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Plea for Peace: Cursive

story by tim mcmahan



Lazy-i: May 10, 2004

Plea for Peace Tour
w/Cursive, Darkest Hour, Mike Park, & Decahedron
Wednesday, 5/12/04
Sokol Auditorium
13th & Martha

Cursive heeded the call when punk rock impresario Mike Park asked them to take part in 2002's Take Action Tour. They did it again this spring for Plea for Peace -- a tour with the objective of getting young adults excited about voting. Voter registration is available in all cities and concert-goers are able to register with any party they choose.

Joining Omaha's favorite angular punkers are Decahedron, Darkest Hour and Mike Park himself.

We caught up with Cursive bassist Matt Maginn April 28 as he strolled Manhattan's Lower East Side when the tour was in the Big Apple for three days at the Bowery Ballroom.




How did Cursive get tied into the effort?

Matt Maginn: We did the 'Take Action' tour back in the fall of 2002. Mike Park was on the tour; he's the founder of Plea for Peace and Asian Man Records. We were hanging out with him in San Francisco and talked about it last March. He wanted to know if we wanted to do something like this. We were very excited to do it, and he was cool about involving us a little more in the details. The fall 2002 tour was focused on 1-800-SUICIDE, the Take Action portion of it. The two tours have now separated from each other. Mike wanted to take on other issues but didn't want to detract from 1-800-SUICIDE. This allows him to do both at once.

Why is the Cursive doing it, what's the point?

We had a great experience on the last tour. We have a lot of respect for Mike and believe Plea for Peace is something we can get behind as a traditionally non-political band.

Was that a dog I heard in the background?

Yeah it was. I'm walking around New York trying to find a place to eat. I'm between Spring and Mulberry St. on the Lower East Side. The weather's good, it's been amazing.

So what's the backlash of doing a tour like this?

Lots of people misconstrue the tour's title, but the most backlash has been from people concerned about the lineup. We have a metal band playing with us, People are, like, 'Why did you want to include a metal band?' Our reaction to them is 'Screw off.'

We didn't want Plea for Peace to be perceived as a reactionary fad. Everyone cares about the situation in Washington now -- and they should -- but Mike started this back in 1999 and originally the name dealt with the fact that they were doing a lot of anti-racism shows and tours. It evolved from there.

What's the positive benefit for the band?

To be honest, we wouldn't be on tour if it weren't for Mike Park and this reason. It's kind of nice to do a tour that has a reason behind it. That's why we liked taking part in the last Plea for Peace tour -- you're not just promoting yourself, you're accomplishing something else. I assume there will be some benefit, but that wasn't our motive. It was Mike Park and to try and recreate the great experience we had the first time around, and No. 1, to encourage registration by example and alleviate the apathy of something as massive as voting.












"People are, like, 'Why did you want to include a metal band?' Our reaction to them is 'Screw off.'"





"I like Rage and respect their position, but sometimes it was overhyped."



What do you think of criticism that musicians shouldn't take political positions?

We tailored this with the message of 'educate yourself on policies and vote.' We encourage band members to speak their minds, but we don't want it to be a deal where people are giving 20-minute speeches. We encourage them to express their opinion, but no one does any preaching.

Why aren't there any serious political bands currently on the scene these days such as Rage Against the Machine?

I would disagree. There's NOFX and Fat Mike at Fat Wreck Chords. I understand why Rage is held up as such an example, but coming from the major label standpoint, it's hard to see how they can always stick behind some of their points. It seemed like that was somewhat of a marketing tool for them. I like Rage and respect their position, but sometimes it was overhyped. de la Rocha is honest, as is Morello, but at times it became borderline marketing rather than just expression.

What's the point of voting Democrat if you live in Nebraska?

That's an argument we hear everywhere. Voting at least gives you the chance to voice your opinion. If someone wins the election that you think shouldn't have, at least you will have tried to do something about it instead of sitting on the couch and letting others decide. You have to start somewhere. If more people voted, it could make a difference in a state like Nebraska.

What's the vibe been with the other bands?

Good. Everyone gets along really well. The line-up for this thing was hard to bring together. One of the bands, Denali, broke up and was replaced with Decahedron. Mike gave me a lot of freedom in choosing the bands. We split that part of it with him 50/50 and ended up with a pretty awesome list. The bands are going over with people who are open to metal. It's fun to watch Darkest Hour every night.

So are you guys enjoying yourselves?

It's pretty lively. I like it a lot. We're right at that fine line between having fun and not having too much fun.

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An abbreviated version of this article was published in The Omaha Reader May 5, 2004. Copyright 2004 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.