Papadosio Hosts Earth Night At The Fillmore Auditorium In Denver, 12/13/14

Following their sold out Red Rocks show with Lotus in September [read the review here], Papadosio made a triumphant return to Colorado at the Fillmore Auditorium on the auspicious date of 12/13/14. Pa[...]

Thievery Corporation at Webster Hall, 12/18

Walking into General Admission/Dance floor at Webster Hall, one feels a slow pull back in time. The bruised beige and crimson colors oscillate along the mezzanine and triangular designs on the walls a[...]

St. Vincent Captivates at Philips Arena, 12/11

Anne Clark, better known as singer, songwriter, and musician St. Vincent, treated an energized audience at Philip’s Arena in Atlanta, GA to an invigorating show on Thursday, December 11th. Opening w[...]

Justin Martin + J Phlip Get Dirty @ Verboten, 12/12

Over the past few years, San Francisco's Dirtybird Records have built a rabid fanbase of dance music fans who flock to their unique take on deep house music. Earlier this year, the label took their f[...]

James Murphy Goes Back To Back With Tim Sweeney @ Output, 12/11

It's hard to believe that its already been over three and a half years since LCD Soundsystem performed their epic final concert at Madison Square Garden, forever immortalized by the film 'Shut Up and[...]

08/27/12Posted in features by L4LM

The State of Politics And Music

By Kunj Shah

With the looming presidential election and the impact musicians have in the American community, it’s no secret how coveted an endorsement from the music world is. It’s also no secret Democrats usually garner more public support from performers than Republicans. However, these year things seem to have taken a different turn. On Friday, it seems Republican VP pick Paul Ryan received some Rock and Roll support from Kid Rock, who will be playing at the Republican National convention. Other performances at the Republican National convention include a song premiere called “One Light” by 3 Doors Down, Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd (which may be delayed or cancelled due to the hurricane), the Oak Ridge Boys, Neal Boyd, Randy Owens, Taylor Hicks, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, and Bebe Winans.

Still, Republicans are not the only ones collecting musicians this year. The National will be “opening” for President Obama at a stop in Des Moines, IA on September 1st. They had previously thrown their support behind President Obama with Ben Harper in 2008. Democrats have also booked James Taylor for their Democratic National Convention along with scheduled performances by Common, Inspire the Fire, Delta Rae, and local performing musical acts from America’s Got Talent.

While some believe this is all a distraction from the issues, I'm very curious to know what different artists’ views are on the pending election and issues surrounding this country. Artists and musicians used to be some of the top proprietors of social, civil, and political change in our country. Today, it seems fewer musicians are outspoken about their political views, some only play to the highest bidder, and others just tip-toe around the subject.  Even those performing at each of these conventions are pretty tight lipped about their views on any of the policies or ideas for either candidates.

One would think invention of social media would help enact some social change. However, it seems as if an artist has a million something followers on a social platform the most controversial issue they will tweet or post about is their support for either hard or soft tacos. More musicians in today’s world choose not to take a public stance on everyday real issues and almost seem afraid of the notion. They claim it’s not “our job” to voice their opinion on policies, current events, laws, and government. But isn’t that exactly “our job” as citizens of a Democracy? When this country was founded, wasn't there a vision of having an educated and outspoken electorate? If you have the influence, why not use it to bring about discussion? Aren’t there any concerns about the world you live in, which you want to have addressed?  The level of conversation in this country seems to be lower than it has ever been in years, and only the most trivial of issues seem  to be discussed in any public forum.  Anthony Weiner's wiener got more news coverage than the global economic crisis going on at the time.

The amount of music created influenced by social, political, economic, and racial issues has dropped significantly.  John Lennon once praised Chuck Berry by saying he “was writing intelligent lyrics in the 1950s when people were singing 'Oh baby I love you so.'" According to Lennon, "It was people like him that influenced our generation to try and make sense out of the songs rather than just sing 'do wah diddy.'" Music used to have the power to move people, and change history. In this day and age, songs don’t need to be filled with lyrics on social issues like Bob Dylan’s, but artists shouldn’t be afraid to converse about these issues as well. The social consciousness in music seems to be drifting back to the 1950’s. Influence is power, and with power comes social responsibility.

