Fighting for your right to vote is the unofficial theme behind the Beastie Boys' Get Out and Vote '08 tour, which finds the alt rock/hip-hop act joined by Tenacious D in Denver for an election eve show at the Fillmore Auditorium.
"This all started basically because, I'm sure like most Americans, we're kind of stressed about this election coming up," says Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz. "I think we all wanted to do something for whichever candidate we're excited about. So it was just thinking about wanting to do something, doing more research and finding out how many registered voters don't vote.
"Like, I kind of knew it, but I didn't actually realize it was 70 million people. So we just wanted to get people to vote, basically. And we're sick of having these things come down to one broken polling booth in Florida. We don't want it to be 2,000 votes deciding this thing."
Horovitz said the plan didn't get into motion until last month, when the Beastie Boys sent feelers out to a slew of artists about teaming up. Other acts scheduled to make appearances on the seven-date tour through swing states include Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Norah Jones, Jack Johnson, Crosby & Nash and Santogold.
It's been 22 years since the snotty-nosed and raunchy Beastie Boys emerged on the pop music scene with their '80s anthem "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)" from the group's major-label debut, Licensed to Ill. At the time, critics didn't expect much longevity from Horovitz, Mike "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "MCA" Yauch.
However, they decided to take themselves a little more seriously and created what is widely considered to be one of the best hip-hop albums ever, 1989's Paul's Boutique. Today, the rap act's seven studio albums have sold more than 20 million copies combined. Over the years, as the band's music has become more complex, the outfit's also become more politically active.
"Politically speaking, a lot of Americans want to be active," Horovitz says. "A lot of people are really upset with the way that the country has been handled the past few years. I don't think it's a weird or out-of-nowhere thing, that we want to try to do something to make change in this country. I think a lot of people are not happy with their health care, their family's health care. They're not happy with where their taxes are going, two wars, their kids going off to Iraq and these mortgages that have been handed out.
"They're not happy about a long list of things. And I guess we all kind of complain about government, but it seems like right now the Bush administration has really managed to fuck things up."
Horovitz promises the show won't become a rally for his presidential choice, Barack Obama, though some fans may see it that way. Will the group be preaching to the choir?
"Maybe, but literally that many people didn't vote," says Horovitz. "[The tour's] got to do something. These are registered voters it's not like, 'Hey, you have to go down and register.' It's like, 'Literally fucking vote. Do it.'"
I miss you, Lenny! My family and I thank you for all the special times…
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