This Saturday, New York City punk mavens the Lunachicks and D.C.’s, own The Washington Social Club will take the stage at the 9:30 Club to take a stand against the right wing. The concert is being sponsored by NARAL Pro-Choice America, the nation’s primary pro-choice advocacy group, and Punkvoter.com, an online political coalition currently dedicated to defeating President Bush in the 2004 election. The Hatchet spoke Tuesday with Theo, the Lunachicks’ lead singer.
Hatchet: The first question I want to ask is about your names. Do you guys ever use your last names or do you prefer singular monikers like “Cher” and “Madonna”?
Theo: No, we’ve revealed our last names. I’m using only Theo for what I’m doing now, the band or whatever, but I work as an actress, and my name is out there.
H: Have you done anything I would have seen?
T: Probably. I’ve been in “Bringing Out the Dead,” “Tadpole,” “In the Cut,” “Potluck.” “Zoolander” I was in but I got pretty much cut out.
H: Ah. A jack-of-all-trades. OK, let’s talk about the concert on Saturday. How did you get involved?
T: A friend called from San Francisco who works with Fat Mike (the bass player from NOFX) – who started Punkvoter – and started asking about it. I talked to the band about it and we all wanted to do it. We all wanted to go to (Saturday’s march for women’s rights) anyway, so it was a great opportunity to help out.
H: Have the Lunachicks had any previous political involvement of this nature?
T: Absolutely. We’ve done Rock the Vote and we’ve done Rock for Choice a whole bunch of times. We’ve always been heavily aware and involved over the years.
H: With this concert in particular, are you focusing more on the goal of getting Bush out of the White House or on putting the spotlight on keeping women’s rights on the table politically?
T: I think it’s going to have to be keeping women’s rights on the table, because I was really excited to slam Bush the whole time, but I found out that because of the new (Federal Communications Commission) laws, we’re not allowed to do that. It’s actually really infuriating.
H: What do you mean exactly? Could you elaborate on that?
T: Basically, it means that legally, we could get Punkvoter and NARAL Pro-Choice America in a lot of legal trouble if we slam Bush and we tell people not to vote for him. It’s disgusting- I mean, that’s like freedom of speech, right there, being taken away. There’s absolutely no reason to do this, you know?
H: So who told you that basically you couldn’t attack Bush, that you had to focus on reproductive rights?
T: Well, we just got these documents last night, from Punkvoter and NARAL, because they’re non-taxed organizations and that legally they can probably lose a lot of power and probably get fined in a huge way if we do that. And I was so excited to go up there and be like, “Fuck Bush!” you know? I mean, that’s a huge reason that we’re having so many of these problems, because of him and his cabinet and the people he appoints to the courts and everything else, you know, Dr. Hagar. It’s like becoming this Hitler-esque “We will take the women down and God will rule.”
H: So if, say, you were to go up there and say ‘Bush is an asshole,’ what consequences would that have for the band, NARAL and Punkvoter?
T: For them, they would get fined. God knows what that would be. I’ll read you part of the thing that I got: ‘This event is an issue-advocacy event at which you may discuss issues but may not advocate the election or defeat of any candidate for federal office. Legally, you are required to abide by the following rules at the event. You may not discuss defeating George Bush in November or electing John Kerry. Make no mention of voting in a particular manner. You may not urge participants to vote pro-choice, urge them to vote for or against a political party or urge them to vote for or against a particular issue or position. You may generally encourage voter registration and civil participation.”‘ It’s unbelievable.
H: When did all this happen? When did you get this communiqu??
T: I got this last night. I just talked to one of the Lunachicks about it, and she was in shock.
H: OK, well, I don’t want to infuriate you with a hot potato such as this one, so my final question is this: Who is your favorite, George W. Bush, Jerry Falwell or Pol Pot?
T: Oh, God. (laughs) Jerry Falwell, just because he’s got more kitsch.