There are those who speak out. Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan spoke of being a fan of Rage Against the Machine’s music. In reaction, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine almost instantly wrote a piece in Rolling Stone explaining to readers, “Paul Ryan Is the Embodiment of the Machine Our Music Rages Against.” Artists support amazing groups like Head Count and Rock the Vote, which help mobilize people to vote. We just need more of an outcry from more of our nation’s influencers, and we need it now. No matter what your beliefs, a democracy needs conversation and debate like a musician needs practice.



Meet The Guy Who Stole Millions Of Dollars From Phish, Smashing Pumpkins And Many Others

Dana Giacchetto was dubbed by VICE as "The Real 'Wolf Of Wall Street'". Why? The former investment banker lived a life of luxury, drugs, and debauchery amongst the who's who of elite celebrities, all [...]

Unofficial Grateful Dead Biographer Shares Lengthy Status About 'The Dead' Reunion Rumors

With the recent announcement that Furthur is no longer, Grateful Dead fans have been dying to know if the band's surviving members have any plans to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2015. Today, un [...]

Music Vault Releases Dozens Of Grateful Dead And Jerry Garcia Band Concerts On YouTube

Earlier this year, Music Vault announced the release of 13,000 archival videos on YouTube, ranging from The Who to Ken Kesey to The Allman Brothers to St. Vincent. The group opened their collection to [...]

Skrillex To Howard Stern: EDM Culture Is 'A Lot Like A Phish Show Or A Grateful Dead Show'

Skrillex appeared on a recent episode of The Howard Stern Show, discussing the EDM genre, Deadmau5's recent shit-talking, Paris Hilton as a DJ, and more. Here are a few choice quotes from the segment, [...]

Ace Frehley Shocks the Paramount

Fresh from his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the lead guitarist of Kiss, Ace Frehley and friends landed on November 20th, at the Paramount in Huntington, New York.  The 21 song [...]

Funkin' Around In Florida: Musical Highlights From Bear Creek

Bear Creek is widely known as a truly unique and special festival community. There is a reason people tend to go back year after year, and we found this to be highly justified. First and foremost, it [...]

Phil Lesh Wraps Up Capitol Theatre Residency, 11/29

Phil Lesh wrapped up his fall residency at The Capitol Theatre on Saturday. It was the last show of his five weekend run, which began on Halloween. Joining Lesh were Joan Osborne, Stu Allen, And [...]

Review: Bob Dylan Live at NJ Performing Arts Center, 11/26/14

The tempest may have howled outside, but the loud thunder roared inside NJ Performing Arts Center on November 26, 2014.  Harsh seasonal weather made holiday travel a burden in the Northeast, bu [...]

L4LM's Top 20 Albums Of 2014, Part Two [10-1]

2014 has been an amazing year in music. Last week, we revealed numbers 20-11 of our top 20 albums of the year, with entries from Pink Floyd, The Foo Fighters, Dopapod, Flying Lotus, and more. With [...]

Forty Years Later: Remembering John Lennon's Last Major Performance, With Elton John in 1974

When John Lennon stepped on-stage with Elton John, at Madison Square Garden, on Thanksgiving Day (November 28, 1974), we knew history was in the making. Even at the time, we knew this was a special mo [...]

L4LM's Top 20 Albums Of 2014, Part One [20-11]

2014 was a year rich with music. With a number of jam bands releasing studio albums after long delays, some classic rock groups with high profile releases, and excellent albums in the indie, hip-hop, [...]

Looking Back At The Who, Part One: The Band's Beginning

As far as top tier classic rock bands go, the diversity of The Who's catalog often seems to be forgotten. While tracks like “Baba O’Riley” and “My Generation” get played on the radio, modern [...]

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