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Interview With Brian Baker of Bad Religion

Aired November 4, 2003 - 14:33   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Happy off-year Election Day. Election organizers nationwide will be happy -- make that delirious if turnout is decent, especially among potential voters who tend to tune out.
In a phrase, we're talking about the youngsters, the kids, folks. What is it, Generation X? Or that's a previous generation. Anyway, once again the grassroots group, Rock the Vote, is trying to drum up a little interest, among the backpack crowd, at least in 2004. And CNN is playing a part of all of that. We're hosting a forum of Democratic presidential hopefuls in Boston tonight.

Brian Baker will be there in the crowd. You may know him as the lead guitarist for the punk band Bad Religion. But nowadays, he's also a political activist sounding off on the Web site punkvoter.com. We know you check that one out frequently.

Brian, good to have you with us.

BRIAN BAKER, LEAD GUITARIST, BAD RELIGION: Thanks for having me.

O'BRIEN: All right. I assume you have a good chance of asking a question tonight at the candidates. Do you want to give us a preview?

BAKER: You know what? I'm not sure if I will have a chance to answer the -- ask any questions, being the new kid on the block. I'm really trying to pay attention to the process, at this juncture anyway.

O'BRIEN: All right. Well, if you -- let's do a hypothetical then. If you had one question that you could ask these candidates, what would it be?

BAKER: What's up with Dick Cheney's demonic smile?

O'BRIEN: All right. I'm sure you'll get some entertaining responses to that one.

What -- in all seriousness, though, beyond Dick Cheney, and wherever -- whatever location he might be in, can you give us a sense of what really is important to young voters right now?

BAKER: I think young voters would like to feel that they have some input. And I don't think that 18 to 24's have been really approached by major candidates and in a positive way. And part of punkvoter.com is to encourage people to register and to participate in a process that many of them -- they think that their participation doesn't matter.

(CROSSTALK)

BAKER: Go on.

O'BRIEN: Who you hear -- and when you hear from people, on punkvoter.com, who do they like?

BAKER: Everyone likes anybody who is going to get George Bush out of office in general. It's really skewed across the board. I haven't talked to any Edwards kids yet. But hopefully I'll meet some tonight.

O'BRIEN: All right. And I do know that there are some young people who, for example, like the rhetoric of Dennis Kucinich. That is probably not a candidate that, in the end, can beat George Bush.

BAKER: Well, I don't agree or disagree. It's -- I would like to think that that would be the case.

I'm personally going to pay attention to General Clark. I've been reading what he has to say. But I want to see him in person. I think that makes a big difference.

O'BRIEN: What about Howard dean? A lot has been written and said about how he has been able to -- he's very facile on the Internet, using e-mails to raise funds, strikes a good chord on college campuses. Do you go along with that one?

BAKER: Yes, absolutely I do. But, you know, my personal priority once again is somebody who can actually carry this election. And I haven't made that choice yet, as far as Dean's concerned.

O'BRIEN: And one final thought here. As I understand it, it says on your Web site that George Bush is good for punk music. Who among the Democratic candidates would be good for punk?

BAKER: Well, Kucinich would work, because he looks like he could be in a band.

O'BRIEN: Bad Religion? Want to sign him up?

BAKER: OK,. Yes. We could have -- we could have two singers. It's been done in the past.

O'BRIEN: All right. Brian Baker with Bad Religion. He'll be in the crowd tonight. May or may not hear from him., he being the new kid on the block, not meaning the band, of course.

BAKER: Oh, no.

O'BRIEN: His group is -- his group is a long way from that.

Bad Religion is his group. Punkvoter.com is his site. Thank you for spending some time with us outside of Faneuil Hall there in Boston, Brian.

BAKER: Thanks for having me.

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