danger is the key word here. Many people feel that the direction our country is heading is very dangerous, but only time will tell. I am not that scared, but I live in Santa Cruz, and somehow I feel safe here.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Well, according to Danny Goldberg in the new issue of Relix, it is a myth that politics were ever that prevalent in music, other than a few songs out of hundreds of records. I knew that the Dead and Phish were decidedly apolitical, and I respect that completely. I do believe that the music should take you elsewhere. I think of the music as the escape mechanism, the fantasy world. That's just the reason I do HeadCount though, because I do care about the direction of the country, I just don't necessarily want to sing about it, and I would bet a lot of artists agree. Not U2 though, definitely not U2.

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Rodney Holmes
Steve Kimock Band

Why is it important to vote?

This administration wants us to believe their domestic and foreign policies won't cause any direct harm to the general public. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their policies directly affect each and every one of us. Not to mention the rest of the world, as well as the environment. They want us to feel apathetic to the plight of less fortunate people in our society and around the world. They don't want us to know what's going on and vote based on the issues. This is precisely why we must vote. The courageous men and women who were involved in the civil rights movement of the nineteen sixties have sacrificed so much, so that you and I could vote, and to do so free from intimidation. We have a responsibility to vote this administration out of office. We have a responsibility not only to our country, but to the rest of the world as well.

Is this election any different than elections past?

This election is extremely important. Especially after what happened with the last election. We are at a critical point in our history. Everything that forward thinking Americans have work so hard for is in danger of being wiped out. Our civil rights, as well as our democracy are in jeopardy. If we've learned anything from history it's not to take our civil liberties, our democracy, and our vote for granted. There is a general lack of awareness that has infected our country. Ignorance and apathy will eventually destroy everything that we have worked so hard for.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Sometimes.

I believe that most artists are social critics to some degree, and sometimes it's necessary to express social and political views through the music. I would even say that it is sometimes our obligation. I believe that in some situations, not saying anything is basically contributing to the problem. Even though we're musicians, we are still American citizens and we should respond to what's happening around us.

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REED MATHIS
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey

Why is it important to vote?


By Jaci Downs
We hear that word "freedom" thrown around a lot these days. We are told that we are "defending freedom," "promoting freedom," "giving the gift of freedom" to presumably less-civilized nations. We are told that terrorists "hate our freedoms" and that the "price of freedom" is going to war.

The freedom these people speak of is not, in my opinion, actual freedom. Actual freedom, in a national sense, can only come about through voting, and protecting our rights.

If Bush gets "re-elected," (assuming he actually was elected in Florida in 2000) we will be telling the world that we, as a nation of individuals, agree with his snubbing of the international community, his allegiances to the industries that are profiting from his foreign and environmental stupidity and shortsightedness, and his corrupt infestation of cronie appointments.

The problem is, most of the country doesn't agree with him.

In the 2000 election, 45% of eligible voters voted, and LESS THAN HALF of those voted for Bush. And yet, now we have a catastrophic world-protested war on our hands, and our environmental policies are set back decades.

Everywhere I go people my age talk about how much they disagree with this administration. But DO THEY VOTE? The sad truth is that in the past, a larger percentage of the conservative base goes to the voting booth than the liberal base. If all these twenty-something’s who can't stand the evils they hear about had voted in 2000, we'd be in an economic surplus right now, and we probably wouldn't have needlessly alienated the international community and invaded a country that was not a threat to us. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

Is this election any different than elections past?

This election is more than a little different than elections past. Much more is at stake. All three branches of government are dominated by a right-wing conservative agenda (which is the political minority in this country). Through the FOX news network, this minority is able to capitalize on the populace's inability to do its own research, and convince staggering numbers of voters to believe absolute lies. If this continues for another four years, bush will not only convince more idiots of his smoke-screen malarkey, but he will appoint Supreme Court justices that will cause backward fundamentalist capitalist billionaire mischief for decades to come.

