Twisted Sister frontman denounces Paul Ryan's use of "We're Not Going to Take It"

Dee Snider's spokesperson has denounced Paul Ryan's use of his band Twisted Sister's anthem "We're Not Going to Take It" in his campaign:

“I emphatically denounce Paul Ryan’s use of my band Twisted Sister’s song, ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It,’ in any capacity,” Snider told TPM in a statement relayed by his manager Tuesday. “There is almost nothing he stands for that I agree with except the use of the P90X.”

According to Wikipedia, P90X "is a commercial home exercise regimen, known for being intense."

Dee Snider To Paul Ryan: We’re Not Gonna Take Your Use Of Our Music (via Reddit)


    1.  When I was in high school, I absolutely loathed Twisted Sister and all the other spandex metal drek of the era.  But when the PMRC hearings were happening, I was gobsmacked as Dee Snider read his statement.  I was amazed and remain a fan to this day.

      1. Yeah, I always remember those hearings for Tipper Gore… They pretty much set back the Democratic party’s “cool factor” by like half a century.

    2.  Probably the best way for Dee and the gang to kill off this use of their song is to show up in full “Twisted” makeup and regalia at Paul Ryan campaign stops, singing the song.

  1. They must have made a LOT of changes to the song lyrics to make it acceptable to the Tea Party crowd.  Who apparently don’t realize that the song was written about people like them.

    1. The cognitive dissonance it takes to hold all their various contradictory opinions (I love Ayn Rand & Jesus & also believe the opposite of what both of them said!) means that they have grown really skilled at ignoring the obvious.

        1. I like when the right wing tries to call the public condemnation of open bigotry as “thoughcrime.” As though people being pissed at someone for being a racist or a homophobe or a misogynist was somehow the same as like, arresting them.

    2. You’d think using an anthem from a band whose stage gimmick was cross dressing would already make it taboo.

    3. Lyrics?  It’s “We’re not gonna take it (blah blah blah) Any More!”  Like most songs, nobody remembers the verses or the rest of the chorus or what the song was about, just the catchy sound-bite.   And if there’s anything that runs on catchy sound-bites and forgotten details, it’s a Presidential campaign commercial.

      1. It’s true.  I’m old enough to remember when this was top 40, and I still don’t have a clue about the words.  Even the bla bla bla I wasn’t too sure of.

        1. Oh, you’re so condescending!  Your gall is never-ending!  We don’t want nothing–not a thing!–from you.

      2. “We’ve got the right to choose and/There ain’t no way we’re losin’/This is our right, this is our song!!!!” Just off the top of my head.

    4. To paraphrase a politician in an article I once read about presidential playlists, “A president who listened only to pro-establishment musicians would have a short playlist indeed.”

    5. Paul Ryan is also a Rage Against the Machine fan. I’ll guess he’s not a “listen to the lyrics” kinda guy.

  2. I heard that P90X was developed, to some extent, with a scientific approach.  Couldn’t Paul Ryan get in trouble with his constituency for knowing how the human body works?

    1.  Heh… “If it’s ‘forcible exercise,’ the body has a way of putting a stop to that…”

      1. No, only if it’s legitimate exercise.

        Illegitimate exercise… well your body can’t do anything about that.

  3. Dee gave the Save Our Schools march permission to use his song though. He’s with the kids, not the jerks.

    Good for Dee.

      1. And I’ll campaign like I really care when some candidate picks a Flaming Lips tune for her campaign theme…

        1. PMRC or not, Tipper and Al Gore were major Deadheads, and unlike his running mate, Al definitely knew how to inhale.

    1.  …AND Rage Against the Machine handed him his own arse for saying he was a fan.

      What is it with GOP people calling liberals the scourge of the Earth, yet they’re all over our music, drinkin’ all our wine…

      1. …AND Rage Against the Machine handed him his own arse for saying he was a fan.

        Not just a fan.  RATM is his favoritest band ever.  Roll that around in your mouth.

        1. Imagine what it must feel like to find out that your favorite band thinks you’re a jerk and that all their best known songs are about how much you suck. Politicians’ lives are weird.

        2. Usually, when a band is your FAVORITE band, you visit their site, you buy their new/old/out-of-print/rare music, go to shows, etc. which makes it seem inconceivable that he isn’t fully aware of their lyrics and their political and social positions. 

