Primal Scream furious over Theresa May song choice

Oct 5, 2011

‘Dealers keep dealing, thieves keep thieving,’ – a true picture of life at the Tory party conference?

HOME SECRETARY Theresa May is used to ruffling feathers at the Tory Party conference, but her latest appearance is fast becoming her most controversial. After the furore over her claims about a pet cat saving an illegal immigrant from deportation her bizarre choice of music has caused another row, and outraged Scottish rockers Primal Scream.

May left the stage after her speech on Tuesday with the sounds of the band's 1994 single Rocks echoing round the conference chamber.

There were plenty of raised eyebrows at the selection, which is a paen to the delights of life on the seedier side of town. The lyrics pay homage to a world where "dealers keep dealing, thieves keep thieving, whores keep whoring, junkies keep scoring", there are "strip joints full of hunchbacks" and the "clap keeps itching".

Whether or not that is a true reflection of life after hours at the Tory conference in Manchester is unclear, but what is very apparent is that Primal Scream did not give permission for the song to be used and are not best pleased.

On Twitter, the band expressed its outrage, stating: "We would like to distance ourselves from this sick association. The Tories are waging a war on the disenfranchised. They are the enemy."

The veteran rockers, led by singer Bobby Gillespie, said they were "totally disgusted" by the choice. "How inappropriate. Didn't they research the political history of our band? Hasn't she listened to the words? Does she even know what getting your rocks off means? No. She is a Tory; how could she?"

Of course it is not the first time musicians have taken umbrage at their work being appropriated by politicians.

The band Keane objected to the Tories' use of their song Everybody's Changing during the 2005 election and in 2008 James complained when Labour used the song Sit Down at its conference. Indeed, 2008 was something of a high-water mark for annoying musicians. Republican presidential candidate John McCain upset John Mellencamp, Van Halen and Foo Fighters by using their music in his ill-fated campaign, and his running mate Sarah Palin "fucked over" Heart, as singer Nancy Wilson put it, by using their song Barracuda in the same year.

And just a few months ago Tom Petty sent Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachman a cease and desist order telling her not to use his song American Girl in her campaign.

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