It's serious this time. 45% of the eligible voters showing up is not acceptable when the future of the entire earth is to be decided. THESE SATANISTS MUST BE STOPPED.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Well, these days there's not much of a public sphere anymore. It's not like we can go down to the market square and stand up on a box and speak out... there's no one there! So, as far as I'm concerned, anytime we are in a position to speak to the public, we should do so if we feel so inclined. Unfortunately for me, most of the folks going to see my group are already open-minded and educated enough to be outraged at this administration, so we're kind of preaching to the choir. But if it stirs up and emboldens even one person enough to go VOTE on November 2, than that is more important than all the passive pleasure anyone's ever gotten from hearing a note of our music.

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TONY FURTADO
Tony Furtado

Why is it important to vote?


By Tony Stack
To be part of the process to make a change or stay the course... we all have to use our voices.

Is this election any different than elections past?

Yes, I firmly believe it will impact us all for generations... there is so much on the line here from environment to economy, from human relations within our nation to relations with other nations!

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Yes, music is a form of human expression, and when people have strong feelings and ideas about political issues, one place for them to come out and be shared is music. It can help bring people together on issues, it can help people realize they aren't alone on feeling a certain way about politics and politicians, and it can shed light (seriously or humorously) on our many problems... music can help to heal!

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MARTIN PERNA
Antibalas

Why is it important to vote?


By Jo-Ey Tang
Voting is the first step in taking part in the political process. We get out of the system what we put into it, and voting is the first step in getting involved in our destinies. It is not, however the end. We need to keep pushing forward regardless of who gets elected.

Is this election any different than elections past?

It may seem like a charade, but it's the most important charade of our lifetimes.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Music serves to uplift the human spirit. In these times, when our future is at the risk of plunging into fascism, music needs to uplift the spirit by engaging people in a political manner.

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RAJIV PARIKH
New Monsoon

Why is it important to vote?

It is important to vote because every vote makes a difference and those of us who are younger or first time voters it's even more important to vote in order to make your voice heard. Even if you are not into politics, or you’re not into the democrats or you’re not into the republicans or can't stand the bi-partisan system we have, or don't think that your ONE vote will make a difference, it will. So make sure to register and go vote on November 2nd for the candidate you want to see in office. The time for change is now.

Is this election any different than elections past?

Yes. We are in a war where over 1,000 U.S. soldiers have died - that is a tragedy which makes me very sad. I don't even know why we are at war in Iraq-do you? I don't believe in war - I believe in non-violence and peace and diplomacy. War is never an answer to anything; it just causes more pain and suffering which leads to more hatred and misunderstanding. And why is the alleged mastermind behind 9/11 still at large? Why aren’t we doing anything about that? And why am I paying so much money for a tank of gas? And why are schools getting there funding cut? And why are so many people not able to afford basic healthcare? We need a change in our leadership and focus on what the people want. It is a very important election year so please make sure to vote.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Absolutely. Music is a means by which we as musicians can create a moment in time where people can escape from the everyday struggles and challenges of life. But at the same time, thru those magical experiences, the music and musicians can raise the awareness of many social and political issues thru song and poetry which in turn affects the listener and inspires them as individuals to do something about what is being sung about. Bob Marley was a genius at this. He wrote beautiful music with insightful political statements that made people stand together to make a change. Today there are many other bands that come to mind that continue to do this like Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Neil Young and of course someone I met recently - Michael Franti.

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REID GENAUER
Assembly Of Dust

Why is it important to vote?

Because Bush is a shit head and he needs to be booted out of office if not off the planet.

Is this election any different than elections past?

For me it is. This is the only time in my adult life that I have actually been scared of our government.

Do politics have a place in music?

Not for me. Music is music and I think it should stay that way – art not politics. BUT I think that is a decision that every artist needs to make for him/her self.

Why or why not?

I guess it's not a black and white question but rather one of degree; "To what extent do politics have a place in music?" I am more than happy to support HeadCount, Rock the Vote or other events with a political agenda, I am now and always will be liberal (this is not a sexual reference). Conservative values scare me. I just don't like to incorporate politics into the music itself (although I have in the past) but it is and should be a part of our musical community.

