Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan chose to take the stage at a Pennsylvania rally with Twisted Sister’s 1984 hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It” blasting in the background and Twisted Sister front man Dee Snider is none too pleased.
In a statement relayed through his manager, Snider said, “I emphatically denounce Paul Ryan’s use of my band Twisted Sister’s song, ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It,’ in any capacity,” adding that, “there is almost nothing he stands for that I agree with except the use of the P90X.”
A Ryan spokesperson said, “We’re not gonna play it anymore.” (Get it?!)
There seems to be a pattern emerging with Paul Ryan’s awesome taste in hard rock music being at odds with the artists who create it. In a recent Rolling Stones op-ed piece, Tom Morello responded to Ryan’s revelation that Rage Against the Machine is one of his favorite bands by saying, “he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.”
Back in 2008, then-GOP Vice-Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin’s used Heart’s “Barracuda” as her theme song at the Republican National Convention. The members of Heart weren’t pleased and responded with: “We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored.” This is just one instance in many where an artist has spoken out against the use of their music in a political campaign.
But what is a rocker to do? You can’t really fault a Republican for having good musical taste, but can you really stop them from using your tunes to motivate their constituents? Legally, the artists can’t do much if the campaign actually paid for the rights to use their songs (it’s not clear whether Ryan’s people actually paid licensing fees to use the song). But clearly, Snider and others outraged by how their songs are being used can speak out about it. Chances are, they’ll see a spike in album sales thanks to the controversy.