Musicians vs. Politicians, Part XCLVII

 

As Gov. Scott Walker took the stage at Saturday’s Iowa Freedom Summit, a Celtic-tinged rock tune blared through the speakers. The song pumped up the crowd and garnered a few compliments on social media.

Campaign walk-on music usually consists of patriotic standards, inoffensive baby boomer nostalgia, or “Beautiful Day” by U2. (If C-SPAN paid ASCAP fees, Bono & Co. would own the network by now.)

Walker’s team (or event organizers) chose the intro to “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Irish-American punk band the Dropkick Murphys. Even if you don’t recognize the song’s title, you’ve heard it a zillion times on ads, sitcoms and at sporting events.

Looking back, the choice was somewhat subversive since it’s a cover version of a tedious old Woody Guthrie standard. Considering Walker’s famous battles with out-of-control government unions, it could have been a subtle dig at labor’s heroic narrative, though I doubt anyone thought that deeply about it.

Conforming slavishly to stereotype, the Dropkick Murphys are boring lefties who get offended when non-approved people enjoy their derivative tunes. The over-the-hill band bravely took to Twitter to react precisely as everyone expected:

The last time I saw the words hate and love so close together they were tattooed on Robert De Niro’s knuckles. No one ever mistook the band for competent writers (just look at their lyrics), but they got their message across: We are offended by people different from us.

For his part, Walker had no comment, because what’s the point, really? Pretty much every song a conservative chooses outside of the Oak Ridge Boys or Lee Greenwood is going to get a rise out of the people who recorded it. Bruce Springsteen whined when Ronald Reagan played “Born in the U.S.A.” John Mellencamp and Sting asked George W. Bush to stop playing their songs while Tom Petty filed a cease-and-desist order. Living up to his name, Petty also freaked out when Michele Bachmann used “American Girl,” and almost every song chosen by McCain/Palin made the musicians squawk.

This reaction has always confused me. If somebody compliments my work, I don’t demand to see their voter registration before thanking them. If someone on the other side likes an article of mine, I consider it an unexpected win. No musician is actually offended by praise; he just wants to show the rest of his progressive tribe that he’s as much of a boring conformist as they are.

For Walker, et al., I recommend they just ignore the whining. Let the pampered artists kvetch while the candidates focus on the voters. And, by the way, would it kill you to play some Ramones?

Image Credit: Ivica Drusany / Shutterstock.com

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  1. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: And, by the way, would it kill you to play some Ramones?

    The Ramones, hell! If you’re going punk why not The Vandals? A certain member of that group has been known to hang around these parts.

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: (If C-SPAN paid ASCAP fees, Bono & Co. would own the network by now.)

    You don’t have to pay if it is what’s referred to as incidental music, that is caught on an open mic which you the broadcaster have no control over. You’re not, however supposed to take a direct feed of it. That’s why during Olympic skating the music is only heard through the announcer’s headsets or effects mics.

    • #1
  2. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Walker’s team (or event organizers) chose the intro to “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Irish-American punk band the Dropkick Murphys.

    Unless the politician himself is involved with the selection of all the music involved in his personal appearances, he should tell his handlers to NOT TRY AND BE HIP.  Yes, I was yelling.  Odds are the handlers don’t know the meaning behind the music, and they risk sending the wrong message.

    • #2
  3. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Things like this annoy me to no end. If I remember right, Newt Gingrich received a cease and desist letter from The Heavy (pretty good band, by the way) for playing “How You Like Me Now?”. And the breathtakingly incredible Fox News show Red Eye, which Rob Long frequents, was “asked” by Adam Levine via Twitter to stop playing his band’s music (warning: not CoC compliant).
    It just seems so immature to get into a spat with politicians. Yeah, we know you’re liberal. Stop pretending this is about copyrights. They only do it in an attempt to embarrass Republicans.

    • #3
  4. user_473455 Inactive
    user_473455
    @BenjaminGlaser

    Liberals are the thinnest-skinned and most easily tweaked people on the planet. My 4 year-old has more ability to deal with others.

    • #4
  5. user_88846 Member
    user_88846
    @MikeHubbard

    One reason (of many) why I’d be a terrible politician is that my gut reaction would be to pick a song by an artist who’s safely dead, preferably for a few centuries.  As soon as I made my entrance to this, I’m pretty sure everybody would be asking why I couldn’t find something by an American composer.

    • #5
  6. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    I remember when Chrissy Hynde was asked about the fact that Rush Limbaugh appropriated a riff from “My City Is Gone,” which most people now think of as the Rush Limbaugh show’s theme music.  She replied that she was perfectly happy for him to use it, even though she wasn’t a Rush fan.

    If I remember it right, someone eventually got to her and the lawyers got involved.  In other words, someone successfully sought to disabuse her of the notion that she didn’t mind and should respond like an adult.

    For a brief time, Rush used other music, but somehow they got things settled, so you still know the riff . . .

