Rage Against the Machine are playing their first L.A. gig in 10 years this Friday, as part of a protest against Arizona law SB 1070, which requires police to investigate anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. Rage will team up with Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band for the show, hoping to raise money for organizations challenging the bill, which goes into effect at the end of the month. The show is also part of the SoundStrike boycott of the state, putting Rage and Oberst in a league of artists including Nine Inch Nails, Chris Rock, Maroon 5, Kanye West, My Morning Jacket, Steve Earle, and Sonic Youth, all of whom refuse to play shows within the Arizona borders.Noted wallflowers (is joke)
Meanwhile, according to Reuters, other acts like Lady Gaga, Stone Temple Pilots, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Brad Paisley and KISS are ignoring the boycott, and going ahead with planned shows in the now-controversial state.
It’s no surprise that Rage Against the Machine are protesting something; this is a band that would boycott the opening of an envelope, if the envelope happened to have particularly oppressive capitalistic leanings. (We don’t need a letter opener, we’ll break in!) But given the general outcry over the Arizona law — and the fact that the Justice Department and others have already launched lawsuits to block its enforcement — is it surprising that more bands aren’t following suit? In this summer’s soft touring economy, can they not afford it? Or do they just not want to get involved?
Which side are you on, Mixers? Is it the responsibility of a band to let their political leanings inform their musical choices? Or would you prefer the separation of art and state? Sound off!
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