Ariel Pink (l) and John Maus (r)
While we try to keep a local focus here on the City Weekly
Music Buzz Bog, January is the driest month for shows and music even when we're not
in a pandemic; everyone has that post-holiday fatigue. So, rather than leaving you with nothing at all, here’s the scoop on the musicians who have been caught up in the drama of yesterday’s historic and deeply distressing events at the U.S. Capitol.
First, there was the late evening news that pictures of indie rock artists Ariel Pink and John Maus indicated that the two were staying in a D.C. hotel, followed by accusations that they were actually at the “protest” itself. Though many fans on Twitter initially took the news with hopes that the two were doing some kind of weird outsider art film, a video surfaced of Maus casually hanging out in the midst of the crowd, saying, in his unmistakable Minnesota accent, “Wanna take a phooto up there?” And Pink has since responded in the affirmative that he was there to “peacefully” support Donald Trump. Though most fans seemed to be surprised that artists like these were conservative (John Maus has a beloved song called “Cop Killer”), it turns out that both artists have pasts that line up with their being Trumpers. While there are many takeaways from yesterday’s events, the case of Pink and Maus is an important one for indie-heads to take in, and one it seems we need to do better at remembering. That point is that just because your favorite white dude artist makes weirdo music doesn’t mean they’re actually on the side of the real weirdos who make up their fanbases. They can, and often do, still align themselves with misogynist and racist values that go against the women, queer people and real outsiders who like their fucking music.
Second, and somewhat more humorously, punks are in shreds over the famous ‘80s leftist punk band Dead Kennedys giving a “rock on” head nod to Utah Senator Mitt Romney for putting on his mean dad suit in an address of yesterday’s events. Though Romney’s call-out of the events and how inexcusable it would be to ignore them have been applauded by many, he’s still, in the end, a Republican, and no leftist or Dead Kennedys fan would say he’s anything close to a progressive politician. However, the Dead Kennedys themselves do, apparently, thanking him on Twitter and tweeting “Mitt cares about the USA.” While fans lost their minds and Twitter users made jokes about the audacity of a famous leftist punk band showing support for a Republican, few seemed to note that the Dead Kennedys have been sell-outs for a while, since their split with the original frontman Jello Biafra. The rift is a deep one, and Biafra’s response to his old band’s new antics seems to be explanatory enough. Fans of the Dead Kennedys can at least take heart in the fact that Biafra is still cool, hates his old band and likely hates Mitt Romney, too.