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Rarely do you deal with public and political issues in your music. Do you think that global challenges like global warming are going to change that? —Matthias Ochs, Darmstadt, Germany
When I was younger, I was constantly frustrated by musicians taking to the stage with half-realized political ideologies and theories. Some of my peers (Vic Bondi is the best example) were more than qualified to speak on those subjects. But typically, it was cloudy rebellion. Something to yell about: the government, the cops, the system. I agreed with some of it; the system is/was fucked, there is no real fairness, and the rich get richer. But as I get older, I perceive politics (and change) as a process that moves at a glacial pace. Consensus takes forever.
Rock stars tell us global warming is real. Most people know it is. I prefer to talk about those issues outside the music. I’m often made uncomfortable by one of my peers talking vaguely about “global warming, man: It’s real, and it’s killing us all. That’s why I wrote this song, and it’s on my new album.” Geez. I think people can tell where an artist stands on these things without getting so obvious.
I’m looking at the Live Earth Web site, and I think anything that involves James Blunt telling me how to live or think is something I quickly walk away from. See how effective that was? I don’t expect my (much smaller) audience to embrace my political beliefs. I’m not part of the consensus of Live Earth performers. But I completely agree with the cause.
Protest songs are an important part of American history. I just don’t think it’s my strong suit. Think global, write local. Act as you feel is right. —Bob Mould
Bob Mould DJs at Blowoff, Aug. 11 at the 9:30 Club. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org