Thirty-two years after Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) threw a legendary five-night show at Madison Square Garden to warn people about the dangers of nuclear power, many of the same acts will put on another show August 7th in response to the nuclear disasters in Japan. The concert – which will feature returning acts Crosby, Stills and Nash; Jackson Browne; Bonnie Raitt; John Hall; and Sweet Honey In the Rock – will be held at the Shoreline Ampitheater in Mountain View, California, and proceeds will go to MUSE to be distributed to support disaster relief efforts.
"The accident in Fukushima has awakened not only a lot of people, but a lot of countries, to the stupidity of nuclear power," Graham Nash, one of the event's organizers, tells Rolling Stone. "It's a fucked way of boiling water. The goal of the shows is to raise money so we can fund all the anti-nuclear power groups who have been working so long and so hard for sanity."
Younger acts Tom Morello and Jason Mraz have also been booked. "It can't just be the same old fucking suspects," says Nash. "Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine is an incredibly powerful speaker and singer." Lawn tickets for the event will be just $15, and the entire show will be run by solar power, bio-diesel and wind. There's no word on whether Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty (who both played the original MUSE show) will be added to the line-up. "We've got the lines out there," says Nash. "Big names will be added, but I can't tell you who yet."
The nuclear tragedies in Japan following the earthquakes in March have led many to re-think the wisdom of nuclear power – though the story has been out of the press for months. "You know why that is?" asks Nash. "Because the people that own the world's media you can count on one fucking hand. They don't want people. They want sheep. Buy another set of sneakers. 'Buy another Coca-Cola and get the fuck out of my life while I rob you.' We're just trying to take the awareness of the problems from the Japanese accident and amplify them."
On the campaign trail in 2008, President Obama said he was open to the idea of building more nuclear power plants in America. "At the Democratic National Convention in '08 I had a meeting with one of Obama's top energy advisors," says Nash. "He said, 'Between you and I, he's taking a very interesting stance. He's saying that he's for nuclear power, IF we can solve the problems of terrorist activity, transpiration of the nuclear waste and, most of all, the storage of all this nuclear waste.' This guy told me that Obama is saying he's for it, but he knows in his heart that it can't possible work."
Nash fiercely resists the idea that coal power plants are worse for the environment than nuclear plants. "Coal plants put a lot of shit and mercury in the air," he says. "But a coal plant won't be poisonous for 100,000 years. Do you know what the fucking death toll was for Chernobyl? One million four hundred fucking thousand people. What's the price of nuclear power? It's the kids who are going to suffer the most here. I'm 70 years old. How much longer am I going to go on? Hopefully another 30 years, but who fucking knows? It's the kids and grandkids who are going to suffer if we don't do something."