Earle's 'Revolution' Hits The Highway

Steve Earle will hit the road for about three weeks of U.S. tour dates beginning tomorrow (Oct. 13) in Nashville. The trek comes in support of his new album, "The Revolution Starts... Now," recently r

Steve Earle will hit the road for about three weeks of U.S. tour dates beginning tomorrow (Oct. 13) in Nashville. The trek comes in support of his new album, "The Revolution Starts... Now," recently released via E-Squared/Artemis.

"[The 'Revolution'] starts as soon as you realize it's going on with or without you anyway," Earle tells Billboard.com of his latest album and its incendiary title track. As previously reported, the majority of the 11-track album is politically charged, tackling the war in Iraq and the state of America after four years of George W. Bush's presidency.

"You know, I don't blame the shape that the country's in on them," the admittedly liberal-minded artist says. "I blame it on us, people who think more like I do. We went to sleep. And democracy requires people to participate in it or it just doesn't work, it collapses."

To that end, Earle, who turns 50 in January, will tour the U.S. through the end of the month, reminding his audience not only to vote with an eye on changing the administration, but also to engage their children in the process.

"The point is that the next generation has to learn from us," he says. "The very same people that stopped the Vietnam War raised a generation of kids that don't give a f***. They do as we do, not as we say, and I don't think we've instilled those values in our kids. It's totally our fault. [We] totally dropped the ball, on at least the 20-yard line, if not the 10."

An astute observer of politics and a committed activist, Earle zeroes in on what he believes is a fundamental problem with the ideology of the U.S. government. "[We have] to be mindful of the fact that we're not going to be the most powerful country in the world forever," he says. "And the way we behave while we're the most powerful country in the world is going to affect the way our grandchildren are treated by the rest of the world, and we don't seem to care about that."

Beyond the election, Earle is has extensive touring plans in support of "Revolution," which debuted last month at No. 89 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 40,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

"We'll be out a year, a year-and-a-half, like we always are," he says. Following the U.S. dates, Earle and his band will play throughout Europe until the end of the year and again in the States in early 2005.

At deadline, the opening U.S. leg of the tour is officially slated to close Oct 30 at New York's Webster Hall. But Earle says he hopes to play additional shows at other Gotham venues leading up election night to do his part to deliver voters to the polls.

"In a good election year, a good turnout is 35% of the population [to] elect the president of the United States," he says. "So we're doing something wrong in our democracy that we're not engaging people.

"Voting is completely and totally voluntary here. I'm not so sure that's a good idea," he opines. "I'm not talking about throwing people in prison if they don't vote, but I think maybe if you don't vote, you can't get a driver's license and you can't participate as a citizen if you don't bother to f***ing show up and vote.

"That's probably constitutionally perilous," he admits after contemplating the thought. "But," he warns, "very powerful people are probably totally OK with 35% of the people voting."

Here are Earle's tour dates:

Oct 13: Nashville (Uptown Mix)
Oct 14: Cincinnati (Bogart's)
Oct 15: Columbus, Ohio (Promowest Pavilion)
Oct 16: Chicago (Vic Theatre)
Oct 18: Grand Rapids, Mich. (Orbit Room)
Oct 19: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan Theater)
Oct 21: Cleveland (The Odeon)
Oct 22: Pittsburgh (Rock Club)
Oct 23: Philadelphia (Electric Factory)
Oct 25: New Haven, Conn. (Toad's Place)
Oct 26: Boston (Avalon Ballroom)
Oct 27: Camden, Maine (Camden Opera House)
Oct 29: Concord, N.H. (Capitol Center)
Oct 30: New York (Webster Hall)
Nov 6: Rotterdam, Holland (Nighttown)
Nov 7: Amsterdam (Paradiso)
Nov 9: Bristol, England (Colston Hall)
Nov 10: London (Hammersmith Apollo)
Nov 11: Manchester, England (Apollo)
Nov 12: Belfast (Ulster Hall)
Nov 14: Limerick, Ireland (UCH)
Nov 15: Dublin (Olympia)
Nov 17: Leeds, England (Irish Centre)
Nov 18: Newcastle, England (City Hall)
Nov 19: Glasgow (Barrowlands)
Nov 22: Gothenburg, Sweden (Tragarn)
Nov 23: Stockholm (Cirkus)
Nov 25: Oslo (Rockefeller)
Nov 26: Malmo, Norway (NO)
Nov 28: Copenhagen (Pumpehuset)
Nov 30: Paris (New Morning)
Dec 1: Bern, Switzerland (Bierhubli)
Dec 3: Stuttgart (Theaterhaus)
Dec 4: Mainz, Germany (Frankfurter Hof)
Dec 5: Hamburg (Fabrik)
Dec 7: Berlin (BKA Luftshloss)
Dec 8: Munich (Metropolis)
Dec 10: Brussels (Ancienne Belgique)
Dec 11: Hardenberg, Holland (Podium)
Dec 13: Birmingham, England (Academy)
Dec 14: Edinburgh, Scotland (Usher Hall)
Dec 15: Nottingham, England (Rock City)