You only had to wait 10 years ... Conor Oberst's punk band, Desaparecidos, is premiering two new songs today. Both center on Maricopa County (Ariz.) sheriff Joe Arpaio's anti-undocumented-immigrant crusade — an issue Oberst took on when reforming the band for 2010's Concert for Equality in Omaha.
You can stream "Backsell" over at AltPress. Stream the track, "MariKKKopa" below (which will be available on a 7-inch Aug. 2 on the band's website), and read part of an interview via Huffington Post.
Why did you feel like it was time for more with the band?
We got together in the summer of 2010 to play the Concert For Equality in Omaha, which was an event to raise money to fight a SB1070 copy-cat law that the city of Fremont, NE had passed. I helped to organize the event with the ACLU and even though Desaparecidos hadn't played together in seven years at that point I called the guys out of the blue and they were all incredibly supportive and willingly to help. I was very touched by that and surprised how easily we fell back into the groove musically. Riding a bike type of thing.
We're all such old friends and it was cool to see that hadn't changed despite the time apart. The show went great and we all agreed we should play together again as soon as schedules allowed. So, this past spring we were able to get together, and even though we had no expectations except to have some fun, we ended up writing new material, recording and playing a small show in Omaha. We also decided to book more shows for later in the year. It's been very casual and enjoyable thus far.
At what point did you feel as though going after Sheriff Joe by name was important? Is there a danger you're just giving him more attention?
Joe Arpaio needs no help from me getting attention. For years he has been a beacon of bigotry and intolerance for all the world to see. The list of human and civil-rights abuses he's committed in Maricopa County is long and well documented. His many "crime suppression sweeps" are some of the most egregious affronts to American values and human dignity perpetrated in this century. What he does need is to be called out at every opportunity as the criminal that he is. There are many ways of doing that. The federal government's current law suit against him being one of them. I used the best means at my disposal to do it: a punk rock song.