Indie rock stalwarts Silversun Pickups have accused Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of illegally using their 2009 hit song “Panic Switch” on the campaign trail without their permission. Wednesday afternoon the band fired off a cease and desist letter to the campaign, demanding Romney discontinue use of any of their songs.
The band became aware of the allegedly illegal playlist after NBC News embed Garrett Haake tweeted about it this weekend:
I dig the alternative playlist this morning in NC, but “Panic Switch” by Silversun Pickups may not be the message Romney camp wants to send
— Garrett Haake (@GarrettNBCNews) August 12, 2012
The band’s frontman Brian Aubert said that no one asked the band for permission, but even if the Romney camp did, they wouldn’t get permission: “We don’t like people going behind our backs, using our music without asking, and we don’t like the Romney campaign. We’re nice, approachable people. We won’t bite. Unless you’re Mitt Romney!”
Aubert also said that Romney’s use is an ironic one, because “he is inadvertently playing a song that describes his whole campaign.” Ouch.
Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg responded to the demands, saying that “the song was inadvertently played during event set-up before Gov. Romney arrived at the location.”
“As anyone who attends Gov. Romney’s events knows,” she continued, “this is not a song we would have played intentionally. That said, it was covered under the campaign’s regular blanket license, but we will not play it again.”
Note to Republicans: musicians tend to dislike you — whether that be for political reasons or for fan-pleasing purposes — so avoid playing their music at any point during a campaign event because you will likely get called out, and you will likely be embarrassed.
Notable musicians Jackson Browne, Foo Fighters, John Mellencamp, John Hall, and ABBA (?!?!) all demanded Sen. John McCain quit using their tunes during his 2008 campaign; the Wilson sisters from Heart famously reprimanded Sarah Palin for using “Barracuda” to promote herself that same year. Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist was sued by his doppelgänger David Byrne for using a Talking Heads song in 2010. And, of course, George W. Bush made a fair amount of enemies in Mellencamp, Tom Petty, and Sting.
It clearly ain’t easy making a campaign playlist when you’re the Republican Party. So we suggest “un-hip” Republicans check out Mediaite‘s very own list of the “Top 10 Songs Guaranteed to Annoy Liberals” as a reference for what songs you might be able to get away with using on the trail.
However, given the decidedly non-Republican politics of 80% of even those artists, you may just want to stick with the list’s safest choice: #1 pick “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood.
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