Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam, R.E.M. rally for U.S.-Russia arms deal

To most people who work on Capitol Hill, the debate over ratifying the U.S.-Russia nuclear treaty isn’t exactly a “sexy” cause. 

But to the music industry, it’s another story. 

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On Monday, Dave Matthews, lead singer of the popular Dave Matthews Band, became the latest musician to publicly sign onto the Global Zero movement, which seeks to eliminate nuclear weapons from the planet. The effort sees Senate ratification of the START treaty as a crucial step toward that goal. 

Other musicians who have joined the Global Zero team of late include Michael Bolton, Macy Gray, Trent Reznor, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Maroon 5, Steve Earle, OK Go, Michael Franti, They Might Be Giants and Weezer, among others. 

The impetus behind START’s newfound popularity among artists can be traced directly to Lawrence Bender’s soon-to-be released film, “Countdown to Zero,” which lays out the threats posed by nuclear weapons and makes the case for eliminating them from the planet. 

The band R.E.M. put out a statement last week in support of the film and its mission, saying, “We’re proud to support and help spread the word about the film ‘Countdown to Zero’ and this critical movement — everyone should check it out. As so many global leaders across the political spectrum have correctly figured out, the Global Zero movement to eliminate nuclear weapons is one of the defining issues of our time, and something we should all get behind.” 

“Countdown to Zero” opens this Friday in Washington and New York City. 

The START treaty faces an uphill climb. It needs 67 Senate votes to pass, and the only Republican who is publicly on board is Sen. Richard Lugar (Ind.).