Friday, February 18, 2011

UK: The new Bob Dylan? Music and politics

Conor Oberst: Sarah Palin is so incompetent in every way
US singer/songwriter Conor Oberst is best known for his band Bright Eyes. He talks to Metro about the band's new album, being likened to Bob Dylan, American president Barack Obama and politician Sarah Palin.

You’ve been called ‘the new Bob Dylan’. What do you make of that?

I don’t make much of it. You can take it as a compliment, because he’s fantastic. But it’s not anything that I allude to or think of.

Is it tricky to combine music with politics?

I’ve always felt that, just because you’re an artist or a musician, you don’t surrender your rights as a citizen to be engaged. Not that you have to but if you’re compelled to speak out on a subject or to communicate something to your audience, then that’s your right.

Do you believe music and songs can change things?

I think so. Music is unique because you can get behind enemy lines a little bit, get into people’s houses and into their heads, on their stereos, and win hearts and minds. If there’s a song that ends up making someone more empathetic to another person or makes them think about their own prejudices or ideas, that’s a good thing.

You were part of the Vote To Change tour with Bruce Springsteen and REM and were vocally anti-Bush. Did you get what you voted for with Obama?

I don’t know how much to blame on him or the entire government. More than who we elect, if we want dramatic shifts in policies we need to make the government less corporate. It’s just serving the interests of a small percentage of the country, the super wealthy. That’s the biggest problem with the US, more so than any one candidate. It was foolish to think Obama could change all that.

What do you think the likelihood is of Sarah Palin becoming president?

That’s a very slim possibility. I don’t think she could ever win nationwide. She’s so incompetent in every way. It would just be unbelievably terrible.

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