Tag Archive | Fugazi

If the 2016 Presidential Candidates Were Musicians …

Screen grab of Donald Trump on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (plus doodles)

Screen grab of Donald Trump on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (plus doodles)

If the 2016 Presidential Candidates Were Musicians …
Posted By Jaime Lees
Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 6:30 am

Are you as wrapped up in this presidential race as we are, or what? Have you been watching the debates? And do these candidates remind you of anybody? Because certain personality traits exhibited by our presidential candidates keep reminding us of some of the more famous acts in pop culture musical history.

Politics and music have long been entwined, but it’s still kind of a curse to see everything in the world through a musical filter. Sometimes you just want to watch a candidate give a speech but you can’t help but imagine them standing behind the podium with stage blood pouring from their mouths, scolding brutes in a mosh pit or asking Pat Smear to bring them a bottle of water.

Check out our thoughts below on this phenomenon below. We think we’re onto something here.

If our presidential candidates were musicians ….
Donald Trump would be Gene Simmons of Kiss.
Both Trump and Simmons are misogynistic megalomaniacs who are extremely obsessed with wealth. And though they might be certifiable narcissists, they both have a knack for capturing attention in a way that feeds their ultimate goals. They’re both natural entertainers who back their boastfulness with their exemplary branding techniques and willingness to stamp their (Americanized) names onto anything and sell it. They also say vaguely racist things without fully committing to open hatred. And though the public thought Simmons took it all to the farthest possible limit when started selling KISS Kaskets, Trump has outdone him by moving from real estate to a Presidential campaign. They’re both reality television stars, they’re both married to foreign-born models, they both have ridiculous hair, they both never shut the hell up, they both have tiny “hands” and they’re both The Demon.

If our presidential candidates were musicians …
Hillary Clinton would be Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters.
Clinton and Grohl are very good at their jobs and they both have found great success in their respective fields through decades of hard work. They’re also such professionals that most doubts about them and their intentions are easily brushed aside — both Clinton and Grohl are just so damn smooth that we can’t help but respect their hustle. And though neither of them might be your first choice as our official ultimate representative (of the U.S.A. or rock and roll), they surely don’t bungle their jobs as badly as many of their peers. Their careers have even followed similar trajectories, from undeniable street cred (Clinton’s activism during her college years / Grohl’s days in Scream) to the times in the ’90s when they both literally stood behind handsome blue-eyed men who ultimately let them down (Bill Clinton / Kurt Cobain). Now they’ve moved to the foreground and are striking out on their own. In their own ways, both Clinton and Grohl have clearly been aiming to take over the world for years — Clinton is just a little more transparent about her goals.

If our presidential candidates were musicians …
Bernie Sanders would be Ian MacKaye of Fugazi.
Both are respected long-standing figures in the underground D.C. scene. Both have been in the public eye since the early 1980s, MacKaye with Minor Threat and Sanders as a mayor in Vermont. Both have built careers on being politically active and both choose caffeine as their main drug. Both use their microphones to demand change, promote women’s rights and speak up on behalf of the poor. Both are seen as unwavering and adorably idealistic. Neither are interested in corporate sponsorship and neither would never make you pay more than a nominal cover charge for their events. Both MacKaye and Sanders have clashed with cops over righteous causes, and they both also jam econo— Sanders takes the train and MacKaye has been rocking that hat for ages. And just like MacKaye, Sanders has been saying the exact same things over and over for the last 35 years.

If our presidential candidates were musicians …
Ted Cruz would be Alanis Morissette.
Aside from having very punchable faces, at first glance it would seem that Ted Cruz and Alanis Morissette don’t have much in common. But: They do! First of all, both were born in Canada. And though we have no confirmation that he also goes down on people in theaters, there is a disturbing amount of fan-penned Ted Cruz erotica out there. (Yes, just one instance is enough to be considered disturbing. O’Canada!) They were both minor stars before their current careers: Morissette was a regular on the teeny-bopper singing circuit, and before he got into politics Cruz played the grandpa on The Munsters. (Kidding, kidding.) But seriously, we’d bet that like Morissette, Cruz might have one hand in his pocket and that he also doesn’t understand the definition of the word “ironic.”

If our presidential candidates were musicians …
John Kasich would be the guy in Wham! who was not George Michael.
Because, seriously, who the fuck are both of these guys?

