Check Your Head

This year's Plea for Peace tour focuses on voter registration

Regardless of your political persuasion, one thing remains clear: Everyone who can vote, needs to vote. This is the singular message of the 2004 Plea for Peace tour.

Started by musician Mike Park in 1999, Plea for Peace is a nonprofit organization devoted to advocating peace through music. The organization has put together several national tours composed of independent bands in order to promote social action. This year's tour is headlined by Omaha band Cursive, with spoken-word performer Saul Williams, Denver's Planes Mistaken for Stars, and Park himself rounding out the bill.

Cursive bassist Matt Maggin emphasized that Cursive's involvement has a lot to do with the nonpartisan bent of the tour.

"Not being a political band, we were more comfortable doing something that was just pro-voting, which is a very essential human right and something that people obviously don't take as much advantage of as they should," he said.

Guitarist and vocalist Tim Kasher added, "We kind of feel like it's a privilege to use the platform that Cursive has made to give us a chance, for us personally, to do something for this year's election."

Getting out the vote is something many organizations strive to do in the months before an important election, and Plea for Peace is no exception. The bands hope that, through music, they can motivate more people to vote-- people who currently doubt their voice means anything in the long run.

Despite the nonpartisan stance of the tour as a whole, each band makes their own statement when they take the stage, and, as Maggin points out, even within each band there are varying degrees of liberalism.

"When the shows go on, the bands all express their opinions, but we try to avoid too much preaching, because that's one reason we wanted to tailor the tour to a nonpartisan stance, because I don't like going to a rock show where I just want to hear music, and I end up getting preached to," said Maggin.

Even though opinions are expressed, the main focus is that voting is the best way to voice your opposition or support.

"We played in Omaha (the other) night, and it's a very Republican state, and it's gonna be Republican, I can pretty much guarantee it, but that's not a reason for any of us to not vote," said Kasher. "Because what you're trying to do is show your own state your opposition to what's going on right now. I know that Bush is going to get a lot of votes this year, and I can pretty much guarantee that no one is going to be able to sway the rest of the votes. That's just what I said on stage last night: You still need to represent yourself; you need to represent how you feel; and if we all do that, then we can show that threat, even in Nebraska, which is always a conservative state."

Added Maggin, "I would encourage people to not sit around and be reactionary and complain about everything, (but to) get off their ass and do something. It's real easy for people to react to situations because everybody else is reacting, but if you would just do something in advance, at least you know that you had your voice heard whether what you were voting for happened or not. At least you can say that you gave it a shot and you gave a shit when it came around. There's something very sad about being against the current president, and I think that's why we wanted to not have the tour as a whole be biased one way or another. It's just simply: People need to speak for themselves."

At the show, there will be someone registering people to vote, but "otherwise, it's just the usual rock show, really," said Maggin.

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