thenation.com: the power of music
original publish date: 29 dec 2002
by ann powers, thenation.com
How can musicians respond to such confusing times?
The Nation poses this question to five artists known for their outspoken views and powerful, activism-inspiring music. Boots Riley of the Oakland hip-hop duo the Coup may be best known for a terrible coincidence–the cover for his group’s latest CD, Party Music, was recalled because the design, created long before September 11, showed Riley and DJ Pam the Funkstress blowing up the World Trade Center–but he has been an activist since his early teens and may be the most cogent political rapper working today. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam has worked for many causes, from the band’s historic stand against the Ticketmaster monopoly to his tireless stumping for Ralph Nader in the 2000 election. Tom Morello, now of the band Audioslave, played guitar for Rage Against the Machine, the most visible leftist rock group of the 1990s. In the Indigo Girls and on her own, Amy Ray has established herself as a foremost advocate for Native American rights, feminist causes and environmentalism. And with Sleater-Kinney, Carrie Brownstein helped reshape the sound of feminist rock.