Rock Against Bush Tour coming to Tempe

By Celeste Meiffren
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 23, 2004

Throughout rock 'n' roll history, music and politics have gone hand-in-hand. Musicians have had the capacity to be very influential - just consider The Sex Pistols, Bob Dylan, Rage Against the Machine. But this is not an outdated trend. As the election draws near, more and more musicians want to have an influence in the polls.

And with the current political messages in popular music, John Kerry might actually have a chance.

The Punk Voter Rock Against Bush Tour is coming to the Marquee Theatre in Tempe tonight at 7. Midtown and well-known political punk band Anti-Flag are headlining the event.

"We've been friends with Anti-Flag for quite a number of years, and we were familiar with the Voter Tour," said Midtown drummer Rob Hitt. "So when the opportunity arose, it was something we felt strongly about. We thought, 'We would love to be a part of this.' We wanted it to be in a way where we would have an impact and would be for a good cause."

Not always known for political lyrics, but as very vocal activists for animal rights, Midtown has changed their message on their latest album, Forget What You Know, and now fit the bill for the Rock Against Bush Tour.

"The reason we've been so much more political in our lyrics is because it's something we care about," Hitt said. "My personal belief is that bands should have more of a social responsibility. It would be great to see people take away something meaningful, that hopefully serves a greater purpose."

The tour does not only spread the Democratic agenda. It encourages young people all around the country to vote, no matter what political party or ideology they identify themselves with. Getting everyone, especially young people, to the polls in November is one of the most important aspects of the tour.

"[This tour] is important because we're closing in on the election date. We're going to have one of the most important elections we've ever had as a nation. So, now more than ever, it is more important for people to speak up. Its purpose is not to sway people one way or another. A lot of people just don't have a clue about what is actually going on," Hitt said.

"At the end of the day, this election is something that is going to change people's lives in a few months. The point is that people need to be aware of who they want to vote for," Hitt said.

Midtown and other bands across the nation will continue to do their part up until Election Day.

"I think it's important, if there's a good cause behind it, to use the influence you have to make a positive change," Hitt said.