CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Dave Matthews came to Cleveland Friday night for a last-minute concert that was actually a political fundraiser for Ohio gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich.
“He’s got something that I think is worth traveling to support,” said Matthews in an exclusive sit-down interview with FOX 8 News reporter Suzanne Stratford.
The two are good friends who first met 20 years ago at a Farm Aid benefit concert.
Since then they’ve worked together on other causes including environmental and human rights issues.
When he learned Kucinich was running for governor he says he offered his help and decided singing was the best way to do it.
“It’s a big boost, a big boost,” said Kucinich.
Only 1,200 tickets were sold, starting at $100, and they sold out almost immediately.
Matthews, who usually plays only large arenas, was excited to be in Cleveland and on stage at the Agora.
“I like this town,” said Matthews. “And it’s great to be able to play at this theater; it’s got a big history.”
Fans were thrilled.
Some were open to hearing from Kucinich and his running mate Tara Samples while others admitted they just came for Dave.
Matthews says he likes Kucinich because “he’s a bridge builder and he isn’t afraid to talk to people. He has a concern for justice that’s heartfelt and natural. He’s a good man, has a deep concern for his fellow human beings which I think sometimes is lacking.”
But in recent days Kucinich has come under fire, especially from his Democratic opponent Richard Cordray, for accepting speaking fees from a group with sympathies toward the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and for not condemning Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
Kucinich responded saying, “There’s never any money that came to me from anyone in the Syrian government, ever.”
The two candidates have been running extremely close leading up to the May 8 primary and are expected to ramp up efforts in the days ahead.