. . . Thursday August 5, 2004

From the Backstreets to Mainstreet

Bruce Springsteen has often been a political figure, but mostly it was just when others co-opted one of his songs for some campaign. The most memorable of these attempts was when the Reagan people blared Born in the USA apparently thinking it was a patriotic riff (which it sort of was, it’s just that it was the bottom up kind of patriotism – the kind that comes with questions, anger and demands – the kind that’s so frowned upon by today’s Right).

But this time, the Boss himself will be playing his tunes alongside several other major artists as part of 39 city tour to raise funds and awareness in an effort to defeat Bush.

From Bruce: “I felt like I couldn’t have written the music I’ve written, and been onstage singing about the things that I’ve sung about for the last 25 years, and not taken part in this particular election”

In this political environment (especially amid the Clear Channel decency power grab), it is no light decision for an artist to speak out (which helps explain why so few have, even when it comes to policy trends that directly impact their industries).

Will something like this make any difference? Usually I’d think not. But Springsteen has a long and extremely tight relationship with his fans. A few votes here and there could matter in November.

Maybe all that matters is we are seeing an increasing number of organized and high profile displays of dissent during these times when one would expect even more.

From Springsteen’s editorial in the NY Times: “Our American government has strayed too far from American values. It is time to move forward. The country we carry in our hearts is waiting.”

In his epic song Jungleland, Springsteen wrote: “The poets down here don’t write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be.”

Looks like somebody just broke out a pen and a pad of paper.

Concentration is important!