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ERIC MCFADDEN
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Stockholm Syndrome, Eric McFadden Trio, Eric McFadden (Solo)

Why is it important to vote?

Essentially it is important because it is one of the few ways we the people can affect any change. Though I realize we seldom have favorable choices, and we've had one election stolen from us, it is still our responsibility to exercise that right. If every one who didn't vote were to vote, I believe the results would be rather profound.

Is this election any different than elections past?

For one, people have never been so divided or impassioned as this in my lifetime. There is a sense of urgency. For many, there is also the underlying, or perhaps not so underlying fear that the Bush administration may have another dirty trick up their sleeve. This is the most important election of the past few generations if not in America's history.

Do politics have a place in music?

Absolutely. Not that I believe in preaching to my audience, but there are ways to inform, educate and provoke thought without sounding like some self-righteous preacher. Look at Bob Dylan and The Clash for example. You don't necessarily have to have political lyrics in you music to be political.

Why or why not?

I believe in the idea of music and other art forms being unlimited in what they can express. There should be no such limitations as themes or subjects. It is a forum for all expression. The greatest gift to come from America is its music. Censorship is un-American and has no place in the arts.

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DARREN PUJALET
Particle

Why is it important to vote?


By Casey Flanigan
It's important to vote in order to have some say in the future of your life, and the lives of your family.

Is this election any different than elections past?

Artists and public figures this year have come together more than ever before to share their political messages. The year 2000 proved to us that a President can win by 1,000 votes. The difference this year is that people are more consciously aware that individual votes are more powerful than in previous elections, making them less apathetic in casting their vote.

Do politics have a place in music?

Yes

Why or why not?

I think as musicians, we have a voice (unless you can't sing.... kidding). I think we write songs about our everyday lives, and politics are a part of that. As long as musicians have integrity with what they are saying, and suggest it as an opinion by not forcing it on the listening audience, it's good for the people.

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GARRIN BENFIELD
Garrin Benfield

Why is it important to vote?

Voting is almost sacred to me. I've voted in every election available to me since I was 18. Local elections aren't as sexy as presidential politics, but your local representatives make decisions that will most likely affect your daily life. Having said that, we've seen some pretty exciting races in San Francisco, probably the only city in the world where the established Democratic Party is considered near-right wing! Though I wish some of the mainstream candidates would come out and say the riskier things you know they really feel, don't be too turned off by their caution. No candidate can be elected by one portion of the electorate. Winning office is about demonstrating willingness to compromise with integrity. Get the good guys in office (or the lesser of two evils) then hold their feet to the fire. That's our responsibility as voters, too, to remain aware once someone's achieved a representative office! And don't let anyone tell you there's no difference between the two major parties! That is propaganda, and just a cursory glance at the candidate's positions will demonstrate how stark the differences really are!!

Is this election any different than elections past?

This administration has so bungled everything from the living conditions of your average citizen, to our environment; to our essential relationships with world allies... we must insist on change! The reality is we may not get a new administration, and if not, Bush will not be reelected by a landslide. There will be no mandate for the success of his policies or bigoted philosophies. Never before has a political party so openly been beholden to an extreme religious agenda as the Republicans now are. Politicians come and go, but it's important to remember how they can set the course of the judicial and legislative branches for years to come! That's why you can't just think, "Oh, I'll vote next year..." It may be too late to stop the radicalization of our courts and congress. Don't think for a minute the Right Wing does not earnestly believe they are going to win the "culture war" in this country. They'll shove it down our throats with the widest smile you've ever seen!

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Politics definitely have a place in music. I tend to think of the personal as political, and try to express my sentiments in ways that can be interpreted within the framework of a relationship or in the broader outside world. But all the power to those that feel drawn to spell it out, issue by issue. I've learned a lot listening to topical songwriters like Dylan, Difranco, and Franti, and I know others have, too... particularly younger folks who are not so drawn into politics. But for them, I would just say it's up to you to insist the political parties take you seriously by making your essential issues known! They will not listen to you if they don't know what you care about.

