Yesterday, human toupee mannequin/troll performance artist Donald Trump rode his silly Trump Tower escalator to a podium to announce that he was throwing his hat in the ring for the 2016 Presidential race. The sound he blasted while taking that escalator ride? Neil Young’s classic ode, “Rocking In The Free World,” which actually directly criticizes the George H. W. Bush administration circa 1989.
Mother Jones reached out to Young to see what he had to say about Trump using his song. Young is pissed:
Donald Trump’s use of “Rockin’ in the Free World” was not authorized. Mr. Young is a longtime supporter of Bernie Sanders.
However, Donald Trump had obtained the rights through a licensing agency. Via FOX News:
“Through a licensing agreement with ASCAP, Mr. Trump’s campaign paid for and obtained the legal right to use Neil Young’s recording of ‘Rockin’ In The Free World,'” Trump’s Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski told us. “Nevertheless, there are plenty of other songs to choose from. Despite Neil’s differing political views, Mr. Trump likes him very much.”
Young still isn’t a fan, firing back with another statement:
Yesterday my song “Rockin in the Free World” was used in a announcement for a U.S. presidential candidate without my permission.
A picture of me with this candidate was also circulated in conjunction with this announcement but It was a photograph taken during a meeting when I was trying to raise funds for Pono, my online high resolution music service.
Music is a universal language. so I am glad that so many people with varying beliefs get enjoyment from my music, even if they don’t share my beliefs.
But had I been asked to allow my music to be used for a candidate – I would have said no.
I am Canadian and I don’t vote in the United States, but more importantly I don’t like the current political system in the USA and some other countries. Increasingly Democracy has been hijacked by corporate interests. The money needed to run for office, the money spent on lobbying by special interests, the ever increasing economic disparity and the well funded legislative decisions all favor corporate interests over the people’s.
The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling is proof of this corruption as well as are the proposed trade deals which would further compromise our rights.
These Corporations were originally created to serve us but if we don’t appropriately prioritize they will destroy us. Corporations don’t have children. They don’t have feelings or soul. They don’t depend on uncontaminated water, clean air or healthy food to survive. They are beholden to one thing – the bottom line.
I choose to speak Truth to this Economic Power. When I speak out on corporations hurting the common man or the environment or other species, I expect a well financed disinformation campaign to be aimed my way.
Such is the case with the reaction to my new album The Monsanto Years, which covers many of these issues. I support those bringing these issues to light and those who fight for their rights like Freedom of Choice.
But Freedom of Choice is meaningless without knowledge.
Thats why its crucial we all get engaged and get informed.
That’s why GMO labeling matters. Mothers need to know what they are feeding their children. They need freedom to make educated choices at the market. When the people have voted for labeling, as they have in Vermont, they need our support when they are fighting these corporate interests trying to reverse the laws they have voted for and passed in the democratic process.
I do not trust self serving misinformation coming from corporations and their media trolls. I do not trust politicians who are taking millions from those corporations either. I trust people. So I make my music for people not for candidates.
Keep on Rockin in the Free World.
Respect for staying true to your principles with the Bernie Sander endorsement, Neil.