Some of the biggest names in music will be hitting the phones over the next week to help get the vote out, calling randomly-selected fans to chat about the upcoming election. Willie Nelson, ?uestlove of the Roots, and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips are among the dozen musicians involved with the “Pledge to Vote” campaign staged by HeadCount, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes electoral participation.
Each artist recorded reminders that will be sent to fans before Election Day via automated phone calls. In addition, most artist participants will be making live calls - surprising fans who expect to only hear a pre-recorded message.
“Let’s get some folks cranked up about this,” said The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir, a HeadCount board member who will also be personally calling dozens of voters. “It’s so important that people, particularly young people, are paying attention and voting so a bunch of cranky old folks don’t steal their future. Hopefully getting a call from a familiar voice will be motivation.”
Weir is currently touring with his former Grateful Dead bandmate Phil Lesh under the name Furthur. Close to 25,000 music enthusiasts have already made a “Pledge to Vote” at concerts or on HeadCount’s website, www.headcount.org, requesting a reminder phone call from one of their favorite artists and affirming that they will vote in November.
The full list of artist choices include:
Adam Gardner (Guster)
Matt Berninger (The National)
Warren Haynes (The Allman Bros., Gov't Mule)
Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits)
Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips)
Bob Weir (Grateful Dead, Furthur)
Jon Fishman (Phish)
Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket)
Fans can still sign up for the calls by visiting www.HeadCount.org/pledge.
Marc Brownstein, of The Disco Biscuits, HeadCount's founder and co-chair, will personally phone dozens of fans from HeadCount's Manhattan office on Monday, Vovember 1st, the night before the election.
Meanwhile, video cameras will be rolling and all the calls will be streamed live on the Web at www.HeadCount.org/Blog and www.Relix.com starting at 9 PM ET.
“This is what grassroots organizing is all about,” said Brownstein. “Talking to people one-on-one, but doing it in ways that make the conversation spread to many.”
Adam Gardner, guitarist in the band Guster and founder of the environmental music-industry nonprofit organization Reverb, said that until recently he didn’t realize that voter turnout for midterm elections is so much smaller than presidential elections.
“I was surprised by it and definitely motivated to change those stats,” he said.
Reverb’s Green Music Group, a project that aims to build a community committed to environmental action, has made HeadCount’s “Pledge to Vote” its primary call to action this month.
The live phone calls follow HeadCount’s release two weeks ago of the “Vote Again 2010” public service announcement starring Jay-Z. It is airing on CBS, Fuse, Gospel Music Channel and SNY.