Rise Against have bowed out from headlining the Buzz Bake Sale in Florida this December after finding out that the event was to be sponsored by the US Army’s Recruitment Department. Having been involved in counter-recruitment efforts in the past and after adamantly and openly being opposed to the war, the band feels it would be “hypocritical and inappropriate” to headline the show. I say right on Rise Against!
Unfortunately, the band is having to deal with some backlash from the radio station holding the show. Here is what they have to say about it:
In an act reminiscent of McCarthyism witch-hunts, the radio station has come to the unfounded, false and irresponsible conclusion that Rise Against is “against the army” and, as of this morning, has decided to spread this misinformation over the airwaves, threaten to not play songs, and call for a boycott of Rise Against.
Take a look at the band’s full statement here. It’s well worth reading and shows just how much things can be twisted by the powers that be when you do something counter to their interest.
Earlier this year, Rise Against agreed to the play the Buzz Bake Sale in West Palm Beach, FL scheduled to take place in December 09. We’ve played this same show in the past and it’s always been a great time, the crowds are epic, the station has always been gracious hosts, and we were honored to be asked to headline it for the first time this year. As the date closed in, we discovered that we were scheduled to headline a stage sponsored by the US Army’s Recruitment Dept. As a band that has worked in counter-recruitment in the past, we decided it would be hypocritical and inappropriate for us to headline this stage. In addition, we were surprised that a radio station claiming to be familiar with Rise Against thought that we would be ok with the idea that we would play a show and subject our fans to military recruitment tactics in a time of war, a war we adamantly and publicly have opposed since it’s bumbled inception. To be clear, this was not an event to honor the military, this was an event that the US ARMY was interested in recruiting people at, and we felt that our fans should be free from that interference at a rock show on a Sunday night in a time of war. Recruiters are a part of the military that even many members of the military will admit their distaste for their documented unethical tactics. We asked if something could be done, and when we were told no, we respectfully bowed out of the unannounced show for obvious reasons, and left it at that. We assumed the station was depending on the financial support of the sponsor and so we held no grudge.
Thinking that was the end of it, the radio station retaliated. In an act reminiscent of McCarthyism witch-hunts, the radio station has come to the unfounded, false and irresponsible conclusion that Rise Against is “against the army” and, as of this morning, has decided to spread this misinformation over the airwaves, threaten to not play songs, and call for a boycott of Rise Against. Listening to the broadcast, we were surprised at willingness of the DJ’s to spin off of a lie. At no point did they consider the information simply wasn’t true. In addition to a number of lies, they even decided to tell their listeners that we said “F-U to the army” from the stage at past Buzz Bake Sales, something that simply isn’t true and that we would never do.
To dignify this ridiculous scare tactic, Rise Against supports the troops and always have. In the past year, Rise Against worked closely with the USO to allow troops and their families to attend our shows with Rancid for free. As our economy spiraled over the summer, we played near about 14 different military bases, making this all possible. We also continue to work closely with the Iraq Veterans Against The War who attended and tabled many Rise Against shows in the last year. We hear from troops overseas on a daily basis through email and cherish that contact. We learned so much in the time we spent with all of these individuals and look forward to doing it again.
Again, Rise Against is against the war. Rise Against is not against the military. It is an insult to the intelligence of Americans to claim they are one in the same. We know our fans know this, all of the amazing troops we’ve met over the last ten years know this, and that most people can see through the transparent and shameless attacks by this radio station. How someone can be “against” their brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers and neighbors and classmates and the very fans in the front row of our show is beyond us.
That said, we grew up in a time where the decisions and stances that bands took in their career are the things that defined them, and what made them special and respected by fans and media alike. Nobody would have asked Rage Against The Machine to headline this stage. To not respect the decisions and stances of bands across this vast musical landscape puts real music and real musicians in jeopardy. To have radio stations become bullies and threaten the artists they play to conform with their agenda or else face the consequences is something that flys in the face of not only the scene, but of this country. Many of the bands that BUZZ 103 plays on the airwaves carved their name through the stands that they took musically and politically. We need to be wary of those who would bully artists into an agenda set by those who control the airwaves.
If we were to bow to this pressure, we would not be Rise Against. Shame on you BUZZ103 for even asking us to. Last time we checked, supporting the troops involves more than just accepting their money that you need to put on shows. We are sorry to the Rise Against fans who took BUZZ103s word as truth and had to spend the better part of the day believing that we are the monsters the DJs made us out as.
We apologize for this obstacle standing between us and our amazing fans in Florida, we know our fans understand and are confident they would be much more disappointed if we were to go back on our stance and follow through with this show. We will be playing that night elsewhere with a radio station that understands our band and our amazing fanbase. We look forward to making it up to you soon West Palm, we know your radio station doesn’t speak for you.
Support The Troops; End the War