.

The National Support Obama Despite 'Hate Mail'

'There's more at stake this time,' band's frontman says

Matt Berninger of The National
Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns
October 5, 2012 12:55 PM ET

Despite catching some flack for supporting President Barack Obama at recent campaign events, the National feel this fall's election is too important not to participate, the musicians tell The Lantern at Ohio State University in Columbus. "Personally, we feel that the stakes are even higher this [election] than they were last time, in many ways," said frontman Matt Berninger.

The band – which has received "hate mail on Facebook" for its support of Obama, guitarist/keyboardist Aaron Dessner said  was in Columbus helping register students to vote before hosting a GottaVote concert. The Cincinnati natives said their Ohio roots have helped shape their political perspective.

"I grew up in a neighborhood that was heavily Republican, but growing up, you always felt the significance of Ohio's going Democrat or Republican in presidential elections – you're just aware of how important it is," Dessner said.

Berninger said many of the Republicans he's known for years are having second thoughts about the party. "A lot of the people I grew up with who are very conservative feel a little bit alienated by the current sort of version of the Republican party," he said. "I think many of them don't feel represented by the Republican party anymore . . . so there's more at stake this time, just with the way the whole political landscape has shifted."

Even though the band supports Obama, Berninger said he actually prefers apolitical music. "I listen to rock music to sort of escape that kind of stuff," he said. "Even 'Fake Empire,' which was our most political song  it wasn't specifically a partisan song, it was just kind of feeling disenfranchised with Washington and the whole government."

But for the National, these issues transcend music. "This is more important than a rock band," said Berninger. "I know we've gotten responses from people [who] don't like the fact that we've taken a position on it, and I don't actually think artists or musicians necessarily have a responsibility to do that. But in our case, the five of us . . . talked about it and we were like, 'Yeah, it's worth it, for sure.'"

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com