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Thurston’s Protest Expands

Kimya Dawson, Chumbawumba contribute MP3s

Thurston Moore has now placed sixty anti-war songs on his new Web
site, protest-records.com, for free download. The site, now two
weeks old, received a half-million hits in its first three days,
and the Sonic Youth guitarist has received hundreds of song
submissions as well as thousands of emails, both supportive and
cranky.

“I get a little hate mail,” he says. “You know, ‘How dare you go
against our men and women who are fighting?’ But it’s so
vitriolic. I’m like, ‘You hypocrite, the most violent thing I’ve
read today is your email.’ And there’s no dialogue. It’s more like,
Fuck you! Sonic youth is gay!” I’ll just say, ‘We’re
protesting policy. We’re not protesting people. I’m not hating the
people I call war pigs, I’m just hating their ideas.’ But this
concept doesn’t seem to make sense to these people who are
completely furious.”

In addition to the earlier offerings by the Beastie Boys (“In a
World Gone Mad”), Sonic Youth (“Youth Against Facism”), Cat Power
(“Rockets,” “Maybe Not”), Jim O’Rourke and Glenn Kotche (a cover of
Bill Fay’s “Pictures of Adolf”) and Chumbawumba (“Jacob’s Ladder”),
the site has recently added a pair of songs by the Moldy Peaches’
Kimya Dawson (“Viva la Persistence,” “Anthrax”) and tracks by Jonny
Polansky and Peter Stuart.

“My aesthetic is towards things that are a bit more
challenging,” Moore says, “and lot of them are more genre specific,
very straight-up folk songs like a kind of New England Woodstock
vibe or a Lilith Fair vibe. I appreciate it, but it’s not really my
cup of tea. But I’m trying to think in a broader sense, because
it’s about the emotional appeal.”

The site also has a number of stencils created by New York City
artist Chris Habib available to download, print, cut and paint
over, including George W. Bush’s head superimposed over a set of
crossbones, and a flaming, upside-down flag with “Fuck the Flag”
printed below. “That’s created a lot of heat too,” Moore says. “But
we’re like, ‘No, no, no, they fucked the flag. The fuckers
in D.C. have fucked the flag.’ It does create some ideological
nitpicking. He has a few other ones that were a little too hardcore
[laughs].”

So far the site has ten sections allotted for ten songs each,
with six sections filled. Responding to emails (and Moore responds
to them all) and sorting through the songs has taken up more time
than Moore initially thought, but the site is his active, ongoing
protest. “To me it’s all about applying yourself to what you can
do,” he says. “I’m not one for being too physically active in
physical protests, because it frightens me, especially with my
responsibility as a father. I also wanted to put my energy into
something to do with music and communication.”

In This Article: Sonic Youth

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