When Bands, Candidates Don’t Harmonize
Campaign anthems are meant to meld a candidate’s substance with style, a big vision with soaring emotion. But increasingly, it seems, the artists behind the songs are demanding that candidates stop the music.
In the past two weeks, the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan has been bombarded with catcalls from groups that object to their songs being associated with the campaign.
Lead singer Dee Snider of Twisted Sister filed a cease-and-desist order this week that Ryan stop using “We’re Not Gonna Take It” at rallies. Last week, the Silversun Pickups lambasted Romney for playing their song “Panic Switch.” And Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine scoffed at Ryan’s statement that the band is one of his favorites.
“Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing,” Morello wrote in an opinion piece for Rolling Stone magazine, “because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.
The dissonance has not always been limited to Republicans. During the 2008 campaign, President Obama was asked by singer Sam Moore, of the soul duo Sam & Dave, to stop using “Hold On, I’m Coming.”
Republicans, however, seem to run afoul of musicians more often, with 2008 producing a fanfare of run-ins.