          So what I think we’re seeing is Paul Ryan’s leviathan-sized ability to compartmentalize. Because I bet he gets charged up when he listens to their songs. And he’ll sing along to “Know Your Enemy,” screaming:

          “Yes I know my enemies

          They’re the teachers who taught me to fight me

          Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission

          Ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite

          All of which are american dreams”

          Ryan just compartmentalizes and doesn’t recognize the hypocrisy that emerges when he sings one thing and believes another.

          Finally, I realize he’s a politician: a politician doesn’t need to believe in anything. A politician needs a platform and talking points. If we were in the midst of a New New Deal era, he’d adapt and spew whatever talking points he needed to get elected.

          Which brings me back around to his relationship with Akin. This perfidious cockbucket will shill anything. And he is in the position to take away civil rights from 51% of the population. He could be the man who’s responsible for making your 12 yr-old niece have a baby after being raped. He can redefine and legislate rape until none  of us have ANY protection against that most heinous of assaults. (Rape affects everyone, regardless of sexuality or gender.)

          And he doesn’t even care. He probably sleeps 8 hours a night. A pox on you, Ryan. 

          1. Yes I know my enemies
            They’re the teachers who taught me

            That part sounds like it fits the narrative quite well.

          2. In terms of the old “hippies vs. squares” dichotomy, nobody is a square any more.  Everybody thinks they are a nonconformist.  

            And heck, when one side’s platform is basically “let’s completely fuck up the government and buy handguns” and the other’s is “nooo! we need to preserve and expand the social safety net” it actually makes some sense that conservatives think they are rebels.

        3.  We need some kind of Couric/Palin moment with an interviewer reading Rage’s lyrics to him and asking how he feels Republican values mesh with what Rage is trying to say. Try “Bullet in the Head” for example.

    2. It seems like this has become a tradition. McCain and Palin got objections from Bon Jovi, the Foo Fighters, Heart, John Mellencamp, Van Halen, and a lawsuit from Jackson Browne, to list only the cases I know.

      Twisted Sister and Silversun Pickups are a strong start, though. I’m sure with a little effort, the new Stop using our music! album will end up even better than the last one.

      1. You forget Reagan and Springsteen. I’m pretty sure you can find something on GWB as well, although I can’t remember.

  4. Is it so difficult to pick up the phone and inquire if an artist would be fine with using their song? 

    I know it’s certainly easier to simply get the blanket release and get yelled at later but it seems like you just end up looking like an idiot as you have to stand there and listen to them tell you loudly and in public through various media channels that you are against everything they stand for.

        1. Best one-liner I’ve heard about her endorsement so far: “Romney finally has a supporter who changes positions more than he does.”

    1. I don’t think that’s part of the consideration. I don’t think there is any legal requirement. As long as a royalty is paid to ASCAP/BMI and the record label for the play, that’s all the campaign needs to do. Odds are campaigns take out some sort of blanket performance license beforehand. Like any other venue, a bar, a stadium etc. You don’t get to say who can use your song or for what. If the strip club pays the fee, then they get to play the music.

      1.  Quite right, but as you say, I don’t think that’s part of the consideration.  Ryan might be legally entitled to use the music, but checking with the artist first might have avoided an embarrassing public denouncement.

        1. Perhaps they’ve done the calculus and have determined that the number of people who care and whose opinions will be changed by some artist saying ‘don’t use our song’ is minimal. 

  5. Why don’t they just call Ted Nugent and have done with it? The lyrics from Stranglehold would seem to fit perfectly with the Republican mindset…

    “got you in a stranglehold now baby / then I crushed your face”


  6. If they were only allowed to use music by people who support their party, the Republicans would have Kid Rock’s “Bawitdaba” and Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” and the Dems would have their choice of everything else. Why doesn’t it work that way?

    1. That still doesn’t mean the Dems will always make good choices. When Hillary was still in the game last time around she used “Don’t Stop Believin'” (with an abrupt cut-off at the end) in an apparent attempt to win over fans of The Sopranos. Because when you’re running for President, it makes sense to have people associate you with a mentally unstable mass-murdering crime lord.

        1. It was the timing and the execution that made it an obvious tie-in. She used it right after the final episode aired, and at the time everyone was still abuzz about the lame ending in which both that song and the scene cut out unexpectedly in mid-sent

    2. Edited bit from some article: 
      After finishing the song, “We Don’t Apologize For America,” the audience started chanting “USA, USA…”  Hank Williams Jr then told the crowd, “We’ve got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the U.S. and we hate him!”
      Williams’ comments brought on cheers and applause at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand.