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


AARON REDNER
Hot Buttered Rum String Band

Why is it important to vote?

It is important to vote because without giving your vote it is impossible to say that the elected officials represent your opinions and political views. Wherever you may fall in the political spectrum, it is essential for one to vote in order to have any say in policy on any level from local to federal.

Is this election any different than elections past?

This election differs from others of the past because of where it falls in the historical course of humanity. Never has there been a time of such a volatile combination of advanced warfare technology and the willingness of fundamental extremists to use it in order to further their agenda. It is such a tenuous time for us all and the current administration has decided that the best policy is one of unilateral action and preemptive military strikes. This has led to thousands of deaths of Americans, Iraqis, Afghanis, and others who fight for their causes as they believe them.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Throughout the history of recorded music there have always been examples of political views being espoused. From the folk songs of Woody Guthrie to the anthems of Bob Marley, the artist has made their views clear through lyric and song and have attempted to sway the listener into seeing what they consider to be the truth. Music has the power to bring change to the human condition and that includes trying to sway the vote of a nation. The current tours by various musicians of international stature whose purpose is to vote the current administration out of office is a powerful example of the artist's opinion that change can be manifested through music.

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


STEVE KIMOCK
Steve Kimock Band

Why is it important to vote?


By Susan J. Weiand
As a human being, there are an infinite number of ways that you can show kindness and compassion to your fellow man. We don't normally think of voting as a way to express these feelings; but in an election year as an American citizen, it's the one shot you have to do something real toward the quality of life. It's not just an opinion or a personal belief or a lifestyle issue... it's a vote and it counts.

As a citizen of the planet, it's even more important that we do our best to provide some checks and balances against the multi-national military industrial lust for power types. America is just too powerful and too influential in the world to allow it to be run by an inbred bunch of radical right wing Christian millionaires and a constituency with no world-view. Forgive me if that sounds harsh but let's be perfectly clear- the current administration wants war. That's an impossible position for me personally to support. My vote goes to one less kid growing up, throwing rocks at tanks.

Is this election any different than elections past?

I think the last election was different. I hope we can get the vote out this year in sufficient numbers to defeat this administration without having to turn to the Supreme Court to select a winner. That was a total fiasco and a huge embarrassment to the U.S. on the world stage. I think the rest of the world saw what happened four years ago more clearly than most Americans did, and I think "we the people" got a free pass because of that (sorry about your election, so sorry about your president, etc.) If we don't correct that mistake this year, it's going to be open season on American citizens all over the world, for real.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Music has the power to influence and motivate people, to bring them together and deliver a message. If the message is social change, then the people can use their power to make that message a reality.

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


JAMIE MASEFIELD
Jazz Mandolin Project


By Tony Stack
Why is it important to vote?

Well, there's that old cliché "Don't complain if you don't vote." In our democracy there are plenty of things one can do to get involved, but the only thing that is really asked of us, is to vote. That seems like an easy thing to do.

Is this election any different than elections past?

Yes, this election is a major crossroads. We've been presented with four years in one direction and it should be pretty clear to us by now what that looks like. This election will solidify to the rest of the world what our global sentiments and intentions are as a nation. I think it's very important to consider how you are perceived by your neighbors. I fear that a lot of Americans are not aware of our current global status.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Particularly with JMP's music being all instrumental, I would prefer no politics or interpretation of any type. It's nice to just present our music and let everyone absorb it in their own way. However, on stage during this last election wave I have tried to encourage people to vote, that, in itself is bipartisan, so I see it as OK. Unfortunately with our fan base I think people need to be convinced sometimes that something is cool before they get involved. I want to let them know that I think this is really important. I've been a big Howard Dean supporter as he was my governor for 11 years. During the democratic race I encouraged people to simply vote in the primary but I did have a Dean sticker on my amp, and we did organize with Dean organizations all over the country to come to our gigs and register people to vote. During that time there were great moments of coming together that I really thought were significant. I felt satisfied in that I had done just about everything I could to help point the country in what I thought was the right direction.

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


DJ LOGIC
DJ Logic, Project Logic

Why is it important to vote?

