“Automatic for (Some of) the People” by R.E.M.

 

Thousands attended a rally today in front of the United States Capital against the Iran Deal. Of the many speakers — including Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Representative Louie Gohmert, Sarah Palin, and Senator Ted Cruz — the biggest name, and the reason why so many television cameras were on hand, was Donald Trump. Courtesy of CSPAN, here is how he came onto the stage:

That should be a familiar song to most of you, but in case it isn’t, the song is “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” by the band R.E.M.

I first heard about this via a tweet from Roll Call, and this was my immediate reaction on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/Cameron_Gray/status/641667665669541889

I assumed lead singer Michael Stipe would be the first person to complain about Trump’s use of their song.  I was wrong, it would be bassist Mike Mills:

As of this writing, the official statement has not been released. But I’m confident it won’t be, “Thanks for playing our song, Mr. Trump. We’re big fans.”

The question now is whether it will lead to a lawsuit. The answer may lie in what happened just yesterday.

In Kentucky, after six days in jail, Rowan County Clerk Kim Smith was released from prison, where she’d been sent for refusing to grant same-sex marriage licenses. A rally was held there, as well. In front of thousands of supporters, Mrs. Smith came on stage as the song “Eye of the Tiger” by the band Survivor played. Survivor has filed a $1.2 million lawsuit against Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee, who also appeared at the rally. From NBC News:

“NO! We did not grant Kim Davis any rights to use ‘My Tune -The Eye Of The Tiger.’ I would not grant her the rights to use Charmin! C’mom Mike, you are not The Donald but you can do better than that -See Ya really SoooooooonnnnnnN!!!!!!”

Speaking with Billboard, band co-founder Jim Peterik said he was also not pleased with the unauthorized use of the song.

“The song has motivated thousands through the years to reach beyond their limits. Its use for the release of Kim Davis does not support my views or my politics.”

Note the last line about Mr. Peterik’s views and politics. This is, of course, typical. We know that most musicians, actors, actresses, television hosts, authors, heck, pretty much everyone in the entertainment industry is a liberal.

Comedian Amy Schumer supports Hillary Clinton:

Actress Lena Dunham supports Planned Parenthood:

And Actor Mark Ruffalo supports gun control:

We conservatives have most country music artists, and a handful of movie and television stars on our side. And I do mean a handful. I can think of about ten.

The thing that fascinates me are the survivors of the entertainment world who ostensibly tell conservatives, “Drop dead, we don’t want your money.” It’s one thing to believe in a cause or a politician, but I don’t understand the business acumen of entertainers who would risk alienating a sizable chunk of their potential consumers by telling them to get lost.

My friend Seton Motley once reminded me of the time Michael Jordan refused to endorse a Democrat candidate because “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” More entertainers would be better served if they adopted the same attitude. All money spends, no matter who is giving it to you.

Addendum:

As I was finishing up this article, R.E.M. issued their promised statement:

“While we do not authorize or condone the use of our music at this political event, and do ask that these candidates cease and desist from doing so, let us remember that there are things of greater importance at stake here. The media and the American voter should focus on the bigger picture, and not allow grandstanding politicians to distract us from the pressing issues of the day and of the current Presidential campaign.”

I assumed it was going to be a lot harsher than this.  This is actually pretty rational, and seemingly fair.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of a separate statement by singer Michael Stipe:

“Go [his statement used a vulgar word, but this is edited for content] yourselves, the lot of you–you sad, attention grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.”

He did say “men.”  Maybe he’s a Carly Fiorina fan.

Hah, I make myself laugh sometimes.

 

 

 

Published in Entertainment, General
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  1. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    I’m a little curious what these suits could possibly be based on, though…  those songs get played at hundreds or thousands of public events throughout the country.  They get “sampled” by other musicians, tacked to the end of podcasts, etc… etc…

    Without having to open up my copyright law book, I’d have to say that the biggest gun most of these celebrities have to pull out is their twitter accounts.  It’s not like Trump is using it as the theme to his campaign, played everywhere.

    (also, I agree that the official REM statement seemed pretty good, ignoring the ridiculousness of there needing to be a statement in the first place)

    • #1
  2. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    ugh…  and I just got caught up looking at Mike Mills’ twitter feed.  That was depressing, and it makes me not want to listen to music at all for a while.  REM has been one of my favorite bands for longer than I care to remember, but I haven’t been able to stomach them for a while.  So many great albums, though (New Adventures in Hi Fi is just fantastic).

    • #2
  3. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Empty-headed clowns, the lot of ’em.

    • #3
  4. Don Tillman Member
    Don Tillman
    @DonTillman

    Oh good grief, just dive into the works of conservative musicians.  And everybody wins.

    Surely there’s some invigorating material available from Gene Simmons, Ted Nugent, Alphonzo Rachel’s 20lb Sledge, Rush, Prince, Alice Cooper, Jeff Baxtor, The Beach Boys, Charlie Daniels, Kid Rock, The Ramones, Arlo Guthrie, Madison Rising, or our own Joe Escalante.

