On October 3rd, bassist Oteil Burbridge (Dead & Company/Allman Brothers Band/Aquarium Rescue Unit) took part in an important conversation during Democracy Comes Alive, a one-day, nonpartisan virtual music festival aimed at channeling the power of music to make a critical impact on civic engagement in this November’s elections and beyond. Just as he had done during his discussion with The Nth Power‘s Nikki Glaspie during Justice Comes Alive, Oteil showcased his intellectual communication abilities, proving once again that he’s not just another musician who will watch from the sidelines and stick to just playing music.
The “Low-End Luminary,” as event host Ari Fink of SiriusXM referred to him to start the discussion, opened the virtual forum by talking about the issues at stake during the upcoming election.
“Oh my god, it’s the same issues I feel like I’ve had for 30 years,” Oteil said to start the conversation. “I wonder if we’re getting any closer to getting em—well, we are. I mean pot’s been legalized in I don’t know how many states … There are two or three things that I think shouldn’t be for profit: healthcare, prisons, and some form of education.”
Related: Bob Weir Talks Social Activism, Protesting Peacefully On Oteil Burbridge’s Podcast [Listen]
Oteil continued in touching on topics ranging from refusing to accept today’s short-sighted political labels, frustration towards both Democrats and Republicans on the two parties’ collective inabilities to improve minimum wage, the importance of staying informed on local elections, and of course, equal rights.
“Normally, you could deal with the glacial pace of evolution, but we’re out of time for a lot of this stuff,” Oteil continued. “It needs to be faster. It needs to be faster. And I really don’t like to talk about ‘Going back to normal.’ Like what delusion are you living in? I guess it won’t be until the stock market bottoms out then it will be like, ‘Okay, now we can put that going back to normal and put this nonsense to bed.’ There’s not going to be a ‘Going back to normal,’ even just from the pandemic … That’s the drum that I’m beating, for faster change.”
Fans can watch the full Democracy Comes Alive conversation with Oteil Burbridge and Ari Fink below:
Oteil Burbridge & Ari Fink – Democracy Comes Alive Conversation
Oteil Burbridge joined 50+ performers and 10+ other speakers as part of Democracy Comes Alive, presented by Live For Live Music in partnership with voter registration nonprofit HeadCount. The 10-hour streaming event, powered by Nugs.TV and Plus 1, generated $40,000 and counting in funds for HeadCount as well as the participating artists, who remain out of work as the pandemic continues. In addition to the funds generated, Democracy Comes Alive led thousands of people to HeadCount’s tools to check your voter registration status and register to vote. For more information, head here.