San Diego CityBeat’s Seth Combs considers the complicated decision of many bands to boycott Arizona in the wake of the vicious anti-immigrant law SB1070. Many bands feel that this one cuts both ways.
From San Diego CityBeat Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Should they stay or should they go?
A year after Arizona’s anti-illegal-immigrant law was passed, local musicians are divided over a boycott
by Seth Combs
For decades, a local band’s first tour of Arizona was something like a rite of passage: a sign of maturation and likely one of the first times they’d performed outside of California. The drive isn’t too long (that is, if you have an air-conditioned vehicle), and there are plenty of young music fans and venues from Tucson to Tempe willing to take a chance on an out-of-town act.
But, last year, things got—well, heated. On April 23, 2010, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” (aka SB 1070), giving local law enforcement new powers to stop and sometimes arrest those they suspect were illegal immigrants. High-profile acts like Los Lobos, My Chemical Romance and Kanye West boycotted tour stops in the state; former Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha started an organization called Sound Strike, a coalition of artists committed to boycotting the state; and a number of local musicians also joined the boycott.