Friday, September 26, 2008

Does music generate votes?

Last week I was interviewed for an Arizona Daily Star article about musicians who "[use] their talents and celebrity to encourage others to vote." The article came out today. It did not, alas, include any of my quotes or mention Cinder Bridge. Gotta spend less time rehearsing, more time perfecting those soundbites.

Anyhow, when we spoke, interviewer Gerald Gay asked me a very perceptive question: did I feel that political events featuring live music actually produced results?

The article touched on this issue briefly.
David Slutes, entertainment director for Hotel Congress ... has always seen music as an effective way to draw people in, especially younger people, to look at the issues. But the jury is still out on whether the tactic actually generates votes, he said.

"What I found last time is that many of these people just didn't vote," he added ...

"They came to the events, did a lot of 'rah rah' and just didn't vote. It was interesting and great to motivate and get the message out. But to actually have them make it into the voting booths this time — the proof will be in the pudding."
That sounds about right to me. What I told Gerald was, bands like ours help draw people to the events, give them something cool to listen to for their donation dollars. The point is not to convince them to vote for a particular candidate. Everyone at Barack 'n' Roll was already rooting for Obama, right? Why else would they be there?

Ron the Drummer didn't entirely agree with my assessment. He pointed out that a few people went to Barack 'n' Roll not to support Obama, but to support us. I see his point. Still, I just can't imagine someone thinking, "Gosh, I was kinda leaning toward McCain, but Cinder Bridge played so well. Maybe Barack Obama IS right about health care and the war in Iraq."

Cynicism aside, we'll be doing an Obama party/silent auction next Wednesday and a half-hour set for another Obama event at Old Town Artisans in late October. Should be fun ... even if our totally apolitical songs don't persuade anyone to change their vote.