The Ultimate Gig: Playing The Political Parties?

Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney shares her thoughts on performers who will play the party conventions. In Denver, Death Cab for Cutie, Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas will perform. At the GOP convention in St. Paul, Minn., it's The Charlie Daniels Band, the Beach Boys and LeAnn Rimes.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Here's something that new lobbying legislation does not rule out, some good old fashioned Rage Against the Machine.

(Soundbite of song by Rage Aginst the Machine)

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Rage Against the Machine.

BRAND: Yep, Alex. It's a band that'll be playing a show with Wayne Kramer, you may remember him as the legendary guitarist from the MC5 during the Democratic National Convention.

CHADWICK: And both these conventions are going to feature all sorts of musical acts, maybe there's some kind of meaning in there. Here with the preview is musician and NPR blogger Carrie Brownstein.

CARRIE BROWNSTEIN: Cold War Kids, Silversun Pickups, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Moby and Death Cab for Cutie. The Democratic National Convention sounds like it could be Coachella or Lollapalooza.

(Soundbite of song "I Will Possess Your Heart")

Mr. GIBBARD: You got to spend some time, love You got to spend some time

BROWNSTEIN: It might have something to do with Barack Obama. It's no secret that he has great taste in music, liking everyone from Kanye West to Wilco.

(Soundbite of song "Walken")

Mr. TWEEDY: (Singing) I'm walking all by myself

BROWNSTEIN: An artist have made playing benefits for Obama and opening for him at rallies tantamount in importance to say a performance on the Letterman Show or in this day and age getting a lot of hits on You Tube.

(Soundbite of song "Good Life")

Mr. WEST: (Singing) Like we always do with this time...

BROWNSTEIN: So, it's no surprise that the DNC is chockfull of eager and earnest acts. There to lend their support not just musically but politically because they actually believe in the candidate. So, you're probably wondering, who's playing the Republican National Convention? Well, brace yourself, it's the Beach Boys and the Charlie Daniels Band.

(Soundbite of music)

BROWNSTEIN: OK. There's some younger acts too. LeAnn Rimes and Smash Mouth. Remember them?

(Soundbite of song "All Star")

Mr. HARWELL: (Singing) It's a cool place and they say it gets colder And you're bundled up now, wait till you get older...

BROWNSTEIN: And if you're lucky, you might even catch Mike Huckabee's band, Capital Offense, also playing that week.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. BLACK: I ain't no ultimate wonder...

BROWNSTEIN: Alas, I guess I wasn't expecting the RNC or a candidate like John McCain, ABBA enthusiast that he is, to magically wrangle the indy bands, Arcade Fire or Fleet Foxes, but still, he could have tried to get ABBA to reunite, that would have generated some excitement in garnering McCain some respect among drag queens, and my parents, and other ABBA fans. But then, do you remember that ABBA themselves are actually upset at McCain for using their songs at his rallies.

(Soundbite of song "Take a Chance on Me")

Ms. AGNETHA FALTSKOG: (Singing) Take a chance on me That's all I ask of you, honey...

BROWNSTEIN: If the RNC and DNC were a talent show, the DNC would be kicking proverbial butt. Here's the problem, a lot of hip young artists just aren't lining behind McCain, unless you count American Idol alumni Kim Caldwell. And something tells me that her loyalty to McCain may not be the driving force behind her decision to play. Hey, you take exposure where you can get it.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. KIM CALDWELL: (Singing) I guess the fight is over...

BROWNSTEIN: I want this Battle of the Bands to be more evenly matched, so I'm going to dole out some advice. There's a golden opportunity here for a new upcoming band comprised young Republicans.

BROWNSTEIN: Form today, call the Mccain campaign tomorrow, and use the Republican National Convention as your launch pad to success. Your main competition, as it stands right now, is the song "Cocomo" and the former Arkansas governor on the base. No contest. You'll have a record deal by the end of week. Right now, the difference between the acts of the DNC and RNC are as different as, well, as the candidates themselves. Maybe that's the intention. So, I think I have to root for the underdog on this one. I might have to go to St. Paul to help the Beach Boys out. So, go ahead. Go have fun at that other cooler music festival in Denver. I'll be surfing USA at the RNC in St. Paul.

(Soundbite of song "Surfin' USA")

BEACH BOYS: (Singing) Everybody's gone surfin'. Surfin' USA

BRAND: Musician Carrie Brownstein.

CHADWICK: Carrie has blog called Monitor Mix and you can find it at npr.org.

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