Watch out, Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District! There’s a new kid trying to score the Democratic nomination in town. His name is Kyle Frenette, and for the last decade he’s been serving as the manager for Bon Iver, the Grammy-winning indie act that sounds like lullabies for sad adolescent wolves.
Should Frenette win the nomination, he hopes to unseat current Republican Rep. Sean Duffy (of Real World and Road Rules fame, and also refusing-to-acknowledge-white-domestic-terrorism fame), who has held the seat since 2011 (and should definitely be unseated!)
The announcement of Frenette’s campaign was naturally accompanied by an ad, and the ad must be seen to be believed. It features everything you’d assume from Bon Iver’s manager. There’s rugged outdoorsiness, white people being friendly to each other, and people holding beers and nodding at a live acoustic performance. All the while, Bon Iver’s “Wisconsin” plays, and Frenette talks about about how things have changed and says stuff about opportunities in what appears to be a voicemail voiceover from a This American Life knockoff. (The ad is called “A Phone Call to Wisconsin.”) It’s truly the promo Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods should have been.
In an interview with Pitchfork, because you gotta know your audience, Frenette discussed the reason why he decided to pivot to politics, saying he wanted to push back against policies that “suppress the resources and opportunities” that used to be available to people, like the internet (he cited the repeal of net neutrality), among other things. There’s a lot of other vague stuff about values and leadership in there too.
He went on to discuss how managing Bon Iver, literally Brad Pitt’s crying music, actually helps him in politics.
The same types of things happen in the music industry [as they do in politics], but I’m going from a lake full of piranhas to an ocean full of sharks.
Justin [Vernon, the main guy in Bon Iver] and I have been so fortunate in building something and having the support of so many to do things that we wanted: Maintaining our integrity, staying true to who we are, staying in this place and reinvesting back into our communities, and pushing the envelope a bit. All of those elements factor into the leadership that I’ve brought to Bon Iver and to my management company. If I can do an ounce of that in Washington and bring some of my Wisconsin values, then I’ll feel good.
This might just be the biggest commitment by an artist to work towards bringing prosperity, opportunity, and most importantly hope back to Wisconsin since they installed the Bronze Fonz in Milwaukee.