      Adding to their short list.

  7. Paul Ryan is Startin’ up a Posse, to make Democrats Run For The Hills, since death panels means their Beds are Burning. Ryan wants the Dems to know They Got Another Thing Coming, and Some Heads Are Gonna Roll. Just like Every Rose has its Thorn, Every Night Has Its Dawn, and Paul Ryan is riding the Wind of Change.

  8. I can’t remember an instance of this “how dare you use our song for your evil campaign” that wasn’t leveled against a conservative. Can somebody point out a liberal candidate who did this? And wouldn’t it be a hoot if Obama adopted Wango Tango as his campaign theme song…

      1.  I doubt BOTH of your contentions.  But bottom line, if the Romney-Ryan campaign paid for the music, they can use it in any way they’d like… maybe we’ll even hear it at the GOP convention, hehehe… And before the lurkers jump on that one, yes there WILL be a convention, hurricane or no hurricane.

  9. Meh.

    But one should watch Dee Snyder’s testimony before congress back when Tipper Gore was slapping Explicit Lyrics labels on everything. Very bright and articulate.

  10. If Twisted Sister doesn’t want people they don’t like using their music they shouldn’t have pre-cleared their music for licencing.  

    Music licencing, like this case, requires that whomever uses their music (Paul Ryan) pay a fee to the music licence holder (Twisted Sister).  When you ‘pre-clear’ your song you put it into a large pool where people can use (and you get paid).

    You get a LOT more usage (and money) by pre-clearing your songs, but you forfeit the right to choose who gets to use it.  Which is the whole point, you make it easier for people to use your music and pay you.

    A lot of musicians do not pre-clear their music because they don’t want just anyone to use it.  It requires an explicit agreement by the musician to do so, or else risk large lawsuit.

    1. So, if I understand you correctly, you’re saying Dee Snider is a pre-clear who had to send an engram to the Romney campaign to get them to stop using his music at their cult meetings?

      It’s so hard to make heads or tails of this Scientology stuff.

    2. Can you selectively pre-clear, eg. pre-clear for all uses except political campaigns?

      1. As we know, the music industry is very aggressive and litigious with protecting their intellectual property. So licencing their music is not vague or left to chance. And there are categories and sub-categories where licencing happens (commercials, performances, movies, dvds, etc.)

        So yes, you can selectively pre-clear where your music is played (‘performance right’). Though I don’t think you can make contingencies on your music to be ‘no conservatives’ or ‘people I disagree with’. Usually these licences are handled in bulk by their record label.

        But likely this Twisted Sister song was pre-cleared for public events (including political). So for a properly organized events don’t have music played by chance. There are public databases to check availability and prices. If Paul Ryan had played music illegally the headline would have been very different.

        And keep in mind, there are organizations whose sole existence is to track and monitor music usage for the sake of licensing (SESAC, BMI, ASCAP, SoundExchange, and PRS in the UK).

        An example of a successful pre-cleared song is “Eye of the tiger” by the Survivor. Popularized by the Rocky movies, you hear it frequently in sports events and such. Every time its played, the Survivor gets a cut (its pre-cleared so that each usage doesn’t have to be negotiated) . Play first, pay later.

        The option of course is to handle music licencing case-by-case. Rolling Stones are well known to do this, they famously licenced “Start me up” to Microsoft for $14m for a run of commercials.

        Here are some links:

        1. Heh, “Eye of the Tiger.”  When I worked for Big Blue, we had a big quarterly meeting and they played “Eye of the Tiger” when one of the upper managers took the stage.  At the time, Big Blue was on the ropes. He gave this pep talk about how we were going to pull together and make a comeback, just like Rocky Balboa.  “Just like Rocky! It’s the Eye of the Tiger! Eye of the Tiger!”  He then directed everyone in the room to rent “Rocky III” that night so we could absorb the message.

          Given that there were several thousand employees present, and a finite number of video stores in the city, with a finite amount of “Rocky III” videos, I wondered how this would be possible.  I opted out of watching “Rocky III” that night (prolly went out for a pint), or any night since.  “Eye of the Tiger!”

          (EDIT: I have no idea whether Big Blue compensated Survivor for the use of “Eye of the Tiger.”)

