“Without music life would be a mistake,” German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche said. “He who sings scares away his woes,” Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes wrote. Small wonder that candidates use music to warm up crowds at rallies.
Republican candidates are finding themselves with a narrowing range of choices. On Tuesday, Dee Snider, frontman of heavy metal band Twisted Sister, expressed his displeasure at Paul Ryan using his 1984 hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It” at a Pennsylvania event. Via his manager, Snider said, with a reference to the Wisconsin Congressman’s physique:
“I emphatically denounce Paul Ryan’s use of my band Twisted Sister’s song, ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It,’ in any capacity. There is almost nothing he stands for that I agree with except the use of the P90X.”
P90X being, as the Los Angeles Times informs us, “a workout regimen that promises to get you into tip-top shape within eight grueling weeks.”
The only songs Ryan and Mitt Romney may soon be able to play are from the “collected works of Hank Williams and Ted Nugent.” But they’re not the only Republicans who love musicians who hate Republicans.
Tom Morello, the group’s guitarist, did not hide his feelings about Ryan’s declared liking for the openly leftist band in a Rolling Stone editorial:
“Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades…… I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta ‘rage’ in him. A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged elite he’s grovelling in front of for campaign contributions.”
2. The Boss Is Not One For the Gipper
Bruce Springsteen was bemused to find Ronald Reagan playing his recently released “Born in the USA” at campaign rallies in 1984, considering the song’s anti-war and other non-Reaganesque themes.
Tom Petty did not hesitate to break the news to George W. Bush, campaigning to be president in 2000, to stop using his song “I Won’t Back Down” and even threatened legal action. This year, Michele Bachmann, was alike informed she must stop playing Petty’s music after she played his “American Girl.”
5. McCain Faces the Musicians
No less than five bands and musicians — Foo Fighters, Boston, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, Van Halen — requested that John McCain to stop using their music in 2008. Indeed, John Edward, yet to be charged with misusing his campaign funds, pointed out that McCain was using songs (“Our Country,” “Pink Houses”) that Mellencamp had licensed to Edwards.
6. No Barracuda For Sarah
Sarah Palin, a then-unknown (I know, can you remember when there was such a time), walked to the podium at the GOP convention in 2008 to the sounds of “Barracuda” by the American band Heart. But the song’s writers, the Wilson sisters, asked that she stop using their music. Said Nancy Wilson: “Sarah Palin’s views and values in no way represent us as American women.”
7. Oh Those Jersey Boys
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has made no secret of his devotion to fellow Jerseyan Bruce Springsteen. The Garden State’s boss has attended 129 concerts where he “loses himself.” Jeffrey Goldberg even goes so far to say in The Atlantic that Christie “would marry [Springsteen] if he were gay and if gay people were allowed to marry in the state he governs.” But Christie’s love is unrequited as Springsteen has steadily rebuffed Christie’s overtures.
In a 2011 letter to the Asbury Park Press, Springsteen wrote angrily about Christie’s budget cuts that “are eating away at the lower edges of the middle class, not just those already classified as in poverty, and are likely to continue to get worse over the next few years.” The Boss did not, though, mention the name of the big guy who occupies the Trenton statehouse.
8. No More “More Than A Feeling,” Mike
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee found himself the recipient of a letter from Boston’s lead singer and songwriter, Tom Scholz, to cease from using “More Than a Feeling” at rallies in 2008. With former Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau beside him, Huckabee, a bassist, was wont to perform the song. Noting the brevity of Goudreau’s Boston membership, Scholz wrote that “While this may seem like a little thing to you, BOSTON has been my life’s work. I hold the trademark to the name and my reputation is inexorably tied to it.” ‘Nuff said.
9. Message to Mitt: Don’t Panic But Please Switch Off Our Song
Los Angeles alt-rock band Silversun Pickups has told Mitt Romney to cease using its 2009 song “Panic Switch.” As lead singer Brian Aubert said, Romney “is inadvertently playing a song that describes his whole campaign,” albeit unintentionally. Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul tersely responded that “As anyone who attends Governor Romney’s events knows, this is not a song we would have played intentionally.”
10. Charlie, You Shoulda Looked Out A Little Bit
Florida’s Republican governor Charlie Crist was sued by former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne for using the band’s “Road to Nowhere” in a video during Crist’s unsuccessful US Senate campaign in 2010. Byrne asked for $1 million in damages and settled for an undisclosed sum.
Crist made an ultra-repentent grovel-ridden apology video; Byrne declared that the case had left him feeling “very manly.”
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