Rockin’ the Vote (2012): Round 2

Posted November 6, 2012 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

The last round: Rock, pop and r&b stars weigh in on their 2012 choice for POTUS

There’s a familiar proverbial chant that floats around music circles stating music and politics don’t mix. Often times, it doesn’t; usually some backlash in record sales will develop and that cloud of controversy starts to loom over their career. But sometimes, if the music’s good and the message is universally striking (such as the folk messages of Bob Dylan, the spirited protest of Sex Pistols or the sermonic dispensations of Stevie Wonder), then consider it a job well done. In 2012, the waters are murkier and the thin lines being drawn by political pundits, talk radio hosts and the news cycle in the Twitter feeds have never been this broody or bloody. But that hasn’t stopped some of today’s pop and rock superstars from turning the volume up on the rhetoric. Surely these outspoken music champions aren’t going to give up their day-and-night job (why the hell should they?), but whether they are Democrats, Republicans or whatever the new third party is called – they aren’t holding back on showing their political colors (red, blue, or whatever the third party color is). This fall, as America decides whether Barack Obama should lead the course for the next four years or if Romney should change course, the musicians are also weighing in on the political debate.
If the Electoral College was made up of rock and pop superstars, this would unofficially be 2012’s political verdict.

Bruce Springsteen

In 2008, the Boss rallied passionately behind Obama’s campaign, but he has put his political activism on hold this year as President Obama seeks re-election. Why? “I got into that sort of by accident,” he told the AFP. “The Bush years were so horrific that you couldn’t just sit around. I prefer to stay on the sidelines.” He is a little more critical of Obama’s setbacks, but still supports him. Selections from Springsteen’s critically-acclaimed 2012 disc Wrecking Ball, including “We Take Care of Our Own,” has appeared at Obama’s campaign rallies and events. But on the last leg of Obama’s campaign trail, Springsteen fully endorsed Obama appearing at his rallies and galvanizes the crowd with rousing performances of his big hits and an acoustic rendition of “This Land Is Your Land.”


While on her MDNA tour, Madonna took the stage at Yankee Stadium and proudly displayed her support for POTUS and FLOTUS. “Thank God for Michelle Obama,” she screamed to the sold-out crowd. “We all take for granted for the freedom we do have. Freedom of expression, to be who we are. To be straight or gay, Christian or Jewish, or whatever. We are free. Do not take this freedom for granted ‘cause if you do you will lose it in a second.” During a particular segment of the concert when Madge was expected to flash the crowd her pale bum bum, she showed off her back, painted with “Obama” instead.

Nicki Minaj
(Most Likely to Vote Obama, If She Becomes a Registered Voter)

On Lil Wayne’s latest single “Mercy,” Nicki Minaj shocked her fans and enemies alike when she rooted for Romney using her infectiously potty-mouth, speed rap skills. “I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney/You lazy bitches fucking up the economy.” No one expected to hear Minaj showing up at the tea party using Clint Eastwood’s choice of sauce. But the recently announced ‘Idol’ judge settled the score on Twitter when she later replied to the media’s game of shock-and-awe: “Ha! Thank you for understanding my creative humor & sarcasm Mr. President, the smart ones always do. *sends love 7 support* @BarackObama.” Still on November 6, we don’t know who will show up at the voting polls; will it be Nicki or her brash alter ego Roman Zolanski?

Jay-Z (Pro-Obama)
Beyonce’ (Pro-Obama)

Shawn Carter (Jay-Z)has no desire to entertain a career in politics once he retires from the rap game, but he’s not letting go of his activism for the Obama camp. “I support Barack because I gotta respect that sort of vision,” Carter told MTV. “I gotta respect a man who is the first black President ever. To have that sort of vision and dream, I have to support that.” His wife, Beyonce’ Knowles, introduced Obama at a fundraising reception held at Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club in Manhattan, which boasted a crowd of 100 who paid $40,000 each to attend.

Andre’ Cymone

Prince’s old protégé and Jody Watley’s ‘80’s hitmaker jumped into the political conversation when he unleashed a pro-Obama funk jam called “America”  – his first new song in over fifteen years. Cymone has been relatively quiet since he converged on the ‘80’s music scene, but he’s hoping that his funky endorsement to the Obama campaign racks in the votes. Oh yeah, all proceeds from the digital sales go towards the Obama piggy bank.

(Most Likely to Vote Obama)

The Purple One told the co-hosts on The View (ABC) that he has no desire to go political; it just isn’t his lane to drive in. But his recent gig at the Rebuild the Dream rally in Chicago, staged by ex-Obama staffer Van Jones, may very well be some strange Morse code hinting at activism, like his gender-bending hieroglyphic sign alluded to his slave name. The event was supposed to focus on “positive political collaboration” and aimed at finding healthy solutions for today’s economic crisis. It is one that Prince is mostly concerned about. It’s not a total endorsement of Obama’s policies, but probably might be an indicator that Obama has more work to do.

