Over the weekend, the internet was all aflame (and full of terrible All Tomorrow’s Parties puns) at a video of a Tea Party rally that seemed to show The Velvet Underground’s Moe Tucker mouthing off against the current administration.
In case you’ve been living on Mars for the past year, the Tea Party is the new extreme American right-wing, full of batshit crazy racists who like to draw Hitler moustaches on “Muslim terrorist” Obama (their words, not mine) – who, terrifyingly, are set to make huge gains at the next election.
The woman, who introduced herself as Moe Tucker – and the Velvets’ Moe is a known resident of the area of Georgia where the rally took place – said, “I’m furious about the way we’re being led towards socialism. I’m furious about the incredible waste of money when things we really need… get dropped because there’s no money left.”
But how much of an issue should this actually be? There’s a German phrase that roughly translates to “Under 30 and not left-wing: no heart. Over 30 and still left-wing: no sense.” And it’s not like The Velvet Underground were ever staunch left-wingers in the first place.
If this is indeed that Moe Tucker, it’s surprising that her views are so extreme and uninformed. But really, is the intellectual gist of what she’s saying any worse than the droves of leftie musicians who trot out equally clueless shit about politics when it comes to election time?
As far as I’m concerned, as long as I’m not being spewed with shlocky politics for politics’ sake (I’m looking at you, Jon McClure/The Enemy), I couldn’t really care less if my favourite musicians supported McCain or Obama, Clegg or Cameron. It’d only fuss me if they were dangerous extremists.
Earlier this summer, I interviewed Americana musician Micah P. Hinson for The Quietus. His latest album, ‘Micah P Hinson & The Pioneer Saboteurs’ is a protest record, and I naively assumed from the vaguely worded press release that it was protesting against the mess left behind by the Bush administration.
Nuh-uh. During the interview, he went off on a massive rant about how he wouldn’t vote for Obama if he could “shoot fire out of his dick,” citing the same worries about so-called socialism as Moe Tucker. It was a massive shock, but it didn’t change what I think of his music one bit. However, the reaction on Drowned In Sound’s community board had people saying they’d never buy his music and support the work of a right-wing musician again.
It’s so strange – authors are given the privilege of detaching from their work. When you read American Psycho, you don’t believe that Bret Easton Ellis could be capable of such stomach-turning acts of rape and murder. So likewise, surely if musicians sympathise with certain aspects of right-wing politics, we should surely afford them that same separation of personality and art.