No Crush For Orange Man

R.E.M. is the latest band to find its music appropriated for political purposes – and former frontman Michael Stipe didn’t mince words in his reaction to Donald Trump and other Republicans using one of the band’s iconic songs at a rally protesting a pending nuclear agreement with Iran.

Photo: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File
Attending “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” premiere hosted by the Cinema Society and Lancome, in New York.

“Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you – you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men,” Stipe said in a quote emailed to The Daily Beast. “Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.”

Trump and fellow GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz were the main attractions at the Sept. 9 rally, at which R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” was used as backing music.

Founding member Mike Mills took to Twitter where he posted “Cease and Desist” and “Personally, I think the Orange Clown will do anything for attention. I hate giving it to him,” he continued.

The band members later released a statement via Facebook.

“While we do not authorize or condone the use of our music at this political event, and do ask that these candidates cease and desist from doing so, let us remember that there are things of greater importance at stake here. The media and the American voter should focus on the bigger picture, and not allow grandstanding politicians to distract us from the pressing issues of the day and of the current Presidential campaign.”

The dust-up was the second in two days involving music used without permission at political rallies. Survivor’s Jim Peterik also took to Twitter to express his displeasure at the band’s “Eye of the Tiger” being used at a rally celebrating the release of county clerk Kim Davis from a Rowan County, Ky., jail.

“I have not authorized the use of Eye of the Tiger for use by Kim Davis and my publisher will issue a C&D (cease and desist order). This does not reflect my views,” Peterik wrote on Twitter.

It’s hardly the first time artists have complained about their music being turned into the soundtrack of political campaigns for views they don’t support. Jackson Browne sued then-presidential candidate John McCain in 2008 for using “Running on Empty” at the latter’s events.

Neil Young in June complained about Trump’s use of his “Rockin’ In The Free World” to kick off his own presidential campaign prompting Young, a Canadian, to declare his support for independent candidate Bernie Sanders.