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the revolution and the voice of the other side. Now you're not going to get any of
that you're going to get the voice of the corporate world."
Others respond that this theory discounts the companies' interest in money-
making. "A big record company will still put out a `subversive' record if they
know they can make a lot of money off of it," observed Anthony Castillo of the
Los Angeles band Slow Motorcade. "Profit is the media's motivation."
New York Times music columnist Jon Pareles offers that the reason for a lack of
compelling antiwar music was because musicians themselves were so divided
after September 11
Musicians did respond, generously and immediately, after
the attacks with charity performances and tribute songs. This could lead to a con-
flict when trying to delineate between sympathy for the attacks and protest against
resulting acts of vengeance. For example, U2 once led crowds in chanting "No
war!" during their concerts. But in the wake of September 11
and the bombing
in Afghanistan, the band performed "Beautiful Day" at the Super Bowl half-time
show as the names of September 11
victims scrolled behind them.
Elton John told Interview magazine in a 2004 article that he felt modern musi-
cians weren't up to the task. "There's an atmosphere of fear in America right now
that is deadly," he theorized. "Everyone is too career-conscious."
John's thoughts
were seconded by veteran music business attorney Owen Sloane , "The artists
today play fluffy music, they do not have a real vision; they are not deep thinkers
like a Dylan."
This lack of impact on the political dialogue is not meant to suggest that many
musicians were not vocal in expressing their opposition to United States military
escalations in the Middle East. Musicians who made statements against the inva-
sion of Afghanistan and the war in Iraq include Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes),
Shakira , Chuck D (Public Enemy), Sheryl Crow , Thievery Corporation , Ani
DiFranco , and rapper Mr. Lif . Many more musicians became involved in efforts
meant to oust President Bush from office during the 2004 elections. Those include
Green Day, NOFX, Tom Morello , the Dixie Chicks , Don Henley , Steve Earle ,
Offspring, Tom Waits, John Fogerty, and James Taylor.
Lead by the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network , a collection of musicians created
an initiative called "Musicians United to Win Without War ." The group included
Russell Simmons , Roseanne Cash , Lou Reed , David Byrne , and many others. The
group took out a full page ad in the New York Times that included an open letter
to President Bush, saying, "Peace is not the absence of war, but it is the presence
of justice. Domestically, Mr. President, rampant poverty is on the rise and the
hopes and aspirations of millions of youth are being triaged on the altar of national