THE MUSIC WA: Black Flag Column (Issue 3)

Published in The Music (WA) | 28.08.13 | Issue # 3




Michelle Obama teaming up with Blink 182’s Travis Barker to work on a hip hop record? Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott making cameos in a punk rock music video? It’s been one hell of a confusing couple of weeks.

An artist singing about politics is just as common as love ballads and songs about partying, but when politicians start engaging with music, it can be interesting. It’s like a good actor trying to become a musician – it’s often a disaster.

Politically-driven, passionate musicians are, most of the time, ready-made politicians – take Peter Garret for example. They know how to win an audience over and can articulate their beliefs in an efficient way. Most politicians, however, would made lousy musicians.

By reading this column, it’s somewhat safe to assume you’re a fan of punk and/or hardcore, and thus may have aligned your political views with what most bands playing the genre preach, right? If not, you’re listening to the wrong genre, and Rise Against, Ant-Flag, Dead Kennedys and Propagandhi may not be the bands for you.

Either way, it should be no surprise there’s some Abbott bashing below. If you were to give the opposition leader a guitar and stick him in a recording studio, and it was the 1950s, you’d end up with chart-topping singles. But it’s 2013, and can you imagine the backlash an artist would receive these days if they released a single against same sex marriage?

Agreeing to appear in Canberra band Super Best Friends’ new music video was no doubt an effort by both Abbott and Rudd to look like fun guys, which is probably why Abbott thought it would be a good idea to call up Sydney’s 2DayFM when Katie Perry was on-air to ask when she’s coming back to Australia because his daughters love her. It was hilarious when she jokingly asked his views on same sex marriage and he continued like the question hadn’t been asked. You can imagine him on the phone next to his publicist and the look of pure horror on their face when Perry uttered the topic.

I would have assumed Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl would be off limits in the Abbott household. Being a huge fan, as he declared on-air, surely he’d know one of her most popular songs?

Trying to fit Labor into a suitable musical environment would also be an awkward task. Kevin Rudd is like the Art Garfunkel of Australian politics. He plays an important role and does it pretty well, but he’s no ones favourite.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Super Best Friends’ music video for Round And Round yet, it’s up on their YouTube account and is a great watch. As far as the Michelle Obama hip hop CD goes, I’ll keep you posted.