With all the attention that the conservative talking heads at places like FOX News have been paying the so-called "Liberal Hollywood Elite" in recent years...you know, the usual suspects like George Clooney, Sean Penn, Alex Baldwin and the like...the rock music world has got to be feeling just a little ignored lately.
Oh sure, you still get your occasional rock and roll blip on the right wing radar — an Eminem lyric here...A Janet Jackson nipple there. But it just isn't the same anymore.
It's hard to believe that not all that long ago, rock music was considered nothing less than the great demon scourge of American society itself. Those were the days when guys like Bob Dylan and John Lennon were routinely shadowed (and in Lennon's case, harassed to the point of being kept out of the country for many years) by various government spooks.
These days even guys like the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne, a guy whose albums we're once routinely used by guys like the Reverend Pat Robertson to cite evidence of the impending fall of civilization itself, are considered respectable enough to show up at Republican functions.
Former "Cop Killer" Ice T is the star of one of those "Law and Order" shows on NBC now for crying out loud.
Of course it isn't like today's musicians are writing incendiary lyrics the likes of "Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers," as the Jefferson Airplane once did on the album they originally wanted to call "Volunteers of Amerika".
So the question is...how does your everyday commie pinko liberal rock star get some respect from guys like Hannity or O'Reilly these days?
The answer is simple, as Bill Clinton might say, "It's Protest Music, stupid."
The good news is protest music may be making a comeback. It's something I first noticed back in 2004 when Bush was running for re-election against Kerry. Back then a bunch of good old liberal guys headed by Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M., and the Dixie Chicks organized the "Vote For Change" tour in support of the Kerry campaign.
The thing is those shows were occurring at exactly the same time as a number of long standing annual benefit concerts...shows like Willie Nelson's Farm Aid and Neil Young's Bridge School benefit. It almost seemed like an old time sort of "liberal benefit circuit" with many of the same names among them, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, and Pearl Jam showing up sometimes at all of these liberal benefit shows criss crossing the country at the same time.