I've had an interesting situation come up recently, and without going into too much detail about it, I will talk about the questions it has brought up, and I'd love to hear any feedback any of you might have.
If you're not aware, the folk singer/songwriter "scene" that encompasses most of my concerts, fanbase, fellow artists, etc is very issues based, a lot of songwriters share their political and social views through their music. Often times, I disagree with the views being expressed in songs written and performed by my peers. I quite often appear on stage with other performers, doing co-bills, in-the-round concerts, etc. And, unavoidably, sometimes an artist will perform a song that offends some members of my audience. Keep in mind here that I am talking about artists who have just a few songs of strong political/social opinion, and for the most part have a catalog of songs similar to mine, and with no particular viewpoint.
I wonder if it is in any way my responsibility to distance myself from views that I diasgree with, and those that may upset some of my fans. I know I have fans on both sides of the political spectrum, and have different views on social issues from many performers that I know and like.
I have always had the opinion that a persons views on these type of issues, so long as they are not a majority of their songs, and only shared sparingly, don't bother me at all, whether I agree or disagree. But, I realize many people can take a song very seriously, or really feel the need to distance themselves from someone they have a fundemental difference of opinion from. Think about what happened to the Dixie Chicks when they made comments about Bush a few years ago. They were basically thrown out of country music. I personally could care less what Natalie Maines feels about politics. Good music is good music. Obviously, several hundred thousand other people who stopped buying their records couldn't shrug it off as easily.
So, the question I would pose and appreciate feedback on is this; If I am appearing on stage, either opening for, doing an in-the-round performance with, or otherwise on the same bill as a musician that I know has songs that I disagree with, and that some of my fans may be offended by, should I refuse to appear with that artist? Or, should I feel the need to say anything about it? What is my obligation in that sort of situation?
And, let me pose this question to you as a listener; If an artist has 25 songs that you like and 1 or 2 songs that you strongly disagree with , do those 1 or 2 songs change your opinion of the artist, or the other 25 songs that you like?
Let me know if you have any thoughts on my ramblings. As always, thanks for listening.