You need to vote because we all have to let our voices be heard in order to attempt to have a better future for everyone, including our selves.

Is this election any different than elections past?

Yes it is. As we can all see, this country is going through a period of time where everything around us, from the economy to war to how we are viewed by the rest of the world... just our general way of being... is less than ideal. There is a tremendous amount at stake in this Presidential election: We are picking the direction this country is headed.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Yes. This is our communication outlet to get our point across. Musicians are role models and people look to us for our perspective on things. As artists, we approach things differently. I think we should put musicians in positions of power. Dave Matthews, Michael Franti, Vernon Reid and Bono should be running things in Washington.

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


MICHAEL KANG
String Cheese Incident

Why is it important to vote?


By George Weiss
Since I am not a U.S. citizen, I am not allowed to vote in the presidential elections. It seems to me that the right to vote is the first and foremost right when you become a citizen. When you don't vote, you become invisible in the eyes of our so called leaders.

Is this election any different than elections past?

The price seems to be really high in this year's election. To me, it seems as if we are being asked whether or not we want to travel down a road surrounded by invisible fears. In the course of earth history, this may go down as an insignificant blip, but I believe that we are being forced to choose what road we want to travel, right here right now.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

To me, music will always be an expression of what we are all feeling or observing. I don't think any artist is immune to feeling the climate of their surroundings and therefore, like any story-teller, a musician can't help but tell the story they see. Politics affects us all even if we feel we have no say in the end result. Yet we all have the power to put out our beliefs in whatever form of expression we have available to us. I don't think that it's a mere coincidence that some of the most popular songs of our time are songs that address the political issues that face us at the time. However, music also reminds me of the simple things in life, like love and celebration: which are not necessarily the platforms of any politicians I see in our upcoming election. Maybe that's what we need, someone who can really simplify politics. Too bad the Dalai Lama can't run for president!

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


DANNY LOUIS
Gov't Mule

Why is it important to vote?


By Mir Ali
It's not just about deciding a winner. Voting let's 'em know you're watching. If there are large turnouts at the polls, then elected officials can't help but notice the country has its eye on them. Every vote counts, even in states that are predictably Republican or Democrat.

Is this election any different than elections past?

Absolutely. The American form of free market economy is getting close to extinction. As corporate interests consolidate their power (with the aid of the current administration) the free enterprise system and all its opportunities for competition and individual creativity and freedom are disappearing, along with the middle-class, not to mention the toll on the environment that short-sighted bottom line business thinking creates. I think government needs to be swiftly reminded that it is there to protect and serve the general population, not monied interests.

Do politics have a place in music?

Sure.

Why or why not?

Throughout history art certainly has been more than just entertainment. Artists reflect and comment on the human condition so if some artists want to write, paint, sculpt of compose works that are politically motivated, why not?

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


JOSH CLARK
Tea Leaf Green

Why is it important to vote?


By Kark
There was a time I thought it wasn't important to vote. At a relatively peaceful and prosperous time, last election, it was easy to be apathetic. The electorate votes system fueled my apathy and I was a part of the "why bother my vote won't count anyway" club. Not True. I've spent the last four years without the right to complain about or express my political views. I forsake my opinion and watched from the sidelines as I saw things I deeply disagreed with, yet I could say nothing. I didn't vote. Voting is your voice, not only in the booth but for the rest of your life. Do it!

Is this election any different from elections past?

All elections are important. Democracy is important. This election is very important. This time we are living in is very important. It's up to the individual to secure the future.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Politics absolutely have a place in music. Every subject is fair game for music. Music and art is our greatest reflection of the life of our times. Music has the power to motivate and inspire change. We've seen it throughout history. In this country musicians are free to speak their minds and I'm glad they do. "The Times they are a' changin." Vote!

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


PAUL BARRERE
Little Feat

Why is it important to vote?


