“Please stop using our music in any way…we literally hate you !!! Love, Dropkick Murphys.”
When the Celtic punk rock band tweeted those words at Wisconsin governor Scott Walker over the weekend, it wasn’t the first time they’d expressed their displeasure with the Republican governor’s policies. The band (whose left-leaning members have a tight relationship with workers’ rights activists) has previously slammed the governor as ”anti-union.”
This time, they were pissed that Walker had used their song “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” as entrance music at the Iowa Freedom Summit on Saturday.
“I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” which uses lyrics originally penned by Woody Guthrie, is Dropkick Murphys’ biggest hit, and was prominently featured in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning drama The Departed:
Dropkick Murphys’ tweet is one of many examples of liberal recording artists telling conservative politicians to quit using their music. John Mellencamp knocked Gov. Walker for playing his song “Small Town” out on the campaign trail. Tom Petty sent a cease-and-desist to George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign, asking the then-Texas governor to quit playing “I Won’t Back Down” at rallies. And Newt Gingrich was accused of violating copyright laws for blasting the Heavy’s “How Do You Like Me Now?” at an event in Tampa, Florida.
This list goes on for a while.
Politically progressive rock stars have also raised objections to the use of their songs in controversial anti-terror policy. Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers were among those who expressed disgust at news that their music had been used during detainee interrogations and as an instrument of Bush-era torture.
Walker’s campaign staff did not return a request for comment, and a publicist for Dropkick Murphys did not respond to a question concerning whether or not the band would consider legal action if their request is not honored.