Rock & Roll & Politics
by David C. Barnett
A new exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame examines the connection between politics and the rebellious tradition of rock.
Featured in the "Louder Than Words - Rock, Power and Politics" show is an '80s, Heavy Metal tune that played a part in the current presidential campaign, until the song's writer pulled the plug.
The 1984 anthem, "We're Not Gonna Take It", by Twisted Sister has been a crowd-pleaser at political rallies, ever since it hit the charts, thirty years ago. But, lead singer Dee Snider has mixed feelings about Donald Trump's use of it. Snider says he initially gave his personal friend Trump the go-ahead to use the song, but had a change of heart after hearing some of the candidate's political stances.
"People still ask me about it," says Snider, "but he hasn't used it in months now, because I asked him --- just as he asked me to use it, I asked him to stop using it, because, even though it wasn't an endorsement, people were viewing it as an endorsement."
This isn't the first brush with politics for Snider. In 1985, he was one of three musicians who testified at a Senate hearing to create a parental warning rating system. Snider disagreed with the proposal for labeling potentially offensive music. The rating system was never implemented, though a warning label for "explicit content" is currently used by the recording industry.
Playing off of that history, instead of a traditional ribbon-cutting, the opening of the "Rock, Power and Politics" exhibit will feature Snider ripping down an enlargement of one of those a parental warning labels.