If our presidential candidates were musicians …
those people listed on your Democratic primary ballot that you’ve never heard of before?
Those are various members of the Polyphonic Spree, of course.

What do you think? Do you think our comparisons are appropriate? Some of these were hard to pin down. For example, Trump could’ve just as easily been Kanye West because of his epic tantrums and Twitter freak-outs. (Which would make Megyn Kelly into Taylor Swift.) John Kasich is a bit of a Kelly Rowland. And the Clintons could totally be the political version of Beyoncé and Jay Z. And his new role as the voice of the people might make Bernie Sanders the presidential version of Kendrick Lamar.

But what about other famous politicians? Is President Obama a Paul McCartney? And Sarah Palin is totally as incoherent as Axl Rose, right? So many difficult trivial decisions to make and unimportant details to obsess about over here. Send us your feedback and help us out in the comments section.

(Note: This story was already completed before the world figured out last week that Ted Cruz might or might not actually be Michael Sweet from Stryper. Our sincere apologies to Alanis Morissette.)

Thanks for the much-needed levity, Internets.

Thanks for the much-needed levity, Internets.

link: Riverfront Times

Interview with Ian MacKaye of Fugazi


Ian MacKaye takes on new venues.
8:30 p.m. Monday, November 5. White Flag Projects, 4568 Manchester Avenue. $5. 314-531-3442.
By Jaime Lees
Published: October 31, 2007

On an Even(s) Keel
As the frontman of the legendary punk bands Fugazi and Minor Threat and co-founder of Dischord Records, Ian MacKaye has proven himself to be both a prolific songwriter and a keen businessman. He birthed the highly respected independent label nearly three decades ago and it has since grown to be the very nucleus of do-it-yourself punk-rock culture. MacKaye’s unwavering integrity and sincerity in the face of the shady corporate music business reveal his career path to be nothing short of inspirational. Viewed as the moral and dignified godfather of the hardcore and straight-edge scenes, MacKaye seems to start accidental revolutions by simply speaking his mind and doing his work.

With the much-missed Fugazi on indefinite hiatus, MacKaye has plenty of other projects to cultivate. In addition to speaking engagements, running the label and giving interviews, MacKaye is busy scheduling tour dates for his newest band, the Evens, a lo-fi (yet still intense) duo with Amy Farina, formerly of Washington D.C.’s the Warmers. Though the Evens could easily cash in their punk-royalty status in exchange for the best gigs in town, the band schedules the dates by itself and prefers to play small, non-traditional venues including art galleries, libraries and community centers.

Calling from Dischord House, the headquarters of his label, MacKaye is instantly likable. He seems smart, affable and warm. In conversation he’s quick, but not rude. Funny, though not sarcastic. In this and every other forum, it is clear that MacKaye takes what he does very seriously.

“I work really hard,” he says. “[Other] people, they punch out for the day and they go home. I never punch out. I’m never off the clock, in a way. The fact that I haven’t separated my work from myself — it has its pluses and it also has its negatives.” The lure, however, is clear. “I wake up every morning having something to do and wanting to do it.”

Aside from the advantage of keeping costs down for fans, MacKaye reveals another purpose in booking alternative venues: “So we can be liberated from the rock world, which is pretty constricting when you get right down to it. I mean, you think about the kind of venues or the kind of establishments where music can be presented, and ultimately it’s pretty limited and largely dictated by one of two industries, you know — and that’s the rock industry and the alcohol industry. And since we don’t feel beholden to either, then why not break free?”

When MacKaye is questioned about his constant work and touring, he pushes off any concern. “I like places, I like people! I like going somewhere. I like that fact that music is a point of gathering that can effectively work anywhere.” Here he further clarifies: “I guess I don’t feel ever burned out at all. I just feel fortunate to be able to go play music.” — Jaime Lees

[FOR EXTENDED INTERVIEW CLICK HERE]

  • 10-31-07 Riverfront Times (St. Louis) – article link
  • 11-01-07 reprint in the Pitch (Kansas City) – article link
  • 11-08-07 reprint in the Houston Press (Houston) – article link
  • 11-15-07 reprint in the Nashville Scene (Nashville) – article link
  • interview outtakes here
  • The Evens – website