The Spectator: ‘Big Parts of Rock ‘n’ Roll Are Quietly Right-Wing’

Mark Judge
By Mark Judge | December 9, 2016 | 9:50 AM EST

Musician Kate Bush, who was recently criticized for praising British Prime Minister Theresa May (AP Photo)

Writing in Britain’s magazine The Spectator, Rod Liddle argues that there are, and have always been, “right-wing” rock musicians.

Liddle makes his argument after popular rock musician Kate Bush expressed admiration for British Prime Minister Theresa May. May is the leader of Britain's Conservative Party.

Talking to Maclean's recently, Bush said, “We have a female prime minister here in the UK. I actually really like her and think she’s wonderful. I think it’s the best thing that’s happened to us in a long time. She’s a very intelligent woman but I don’t see much to fear. I will say it is great to have a woman in charge of the country. She’s very sensible and I think that’s a good thing at this point in time.”

Bush received criticism on social media for the comments. According to Liddle, there are more conservatives in rock and roll than is widely thought:

Bush comes from a prog-rock background, a rather pompous genre which was never known for its revolutionary fervour...Over the Atlantic, the Canadian prog-metal band Rush were dedicated followers of Ayn Rand. That other blue-collar blind alley of rock music, heavy metal, had plenty of conservatives here and in the United States, insofar as anyone involved cared about politics at all. Even the few metal bands considered cool by the left-wing music press were right of centre. In the 1970s Iggy Pop (James Newell Osterberg from Muskegon, Michigan) released a magnificent, howling opus called ‘I’m a Conservative’. Brilliant, brilliant satire, the liberal music press agreed, clapping their hands. Until Iggy said: ‘Uh, no, I actually am a conservative.’ So was Ted Nugent, and so were a whole bunch of others.

Liddle also notes that Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker was a Republican Tea Party supporter, and that Leonard Cohen defended Israel. He also argues that there was a pro-capitalist element to punk rock:

The independent record labels which sprang up in the wake of punk were not anti-capitalist — far from it — they were just anti the in-effectual and conservative capitalism which pertained among the likes of EMI and CBS. Punk was also a reaction to the sopping wet liberalism of the hippies; and the poster boy for the post-punk movement, Ian Curtis of Joy Division, was a fervent Thatcherite. Or at least he was before he killed himself.

Liddle concludes: “Rock music is an intrinsically conservative medium, no matter how much its proponents and champions in the music press might try to pretend otherwise.”


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