We're in the middle of a Blue America contest that ends Monday at noon (Valentine's Day)-- and that's noon your time, wherever you live. You could win an autographed copy of Bill Kopp's about-to-be-released new book, Disturbing the Peace-- 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave along with a kind of companion CD, 415 Records-- Still Disturbing the Peace. And your favorite candidate could win a $1,000 check from Blue America. You are registered to win by "voting" here. A vote is a contribution to one of the candidates, based on the musician or band they like most.
If this sounds complicated, it isn't... Just click on this link to reach our contest page and you'll see it all laid out nice and smooth.
Some of the candidates have explained why the love the bands and artists they chose. Let's take Culver City Mayor Daniel Lee, a candidate for an open Los Angeles congressional seat... and a big fan of music in general. He picked Prince. When I asked why, this is what he told me:
My favorite musical artist is Prince because he doesn't play a genre or a few genres of music he is a genre unto himself. He can stand tall with the tallest rock guitar gods, go toe to toe with any vocalist from falsetto to bass, far out into left field and bring his entire fan base with him and write a tighter pop song in his sleep than any pop artist in the history of recorded music.
His lesser hits like "Raspberry Berret" and my personal favorite "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man" eat "uptown funk" and other replicates for lunch. Though many know him for the phenomenal "Purple Rain" arguably better songs exist in an extensive repertoire-- many like "When Doves Cry," "I Would Die 4 U" and, another personal favorite, "The Beautiful Ones" exist on the same album.
His quality output in the early to mid 80's is something akin to the string of 4-5 albums in the 1970's by Stevie Wonder, any one of which would have garnered a lesser artist legendary status.
Two of our candidates, Jason Call (WA) and Mike Ortega (CA) chose Pink Floyd. In letters to their supporters, they both explained why. Jason's e-mail has this subject line: "How much do you love Pink Floyd? Hear me out…"
You probably don’t get many political emails that talk about a candidate’s favorite band, but we’re breaking that mold today.
Here’s what’s going on:
My campaign is endorsed by Blue America, an organization which exclusively supports progressive candidates who take no corporate money. Blue America is headed by former record executive and music promoter Howie Klein, who manages and writes for the political blog Down With Tyranny (which I contribute to frequently).
Howie is [giving away] two signed copies of the book Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave by Bill Kopp, along with an accompanying CD. You can read Howie’s article on the contest here.
...Howie is asking supporters to match their donation to the candidate’s favorite musical artist or band. My favorite band is Pink Floyd. I’m 50, and have been listening to them since I was given a cassette tape of The Wall in my sophomore year of high school.
This was when Pink Floyd had a resurgence of interest in mainstream music with the release of A Momentary Lapse of Reason. I dug deep into the discography over the next few years, and it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite album or song. If you're a Floyd fan you may feel the same. Animals? Meddle? The Final Cut was particularly meaningful to me in its anti-war perspectives. Is my favorite song an epic suite like Echoes or Atom Heart Mother? Or something brief and powerful like Pigs on the Wing or Southampton Dock?
I’ll never settle on a definitive favorite, but I’ve had religious experiences watching Live At Pompeii. I’m deeply appreciative of Roger Waters as an activist and David Gilmour is-- probably-- my all time favorite guitarist. Seeing him live is a bucket list item I’m likely to never check off.
So is that enough testimony to elicit a donation in my name? If so, here’s the direct link.
If you look at the other candidates’ favorites and decide you like their choice better, donate in their name. The bottom line is a donation to this fundraiser helps all of us.
This unique fundraiser runs from now through Monday, February 14th. I hope I can count on my fellow Floyd fans.
Orange County candidate Mike Ortega, the other candidate who picked Floyd, also explained in an e-mail to his supporters a personal connection he feels with the band's music: "I came to love Pink Floyd because of the song 'Wish You Were Here.' My older brother had fallen into severe drug abuse and by the time I was 15 years old I realized he would never be the same. His mind was so far gone that I had to begin to mourn the loss of the big brother I had grown up with. The brother that helped me become the man I am today."
"Pink Floyd’s music helped me through these times and allowed me to heal so I could step up as the youngest child to help my parents. Just hearing that opening guitar riff still brings out deep emotions for me. This contest really feels like it's all coming full circle. If you know the feeling, check out the contest and throw a few bucks in the pot-- it doesn't have to be much-- a small donation can help a lot here.
Cristina Garcia is the progressive candidate running for a newly created seat in southeast Los Angeles and Long Beach. Her opponent is a Republican with a "D" next to his name and all the big money establishment backing him. She's a far more compelling candidate and her favorite musician? This is what she told me:
"I was six years old when Cyndi Lauper released 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun.' Still, I will never forget bugging my older brothers to play the song super loud when it came on the radio. As I got older, I embraced Cyndi Lauper as a voice of feminist liberation. As I reflect on the 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun' video, I think of her boldly calling her working-class mother to reject her gender role and the incredible diversity of her black, Latino, Asian, and Euro-American friends. More than 1-billion people have watched that video. Now, that's girls having Fun!"