The Beach Boys
(Most Likely to Vote Romney)

The Beach Boys might love California girls and good vibrations, but they are allergic to today’s politicians. Bruce Johnston referred to President Obama as a “socialist a-hole.” And he wasn’t all that nice when summing up Romney and the rest of the GOP: “Our guy isn’t good. Reagan and Tip O’ Neill are the last two good guys.” It might be a different story if a California girl ran for president.

Gene Simmons

Kiss frontman Gene Simmons seriously “shouted it out loud” while expressing his disappointment in Obama’s first term as president. On Fox News this year, host Gretchen Carlson wanted to hear his pick for president. “Strictly speaking on the economy and in my humble opinion, Mitt Romney,” he said. “America is a business and should be run by a businessman.”

Meat Loaf

Rock singer Meat Loaf may have sung the hell out of “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” but he’ll do everything in his power to stop Mr. Obama from winning two presidential terms.  He told Esquire that he had been banned from TV shows because of his radically conservative views. “USA Today has me listed as a Republican,” he says.


The Black Keys
(Most Likely to Vote for Obama)


As we all know, Ohio is a crucial swing state in presidential elections, and Ohio goes, so goes the nation.” Back in 2008, the Grammy-winning Black Keys jumped on stage in their hometown of Akron, Ohio to show their support for Obama. Guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney didn’t show up alone; Devo also decided to “whip it good” for Obama. Never afraid to speak their mind through music, the robotic-rock band released “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro,” a 2012 song mocking Romney’s treatment of his pet dog. As for their choice for president, Devo is sticking with Obama: “That’s the safer choice,”Devo’s Jerry Casale said. “Believe me. If we have real choice. There isn’t freedom of choice anymore. The difference between the two parties is like the difference between Pepsi and Coke.” As for the Black Keys, they choose to be tight lipped on their 2012 presidential pick: “Dan and I try not to be too political about things,” Carney said, after a charity concert fighting poverty held at New York’s Central Park.

Win Butler of Arcade Fire

He’s the frontman for Canadian rock band Arcade Fire, but he’s still an American. But on the website 90 Days, 90 Reasons, a pro-Barack Obama website, Butler spoke loud and clear about his choice for president in 2012. “I am excited for four more years of an Obama presidency for many reasons, but the one I am going to write about is selfish: I want four more sweet years of Canadians liking Americans.”

Barbara Striesand

At her super spectacular hometown concert at the newly-unveiled Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Barbara Streisand made her pitch to Obama during a brief Q&A bit with the audience. “I hope no one shows [Romney] the way to Sesame Street–or Pennsylvania Avenue,” she quipped to great reception. In a recent ad from the National Jewish Democratic Council, Babs stated that Romney “was a good actor” and that Obama has “got out economy moving in the right direction” and that “he’s a good man.”

Stephen Stills

Stephen Stills wrote an op-ed for Rolling Stone that surely won’t sit well with the GOP. “Right now, the Dow is at 13,000, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and legendary singer/songwriter wrote. “It was below 8,000 when the president took office. Job growth is rising. Unemployment is dropping. We desperately need to stay the course with this president.”
In closing, Stills mentioned that Romney is “really, really creepy” and that he never thought he’d “see a creepier politician than Richard Nixon.” Ouch!

Katy Perry

It wasn’t a teenage dream for pop star Katy Perry when she unveiled a skin-tight minidress donning Barack Obama’s campaign slogan ‘Forward” at a Milwaukee, WI rally in late September. Ironic that “Forward” is also Wisconsin’s state motto. Perry has also contributed to other Obama capaign stops in Los Angeles, CA and Las Vegas, NV.

Stevie Wonder

Count on Sir Duke to cast his vote for Obama. During the last leg of Obama’s campaign tour in Ohio before Election Day, Stevie Wonder sung “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” – a favorite at Obama’s rallies – before an energetic crowd at the University of Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena.

Dave Matthews
(Most Likely to Vote for Obama)

It would be hard for Dave Matthews to vote for Barack Obama for president after he unveiled that he was slightly disappointed in his job performance. “I wish there was a third party,” he told CNN. “But right now I will wholeheartedly support Obama even if I’m slightly heartbroken about it.” Matthews has hit the campaign trail for Obama with a stop in Seattle last May and most recently in Virginia. He disagrees with Obama on a few things, but adds that he disagrees with Romney on more. Matthews wants to see Obama champion more environmental causes that he passionately advocates.
Revisit ROUND 1 of Rockin’ the Vote to see what the other rock stars stated about their choice for POTUS.
View our exclusive photo gallery of the Rockin’ the Vote: 2012.
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About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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