    • #4
  5. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Don Tillman:Oh good grief, just dive into the works of conservative musicians. And everybody wins.

    Surely there’s some invigorating material available from Gene Simmons, Ted Nugent, Alphonzo Rachel’s 20lb Sledge, Rush, Prince, Alice Cooper, Jeff Baxtor, The Beach Boys, Charlie Daniels, Kid Rock, The Ramones, Arlo Guthrie, Madison Rising, or our own Joe Escalante.

    There’s a lot to choose from in the general, but the primary choice is smaller. Kid Rock is a Carson guy, for instance. Trump does have Ted Nugent, but most campaigns probably wouldn’t want to adopt an all Nugent all the time approach.

    • #5
  6. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Romney used to have Sweet Caroline as his chief song in ’08. I was never sure how he got it.  It’s a weird song for me now, because I associate it with the various victory rallies and such (Nevada was the best), and those were really great times. On the other hand, it’s a really creepy song about a 6 year old Caroline Kennedy. As such, I get a simultaneous happy adrenaline rush and wave of revulsion.

    • #6
  7. Chris Campion Coolidge
    Chris Campion
    @ChrisCampion

    REM should be thrilled that someone is playing one of their songs.

    They had some great albums in the 80’s.  Then, afterwards, not so much.  And a 15 second clip of one of their songs is sure to ruffle the sainted feathers of has-beens who think that real work is putting together 10 songs in six months and touring afterwards.

    I can guarantee that REM has tax attorneys that looked for every conceivable way to save them more money back in the day.  But it’s nice, easy, and cheap to tweet, so that’s why Stipe was roused from his brooding self-indulgence to tap the keyboard.

    • #7
  8. Chris Campion Coolidge
    Chris Campion
    @ChrisCampion

    What’s weird is that I had “Don’t Go Back to Rockville” in my head this morning before I read this.

    • #8
  9. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    James Of England: Trump does have Ted Nugent, but most campaigns probably wouldn’t want to adopt an all Nugent all the time approach.

    And the world is poorer for it.  :-(

    • #9
  10. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Chris Campion:What’s weird is that I had “Don’t Go Back to Rockville” in my head this morning before I read this.

    This is a massively awesome song.

    • #10
  11. Hank Rhody Contributor
    Hank Rhody
    @HankRhody

    Don Tillman: or our own Joe Escalante.

    What I wouldn’t give to see Trump come up to the strains of “Ape Drape”

    • #11
  12. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    So now that the end is upon us, Michael Stipe doesn’t “feel fine”?
    Awwwww.

    • #12
  13. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Trump should reply: Everybody Hurts….

    Everybody Hurts
    R.E.M.
    Buy for $1.29
    SubscribeStart Free Radio
    Subscribe to Google Play Music and listen to this song and millions of other songs. First month free.
    Lyrics
    When your day is long
    And the night, the night is yours alone
    When you’re sure you’ve had enough
    Of this life, well hang on

    Don’t let yourself go
    ‘Cause everybody cries
    And everybody hurts sometimes

    Sometimes everything is wrong
    Now it’s time to sing along
    When your day is night alone (Hold on, hold on)
    If you feel like letting go (Hold on)
    If you think you’ve had too much
    Of this life, well hang on

    Everybody hurts
    Take comfort in your friends
    Everybody hurts
    Don’t throw your hand, oh no

    Don’t throw your hand
    If you feel like you’re alone
    No, no, no, you are not alone

    If you’re on your own in this life
    The days and nights are long
    When you think you’ve had too much of this life to hang on

    Well, everybody hurts sometimes
    Everybody cries
    Everybody hurts sometimes
    And everybody hurts sometimes

    So hold on, hold on
    Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on
    Everybody hurts

    • #13
  14. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Of course, as a candidate you probably don’t want people to view your election as the “end of the world”.

    • #14
  15. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Ryan M:ugh… and I just got caught up looking at Mike Mills’ twitter feed. That was depressing, and it makes me not want to listen to music at all for a while. REM has been one of my favorite bands for longer than I care to remember, but I haven’t been able to stomach them for a while. So many great albums, though (New Adventures in Hi Fi is just fantastic).

    Luckily I have always hated REM so no loss for me!

    Side note, the outstanding band Southern Culture on the Skids (from Chapel Hill) got their name when hearing a DJ refer to REM as music from the south (Athens, GA).  They looked at each other and said, “if that’s southern music then Southern culture is on the skids!”

    • #15
  16. Cameron Gray Contributor
    Cameron Gray
    @CameronGray

    Ryan M:ugh… and I just got caught up looking at Mike Mills’ twitter feed. That was depressing, and it makes me not want to listen to music at all for a while. REM has been one of my favorite bands for longer than I care to remember, but I haven’t been able to stomach them for a while. So many great albums, though (New Adventures in Hi Fi is just fantastic).

