John McCain Is Not Dave Grohl’s Hero
It’s hard being a Republican Presidential candidate sometimes, what with most people who are in the business of writing populist anthems frowning on your usage of their songs at political events. The McCain-Palin camp has had a particularly rough go of it lately, what with Nancy Wilson tossing them a cease-and-desist after their abuse of “Barracuda” and Van Halen reigniting their old tensions after “Right Now” was played at a rally.. Now the Foo Fighters have come out of hiatus just to issue a strongly worded press release regarding the campaign’s use of “My Hero.”
Having received confirmed press reports that John McCain has been using Foo Fighters’ “My Hero” as the latest in a number of unauthorized theme songs at his campaign rallies without seeking permission from the band, its management, record label or publisher, Foo Fighters have issued the following statement: This isn’t the first time the McCain campaign has used a song without making any attempt to get approval or permission from the artist. It’s frustrating and infuriating that someone who claims to speak for the American people would repeatedly show such little respect for creativity and intellectual property. The saddest thing about this is that ‘My Hero’ was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential. To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song. We hope that the McCain campaign will do the right thing and stop using our song–and start asking artists’ permission in general!
There’s actually something missing from this press release. It should read “‘My Hero’ was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential. And it was intended for use as the soundtrack to a totally rad slow motion sports sequence in a late-’90s James Van Der Beek movie about high school football and kinky teen sex. To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in such a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song.”
If you need a refresher course on 1999 teen angst/high school sports classics, here’s the trailer for Varsity Blues:
In the movie, McCain supporter Jon Voight plays an evil blustery football coach hell bent on ruining James Van Der Beek’s scholarship to Brown because he doesn’t like his defiant authoritarianism and high-falootin’ attitude. The character is not unlike John McCain in the sense that both men are old, cranky, and mistrustful of sophistication. So if the Presidential campaign were set in the universe of Varsity Blues, then John McCain would be the malevolent coach Kilmer, and Dave Grohl would be studly-and-idealistic second-string quarterback Jonathon Moxon. And this whole scenario might play out something like this:
MCCAIN: This is your opportunity!
GROHL: For you! Playing “My Hero” at your campaign rally may have been the opportunity of your lifetime, but ah don’t want yer life!
Disregarding the fact that in the movie that exchange actually takes place between Moxon and his father, and not the Jon Voight character, I think the analogy holds up pretty well. The McCain-Palin campaign has been rampaging through artists’ catalogs without consent like a blowhard football coach stealing extracurricular funds away from the theater department, and it’s about time they learned some manners. Or else Dave Grohl will commandeer this team and inspire them to victory with a rousing speech about the potential for greatness! Or… something like that.
Foo Fighters [Official site]