Rage Against the Machine attack dubious fan Paul Ryan

Aug 17, 2012

Romney's running-mate is the embodiment of all we're raging against, says guitarist Tom Morello

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POLITICIANS might do well to keep their music preferences to themselves. The latest victim of a band backlash is Republican Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's running-mate in the upcoming US elections, who claims to be a fan of the alternative heavy metal band Rage Against the Machine.
The New York Times reported on Monday that the 42-year-old wannabe veep cites Rage among his favourite bands - an odd choice given Ryan's politics and the fact that Rage sings about the greed of oil companies and praises the anti-corporate Occupy Wall Street movement.

Now Rage guitarist Tom Morello has hit back, telling Rolling Stone magazine that Ryan's love of the band is "amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades".

In a letter to Rolling Stone, Morello adds that Ryan's "guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one per cent is antithetical to the message of Rage".

Morello then goes on to wonder which one of the band's songs is Ryan's favourite: "Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of F**k the Police?"

Morello concludes with the hope that Ryan is in fact "a mole", who has been secretly influenced by Rage's music, and if elected will "fill Guantanamo Bay with the corporate criminals that are funding his campaign".

Ryan's roasting is just the latest Republican run-in with musicians. US band Silversun Pickups recently told Mitt Romney to stop using their song Panic Switch at his campaign events. The band sent Romney a cease-and-desist order. Last year Tom Petty sent a similar lawyer's letter to Michele Bachmann after she played his song American Girl at a rally announcing her campaign for president.

Nor are British politicians immune to musician-backlash. As The Week reported last year, Home Secretary Theresa May angered the band Primal Scream by playing their music at the Tory conference. Primal Scream tweeted that the Tories were "the enemy".

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