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Basslines and Protest Signs

Basslines and Protest Signs Part 57: Musicians Have Their Say on Kamala

Kamala Harris (photo: Gage Skidmore)

When Joe Biden announced his running mate for the 2020 Presidential election will be California senator Kamala Harris, it’s fair to say that opinions on both sides were divided. On one hand the left was delighted that a (let’s say, “vintage” white man) will be balanced out on the card by a talented woman of color — younger but still with bags of experience. Others from the same side were quick to pull up her record as Attorney General for California, labelling her a “narc” due to a series of tough stances. The reaction from the right was more predictable, with many dimwits jumping on the “she’s a communist” train, despite a lack of any tangible evidence. Even Lindsey Graham accused her of being far left (we shouldn’t have been surprised really)

Nobody can seem to agree about whether she’s a moderate Democrat or on the radical left. Some even think she’s slightly right of center. With so many contrasting opinions coming from politicians and political talking heads — the people who are paid to know about this sort of thing — what chance do musicians have? Of course, that hasn’t stopped them having their say, nor should it. And there’s plenty of fun to be had reading through their tweets.

Taylor Swift (photo: Gabbo T)

Taylor Swift offered a quick, succinct, and telling “YES”, leaving nobody in any doubt about where she stands (if they had any). Swift avoided politics for a long time but, as detailed in the frankly excellent and enlightening Miss Americana documentary, she decided she could bite her tongue no longer and threw her weight to the left. It remains a ballsy move as she risks alienating many of her remaining fans from her country music beginnings. There were plenty of dissenting comments following her tweet but there are no real signs that her popularity has been detrimentally affected. She more than likely gained more fans than she lost.

Pharrell Williams tweeted a nearly-equally as brief “History made”, while Pink claims she cried “real tears of joy.”

Soul star John Legend wrote, “Very happy for our friend and Senator and future Vice-President, @KamalaHarris, and very much looking forward to voting for the Biden-Harris ticket to begin the difficult work of recovering from this nightmare presidency and building an even better future.”

Meanwhile, ’90s alt band Garbage posted a picture of Harris on Instagram alongside the words, “No one is perfect. There is no magic wand and unicorns don’t actually exist. Good old Santa Claus is a figment of our imaginations and our education. The wizard of oz was a charlatan and it was an abuse of power that killed Bambi’s mum. Nevertheless today felt momentous, hopeful and exciting. It is a beginning. A start. A tiny little drop in my bucket. I’ll take it and I will take it with gratitude. Congratulations @kamalaharris . Don’t let us down.”

Metal musicians are not generally known for their enlightened political brains, while their fans are always going to be a mixed bag. There are definite exceptions but have you ever thought, “Hmmm, I wonder what Iron Maiden think about that?” I’m a total metal-head, but generally speaking punk is for politics. Metal is for escapism.Yet many from the metal world were quick to praise Biden’s choice. Wonder drummer Mike Portnoy, best known for his work with Dream Theater, was lavish with his prose.

“I think @KamalaHarris is the perfect running mate! She really strengthens the bill and will help strengthen some of Biden’s weaknesses that some people have
concerns over…This is probably the most important election in US history, so get out and VOTE!”

Alex Skolnick of Bay Area thrashers Testament risked the wrath of many suburban Republican metal fans by tweeting, “BOOM #BidenHarris2020 it is. The RIGHT call for way too many reasons to get into. Haters/Contratians [sic] please take the day off. We don’t have time and want to appreciate this moment. Let’s do this.”

(We think he means “Contrarians.”)

Sebastian Bach (photo: Matt Becker)

Former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach hasn’t always been the most enlightened soul — in 1989 he was photographed wearing a shirt bearing the hideous words “AIDS kills f*gs dead” (he swears that the shirt was handed to him backstage and he put it on without looking) — but in recent years he has apparently seen the light and positioned himself firmly to the left and on a progressive platform. He tweeted:

“Congratulations to @KamalaHarris on your big day! Congrats to the USA  for a [light] at the end of an endless tunnel! VP Harris we are depending on you to #MakeMusicExistAgain#MakeSchoolExistAgain NOV3 we #Vote @JoeBiden#MakeAmericaExistAgain

He later Bach’d (ahem) this up with, “Please get us out of this hell @KamalaHarris you got my #vote

Tracii Guns of LA Guns congratulated Harris, adding “We can win” before taunting Lindsey Graham. Guns was also an early member of Guns N’ Roses — his former bandmate Axl Rose was less enthusiastic, tweeting a link to The Who song “Say it Ain’t So Joe.”

Doc Coyle of Bad Wolves was also fairly skeptical, tweeting:

“I’m kinda ambivalent on the Kamala Harris VP selection. She seems to be a triangulation of ever [sic] checked box they would kind of want – women of color, establishment enough, some experience but not enough to have a laundry list of things to attack. Most important, she’s charismatic… Experience, policy, rhetoric, identity all take a backseat to basic charisma. I would have preferred Susan Rice, but her bookish, measured style has a very Al Gore vibe. Personality usually wins. And whomever is VP will have to run in 4 years if Biden wins.”

LoveyDove (photo: Liz Koskenmaki)

LA psych-pop band LoveyDove emailed us to say, “LoveyDove’s Dan West and Azalia Snail are delighted to support the blue team. Kamala is a fierce fighter who will protect and defend our constitutional and human rights with clear sighted brilliance and bravura. It is urgent to not only vote for a blue wave, but to do everything we can to encourage people to vote early.”

To help us along, LoveyDove offered a link to Field Team 6, saving the world one Democrat at a time. Get out and vote!

>>> fieldteam6.org <<<

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