Rockers against Bush strike wrong chord

By Doug Powers

If you’re confused and need direction this political season, hold tight, because you can be sure that a rock star will be along shortly to show you the way.

Musicians, some loosely defined, are mobilizing big-time this year to oust Bush. A CD, titled “Rock Against Bush, Vol. I,” was released earlier this year, purportedly to raise money for organizations which encourage young people to vote. Bands such as Sum 41, Offspring, New Found Glory and Jello Biafra with D.O.A. are included on the compact disc – I believe the latter is also included on the dessert menu.

This is a war – Bush is the enemy, and music is their weapon.

Take Offspring, for example. Here’s a little from “Self Esteem,” their biggest hit:

Now I’ll relate this little bit

That happens more than I’d like to admit

Late at night she knocks on my door

Drunk again and looking to score

Now I know I should say no

But that’s kind of hard when she’s ready to go

I may be dumb

But I’m not a dweeb

I’m just a sucker with no self esteem

If that Shakespearian verse doesn’t motivate kids to vote, I don’t know what will.

The sequel, “Rock Against Bush II,” is now out, featuring Green Day, No Doubt, Rancid and the Foo Fighters, among others. I like some of the Foo Fighters stuff, despite the “what monkeys do at the zoo” sounding name, but I refuse to buy any of their CDs. The reason I won’t is simple: Because some of my money is going to be used to try to get people to the polls – people who had no intention of casting a ballot in the first place, to a voting machine they can’t figure out how to use, to vote for somebody for reasons they would never have heard about, but for an ad printed on a nitrous-oxide balloon at a “Rock Against Bush” concert. My vote is now cancelled out just because I wanted to listen to “Learn to fly” in the car.

For those of us who are a bit older, but still confused about who to vote for, an organization called “Vote for Change” will stage almost three dozen concerts in several swing states this fall. The goal will be to spread the word about how Bush has brought America to be, as singer Rickie Lee Jones told the New York Post, “The closest we’ve come to Nazi Germany.” If she can prove that Nazi Germany also had an ignoramus singer with a head devoid of historical scope, on a stage loaded with amplifiers and relativism, then I’ll agree with her.

Performers in the “Vote for Change” series include the yodelish Dave Matthews, Jackson Browne will make us feel like voting (in 1977), and Willie Nelson, who should by all rights be a Republican, since more of them want to get rid of the IRS (apparently overridden by the fact that not enough of them want to legalize pot). John Mellencamp and P. Diddy are also active on the anti-Bush bandwagon, but hopefully they aren’t in close proximity the next time they change their names, lest they become hopelessly intertwined, and we end up with Cougar Diddy, P.John Daddy, or Puff Mellen.

The Dixie Chicks will prove once again that, yes, the “curtains match the carpet,” but only in the sense that neither end contains brains. There are many others, with Bruce Springsteen at the forefront, of course. “The Boss” will show up to the dingbat plant to supervise a workforce that will arrive in private jets, stay in five-star hotel suites, ride in limousines and take a stage unimpeded to say whatever they please, all in an effort to demonstrate the sheer oppression of the Bush administration.

The “Rock Against Bush” CDs cost a few bucks for each volume. Lay out a little more and you could attend the corresponding tour. Tickets for the “Vote for change” concerts are in the $40-$80 range. For a similar sum, you can listen to Don Henley prattle on during his solo tour, buffering good songs with unsolicited political opinions to the point that you’re tempted to break federal law by wringing the neck of an Eagle, and for a few hundred dollars, you can listen to Barbra Streisand denounce corporate greed, unless said “corporation” happens to be “Barbra, Inc.”

Once these musicians manage to get the word out that “Bush must go,” they may find that their audience can’t afford gas so they can drive to the polls.