Stephen M. Silverman
August 04, 2004 02:00 PM

Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, the Dixie Chicks, R.E.M. and a slew of other artists are teaming up to play concerts in nine swing states leading up to the Nov. 2 election – all in a concerted fund-raising effort to remove President Bush from office.

“We’re trying to put forward a group of progressive ideals and change the administration in the White House. That’s the success or failure, very clear cut and very simple,” a forthright Springsteen, 54, tells the Associated Press about the Vote for Change tour, a series of shows featuring an all-star lineup and funded by the left-leaning political group

The shows, kicking off Oct. 1 in Pennsylvania, will take an unusual approach – with as many as six concerts occurring on a single day in cities across states that are expected to decide the November presidential race. Other stops are set for North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin and the key state in 2000, Florida.

The tour also will include performances by Jurassic 5, John Mellencamp, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Babyface, Bright Eyes, Death Cab for Cutie, John Fogerty, My Morning Jacket and the Dave Matthews Band.

The concerts are set for Oct. 1-8, with the money generated going to America Coming Together, which promises on its Web site to “derail the right-wing Republican agenda by defeating George W. Bush.”

The idea for the concerts came to fruition after several managers of the artists put their heads together. “Once we started talking to each other, ideas started percolating and other artists started reaching out to us,” said Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau.

Although there has been a backlash after some performers criticized the current president – radio briefly boycotted the Dixie Chicks for their comments in London, while more recently, Linda Ronstadt was escorted out of a Las Vegas hotel on a manager’s orders – Springsteen said he has no fear about going public with his feelings about Bush and his policies.

“It’s a pretty clear-cut decision in November,” says Springsteen. “We’re chipping in our two cents. That’s all we’re trying to do.”

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