One of the hazards of becoming a public figure is that you sometimes learn that the artists you idolized are not necessarily the people you thought (or hoped) they were. Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan just got an extra-intense dose of that yesterday when Rolling Stone published an op-ed written by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello that described Ryan as “the the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.”
Ryan, who has cited Rage as one of his favorite bands, took it on the chin. “Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics,” Morello wrote. “He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.”
He continued, “Don’t mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta ‘rage’ in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged elite he’s groveling in front of for campaign contributions.”
Morello’s distaste isn’t just directed at Ryan or Republicans, as his band has an equal-opportunity anger reserved for most politicians (Rage frontman Zack De La Rocha used to go on long anti-Clinton tirades in concert, and their 1999 hit “Guerilla Radio” contains an anti-Gore lyric).
Ryan has also stated that he loves Led Zeppelin, though it’s doubtful that Robert Plant will publicly declare that Mitt Romney’s running mate has missed the finer points of “Living Loving Maid.” For now, Ryan should probably find another group to soundtrack his P90X sessions — though he should stay away from Silversun Pickups too.
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