As the political season heats up, so do tempers among the members of Van Halen. In the kind of story we are hearing more and more these days, Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain was strutting his stuff on a stage in Dayton, Ohio with Van Halen’s 1991 song "Right Now" playing in the background.
This time the main event was the announcement of his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, which was quite the surprise to just about everyone.
You may recall the actions of former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee back during the early days of this campaign (does anyone remember back they far?) when Boston mastermind Tom Scholz was none too happy when he discovered that Huckabee was using the groups hit song "More Than A Feeling" at various campaign events, and asked the ex-Arkansas governor to stop using the tune.
More recently, Jackson Browne took things a little further when he reportedly filed a lawsuit against McCain for making use of his well-known hit, "Running on Empty" during a commercial that was being used to discredit something that Democratic Presidential Candidate Barrack Obama said regarding the high cost of energy.
There’s little doubt that partisan politics plays a significant role in some of these disputes. Browne is well-known as a liberal activist, and could certainly be expected to react negatively when a conservative candidate used his material. I don’t know much about Tom Scholz’s political leanings, but his statement at the time indicates that the situation may have been similar to the more recent rift between McCain and Browne.
In this case, I find the response from Van Halen in regard to McCain’s use of their material more sensible than the celebrities who wear their political hearts on their sleeves.
Although the group is not making any secret of their displeasure with McCain’s use of their material, and say they would not have agreed to it even if the McCain camp had bothered to ask their permission, a publicist for the group had this to say: "The band is not political in nature, and has not and will not be throwing their support behind either presidential candidate. "
And to that, I say Bravo, Van Halen, Bravo!
For more on this story, see MTV News.