Popular performers are upset over misuse of their songs and discriminatory legislation on the part of Republicans.
As the Republican Party moves further to the right while a growing majority of Americans move further to the left, and what with the GOP’s choices for the Presidential nominee being a narcissistic, bigoted plutocrat, a psychotic, malevolent theocrat and a reactionary coward posing as a nice guy, the popularity of the party and its candidates has taken a steep nose dive at a particularly dangerous time, what with a national election looming.
In particular, the Republicans have fallen out of favor with many popular musicians. For example, Donald Trump has tried to rally supporters by using songs by Neil Young, Aerosmith, REM and Adele, and all four acts have demanded that he cease and desist, with REM’s Michael Stipe putting his opinion in no uncertain terms:
“Go f*ck 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.”
In light of HB 2, a law being passed in North Carolina forbidding transgendered people to use the public bathroom marked for their preferred gender and HB 1523, a law in Mississippi scaling back anti-discrimination laws that protect members of the LGBT community, both put forth for the supposed benefit of “religious freedom,” numerous popular music acts have boycotted those states, including Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Bryan Adams, Boston and Ringo Starr. Perhaps it is the least surprising that the latter would choose to boycott North Carolina given the harsh anti-LGBT laws, as during the 1960s, he and his fellow Beatles stipulated in their performance contracts that they would not appear before segregated audiences while touring the U.S.
Other performers opted to play scheduled shows in North Carolina, but took opportunities to use the system against itself. Cyndi Lauper, Mumford and Sons and Tacocat donated monies earned from their shows to charities and Duran Duran allowed the circulation of petitions against North Carolina’s HB 2 at their show, even inking their signatures for the cause onstage.
More recently, Joe Walsh and Cheap Trick each were offered to play the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio in July 2016, and each turned it down. According to Joe Walsh, deceptive measures were used to entice him to appear.
“It was my understanding that I was playing a concert which was a nonpartisan event to benefit the families of American veterans on Monday, July 17th in Cleveland. The admat I approved said this specifically. Today it was announced that this event is, in fact, a launch for the Republican National Convention.
“In addition, my name is to be used to raise sponsorship dollars for convention-related purposes. Therefore, I must humbly withdraw my participation in this event with apologies to any fans or veterans and their families that I might disappoint.
“I am very concerned about the rampant vitriol, fear-mongering and bullying coming from the current Republican campaigns,” he continued. “It is both isolationist and spiteful. I cannot in good conscience endorse the Republican party in any way. I will look at doing a veteran related benefit concert later this year.”
In an interview with UK news website The Guardian, Cheap Trick singer Robin Zander joked:
“The Republican National Committee called our office and offered us $100,000 to play at their convention in Cleveland. We turned it down. Then we had second thoughts. Maybe we should have accepted it – but we would all have got swastika guitars made.”
Given the rapport between these stars and their respective audiences, the fact that a popular recording artist’s fans will listen to what the performer has to say, the misuse of these performers’ music by the GOP, and the public exception these performers are taking to GOP legislation, this will not help the Republicans at any level in the upcoming national election. Moreover, given the amount of money that Mississippi and North Carolina will lose due to the boycotts over the discriminatory legislature, the Republicans will be the only ones to blame when the economic effects of that are realized.
To be sure, that will certainly not help them in the upcoming election, either.
Featured image credit:FLIKR