10 Republicans Who Love Musicians Who Hate Republicans (Slideshow)

“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.

Rage Against The Machine


1. Rage Against the Machine raged against Paul Ryan

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.”

Photo by nathamanath via Flickr


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.


Photo by werejellyfish via Flickr

Michele Bachmann

3, 4. Tom Petty Gets Bush and Bachmann To Back Down From His Music

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.”

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

McCain-Palin Rally 120

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.

Photo by Desiree N. Williams via Flickr

Palin Closeup

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.”

Photo by fimoculous via Flickr

Jersey Boys

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.

Photo by AndyRobertsPhotos via Flickr

Governor Huckabee's New Hampshire Summer Tour

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.


Photo by VictoryNH: Protect Our Primary via Flickr


Silversun Pickups bei der Rock:Liga

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.”

Photo by Schröder+Schömbs PR _ Brands | Media | Lifestyle via Flickr



Death Valley, CA, Road to Nowhere

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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Photo by Alex E. Proimos via Flickr

Photo by monkeyz_uncle


Dave C.
David C3 years ago

how did I miss this 2 yrs ago???? some scary pictures...Palin, Bachmann, Huckabee for example....

Mary T.
Mary T4 years ago

good article :)

rene davis
irene davis5 years ago

well in the end the US voted- "we're not gonna take it."

Glenda L.
Glenda L5 years ago

Ha Ha!!

Erika M.
Erika M5 years ago

This article is GREAT, I LOVE it. I find it absolutely hilarious that the Republicans obviously don't really listen to the words of the songs they are playing. They are so clueless.

Huber F.
Huber F5 years ago

YOu've got him by the balls..

Beverly Morgan
Past Member 5 years ago

Does Ryan even know what "the machine" means to Rage Against the Machine? Tom Morello (leader) ~ hero!

Michael G.
Michael T5 years ago

Carlos on a rant again rewriting history while claiming not to. You are spouting echo chamber talking points again. Dismissed.

Carlos Bagram
Carlos Bagram5 years ago

@Joe Lee C- “how he handled terrorists like B Laden and company” Yeah it was Obama with the rifle in his hands that took Bin Laden out. Maybe you should stop giving him so much credit and give 99% of the credit to the Navy seals who actually killed Bin Laden and 1% to Obama, not the other way around. Kind of funny how when Saddam was captured Pres. Bush gave all the credit to the military and didn’t try to hog any glory. That is the difference between a President whom served in the military and one who did not.
“nor the safeguards for Medicare” Obama gutted $716B from Medicare to fund Obamacare. I’m going to stop here since I have to answer someone else.
@Michael G.- “You, Carlos, are engaged with others to rewrite history.”- Pathetic attempt to bunch me together with others as A) at no point have I even tried to rewrite history and B) I am not a Republican, I am an Independent. So try again since I judge politicians on track records not political opinions.

Tim Ra
Tim Ra5 years ago

"I want chicken, I want liver, Meow Mix, Meow Mix please dee-liver" ~ Dr. Evil.