This week, we are exploring the Republican candidates and their relationship to music: the music they like; the music they play at their events; the music that has been written about them; the music that is unfortunately associated with them. We call it Grand Old Party Jams.
Running for President is like throwing a party: you need music to fill the silence and set the mood. At campaign events, the music pumps up the crowd and sends simple, clear messages. Unfortunately, ever so often the ideal song to intro you for your stump speech was written and performed by someone who cannot stand what you stand for. That's when trouble arises.
Here are 7 times when a Presidential hopeful has not-so-politely been told something along the lines of "stop using our music!"
1. Bobby Jindal v. Buckwheat Zydeco
In June, Gov. Jindal announced his candidacy at an event where music was being played. No surprise there. The Gambit, a New Orleans alt-weekly, was one the scene and reported on the event organizer's iPod choices. One of the songs was Buckwheat Zydeco's cover of "Hey, Good Lookin'."
The next day, Buckwheat Zydeco took to Twitter to air his grievance.
In response, a Jindal spokesperson told The Gambit, "We licensed the music we played. But if Mr. Zydeco wants to be a good socialist like Bernie Sanders, he might need to rethink the idea of private property."
Issue of rights and private property aside, Jindal's people could have chosen any number of cover versions by now-deceased people and avoided a headache.
2. Marco Rubio v. Axwell^Ingrosso
When one thinks of house music, one thinks: "Marco Rubio." After his campaign kick-off, Swedish house group Axwell^Ingrosso were none too pleased that their song "Something New" was used to close Rubio's event. They told Business Insider:
"Axwell ^ Ingrosso didn't give their permission for this song to be used and don't want to be affiliated with a particular party during the upcoming presidential race."
Rubio learned the first lesson of politics that day: don't mess with the Swedish House Mafia.
3. Scott Walker v. John Mellencamp
In 2012, during his recall election in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker used "Small Town" by John Mellencamp at several campaign rallies. Mellencamp, who is a self-avowed supporter of unions, didn't think that was appropriate. Mellencamp's then-publicist Bob Merlis sent Walker an email that said, among other things, that Mellencamp is "a very liberal person," “very pro-collective bargaining” and will continue to fight for the “living wage” of Americans. Walker was asked and advised to use a different song.
Walker responded, "You don't have to agree with his politics to like his music."
4. Scott Walker v. the Dropkick Murphys
In January, Scott Walker used the punk song "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" as his intro music at the Iowa Freedom Summit. The song, which, again, is called "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" is shorthand for, well, Boston. Exactly what you think of when you think "Iowa Freedom Summit."
Nevertheless, the Dropkick Murphys were not amused and asked Walker to not use the song because they "literally hate" him.
Walker has not said whether or not he would use the Boston song at future campaign events outside of Boston.
5. Donald Trump v. Neil Young
Neil Young had seen enough of Donald Trump and decided that, truly, his was not a heart of gold. Then Trump went and used "Keep On Rockin' In The Free World" as the intro music to his campaign announcement. Young issued a statement, saying "Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America."
In response, Trump acted in a very Trump-like manner saying that Neil Young had recently asked him for money.
Young wasn't asking for a loan, but rather an investment in Pono, his streaming radio service.
Nevertheless, as is always the case, Trump got the last word.
6. Mick Huckabee v. Boston
In 2008, Mike Huckabee used "More Than A Feeling" by Boston at several campaign events. Trouble was, the writer of the song, Tom Scholz, was going to be voting Obama. He wrote the governor a letter to tell him what was up. Per Rolling Stone:
"Your campaign's use of More Than a Feeling, coupled with the representation of one of your supporters as a member "of BOSTON" clearly implies that the band BOSTON, and specifically one of its members, has endorsed your candidacy, neither of which is true.
BOSTON has never endorsed a political candidate, and with all due respect, would not start by endorsing a candidate who is the polar opposite of most everything BOSTON stands for. In fact, although I'm impressed you learned my bass guitar part on More Than a Feeling, I am an Obama supporter.
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.
By using my song, and my band's name BOSTON, you have taken something of mine and used it to promote ideas to which I am opposed. In other words, I think I've been ripped off, dude!"
Scholz commended Huckabee for learning the bass part of the song, but that was as far as he was willing to go with the praise. He signed the letter "Still evolving" because Tom Scholz is a pretty neat guy.
7. Rand Paul v. Rush's Neil Peart
It's very strange when two people who LOVE Ayn Rand come into contact and one finds he cannot stand the other, but such was the case in 2010 when Neil Peart, madman drummer of ridiculous-band Rush, called out Rand Paul for using the group's music at events.
From a Rolling Stone profile of Rush:
"Peart just became a U.S. citizen, and he is unlikely to vote for Rand Paul, or any Republican. Peart says that it's "very obvious" that Paul "hates women and brown people" — and Rush sent a cease-and-desist order to get Paul to stop quoting "The Trees" in his speeches.
"For a person of my sensibility, you're only left with the Democratic party," says Peart, who also calls George W. Bush "an instrument of evil." "If you're a compassionate person at all. The whole health-care thing — denying mercy to suffering people? What? This is Christian?"
Did we forget a musician that yelled at a current GOP candidate for using a song without permission? Let us know in the comments.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org