From Bruce Springsteen vs. Ronald Reagan to Silversun Pickups vs Mitt Romney, the past few decades have been littered with musicians lashing out against politicians using their music without permission. In 2012, when Romney’s Vice President running mate Paul Ryan confessed a love of Rage Against the Machine, the band’s guitarist shot back in a Rolling Stone op-ed: “Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.”
Pro-union Boston punk band Dropkick Murphys have been regularly raging recently against Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, but that didn’t stop the politician from using “Shipping Up To Boston” as his stage introduction at the Iowa Freedom Summit.
It didn’t take long for Ken Casey and company to fire back.
— Dropkick Murphys (@DropkickMurphys) January 25, 2015
Long a proponent of labor and union causes, in 2011 the Dropkicks released “Take ‘Em Down” with a limited edition t-shirt that raised money for the Workers’ Rights Emergency Response Fund, and “Take ‘Em Down” became a rallying cry for the Wisconsin workers protest. The band joined the Wisconsin Union Workers protests and performed live at Badger State rallies.
That same year, Walker introduced a bill that essentially limited “the collective bargaining capabilities of most public employees,” writes AV Club. “Basically, he made their unions powerless. Some people were, in a word, pissed.”
Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time Wisconsin republicans have used the Dropkicks’ music. Notes the Inquisitir:
“In 2012, the Dropkick Murphys had already made their dislike of Scott quite clear when the same song was used to introduce Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate, Jeff Fitzgerald, as he took the stage. Although Dropkick Murphys specifically called out Walker in their original message to Fitzgerald, it appears the Wisconsin governor did not get the message.
“The stupidity and irony of this is laughable. A Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate – and crony of anti-Union Governor Scott Walker – using a Dropkick Murphys song as an intro is like a white supremacist coming out to gangsta rap!… We stand beside our Union and Labor brothers and sisters and their families in Wisconsin and all over the U.S!”
Here’s video of Walker’s appearance at the Iowa Freedom Rally on Saturday; the Dropkicks can be heard in the opening seconds. He doesn’t give them a shout out.