Living With Post-War

M. Ward's recipe for political change: Let's ignore the president

"All of the records for me are living in this naive fantasia where people care about each other's well-being," he says. Ward speaks with the kind of slow, reflective grace that you just obviously figure he would, and he treats every question like it's the most thoughtful thing anyone's ever asked him. He's just a really sweet dude. "It's a crazy, absurd fantasy that is the best place to write these songs in."

Now I'm not saying you retreat entirely into this idealized utopia, or suggesting that you don't protest and stop caring. Your Mumia T-shirt is fine, you're showing solidarity, etc. What I'm saying is we're in kind of a situation here, still at war, and it's actually, almost unbelievably, getting worse. And clearly all the nattering about left and right and up and down isn't getting us anywhere. We need some new ideas—we need to get creative. And in order to feel creative we have to feel safe. You have to feel like there's the possibility of another world, a safe world, which—yes, yes, or course—will evolve and dissolve and disappear, which is where we're at now. But then you just re-imagine a new one, and you slouch toward that. And perhaps that, truly, is how you live with war.

"No one's really interested in bridging the gap," Ward says. "It's more an interest in fighting the Rush Limbaughs and Bill O'Reillys of the world, which is really important to do because I can't listen to that stuff for even a second. But I guess I'm most interested in hearing the opinion of someone who has the creativity and the intelligence to make a peaceful statement."

Safety in his voice and, perhaps, a quarter or two in his ear
photo: Autumn de Wilde
Safety in his voice and, perhaps, a quarter or two in his ear

M. Ward plays Webster Hall Thursday, September 14,

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