Amped Up

Indie Rock Acts Support Barack Obama for President, Hate Mitt Romney

At San Francisco’s Treasure Island Music Festival, Marlow Stern canvassed some of indie rock’s brightest stars to ask who they’re supporting in the upcoming presidential election. Verdict? Team Obama, all the way.

10.23.12 8:45 AM ET

In the mainstream rock world, the battle lines have already been drawn.

While President Obama has attracted the support of the Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews, the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, who penned a short missive backing Obama’s reelection effort, Team Romney has the decidedly less hip Kid Rock, 3 Doors Down, Nickelback, and others in his back pocket.

But what of the 99 percenters in the indie rock realm?

Aside from the Silversun Pickups, who sent the Romney camp a cease-and-desist letter over its usage of the Pickups’ song “Panic Switch” on the campaign trail—“We don’t like the Romney campaign,” the band wrote—not much is known about the political allegiances of other indie acts, who generally skew younger.

At the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco, approximately 50,000 mostly young white fans gathered to take in some of the hottest musical acts in the indie scene, including critically hailed bands the xx, M83, and more. Aside from being one of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous fest locations, situated on palm tree–laden Treasure Island and flanked by vistas of San Francisco Bay, the whole enterprise ran like clockwork.

One topic that isn’t popular among musicians is politics, judging by the number of indie acts that refused to participate in this presidential election survey, lending credence to Michael Jordan’s infamous line “Republicans buy shoes, too.” Nevertheless, I was able to track down a variety of up-and-coming artists at the festival who weighed in on the election and offered their thoughts on President Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney.

Home Base: Philadelphia
Recent Album: Slave Ambient

“Politicians know that this country is, for the most part, highly impressionable and loves drama, and they play off that,” says singer-guitarist Adam Granduciel. “Mitt Romney is an idiot. It’s getting to the point where you watch this and it’s private interest and personal ambition, and I don’t have anything in common with Romney, and the GOP is trying to bring this country back 75 years. They’re a bunch of fucking probably racist white men trying to get to the top. I travel all around the world for a living, and this country is so far behind in so many ways, just in terms of the way people think. To me, it seems like a huge joke and I would be ashamed to travel around the world and call myself an American if we’re stupid enough to elect Mitt Romney.”

Home Base: United States/Canada
Recent Album: A Thing Called Divine Fits

“[Romney] basically called half of the country freeloaders,” says vocalist/guitarist Dan Boeckner, a Canadian citizen who recently covered the vice presidential debate for The Stranger, a Seattle-based alt-weekly. “Paul Ryan is just a fucking Rand-droid. He’s an angry nerd. Paul Ryan reminds me of any number of paid PR flack guys. He’s like the male Tracy Flick. His take on foreign policy is so ass-backwards. Railing against the Democrats for Iran when they’re running the toughest sanctions ever on them? And he actually said the American military needed more money for the Navy. I can’t believe he brought up the Navy. When you’re fighting a war in land-locked desert countries, you don’t need million-dollar battleships. Ryan is also affiliated with a party that uses ‘legitimate rape.’ That’s offensive and crazy. I think it would be a disaster for America to elect Mitt Romney because his party is fucked. You have a bunch of centrists who are pandering to this perceived right-wing nut-job thing.”

Home Base: Born in Kingsville, TX, raised in Michigan
Recent Album: Beams

“I wake up to Morning Joe on MSNBC all the time,” says the politically conscious Dear. “I want somebody to represent our country honestly and be the face of this great nation, as well as be empathetic to the world around us, and I get that feeling more from Barack Obama than any president in my adult life. There are lies and cover-ups—it’s inevitable—and truths that you or I can’t handle, but who’s our best face forward? I think Barack Obama is that.”

Home Base: Vancouver
Recent Album: Visions

“Romney is evil,” says front woman Claire Boucher, who isn’t a fan of the former Massachusetts governor’s stance on women’s rights.

Home Base: San Francisco
Recent Album: Metal Moon

“I do pay attention to what’s going on,” says front woman Allyson Baker, who is Canadian. “I would lean towards Obama, for sure. I don’t really feel comfortable with Mitt Romney at all. I believe in what Obama stands for. I understand that there was a lot he couldn’t do that he was trying to accomplish, but I’m behind him.”

Home Base: San Francisco
Recent Album: Feel the Sound

“I’m a believer in the separation of church and state, and it does sort of bother me that Mitt Romney was a big hoo-ha in the Mormon Church,” says bassist Jone Stebbins, adding, “I’m very pro-Obama.”

“To be honest, it’s hard to not be skeptical of the whole structure, since Obama [had] the same secretary of Defense and other people that Bush had, especially within the finance side,” says vocalist-guitarist Will Schwartz. “I mean, I want Obama to win, but I’m skeptical of everything.”