Opinion – Musicians and Politicians

The worlds of musicians and politicians are ones that should be kept entirely separate, and yet it would seem that both parties have a fascination for each other. Politicians, the people who hold true power and yet are usually cursed or hated by the people they control and musicians, the people who more often than not use their position as a popular figure in society to shout off about how they would improve the world if they were in charge. It would seem the two different spectrum’s are obsessed about swapping sides.

This editorial comes just after Roger Waters‘ (ex-Pink Floyd, current money grabbing bastard) headline slot at the Coachella music festival, where during his performance thousands of leaflets supporting American presidential candidate Barack Obama were dropped upon the crowd in an effort to rally support for the politician.

I’ve never quite understood this – why would a musician want to actively support and campaign on behalf of a politician who, for the most part, stands against the morals that said artist has imbued into all of his or her work? In Animals‘, Pink Floyd‘s 1977 follow up to Wish You Were Here‘, Waters‘ lyrics likened the ruthless leaders of the world to pigs – greedy, selfish and with no mercy. However, now Waters‘ uses the iconic floating pig as a mere tool in the propaganda war for a man who, for all his charisma and charm, is likely to inherit a country that is to blame for many of the greatest tragedies we’ve seen.

The iconic pig flying over crowds at Coachella

The underside of the pig was adorned with pro-Obama imagery – using a classic British icon as another tool in the monotonous campaign trail of US presidential candidates.

As a musical artist, you have a certain amount of influence and power that no politician could ever hope to achieve. People listen to your words, people shape their lives around your music and your morals, and people, just like the sheep in Animals, need someone to look up to and follow. So why you would abuse this position of influence to promote a political race that already burns up money and resources that would be better spent on other, more important, things?

The only justification I can put forward for such unashamed free advertising is the senseless belief that offering your support to such a cause is either a pitiful attempt at encouraging others to improve the world via another man, or more likely the inevitable shock tactics of a musician who has for years struggled to gain anyone’s popularity or respect for his past actions.

There are other examples, such as the bandwagon jumping of the last presidential race that saw the likes of R.E.M and Pearl Jam leap at the chance to support John Kerry in his bid to beat Bush, but this recent example just seems a step too far, with Waters‘ selling out what little integrity he had left after the disastrous split of Pink Floyd to get in another American man’s good books. Just like the dogs in ‘Animals’, the cutthroat businessmen, Waters‘ has sold his soul to America.

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One thought on “Opinion – Musicians and Politicians”

  1. Saw Roger Waters on the 30th last month… Didn’t even realize you had written an article about him. From a political standpoint, Waters is a complete asshole to heft his political views on his audience (he even had Fletcher Memorial Home accompanied by an anti-Bush video, which I was appalled by) but the music remains as good as ever, so I’m a bit divided.

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