Music News

Zack de la Rocha Explains The Sound Strike, More Artists Boycott AZ

​Zack de la Rocha's The Sound Strike has added more names to the already massive list of bands/performers boycotting Arizona over SB 1070. Those new boycotters include Maroon 5, Steve Earle, Nine Inch Nails, Gogol Bordello and Chris Rock. Ry Cooder is also a new addition to the list, and he celebrated his addition by penning an anti-SB 1070 song

Arizona is taking it on the chin.

These actions are to be expected as SB 1070 inches towards becoming law in late July. While other bands have simply boycotted the state with little explanation other than their own smug, self-serving egos (see: Stars), The Sound Strike's mastermind -- Rage Against The Machine frontman/mouthpiece Zack de la Rocha -- has offered multiple explanations of his boycott, the video of which follows the jump.

Zack De La Rocha for The Sound Strike from Producciones Cimarrón on Vimeo.

"Civil intervention," as per de la Rocha's words, is what drives The Sound Strike. It's actually kind of decent to hear him explain his intentions at length, and when he starts listing how it is The Sound Strike and their boycott of Arizona are affecting change, it sounds well-meaning. Not wanting to use his platform/power as a musician to somehow generate any money for Arizona by playing a show there is understandable. de la Rocha then states that, "If you [as boycotting artists] go to Arizona and play, it is no longer a neutral act," which is well and good for those artists who are choosing to boycott the state, but leaves fans of said bands' music in Arizona out in the dark, yet again.

de la Rocha wants to educate fans about SB 1070 by creating The Sound Strike -- and I'm sure those fans living outside of Arizona can get with what he is saying and, thus, understand the boycott on their own terms. However, it is those fans and, more importantly, registered voters in Arizona who, I am rather certain, didn't vote for Gov. Brewer in the first place. These same fans have the power to reverse SB 1070 (here's hoping) with their votes and they need the most education on the issue. Simply turning your back on these same fans isn't going to exact quite the same change that de la Rocha hopes for. I know this is not de la Rocha's intentions in boycotting Arizona -- to turn his back on his Arizona fans -- but it sure as hell feels like that right now.

Better put: Many music fans in Arizona detest SB 1070 and want it gone more than anything. It is with the power of their votes that SB 1070 can be defeated, so why not show them some appreciation and do them the dignity of allowing them the joy of your live music? I know it's a futile effort in mentioning this, but it needs to be said. The right people, if they are ever given the chance, will vote against SB 1070 whether or not Rage Against The Machine and My Morning Jacket play Arizona in the next 18 months. The extra effort, as a band, to show appreciation for these fans by playing Arizona would be warmly received -- yet it is not necessary.

Everything about SB 1070 is disappointing, including The Sound Strike. These bands boycotting Arizona isn't life-changing, but it sure does put a damper on things. Many Arizonans aren't going to jump ship and reconsider their fandom of certain bands that have chosen to rightfully boycott Arizona, but there has to be a better way to educate these same Arizonans about what they can do to combat SB 1070.

de la Rocha has more to say about his boycott of Arizona, but his point has been dutifully made. Through all of this, Charlie Levy has eloquently stated how this boycott truly affects Arizona better than I ever could when he said:

The truth is, a boycott is an easy gesture that doesn't require much more than a statement and removing a date from your tour schedule. However, if you truly care about the effects of the controversial immigration law that was passed, this is an opportunity to use your unique position as an artist with the ability to reach thousands of people to inspire, educate, and motivate your fans to actively be a part of the change.

Fans in Arizona want to actively be a part of changing SB 1070. Boycotting them and, thus, ignoring them isn't going to achieve this.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Lopez