Some bands would be happy to hear that a prominent public figure declared them to be his or her favorite music. But when the band is the polemical, anti-capitalist Rage Against the Machine, and the public figure is Republican VP pick Paul Ryan, architect of Congress’ major budget-slashing plan, flattery is not the result.
Tom Morello, guitarist of Rage Against the Machine — a band that performed at Occupy Wall Street, and offers up lyrics critcizing corporate America and its government and foreign relations — wrote an op-ed for Rolling Stone about Paul Ryan’s love for his band, and he doesn’t mince words:
Paul Ryan's love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.... I wonder what Ryan's favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of "[Expletive] the Police"? Or is it the one where we call on the people to seize the means of production? So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!
Tell us how you really feel, Tom.
You can read the whole essay, which concludes with Morello’s hope that Ryan is actually a lefty mole in disguise, here.
Musicians clash with politicians every campaign cycle, either for unauthorized use of their songs during rallies, or merely for associating a musician’s song or image with their campaign when their political views aren’t in lockstep, as with Morello. Earlier this year, the band Survivor filed suit against Newt Gingrich for using “Eye of the Tiger.” Michelle Bachman received a cease-and-desist for playing Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” Bruce Springsteen didn’t like Ronald Reagan’s misunderstood use of “Born in the USA.” But when it comes to music, Democrats have an easier time — most artists are in their camp.