  11. You know I just thought of something – it is ironic that Ryan likes these song and the artists don’t like him. But it still shows a common ground. Music is above party lines and crosses cultures and races as well.

    1. I thought that the moral of the story is that some people just aren’t good listeners.

      1. Maybe someone can confirm just how much of the song he used. For example, the Ryan campaign staff could have just used a snippet, like “No, we ain’t gonna take it!”, referring to the status quo, of course, as Ryan entered, and then faded the song out before any of those other pesky lyrics were played.

        It’s not like there aren’t a gazillion sites on the Internet with pop song lyrics. They wouldn’t have been so dumb as not to have vetted the song. Would they?

      2. I dunno…. I don’t agree with all of Rage’s messages, but I like their music for the most part. I have some music from the Electric Hellfire Club, who are satanists, but I don’t worship Satan (we just hang out on the weekends). I love Bad Religion, but their views don’t always align with mine. I hate hippies, but love the Mommas and the Papas.

        Like I said I think music is a great unifier. A good song is more than it’s message.

      3.  Oh one more case in point….. when I first “Raged” with RATM, it was against the Clinton white house. Not sure if they meant for that or if they see both parties as essentially the same (as I have come to see them).

    2. “Music is above party lines and crosses cultures and races as well.”

      Yeah, but that’s not really that impressive.  As far as pure music is concerned (leaving aside lyrics and persona) it’s just this value-neutral stimulus that excites the emotions.  I like to say that it conveys about as much information as food.  
      We wouldn’t find it that ironic if Mario Batali thought some politician was a dick.  Because everybody likes pasta, and it doesn’t really matter what the chef thinks.

      (There was, however, a study that found that people who listened to a lot of music are more empathic.  I’m not sure that would be result if you looked exclusively at RATM fans, though.)

  12. Artists know the GOP is into cutting funding for the arts and censorship.  This is why most say no to using their music for the campaigns.

  13. It probably stung extra hard since Dee often supports moderate Republicans; he was an early supporter of John McCain, although he stated he was going to vote for Obama after McCain turned right during the election, and flew out to California to give support to Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was running for Governor.

    1. No, you can listen to whatever music you like.

      In addition, you can make public use of music while campaigning for policies opposed by the original artist, and they in turn can denounce you publicly for those policies, making you look like a fool and alienating their fans from you.
      Of course there’s no rule against looking like a fool, so you’re absolutely right. Nothing to see here :)

  14. They have to keep that tune unblemished so it can be used by Extended Stay America hotels. Incidentally, their recent LBO and bankruptcy history would make Mitt Romney blush.

    Down the rabbit hole we go: Extended Stay America was bought and sold and bought by Blackstone, one of whose founders, Peter Peterson also founded the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, an organization that “focuses on raising public awareness about the need for fiscal sustainability related to federal deficits, entitlement programs, health care and tax policy.” Their “2011 Fiscal Summit: Solutions for America’s Future” featured the participation of, you guessed it, Paul Ryan.

  15. Do political campaigns get permission to use songs EVER?  It seems like every week a band says they don’t want their song used.  I wonder whether they just feel like they’re exempt from the laws?

    1. Well, I suspect they make whatever calls and pay whatever fees are necessary to obtain clearance, so legally they’re usually on sound footing.  As noted above, a lot of songs are available to license for any number of uses without directly asking the artists themselves in advance.  It only becomes a problem when an artist finds out that someone whom they don’t like or agree with is using their song, even if all the fees and clearances are in place.  Since the artist doesn’t want people to think he or she actually endorses the “offending” licensee, they ask the licensee to stop using their material.  The licensee may not have any legal obligation to cease and desist, but it’s pretty embarrassing when someone dislikes you enough to want to give back your licensing fee and get you to stop using their music.

  16. In a similar vein, Rush Limbaugh uses as his show’s theme music (the “bump” you hear at the top of each hour) “My City Was Gone” by the Pretenders.  They “pretended” to be a good rock band, but that was debatable… but they DID play one decent lick on that one song, and Rush co opted it for his show after paying the proper fees.  The remnants of the band tried to force him to stop using it, but he doubled down for awhile, having paid for it fair and square, and to make a point. There was a little kerfluffle over it, a donation to PETA, and some extra dollars greased the skids, but it amounted to “petty cash” for Rush, the richest guy on the radio today.  It’s still in use to this day.

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