As President George Bush and Senator Hillary Clinton stoked the fires of war in 2002, Dave Barrows and Mark Schleunes looked around at the music scene expecting to find many artists speaking out against the war. Seeing very little response from mainstream artists, including those who had previously represented themselves as "alternative," Dave and Mark decided to start earRotator and take an overtly anti-war, anti-Bush musical message to the streets, literally.
They wrote 10 songs - some serious, some humorous - explaining their take on the situation. They recorded the music and made videos for each song incorporating and re-contextualizing news footage ripped from various sources. Having only two musicians (Dave on sax and vocals and Mark on guitar and vocals), they put the bass, drums and other instruments on a DVD along with the videos. With one of the first LCD screens visible in daylight and a battery-powered, portable audio/video projection system mounted on two hand-trucks, they pursued a guerrilla performance strategy of quickly setting up in almost any urban location to play the videos and songs. They were kicked out of many areas after brief performances - UC Berkeley, Union Square in San Francisco, etc.
In one memorable night performance in Mountain View, they projected their subversive videos 30 feet high on the side of a coffee shop in the plaza. And people responded (generally) very favorably to earRotator's message that the War on Terror was a bad idea, though occasionally Dave and Mark were told they were "going to get in trouble" for what they were saying. After acquiring permits from the city of Berkeley, they played regularly on the corner of Telegraph and Haste across from Amoeba Records for over a year. earRotator retired their political performance act in 2006 and continued to write songs, two of which are on Mongrel - "Goin' Down Tomorrow" and "Girl of My Dreams" - and three of which are on The Future Was Fun - "Zygote Enzyme," "Two and Two," and "Speak." You can buy earRotator's album Holy Empire at CDbaby. You can see more earRotator videos by going to the earRotator channel on youtube. Scroll the right hand side of this page to see some videos and a photo gallery that will give you an idea of what earRotator did.