Fans of Death Cab for Cutie will (finally!) have a reason to vote this election season. As part of the Ultimate College Bowl program-- the largest nonpartisan registration drive in the country-- the band will be giving a free concert to the college that registers the most students to vote.
Recently, Chris Walla, producer and guitarist for Death Cab for Cutie, spoke to some colleges about the upcoming election.
Death Cab has never been a political band. Certainly not with a capital P, Walla said.
However, while he is not comfortable preaching political views, Walla said the 2004 election inspired him to get involved with getting students involved.
It was just really disheartening for me to find out that more people were voting in American Idol than were voting in the primaries, he said. Sometimes its difficult to remember that everything that happens around us, we have some control by ticking a box on your ballot.
Of his personal concerns during this election season, Walla said, Its been really frustrating for me to see that theres been barely a mention on any of the cable news and network news outlets of the war in Iraq. And, that we still have hundred-and-fifty-odd thousand of our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. And regardless of how you feel about the war those people are largely out of sight, out of mind. I think that its pretty irresponsible for that to not be getting more and regular and daily coverage in our media, even if were in an election cycle.
Today, Walla describes himself as a political junkie.
Ive always been fascinated by, like when I have a like latent interest in something and then I end up taking a class or end up meeting a group of people who are simply engaging to me as people and through your relationship, you end up sort of getting involved in whatever it is, he said.
The band was in Denver during the convention, at which point Walla went for an intriguing walk around the convention floors.
You can sort of really get a vibe from each of the states just from the delegations on the floor, and I thought that was really interesting, he said.
Walla should be well aware of such vibes. Over the past few years, Death Cab has toured all over the country, granting Walla a glimpse of America he had not previously seen.
I still love driving around and visiting all the different little corners of our nation, and, I mean, theres no theres no other place on the planet where the city of Mobile, Ala., and a city like Juneau, Alaska, can vote for the same president, he said. There are so many little countries within our country that are all held together by a common belief and a common purpose that, I dont know, its really incredible. So I think that consciousness to a degree has really affected the band and all of [frontman Ben Gibbards] travel logs from record to record are sort of built on that.
Regarding Death Cabs politics as a band, Walla said, We do a fair amount of private advocacy, but we are all really sensitive to the idea that you know as performers, we are entertainers. Thats what we do. And Ive always sort of felt like when I go to a show, thats my Friday night. Like thats the antidote for my week With that said, when you feel strongly about something, its impossible to keep your mouth shut. Part of this whole [Ultimate College Bowl] event is encouraging people to open their mouths and get involved when they feel strongly about something. Particularly in this election, turning out people to vote is really the best thing that we can do.
According to Barnett Zitron, member of Why Tuesday?-- one of many groups that make up the Ultimate College Bowl-- schools do not need t have an official relationship with the drive, leaving students to register on the site individually and including the name of their school with their information.