By Ron Gerber
Without a vote is without a voice, and I know that sometimes your vote seems to go unheard, that's how I felt after the last presidential election. However, that said, for the last three years my resolve has grown stronger against the direction of the current administration, and therefore I am doing more to voice my position and opinion, but in a mostly private manner, one on one with friends and acquaintances, and sometimes even strangers. That's what voting does for you, it gets you involved, and being involved is the only way we can evolve.

Is this election any different than elections past?

Yes and no. There was a time, long ago in the sixties, when I was politically involved, but not voting as a protest to how things were going, and the system itself. I believed at that time that the choices were too limited, and we were only choosing the lesser of two evils. I see now that sometimes that choice is needed, and it is because of that, that I started voting again in the last four presidential elections. I'm batting 500 so far.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

It seems to me that politics has a place everywhere. Why should music be any different? What people have to realize is that we are all just people, with differences of opinions in all manners of life, and as people we should express those thoughts and feelings and exchange the ideas, and not be persecuted for any of those as long as we are not out to hurt one another. This is the importance of voting. Express yourself!!!!!

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


MIKE DILLON
Critters Buggin, Hairy Apes BMX, The Les Claypool Frog Brigade, Black Frames

Why is it important to vote?

It is the only aspect of the process that we actually have any control over. It is our voice.

Is this election any different than elections past?

The polarization aspect of this election is intense, I have never seen such love or hate for the politician of their choice. From my perspective, this is probably one of the most significant elections in light of Iraq, world opinion, terror, erosion of civil rights, the economy and education to name a few. Unfortunately, to quote Dave Palmer, "politics is the realm of the Banal and Duplicitous." I wish politicians were dedicated to humanity and not corporate interest. Can you say Bucky Fuller!!!!!!!!!!

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Alice Cooper said something about musicians being morons and that people should not get their info from morons. Nonetheless, I think musicians and artist should try to provoke people to think. Musicians like Bob Marley, Fela, The Minutemen, Public Enemy, Bad Brains, Fishbone, K.R.S. One, and The Clash were all vital in waking me up to see something different than what the media forces down your throat. At the same time, the music rocks and you can just dance if you are too high to think!!!!!

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


VERNON REID
Living Colour, Vernon Reid

Why is it important to vote?


From StuartPhotography.com
Because it's the one way for to express your opinion of a situation at hand. Also it's part of your so-called duty as a citizen in a so-called democracy.

Is this election any different than elections past?

We have a dangerous, affable, extremely activist ultra conservative president. A president who, believe it or not, is to the right of Ronald Reagan, but completely cloaks his intentions. Also because the direction of The Supreme Court for the next ten to 20 years will be altered by this election.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Everything has a place in music. A song that means nothing can be great; a song that is deep can be horrible. I love "What's Going On?" by Marvin Gaye and I love "Get Down Tonight" by KC and The Sunshine Band. All subjects have a place in music.

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


LES CLAYPOOL
Colonel Claypool's Bucket Of Bernie Brains, Primus, The Les Claypool Frog Brigade, Oysterhead

Why is it important to vote?


By Adam George
I think it's extremely important to vote, especially if you are a young person because each individual needs to be represented. But more than anything, in this day and age, the situation that we are in with the administration is a direct result of the apathy of a large percentage of Americans from the last election, and even the last mid-term election, where the turnout at the polls was extraordinarily low. In my tenure on this planet I have never experienced a more passionately divided America as I am seeing right now, so I think it's incredibly important that everybody gets out there and has their voice be heard.

Is this election any different than elections past?

Well I think there are many reasons why it's different. Obviously we are in the midst of a pretty sticky situation in the Middle East. There is this insane percentage of Americans who don't have passports, which means there is a good portion of the American public that are insulated in this bubble knows as; The United States. So they have not traveled, they have not seen the world, they have not met other people and other cultures and I think it's very difficult for them to have a perspective of what the rest of the world thinks of what's going on, and I think that's extraordinarily important. As I do my interviews on a daily basis and I talk to people in Australia and I talk to people in France and I talk to people in Canada and folks in London and on and on, these people are extremely concerned with what we've done as a nation, and what choice we're going to make here on November 2. And it's going to reflect heavily on us as a people. The eyes of the world are watching.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

I think everything has a place in music. I think humor has a place in music, I think tragedy has a place in music, I think music is an avenue to express ones self. And if what you want to express is something political or social or whatever, that's what you gotta do. And for me, at this point, when we put out this Bucket of Bernie record and during the time period I had to write these lyrics, nearly every conversation I was having with friends and relatives and colleagues and what not was about the impending war in Iraq, so it was very difficult to not have the contents of the lyrics not reflect those current events.

