Music and politics, a fine combination really, from the days of Bob Dylan writing anti war songs to when GWAR’s ‘Oderus Urungus’ endorsed the death of all candidates in the 2012 election, they are two things that go together so well. Many musicians have a political agenda, writing songs about politics and the issues within, although some musicians have been involved in both embarrassing and controversial ways.
“A lot of British Punk was based around politics, but the ideals, attitudes and style of music tend to exist more in the American punk scene”
I’d like to firstly mention the genre of Punk Rock. To me, you cannot talk about politics in music without discussing a genre pretty much built around rebellion against the ruling class. The Sex Pistols were one of the first bands to get political, trying to spread Anarchy in the U.K a long with telling the Queen where to go, in a surprisingly clever and amusing way. Even better though, punk rock legend and a personal hero of mine, Jello Biafra, the former singer of Dead Kennedy’s has attempted to kickstart a political career multiple times. Biafra, a man known for his outrageously shocking (but brilliant) music has attempted to run for the position as mayor of San Francisco in the late 70s as long as standing as the Green Party Candidate in the 2000 election. Only the American’s could choose Bush over Biafra, shocking. A lot of British Punk was based around politics, but the ideals, attitudes and style of music tend to exist more in the American punk scene, with bands like Bad Religion, Rise Against, Pennywise, NOFX and Anti-Flag being fine examples.
I’d now like to bring up possibly the funniest involvement in politics in music when Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine was the host of MTVs “Rock the Vote” a show designed to encourage the youth of America to vote. Look, I don’t want to laugh at Mustaine too much for this because getting the youth to vote is a very important thing in most countries, so props to him for that. On the other hand though, we’re talking about big bad “I want to be in the most dangerous band of all time” Dave Mustaine, the man who wrote ‘Peace Sells’, it’s just so bizarre to watch. Here’s this arrogant guy who thinks he’s the dogs bollocks going around America selling out, highly recommend giving it a YouTube.
I’ve always really liked Phil Anselmo as a frontman, Pantera are possibly one of my all time favourite bands and it was his aggressive vocals a long with Dimebag Darrell’s shredding what made me fall in love. Phil Anselmo as the person, I’m not sure on that. Although he is a man who has faced a lot of demons in his past, the well documented incident where he shouted “White Power” at 2016’s Dimebash does make you wonder what is really going on in his head. This gained massive attention, with the metal community speaking out both on his behalf and against him. Phil Anselmo has apologised for these claims, but it hasn’t stopped him from getting political. Superjoint’s latest album Caught up in the Gears of Application appears to be a political commentary on the current state of affairs within the United States of America. The song ‘Sociopathic Herd Delusion’ is extremely interesting, as Anselmo has mention in interviews it is a take on the Social Justice Warriors movement which has sprung up online in recent years. An extremely interesting step in the political movement seeing it being represented by a heavy metal legend.