'Don't Use Our Song'
A few quick hits and news bits from the streets of VegasVille:
• Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons is taking part in an all-star song and protest that is a mix of parody and protest.
“Don’t Use Our Song” is that song, which serves as a warning to presidential candidates — Donald Trump, chiefly — to stop using music in campaign rallies and commercials without authorization. The video premiered Sunday on the HBO series “Last Week with John Oliver.”
As the frontman for the superstar rock band formed in Las Vegas, Reynolds appears with such stars as Josh Groban, Michael Bolton, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Usher, Cyndi Lauper, Sheryl Crow and John Mellencamp. Lyrically, Reynolds states, “Don’t use your song; it just seems wrong,” “Why would Reagan be playing ‘Born in the USA?’” and, “Just to be clearer, you can’t use this song, either.”
The unauthorized use of music dates back several presidential campaigns. Bruce Springsteen called out Ronald Reagan in the 1984 race for playing “Born in the USA,” a song about disaffected veteran of the Vietnam War, during Reagan’s rallies. And, to be fair, in 2012 Lauper complained when a left-leaning group used “True Colors” to attack Mitt Romney in an online ad.
More recently, and more aggressively, Trump and his supporters have cherry-picked classic rock and R&B numbers without the consent of the artists who composed and wrote those songs.
During and after last week’s Republican National Convention, such superstar acts as Queen (“We Are the Champions,”) the Rolling Stones (“You Can’t Always Get What You Want,”) and Earth Wind & Fire (“September”) all ripped Trump for unlicensed use of their music and said he used the songs without permission. The estate of George Harrison also reminded fans that the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” written by Harrison, was used without permission.
During Sunday’s broadcast, Oliver said the use of “We Are the Champions” likely led to the second death of the late Queen front man Freddie Mercury. “It is with a heavy heart that I announce Freddie Mercury, dead again at age 69,” with his born-and-death dates shown as “1946-1991-2016.”
Also folded into the broadcast were Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s use of music by Dropkick Murphys (prompting the band response to Walker: “We literally hate you.”) and Trump’s use of REM’s “It’s The End of the World as We Know It,” which drew a succinct response from REM’s Michael Stipe: “Go (expletive) yourself.”
These artists, and those who contributed to “Don’t Use Our Song,” have simply had it. As Usher sings in the video, “Don’t use our song, ’cuz you’ll use it wrong.”
Catch it on You Tube — it should be a big, big hit.
• The jam continues for Carlos Santana at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay.
Added to the guitar great’s schedule are five additional shows in January and February, carrying his residency into its fifth year in the 1,200-square-foot music hall. The added dates are Jan. 25, 27-29 and Feb. 1-4. Tickets start at $99.50 (absent fees) and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at houseofblues.com, mandalaybay.com or ticketmaster.com. Also, call 800-745-3000.
• One of the Strip’s great showmen/women has marked an impressive anniversary. “Mistress of Sensuality” Edie of “Zumanity,” as performed by Christopher Kenney, notched No. 4,000 in the late show Sunday at New York-New York. I caught the early show, or No. 3,999. A quick quote from the stage from Edie, toying with a gentleman from Minnesota who was brought to the stage: “Is this a happy trail? You’re not stopping me!”
• Remember Tommy Rocker’s plans for driving his 1970 VW bus to Wyoming for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo? Well, Rocker made it to the rodeo. But the VW bus did not last the full ride.
On Wednesday, Rocker was rumbling up I-15 in his famous vehicle, which has logged between 500,000 and 600,000 miles, when she threw a rod. He had the beast loaded on a flatbed tow truck for repair, returned to Las Vegas and climbed into the Ford Explorer usually driven by his wife, Donna.
“Luckily, I began my journey with three days’ travel time,” Rocker said in a text. He did arrive Friday at his appointed gig, gratefully reporting, “The Redwood Lounge & Package Liquor has been a sea of cowboy hats this week, so Daryl Green (Rocker’s country-bumpkin alter-ego) is right at home. Turns out they like good old rock ’n’ roll, too.”
If you’re in Cheyenne, especially in the neighborhood of the Redwood Bar & Lounge, Rocker is headlining through Friday.