October 9, 2004
On its Web message board, fans of local rock band Before Braille talk about the new Pinback album, whether Cursive has really broken up — and Iraq.
The Mesa band is one of a handful locally who have gone from apolitical to politically active in recent months.
The switch has trickled down to fans, largely pegged as politically disengaged, who are now taking sides.
Friday night, Before Braille played a show at the Womans Club of Mesa with the national voter-awareness organization Rock the Vote in attendance.
The goal was to encourage voter education at the show — in the spirit of bipartisan rock and roll — but Before Braille is one of only a few local acts that support President Bush.
"I’ve been driven to at least make a statement," said Dave Jensen, the band’s lead singer. "I like rock and roll . . . and I don’t feel like I’m that conservative of a person, but I still like George Bush."
Entrepreneur Kimber Lanning, who owns Stinkweeds Records in Tempe and Phoenix, and venue Modified Arts in Phoenix, said most artists and musicians lean toward Sen. John Kerry.
She said the nature of creative, questioning and freethinking minds leans naturally toward liberal politics.
"I have never seen this kind of outpouring on an issue before," Lanning said. "To get Bush out of office . . . I am just inundated with it."
She is encouraged to see the local music scene "finally" getting involved politically and isn’t concerned fans could be pressured into voting the way their favorite band does. "People are still capable of making up their minds themselves," she said.
Four years ago, during the last presidential election, Before Braille did not take sides like they have this year.
"At that time we were such a young band. I think when you get more experience . . . you start to look for more opportunities to exercise what you’re doing," Jensen said. "I don’t think that we want to be a political band, but we do have political minds."
On the band’s online message board at www.beforebraille.com, drummer, Kelly Reed, posted the question: What is John Kerry’s plan for Iraq? It has resulted in the most heated discussion.