Something else to expect in the 2008 elections

>> Saturday, February 23, 2008

Obviously, it's hard to make predictions in this campaign season. Candidates have been up and they've been down. Winners have lost and losers have won. Dogs and cats have, in fact, been observed living together in harmony (with mice, no less), and I'm pretty sure I saw Gozer The Destructor buying cigarettes and a skin mag at the gas station when I filled the tank earlier today. But I think I may be able to predict one thing.

It seems that Tom Scholz, the man who was Boston, is kinda pissed off that Mike Huckabee has occasionally been using the Boston song "More Than A Feeling" at campaign rallies. Indeed, it seems that Mr. Scholz is a teeny bit left of Huckabee, preferring Barack Obama as a candidate. So he's asked Huckabee to just quit, already, and stop using his damn songs.

Now, I have to be honest here: I really dislike Boston. Behind every cool album cover showing a guitar-shaped spaceship raining flames down on the world was a piece of vinyl with some of the lamest, wussiest, cheesiest ballads ever used to peel off a high school sophomore's panties in the back of a 1973 sedan during Carter's last year in office. And the biggest ripoff wasn't the cool album cover implying world-destroying cosmic guitars that never came through: the biggest ripoff was that the guys in Boston--or Tom Scholz, who basically was Boston on their first album--were pretty talented musicians who had a propensity for starting a song with a pretty cool instrumental that promised something harder-rocking than the pansy pop ballad that you got 45 seconds into the song. But I think it's pretty funny that Scholz is telling Huckabee to, in so many words, kiss his ass and go to hell. He may write some lame-ass songs, but hey, go Tom!

It appears that this tiff is occurring in the wake of John Mellencamp telling John McCain to stop using "Pink Houses" and "Our Country" at McCain rallies. Coincidentally, Mellencamp is another performer I don't have much use for. But once again, I think it's pretty funny. Go "Jack And Diane"-guy!

But here's the really funny part:

Scholz, in a telephone interview Friday, said he understands “More Than a Feeling” has been a centerpiece at some rallies, and said Goudreau is identified with the band in an endorsement video.

“Whenever a campaign publicly exploits a well-known song, there is some inference of support” by the band or artist, he added.

He recommends that Huckabee “stick to music recorded by far-right Republicans.”

What's so funny about that, you might ask?

Republicans have a problem. I know, there are many problems, but we're just talking about this one: they don't have very many cool rock'n'rollers. Not very many live ones, anyway. I guess they kinda had Elvis, at least during that phase when Elvis was so stoned he thought he would make an awesome DEA agent with his karate skills, music industry connections, and passion for shooting holes in things. I mean, when you get right down to it, the conservatives pretty much have Ted Nugent and Damn Yankees (and please don't leave a comment pointing out that Ted Nugent is a member of Damn Yankees--that was the fucking joke... great, you made me ruin it, thanks a lot). And liberals? We pretty much have everybody else.

I've long suspected that the reason you see so many conservative types saying musicians (and, for that matter, actors and writers in their respective gigs) should "shut up and sing, I don't listen to them for their politics" is sour grapes. One can't help thinking that if Bruce Springsteen wrote a song about how the flat tax saved his baby, conservatives would be all about how everyone should embrace The Boss' political anthems. Ditto if U2 did a song about the sinfulness of homosexuality or R.E.M. did a song about reading your Bible everyday.

Is there some kind of mass-media conspiracy? No, I think it's that one of the central tenets of liberalism, "question everything, especially authority," goes better with the rock'n'roll ethos of rebellion, originality and novelty. You see more conservatives in country music in part because country music attempts to hew to an ethos of tradition; rebels and iconoclasts in the country genre often find themselves more welcome among rock fans (and the politics of iconoclasts can be awfully hard to pin down--take Willie Nelson, for instance, who's kinda liberal and kinda conservative and kinda in his own world). That's not to say you can't have conservatives in rock--hi, Ted--I'm merely saying it's not as natural a pairing of instincts.

So here's the prediction (remember, I said I had a prediction to make): from now on, all Republican rallies will feature either country music or The Nuge. Long shot prediction: every single public appearance by McCain or Huckabee will feature "Don't Tread On Me."

That's all.


Nathan Saturday, February 23, 2008 at 10:31:00 AM EST  

"I don't have time to post anything."

"Here, read my four new posts."

I'm not sure what Ike Turner's politics were, but he sure believed in keeping women in their place. Just sayin'.

Eric Saturday, February 23, 2008 at 12:02:00 PM EST  

This post was written at 2:30 a.m. this morning, after I got home around midnight, couldn't sleep, and surfed a bit. It's likely to count as my post for today, even if it does seem a little like a technicality.

Who would Ike Turner endorse? Answer this question, and unlock all the secrets of the 2008 election (including the hidden bonus levels).

Janiece: hey, we all have our guilty pleasures. I'm sure I have some things on my CD shelf that would provoke gasps of horror and pitying looks from some of y'all.... :-)

wellsian,  Sunday, February 24, 2008 at 3:12:00 PM EST  

I'd actually like to prevent Mellencamp, or anyone else for that matter, from playing "Our Country" ever again. Ever since seeing that damn Chevy commercial about 1000 times I hate it and him more than I used to.

Hey, John, this is myyyyy bullet to the back of your head.

Right is Right,  Monday, February 25, 2008 at 11:36:00 PM EST  

Actually, I think you can add Alice Cooper to the Republican artist list.

Eric Tuesday, February 26, 2008 at 12:53:00 AM EST  

Aha! You guys get one cool guy then.

Everybody gets one.


Right is Right,  Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 3:11:00 PM EST  

Who'da Thunk it....

Eric Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:07:00 AM EST  

I'd actually heard something about some so-called punks self-identifying as conservatives. There's not a one of 'em that I've heard who was worthy of changing Joe Strummer's guitar strings or wiping spittle off Jello Biafra's microphone's windscreen.

Almost anything decays if it sits outside long enough. At this point, punk is nearing 40 years of age. Strummer's dead, Joey's dead, David Johansen and Johnny Lydon have reinvented themselves and back again as a lounge singer and a talk-show host, respectively, and Jello Biafra has run for president and had his political career effectively sabotaged by Ralph Nader of all people. Elvis Costello has become the boomers' Burt Bacharach and (oh, and how I hate to say it, but) Patti Smith is a better painter than songwriter these days. The people who call themselves punks now are mostly pop-punks who are trailing far behind the post-punks; someone like Avril Lavigne tries to be punk without the wit or self-awareness to even be ironic about it.

Sorry, there aren't any conservative punks. Firstly, because there weren't ever any, and, like the Jedi, their order has faded from the galaxy, so there can't be any now. Secondly, playing your guitars loud and fast and trying to sing in a clipped voice doesn't make you a punk, even if it's a convenient label--no more than making a video of yourself swinging a pole around in your garage makes you Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Right is Right,  Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 11:52:00 AM EST  

Wow, you really know how to kick a guy, square in the nuts.

Interesting that you should bring up Jello Biafra. A friend of mine gave him a lift years ago from LA to San Francisco. Said Jello was interesting, but generally stoned for the most part.

I find it interesting whenever I see young kids finding punk roots. I'm 39, and live in Orange County, CA. How does and 18 year old come across listening to TSOL, The Sex Pistols, or Black Flag?
I guess much the same way as me, when I was a freshman in High School, discovering Rockabilly.

Eric Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 5:05:00 PM EST  

Pretty much the same way, yeah. And there's a depressing thought for both of us (I'm only three years younger than you):

punk : kids now :: rockabilly : us

Ouch. I think we got ourselves in the nuts on that one.

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