By Roy Kasten
By Kris Wernowsky
By Chaz Kangas
By Joseph Hess
By Julie Seabaugh
By Mike Appelstein
By Rachel Brodsky
By Kelsey McClure
All these people you talk about who are at risk of losing what little shirt they have at the end of every day should the tiniest thing go wrong, that's totally us. That was me until I think three-and-a-half years ago, four years ago. There's nothing remarkable about that. That's my girlfriend, it's the Dynamos, it's so many people that we know.
People on a mailing list I'm on were lamenting that even though everyone is very inspired by Obama, the musical movements are on a smaller scale than they were four years ago, it's a grassroots thing. Have you noticed that? Why do you think that is?
Again, it has everything to do with energizing the vote. In 2004, on the Vote for Change tour, our job was just to get press around the campaign and, like, try and get people excited about the campaign. Like "Everybody, come on, come on! We can't do this again, people, wake up!" There's no real need for that this time. Being on tour and watching the way that Obama's ground campaign works from city to city and state to state is unbelievable. There's so much presence on the ground, it's really fantastic.
8 p.m. Monday, October 13. The Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Boulevard. $33 to $38. 314-534-1678.
And that's not the kind of help this campaign needs. A lot more of what you're seeing is bands playing at local rallies, I think that you're seeing bands doing things for local offices here and there. There are lots of side rallies — issue-type rallies, like the SEIU thing we did, unions and lobbyist organizations and that sort of thing, who are trying to push whatever their agenda is forward.
In a way, there's just not space, there's not room in the middle of the campaign for a rock band to take center stage. And I think that any rock band short of maybe Bruce Springsteen — and maybe nobody else — runs the risk of actually doing more damage to the campaign than good, given how well the campaign is doing on its own. In 2004, nobody could possibly have done any damage to John Kerry's campaign. It was all help.
The Decemberists got a bunch of heat, got a bunch of buzz on the conservative talk-radio circuit when they played that rally in Portland for 75,000 people over the summer. There was a lot of, like, "Well, of course Obama drew 75,000 people, because the Decemberists are the biggest band in Portland and they can draw 35,000 people on their own — and did you know they're Communists, because their name comes from the Russian Revolution of 1917, and they also advocate genocide?" It's crazy.
As I discovered when I was at the convention, any self-respecting politician who is protective of his or her career is going to do a double take and have their chief of staff do a little bit of research when they meet somebody from a band who has "death" in their name. In an election like this, we can't really do anything specifically with the Obama campaign for that reason alone. We're a pretty big little rock band, we might be one of the biggest little rock bands out there, but that doesn't mean that it's going to register with the public at large, if there's a "death" band on Obama's team.