    • #6
  7. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    I played the video and listened until the “singing” started.  The music today, it’s just noise; although the instrumental part was pleasant enough.  I hope that’s where the Walker people had the good sense to cut the feed too.  I can happily live my life without being assaulted with screaming in the guise of music.  Don’t get me wrong – I love me some AC/DC and Zeppelin in the right doses.  But at least there’s some musicality in their shrieking.  This song, not so much.

    A few years ago there was an article about the guys in charge of the sound system at Miller Park.  They talked about how their goal was to mix in a good quotient of “cutting edge rock”.  I’m not sure they’re aware that a lot of baseball fans aren’t necessarily big fans of “cutting edge rock”, especially when we don’t have access to a volume control.  (Personally, I’d be a fan of getting rid of canned music at the ball park period, but that’s a rant that’s even more off-topic than the rest of this comment).

    • #7
  8. Mark Thatcher
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    satchelpaige:I remember when Chrissy Hynde was asked about the fact that Rush Limbaugh appropriated a riff from “My City Is Gone,” which most people now think of as the Rush Limbaugh show’s theme music. She replied that she was perfectly happy for him to use it, even though she wasn’t a Rush fan.

    If I remember it right, someone eventually got to her and the lawyers got involved. In other words, someone successfully sought to disabuse her of the notion that she didn’t mind and should respond like an adult.

    For a brief time, Rush used other music, but somehow they got things settled, so you still know the riff . . .

    Turned out that, according to Rush, Chrissy’s parents were Rush fans!

    Just a note on Shipping Up To Boston.  It actually was a set of lyrics found after Woody Guthrie’s death and that a family member gave to the Dropkicks a few decades later.  They came up with the music.  Great song but they are very far and obnoxiously left.  Listen to The State of Massachusetts which can be heard as either statist or a family values, law & order tune.

    • #8
  9. JoePrunior Member
    JoePrunior
    @JoePrunior

    Rush’s is “fair use” and he pays…

    I’m having a little trouble figuring out that Roman numeral in the title: XCLVII. Is that ten-before- a hundred -plus- fifty seven, ie: 147? Try sliding the X one place to the right, no?

    • #9
  10. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Simple solution…write parodies and use their melodies. And make sure the long cuts make fun of the artists and their extremely thin skin.

    • #10
  11. Crow's Nest Inactive
    Crow's Nest
    @CrowsNest

    I can neither confirm nor deny that not so long after a certain infamous and cowardly act of terrorism, American ships rode to war with this blaring topside:

    ….But, uh, so far as I’m concerned, not a half bad choice as a band, Gov.

    • #11
  12. Crow's Nest Inactive
    Crow's Nest
    @CrowsNest

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Conforming slavishly to stereotype, the Dropkick Murphys are boring lefties who get offended when non-approved people enjoy their derivative tunes. The over-the-hill band bravely took to Twitter to react precisely as everyone expected:


    As I tell friends: if we were confined to listening to music by artists who shared my political opinions, we’d basically be listening to nothing except Bach.

    [not that I’m complaining, but I’m also not a provincial, cranky socialist who demands that my politics suffuse everything or takes offense when they don’t]

    • #12
  13. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    If I was a conservative politician, I think I’d choose the best music by the most obnoxiously liberal artists, just to get under their skin.  I know, it’s kind of rude… but they’ll just get on twitter and act like clowns, and it would give my base something to chuckle about.

    • #13
  14. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    oh, and seriously?  They literally hate Scott Walker?  I’d kind of like to hear their explanation for that, but we know the left doesn’t hold anyone to their own standards.

    • #14
  15. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Only Liberals would turn down money from users they don’t agree with politically!  That shows how stupid they are, and they deserve to starve.

    • #15
  16. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    What happens if some members of a band are Republican and some are Democrat?  I remember a few years ago a politician used a song to open campaign rallies with and the performer of the song was fine with it, but the song’s composer wrote and complained.  I can’t remember what the song was, though.

    • #16
  17. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Well, the one on the right was on the left
    And the one in the middle was on the right
    And the one on the left was in the middle
    And the guy in the rear burned his driver’s license

    Johnny Cash “The One on the Right is on the Left”

    • #17
  18. Matede Inactive
    Matede
    @MateDe

    It’s not like the Dropkick Murphy’s are a household name. Only folks that follow the east coast Irish music circuit would actually be able to put the name of the band with that song. Probably a way for the band to get some publicity since I doubt even Scott Walker knew who they were.

    • #18
  19. user_891102 Member
    user_891102
    @DannyAlexander

    Remember how Tommy De Seno has, in years and threads past, expressed a profound indignation at the Italian-American imagery that “The Sopranos” trafficked in?

    (And I’ve heard, in-person, much the same specifically “Sopranos”-targeted ire from other Italian-Americans.)

    Boston Irish should be expressing pretty much the same indignation towards the Dropkick Murphys and their ilk (I’m looking at you, Affleck Brothers) for perpetuating a lot of retrograde, lowest-common-denominator BS.

