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More bands boycott Arizona, protest concerts planned

on June 29, 2010, 5:10pm

Arizona continues to experience the wrath of concerned musicians who oppose the state’s recently passed immigration bill. Because we’re not a political site, I just suggest you click here if you want to know more about the situation, but basically know this: a bunch of musicians led by Rage Against the Machine frontman Zach de la Rocha are refusing to perform in the state until the bill is repealed.

In fact, the numbers of these boycotting acts continues to grow by the day. In addition to Rage, Kanye West, Conor Oberst, Massive Attack, Sonic Youth, Tenacious D, and Rise Against, acts like Nine Inch Nails, My Morning Jacket, Ben Harper, Billy Bragg, Gogol Bordello, and comedian Chris Rock have also joined de la Rocha’s “Sound Strike” campaign.

Several of these bands could also end up participating in a series of protest concerts now being planned for next month.

“In the coming weeks we are going to be organizing a series of concerts that are respectful of the nature of the boycott in its attempts to isolate the Arizona government but not isolate the people, and especially the organizations that are fighting this on the ground,” de la Rocha told Billboard.com. “Many of us have begun to plan concerts that include bands that have signed on the Sound Strike, and make tickets available so that people within Arizona can come and see these concerts as they roll out. These are things that are being set into motion right now – a series of concerts or maybe even one giant concert in late July.”

De la Rocha also noted “there’s a strong chance” his own outfit will play at these planned concerts. So far, Rage Against the Machine has only performed shows in Europe this year.

Along with the concerts, the “Sound Strike” musicians will also be releasing a series of mp3 in support of the cause. Conor Oberst has already announced plans for the release of “Coyote Song”. Described as a a “love song” about a couple separated by the border, Oberst has yet to set a  release date for the song, but has confirmed it will be released under Oberst’s Bright Eyes moniker, which means it will serve as the first new Bright Eyes song 2007’s Cassadaga… or, if you want to get super technical, the 2010 split One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels — that EP featured four previously unreleased Bright Eyes tracks. Fun fact for y’all.

Meanwhile, as Pitchfork points out, opposition to the boycott has surfaced. In an open letter, Arizona activist and promoter Charlie Levy noted the boycott is more detrimental than helpful, explaining, “By not performing in Arizona, artists are harming the very people and places that foster free speech and the open exchange of ideas that serve to counter the closed-mindedness recently displayed by the new law.”

We’ll of course keep you updated as more news regarding the situation surfaces. In the meantime, we’ve included two videos for your viewing pleasure below. The first features de la Rocha discussing the “Sound Strike” campaign. The second sees Bright Eyes recording a music video for “Coyote Song” as well as detailing why he decided to be involved in the movement.

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