Popular culture hates Republicans, especially alternative pop culture. When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president yesterday, he used Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” to hype the crowd. Young didn’t take too kindly to it.
“Donald Trump was not authorized to use ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ in his presidential candidacy announcement,” said a statement from Young’s camp. “Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States.”
According to Billboard, “Rockin’ in the Free World” is a protest song against George H.W. Bush’s administration and “how it did not care about America’s poor.” Considering that, it’s ironic that Trump, a one-percenter who doesn’t care about poor people, would use the song. Former bandmate David Crosby tweeted about how Trump made a mistake.
— David Crosby (@thedavidcrosby) June 16, 2015
This isn’t the first time a band or musician has balked at a Republican for using their music. Punk band Dropkick Murphy’s lashed out at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for walking out to “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” at a GOP summit earlier this year. After catching wind, the Dropkick Murphy’s told Walker to stop using their music. “We literally hate you!!!” the band said.
In 2012, former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said Rage Against the Machine was one of his favorite bands. The band’s guitarist, Tom Morello, wrote an op-ed for Rolling Stone addressing Ryan’s fandom of Rage Against the Machine.
“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,” wrote Morello. “Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn’t understand them. Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen but doesn’t understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine.”
The common thread here is that these Republicans are a bunch of corny old white guys trying to appropriate alternative culture. Each time, it’s backfired. Perhaps they should stick to Toby Keith, Winger, or whatever the hell old white people like Trump and Walker listen to nowadays.