    I know the feeling, I got caught up too

    Cameron

    • #16
  17. Cameron Gray Contributor
    Cameron Gray
    @CameronGray

    Don Tillman:Oh good grief, just dive into the works of conservative musicians. And everybody wins.

    Surely there’s some invigorating material available from Gene Simmons, Ted Nugent, Alphonzo Rachel’s 20lb Sledge, Rush, Prince, Alice Cooper, Jeff Baxtor, The Beach Boys, Charlie Daniels, Kid Rock, The Ramones, Arlo Guthrie, Madison Rising, or our own Joe Escalante.

    Prince, really?  First I’ve ever heard he was a conservative.

    Cameron

    • #17
  18. Cameron Gray Contributor
    Cameron Gray
    @CameronGray

    Chris Campion: Stipe was roused from his brooding self-indulgence to tap the keyboard.

    I love that line, Chris.

    Cameron

    • #18
  19. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    This is just another reason why we should limit copyright, back down to its original length of time.

    • #19
  20. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    I’ve always liked REM’s music but Michael Stipe was always a tremedous (word that starts with a D but not CoC complient). This doesn’t surprise me that he and the band would be annoyed by Trump’s use of the song. I’ve been commenting to my friends that twitter is destroying entertainment for a lot of people. Mostly because it ruins that veneer between the actor and the character. You may have an actor that is playing a brilliant character just to read their twitter feed and be subjected to their idiocy. With musicians it may be a bit different because they kind of are what they are and we can choose to listen or not, but sometimes they aren’t as in your face with their music but their twitter feed can turn you off and ruin songs that you used to love.

    • #20
  21. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    You’d think Republican politicians would have learned by now.  Not only do they choose wildly inappropriate songs based solely on their titles (think Ronald Reagan and “Born In The U.S.A.”), but they invite condemnation every time they use the song of a predictably-liberal musician.  The whiny “how dare you use my song” press releases are as foreseeable as is Al Sharpton’s appearing wherever a black person is killed by a white person.

    The use of “Eye of the Tiger” at the Kim Davis event set entirely the wrong tone.  But it’s not suprising to see Mike Huckabee associated with something so cheesy.

    • #21
  22. Wineguy13 Thatcher
    Wineguy13
    @Wineguy13

    Concretevol:

    Ryan M:ugh… and I just got caught up looking at Mike Mills’ twitter feed. That was depressing, and it makes me not want to listen to music at all for a while. REM has been one of my favorite bands for longer than I care to remember, but I haven’t been able to stomach them for a while. So many great albums, though (New Adventures in Hi Fi is just fantastic).

    Luckily I have always hated REM so no loss for me!

    Side note, the outstanding band Southern Culture on the Skids (from Chapel Hill) got their name when hearing a DJ refer to REM as music from the south (Athens, GA). They looked at each other and said, “if that’s southern music then Southern culture is on the skids!”

    Ricochetti have great (and eclectic) taste in music! I am off down the rabbit hole for some Cramps, Waco Bros., the some Plastic Seat Sweat.  Back sometime tonight. Thanks for the reminder.

    • #22
  23. dialm Inactive
    dialm
    @DialMforMurder

    All of a sudden I realised I care a lot less about celebrity endorsements than I used to.

    Maybe the rock guys are all getting too old, and Obamas failure has discredited all of them by association. Their millenial replacements, like Lena Dunham, are very obviously a pack of morons.

    • #23
  24. Peter Gøthgen Member
    Peter Gøthgen
    @PeterGothgen

    This is one of the major reasons why I stopped using Twitter.  The ratio of useful content to annoying garbage was far too low for me to continue to expend any energy on it.

    • #24
  25. Tedley Member
    Tedley
    @Tedley

    I’ve always wondered–can a band deny someone the right to play a portion of one of their songs at a not-for-profit event?  I had read somewhere a long time ago that radio stations didn’t have to pay royalties if they didn’t play the full song.

    • #25
  26. Tedley Member
    Tedley
    @Tedley

    Wineguy13: Ricochetti have great (and eclectic) taste in music!

    Are any other Ricochetti fans of Ulfuls or Porno Graffitti?

    • #26
  27. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Tedley:I’ve always wondered–can a band deny someone the right to play a portion of one of their songs at a not-for-profit event? I had read somewhere a long time ago that radio stations didn’t have to pay royalties if they didn’t play the full song.

    This.  Who cares if the musicians don’t like it.  What right does anyone have to deny the use of a song that you’ve purchased a legitimate copy of?

    • #27
  28. Hank Rhody Contributor
    Hank Rhody
    @HankRhody

    Miffed White Male:

    Tedley:I’ve always wondered–can a band deny someone the right to play a portion of one of their songs at a not-for-profit event? I had read somewhere a long time ago that radio stations didn’t have to pay royalties if they didn’t play the full song.

    This. Who cares if the musicians don’t like it. What right does anyone have to deny the use of a song that you’ve purchased a legitimate copy of?

    Oh, copyright law.

    • #28
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