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


DREW EMMITT
Leftover Salmon, Drew Emmitt Band

Why is it important to vote?

Voting is a strange thing. When I vote, it is just me in that booth: one vote. How can this make a difference? Then I think to myself that there are millions of people like me thinking the same thing. Rich people, poor people, tall people, short people, Americans of any race and any color; we are all equal when we step in that voting booth. Not voting is apathy and apathy is bad.

Is this election any different than elections past?

I have watched this election more closely than any other; I believe it is the most important election of my life. I think about this election as much for my children as I do myself. The world needs some healing. Hopefully we can have a change at the top and start this healing process.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

I think of music as a positive thing. I don't sing about political issues directly and rarely do I speak of them between songs on stage. Musicians do however need to be vocal about getting people to express themselves. In this case, voting is an awesome form of expression. I like my music to be positive. Positivity is a contagious thing. Hopefully this can spread into the voting booth.

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


DAVID GANS
David Gans

Why is it important to vote?

Politics is the people's business. All of our lives are affected by politics, and I consider it an obligation to make my voice heard. If we ignore it, we can be sure it will ignore us.

Is this election any different than elections past?

I feel that this election is the most important of my lifetime (so far). Bush has done grave damage to the principles and practices of our country; if he is allowed to continue, things will get much, much worse. It's going to take generations to undo the damage that's been done by corporate capitalism (and the Democrats are only marginally better than the Republicans in many respects). We have to start right here, right now, because four more years of the Bush regime will greatly increase the damage to the planet and to the human spirit.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Music is an art form, and art is a means of addressing, describing, maybe even altering the human condition. I came of age in a time when some people thought music could change the world -- and it did, in some ways. I consider it an obligation to try to make the world a better place, and if I can send people home from a show inspired to do the same, that's a good thing. There is a place for pure entertainment, a place for escapism, but music is art, and art is an agent of social change. If I can tell you a story that changes your heart or your mind while you dance, that's a good thing.

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Editor's note: While we did not set out with a particular political agenda we do realize that these responses have all been leaning Democratic, if there are any artists who can represent a Republican point of view we would love to hear from you.


ZACH VELMER
Sound Tribe Sector 9

Why is it important to vote?


By Casy Flanigan
To at the very least have an opportunity to have your voice heard. To make change and create a better world.

Is this election any different than elections past?

I personally feel that yes, considering the state of the word, this election is very important. Let's hope we come together for change.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

I most definitely feel that politics have a place in music. We are all affected by politics and music helps make change through harmonious movements whether it be lyrics or just a voice. It helps push for change, a new paradigm.

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STEVE MOLITZ
Particle

Why is it important to vote?


By Casy Flanigan
A singer's goal is for their voice to be heard, and for the message of their lyrics to resonate with the listener. This election is no different. On November 2nd, your vote is your voice and you've got the mic. Participation has always been the foundation of the jam scene. Our culture is devoted and involved, and we actively support the bands we love. We are not a passive audience. We dance and sweat together at shows... we share opinions on message boards... we trade tapes in a constant effort to share our passion with others, and now we have the opportunity to transfer that passion to the masses. If you're reading this then you clearly give a shit about this election on some level. You're so close, now give it that extra push our favorite bands give us when they're on stage singing their hearts out. Participate. Use your voice... VOTE.

Is this election any different than elections past?

