YouTube In case you missed it, Matt Berninger, Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner of…
- Posted on Oct 5th 2012 11:20AM by Jason MacNeil
In an interview with Ohio State University publication The Lantern, singer Matt Berninger said the 2012 Presidential election is extremely important.
"Personally, we feel that the stakes are even higher this (election) than they were last time, in many ways," he said. "A lot of the people I grew up with who are very conservative feel a little bit alienated by the current sort of version of the Republican party. I think many of them don't feel represented by the Republican party anymore... so there's more at stake this time, just with the way the whole political landscape has shifted."
Berninger also added that the group, who supported Barack Obama in 2008 and whose song "Mr. November" -- the closing track on their 2005 album Alligator -- ended up being made into an Obama t-shirt slogan, have gotten some criticism for their stance. But he feels passionate about the band's collective stance.
"This is more important than a rock band," he said. "I know we've gotten responses from people (who) don't like the fact that we've taken a position on it, and I don't actually think artists or musicians necessarily have a responsibility to do that. But in our case, the five of us... talked about it and we were like, 'Yeah, it's worth it, for sure.'"
The band performed a brief set at the two Ohio stops in Columbus and Cincinnati, but also took time out to help students register to vote, assisting them with filling out different documents and paperwork at Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. On September 1 The National also performed at a campaign stop by Obama in Ames, Iowa. Guitarist Aaron Dessner says the band has received some "hate mail on Facebook" from some people.
Regardless, Berninger -- who does really "want my rock music to be political" -- says university students will play a crucial role in this election, provided they first do the necessary paperwork to enable them to mark their ballots.
"It's their world that's being shaped and it's their lives being decided right now, by, quite frankly, older generations," he said. "It's their voice that needs to be heard because they're the ones who will most benefit or suffer from that."
On the recording front, The National are in the studio working on new material which will be the follow-up to their highly acclaimed 2010 album High Violet. Although no other campaign concerts or stops are confirmed yet, The National will play in New York City on Oct. 30 as part of the Freedom to Love Now concert with Rufus Wainwright, Fun. and They Might Be Giants among others. The band will also perform at All Tomorrow's Parties in Great Britain in December, the festival they are curating this year. The ATP lineup includes Kathleen Edwards, Owen Pallett, Hayden, Buke and Gase, Sharon Van Etten and Deerhoof among many others.
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