It’s fairly obvious given the content of this website that I am a liberal. In fact, it’s probably obvious that I’m basically an anarchist and have a disdain for any form of centralized authority and that my civil rights and climate change support is at times bordering on militant. So like – I’m pretty awful in some peoples eyes. Here’s the thing though, I still have a ton of friends who identify as Trump supporters and a ton of friends who are ardent opponents of many things that I support. I don’t hold that against them though when it comes time to go to work though. Eventually you have to look past a lot of the common limitations that people let ruin their lives and instead embrace the fact that if you can accept anyone then you are going to have a much more varied and potent team available for you to work with. It’s learning how to cultivate this open mindedness and seeing where politics need to fall in your personal dealings with friends from the music world.
This was an interesting realization for me when I was younger. Though I had spent high school in the liberal mecca of Paris, at an international school no less, my music industry experience had left me with some conservative leaning friends. This culminated in going to a festival with a friend from Texas who had, let’s just say very different political views from me. We remain close to this day though – largely because of our differences. Now – I quickly learned that you need to cut out racists – but even things like racism can be surprisingly multifaceted. I get that I’m a straight white male and if you want to call me out feel free. But there’s a reason that for things like Anselmo-gate all of my friends who identify as minorities weren’t offended but my white friends continued to lose their minds over what he had done. Long story short – I quickly realized that to keep certain friends I was going to need to refrain from making political posts on Facebook – something that I sincerely believe has done wonders for my career.
Odds are – if you’re in a band then any political posts you make will probably do more harm than good. Social media has become such an echo chamber these days that it’s very hard to realize were your views fall on the political spectrum – just look at the circle jerk that was Bernie Sanders campaign. If you fail to articulate yourself properly then even your friends on your side of the spectrum can feel alienated and if someone you wanted to impress has a different view then you might end up hurting yourself. Some of you might say that you refuse to work with people who have different political views from you – but frankly that’s fascistic – screw you. The best case scenario if often just spouting off the same boring platitudes. You need to have a breadth of political opinions in your team and even in your circle of friends because otherwise bad things happen – all of human history has shown us this.
Then again – maybe I’m just being an asshole because I’m a straight white male with dual citizenship and so for me no matter who becomes president not much bad stuff will actually end up happening to me. I get that. I get that I can’t just immediately assume that my views on politics being silly in the long run in the music industry are totally bigoted. I can tell you though that there are a ton of people I partially agree with who have other views I think are kind of shitty – but I don’t hold those against them since they are good people and my friends. As I mentioned previously there are definitely lines that you don’t cross – but once you establish those lines it’s good to keep things as broad as possible. Otherwise you will just find yourself beholden to fountains of bullshit and be extremely limited in who you will be able to work with.
When it come to the music industry you have to realize that music comes first not politics. If you let religious or political views get in the way then you’re hurting yourself. It’s like in any other business – you will periodically find yourself working with people you don’t totally agree with – but in many ways that’s what makes it so interesting – the mere fact that there are so many dissenting opinions even in a traditionally liberal area alike the arts is a lot of fun and makes me really happy. Again – there are Nazi punks (Fuck off!) and other degenerate views in the scene, but you’ve got to take the good with the bad. Ultimately the arts have pushed the whole world left, basically since their inception and I think that for most people reading this article that’s a good thing, and for those of you on the right – it’s a throwing down of the gauntlet. It’s certainly worked in the past and I’m sure they can make it work out again.
So now my plane is about to land and I think I’ve made my point. Music is a weird thing and it’s so powerful that it draws people from all over the world and consequently all cultures and beliefs. We need to realize that this is just a part of how this thing works. It’s a fundamental truth that if you don’t want to deal with then you are shooing yourself in the foot. I get that you like being on the left and having leftist friends but cutting yourself off is only going to make your views less articulate. So go out, embrace everyone and then try to gently guide their views too. Help them to figure out what they can be and what their work can end up standing for. No political argument was ever won by yelling, but being a reasonable buddy from the music world could be that push your friends who disagree with you need.
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