Being a contrary bunch, the stream of ‘band plays inauguration bash’ stories we published this morning got us thinking: is there any musician on the planet who isn’t prepared to endorse Barack Obama’s new regime?
The reasons for such liberal consensus are obvious. Rock’n’roll’s roots as an outsider discourse means that the soul shrinks from the idea of a right-wing musician. And that’s precisely as it should be.
Yet Obama is now, unquestionably, a figure of state authority, inaugurated with all the elaborate pomp and vast expense of a medieval coronation (come on, admit you were just a little weirded out by the syrupy, edge-of-tears Holy Joe-isms of Rev. Rick Warren’s invocation).
Which leaves us with an unprecedented situation: the Commander-In-Chief has the unswerving support of musicians worldwide, his qualities trumpeted by dissenters-by-nature ranging from Thom Yorke to Mike D.
Or does he? They might be keeping quiet right now, but – like the scurrying bugs that disperse when you lift up a heavy plant-pot – Republican rockers do still exist. Like these guys…
1. Ted Nugent
The gun totin’, deer-shootin’, gay-marriage-opposin’ rocker, whose books include ‘Kill It And Grill It’ and ‘God, Guns And Rock’n’Roll’ (yet who once shat in his pants before a physical exam in a bid to dodge the Vietnam draft), seriously considered running against Barack Obama in the 2004 Illinois Senate Race. So if things had panned out differently, we might be looking at President Nugent right now. Er, at a stretch.
2. Johnny Ramone
“God bless President Bush, and God bless America,” declared the Ramones guitarist at the band’s induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2002, drawing the world’s least emphatic applause.
3. Alice Cooper
In 2004 the shock rocker, real name Vincent Furnier, took a break from Guillotining puppies (or something) to denounce supporters of Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry as “treasonous morons”. Four years later he described Sarah Palin as a “breath of fresh air”, which makes you wonder what kind of fetid swamp he lives in.
4. Brandon Flowers
An off-hand remark about being “sympathetic to George Bush” led to “Mr Rightside” jibes – but in fairness the Killer’s slipperiness in regard to politics is surely more to do with a careerist desire to be all things to all people rather than a deeply-held, guns-babies-and-jesus conservatism.
5. Joe Perry
“I’ve been a hardcore Republican my whole life,” the Aerosmith guitarist told the ‘Boston Herald’ in 2008, pledging his support for John McCain. Lest we forget, 53% of American males actually voted Republican in the 2008 presidential election. At least some of them had to be musicians.