The Republican Candidate's Guide To Picking Campaign Music
This week Republicans from around the country gather in Florida to celebrate all things conservative and curse Issac for stealing the national spotlight. For me the 2012 Republican National Convention marks the true start of the presidential campaign season, the playoffs to the primaries' regular season.
Hard to believe that there have already been two musical controversies for the Romney campaign this year, one concerning the use of a Silversun Pickups' track and the other dealing with Paul Ryan's favorite band.
As a Republican it can be real confusing trying to figure out which bands like you and which bands don't. Here are some clues I've come up with to help any right wing Rocks Off loving candidates avoid the dreaded cease and desist order.
Bands To Avoid
1. Rage Against The Machine, and anyone who's ever toured with them.
While RATM were able to turn tons of people on to political causes they may never have considered before, Paul Ryan is proof that there was always a part of the fan base that was just there to rock out no matter what the lyrics were.
RATM made political music when it wasn't cool to do so (and were absent from the scene when it was) but let's not forget that although they were left leaning they didn't make music for a two party system. Still, Republicans would be smart to avoid them unless they want an op-ed to them in Rolling Stone.
2. Anyone who played a fundraiser for John Kerry or appeared on a Rock Against Bush compilation.
Although Romney doesn't inspire the same about of anger our former governor did, their politics aren't exactly worlds away. If someone had a serious dislike of Bush for anything more than superficial reasons then those same people should equally dislike this year's Republican nominee.
Unless any of those bands had a change of heart (or decided to back away from politics for the sake of their cash flow) they're probably still all off limits. It's a shame because I think someone hitting the stage to Against Me! and their song "I Was A Teenage Anarchist" would have been delightful.
3. Anyone who isn't American.
There are so many great American bands out there to choose from that it would be silly to outsource your campaign music to an act from a foreign country.
I understand the temptation to blast Rush at your campaign rally. Both "Anthem" and "The Trees" have messages that seem right at home for you and those you want to vote for you but you can't use them. You can't let a bunch of Canadians steal a slot away from a deserving American prog-rock group.
Plus, they've already had a spat with Rand Paul, although they claim it has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with copyright.
Bands To Use
1. Anyone who is playing at this year's RNC.
If these guys are willing to make the trek down to Tampa to play to the party then it's safe to say they're on board with the message. We're sure any of the bands playing would gladly lend their music to your campaign.
As an avid follower of Rocks Off you won't need to be reminded of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but there are some other interesting prospects to choose from. Taylor Hicks is an American Idol and should play really well for those candidates speaking in the South. As for 3 Doors Down you'd be wise to avoid "Loser" and "Kryptonite"; I'd recommend "Citizen/Soldier" if you want to use anything from their discography.
2. Anyone on the following list.
I'll confess that short of reading every band in the country's Wikipedia page or doing a Google search for "[band] Republican" it would be pretty difficult to come up with a definitive list of Republican acts. Even then you'd have to be careful because a lot of those acts aren't so much Republican as they are just really big fans of Ron Paul.
There are tons of obvious acts that everyone knows, be it Ted Nugent or the bulk of country music. Still, here is a list of 10 bands that appear to be safe that you may not have thought of already or had forgotten about, although I personally recommend you ask for permission first:
Megadeth, Kid Rock, Avenged Sevenfold, Alice Cooper, The Vandals, Smash Mouth, Godsmack, Daughtry, Beach Boys, and yes, even Aerosmith.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.