I got an e-mail yesterday from one of my good friends who lives in Cannes. He was born and raised in France, yet he was writing to make sure that I had registered and was voting for Kerry. If I'm getting e-mails from people in Europe begging me to get rid of Bush, then yes, this is a different election. Most of us don't even know who the current President of France is, let alone what he stands for. I think it's pretty obvious how most people in our community feel about the candidates, so I won't bother bashing Bush. You're educated...you know what's up.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Our freedom of speech gives politics a place in music, but it's important that audiences think for themselves. I support the political agenda of a band like Ozomatli that use their stage to influence positive social change through educated activism. But I've also seen a lot of audiences herded into the dark by the words of confused artists who mistake emotion for information. Chanting "Fuck George Bush" from the stage is not deep. I dig what you're going for, but it just ain't deep. On the other hand, responding to an unwanted war by urging your leaders to "Give Peace A Chance"... that's real. As for Particle, we've all registered with absentee ballots and we'll be voting from the road. Hats off to JamBase and Headcount and everyone else who's getting involved as a part of the solution. Go See Live Music... Get Up, Stand Up... GO VOTE!

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SCOTT METZGER
Rana

Why is it important to vote?


By Ellen Diebolt
An election in a democracy gives the power to the people. I think that it is our obligation as Americans to vote since so much of the world is still denied the right to democratically vote for its leaders. By voting each of us define who we are by making a decision for what we stand for and who we support, so it offers us a chance to find out who we are.

Is this election any different than elections past?

It's not any more or less important than any other election, but this one will determine which direction the war goes and whether or not America will continue to invade more countries than we have so far (which is already too many.)

Do politics have a place in music?

Definitely.

Why or why not?

Why not? Obviously politics is something on everyone's mind at one time or another and it's our job as musicians to address the issues facing all of us in day to day life and political issues are no exception. Politics offer a lot of inspiration. The Clash, John Lennon, Camper Van Beethoven, Bob Marley, Rage against the Machine, Pearl Jam, James Brown, R.E.M., Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, John Prine, and The Sex Pistols (just to name a few) have all touched on political issues.

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LUKE OMALLEY
Antibalas

Why is it important to vote?


By Chris Gasper
It is the foundation of our flawed democracy. If we don't maintain that foundation our country will sink even deeper than it already has. The 2000 election and the behavior of our current administration are a direct result of our lack of maintenance.

Is this election any different than elections past?

Of course it is. We have to keep a very close eye on this election. Especially after what happened in 2000. This is a stolen administration. Are they going to steal it again? The machine is already working in Florida to once again purge and intimidate voters...

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Politics are important in any art form. Art is one of the few public forums available to the poor. The artist have a responsibility to the disenfranchised and neglected; it serves as the first and loudest voice of the oppressed.

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CHUCK GARVEY
moe.

Why is it important to vote?


By Tony Stack
You can NEVER rely on any other person to get the job of "stating or voting your opinion" done. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OUTCOME - even if (or because of the fact that) you did not vote.

Is this election any different than elections past?

No. The issues have changed, but the electoral process is the same. Sorry, I'm being a wiseass... I think that there is more on the line this time... more so than other elections I can remember.

Do politics have a place in music?

Absolutely. Music is a form of communication. A GREAT one. There is a place... just like humor, joy, sadness, and every other part of the human condition belongs in music, somehow.

Why or why not?

Why not get your ideas out in a form that will reach people who are similar-minded?

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JAMIE JANOVER
Jamie Janover

Why is it important to vote?

Voting is not a right – it's an obligation. You owe it to yourself and to the rest of humanity to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Is this election any different than elections past?

This election is the most important single vote in the history of the human race. We have the choice of continuing to head into the worst administration in world history, or change direction and begin the healing of our planet.

Do politics have a place in music?
Why or why not?

Dissent in politics has always come from the artists in society. That is our job. If we don't say what we think, then who will? How many people are in a position of being put up on a stage or on a screen and have the opportunity to say how they feel and how they imagine a better world for all of us to live in? Politics doesn't HAVE TO have a place in music, but it certainly CAN if the musician chooses to put it there. It is our right to have the freedom of expression to put our political beliefs into music as often as we like.

I am truly grateful to be a free musician in the USA.
Jam on – FREEstyle!

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show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!