As dreadful and depressing as it is to admit, it’s officially election season in the United States. That means, in addition to incessant attack ads and the inflated ego that Iowa gets every few years, we’re now going to be seeing a lot of stories about (let’s be honest) predominantly conservative politicians getting in trouble for playing songs at their events without permission from the artists. On the one hand, you can’t really blame them since Meat Loaf and Ted Nugent only have so many good songs, but on the other hand, this happens almost every time a politician gets on stage for any reason. You’d think they’d collectively agree that the bad PR isn’t worth walking out to “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World,” but whatever.
Now, just hours after the Kim Davis Homophobia Rally (unofficial name, we assume) used Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” without approval from the band, R.E.M. has announced that it is pissed at Donald Trump for doing the same thing with “It’s The End Of The World” at one of his elaborately satirical campaign events. (That’s what they are, right? Right?!) As reported by Pitchfork, Trump recently took the stage to the R.E.M. classic (though we’re not sure what message he wanted to send other than “take this song literally”), which has prompted the band to release a statement demanding that he—and any other hip presidential candidates who like R.E.M.—”cease and desist” from playing any of its songs. The band’s full statement is below:
While we do not authorize or condone the use of our music at this political event, and do ask that these candidates cease and desist from doing so, let us remember that there are things of greater importance at stake here. The media and the American voter should focus on the bigger picture, and not allow grandstanding politicians to distract us from the pressing issues of the day and of the current Presidential campaign.
R.E.M.’s Mike Mills tweeted about all of this, and he even passed along a message from Michael Stipe (who should totally get on Twitter):
Also, if this whole thing sounds vaguely familiar, it might be because Donald Trump already got in trouble for using a musician’s song without permission earlier this summer. And what song did he use that time? “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World,” of course. Meanwhile, literally nobody is walking out to “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights,” despite the fact that it sends a positive message about love and wishing the person you love would die already.