    I’ll allow that there are compelling stories that deserve to be told — in various artistic media — about the misery and malice that has attended the lives of certain segments of the Boston-area Irish-American population, stories that aren’t pretty and whose telling may have cathartic value (for some).

    But there are way too many in or hailing from the Boston area — such as the Dropkick Murphys — whose “art” and “message” and chest-thumping imagery help exactly no one; it’s all pathetic, unimaginative, and gratuitously brutal — and I can’t understand why Boston-area Irish-Americans would want any serious association with it.

    Certainly for this Boston-born and Boston suburbs-raised Jew, I can assure you that the act these types are pulling evokes no small amount of anguish at the recollection of decades of local Jewish community victimization in various forms and manifestations at the hands of Boston Irish thugs both in and out of government.

    Please, Scott Walker, keep on using the opening bars of this tune and drive up the band’s collective blood pressure; they have it coming.

    • #19
  20. kmtanner Inactive
    kmtanner
    @kmtanner

    I think that politicians should play Mozart just to annoy rock-stars. They don’t know anything, and there hasn’t been a good rock band since the Beatles. F**k them.

    • #20
  21. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Conservatives should just refrain from using rock of any kind, because of rock star politics. Use classical or country. Rock is about juvenile rebellion. Be the grownups in the room. Hell, use swing or big band if you have to.

    • #21
  22. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    The Dropkick Murphys are a one-trick pony, and it shows.  You really only need to listen to one or two of their songs, and then you’ve heard every one of their songs without having to sit through them.

    But from a political perspective, there’s nothing to respond to.  What percentage of voters are going to now vote for or against Walker based on his usage of a DM tune?  A freakishly small one.

    Which is probably why we get so many milquetoast politicians, and bland statements.  It’s easier not to offend than to repair damage.  In other words, it’s lazy, which probably reflects more on the voters than it does the politicians – of the half of the country that bothers to vote, or are active politically, what percentage of them has ever looked at their state budget, line by line?

    Almost zero, so why should politicians try to explain something to people who seemingly don’t care, and want to be spoon-fed easily digestible goo?

    • #22
  23. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    So do Lefty pop musicians (but I repeat myself) object when conservative consumers buy their music? I’m pretty sure they don’t.

    That said, I’d be irritated if Hillary ever used anything I wrote as a campaign song.  Hard to imagine, considering the overt Christian nature of my work.  Still – I would feel sullied by the association.

    But I would take their ASCAP money gladly.

    • #23
  24. VUtah Member
    VUtah
    @VUtah

    I’m having a lot trouble with that Roman numeral too. So much so that the discussion about rock stars and politicians has no interest. Perhaps it’s because I just finished teaching 28 future elementary school teachers how to write in Roman numerals as well as Egyptian, Mayan, and Babylonian. And no this not the new Core, I ‘ve been teaching them this for 12 years. It’s fun and deepens their understanding how numeration systems work.

    • #24
  25. user_648492 Coolidge
    user_648492
    @MichaelBrehm

    O Fortuna by Carl Orff would be the most epic walk-on music ever.

    • #25
  26. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Michael Brehm:O Fortuna by Carl Orff would be the most epic walk-on music ever.

    Not a bad idea at all, but I say we go full-bore “embrace the stereotype” and use the Imperial March:

    • #26
  27. user_977556 Member
    user_977556
    @TheodoricofFreiberg

    “…we literally hate you !!!” – Dropkick Murphys

    Don’t listen to the HATERS, Scott!

    • #27
  28. Salamandyr Inactive
    Salamandyr
    @Salamandyr

    In regards to the Dropkick Murphies (whose music I really enjoy) it’s not that they join the lengthening line of artists who believe they have veto power over who can be fans of their music; it’s not that they oppose Governor Walker; it’s not even that they evidently do not recognize any difference between private and public sector unions.

    They had to go and use “literally”.

    • #28
  29. user_129539 Member
    user_129539
    @BrianClendinen

    Conservatives attack other conservative Politicians using Alenski like tactics calming hypocrisy for having a “bad” song play at a campaign rally.

    Do you remember when Alan Keys was  attacked in 2000 over a Rage Against the Machine song that he was getting into when he come out at one of his rally? Orin Hatch ended up attacking him over the song selection in one of the debates after Rage Against the Machine made some sort of stink about it.

    I mean come on Republican voters, don’t you know  there is nothing more presidential than attacking someone with a guilt by association argument over a silly song played in the background.

    • #29
  30. user_245883 Member
    user_245883
    @DanCampbell

    If Christian bakers are being forced at sword-point to sell cakes for gay weddings,  why do liberal rockers get veto power over conservatives using their music?

    It’s one or the other.  Either bakers and rockers are allowed to choose or reject their customers, or bakers and rockers have to sell their products to whoever wants to buy them for whatever purposes the buyer wishes to put them to.

    Take the rockers to court and force them to allow use of their music via the law of unintended consequences..

    • #30

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