Silversun Pickups Ask Mitt Romney To Stop Using Their Song

Group object to Romney campaign playing 'Panic Switch' during events.

We recently found out that vice presidential pick Paul Ryan 
 is a big Rage Against the Machine fan. But would you have ever guessed that buttoned-down GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was into Silversun Pickups?

Turns out Romney blasted a crowd with the group’s 2009 alt-rock hit “Panic Switch” at a recent event and the band is not that into it.

“We don’t like people going behind our backs, using our music without asking, and we don’t like the Romney campaign,” lead singer Brian Aubert said in the statement announcing that the Los Angeles band sent a cease and desist letter to the GOP candidate’s campaign on Wednesday requesting that they stop using the tune. “We’re nice, approachable people. We won’t bite. Unless you’re Mitt Romney! We were very close to just letting this go because the irony was too good. While he is inadvertently playing a song that describes his whole campaign, we doubt that ‘Panic Switch’ really sends the message he intends.”

The statement said neither the band nor their representatives were contacted by the Romney campaign about using the song and that they have “no intention of endorsing the Romney campaign.”

Romney’s spokesperson told the Associated Press that the song was inadvertently played during the setup for an event in North Carolina before Romney arrived. The Pickups learned about it from a tweet about the campaign stop.

“As anyone who attends Gov. Romney’s events knows, this is not a song we would have played intentionally,” explained Andrea Saul. “That said, it was covered under the campaign’s regular blanket license, but we will not play it again.”
Overall, the song’s inscrutable lyrics don’t appear to make a specific political statement, but they do refer to “red views” that “keep ripping the divide.”

Saul said the campaign has licensing agreements with BMI and ASCAP. When MTV News’ Power of 12 hit the campaign trail earlier this year with Romney, his event soundtrack stuck to more red meat material, including homie Kid Rock’s “Born Free.”

This type of action is not unusual in political campaigns when the policies of a candidate clash with the stances of a band that feel their music is being hijacked. Katy Perry demanded that one-time GOP frontrunner and gay rights foe Rep. Michele Bachmann stop using her personal empowerment anthem “Firework” earlier this year during campaign stops and Tom Petty sent a cease and desist to Bachmann over her use of his song, “American Girl.”

Check back for coverage on the 2012 election, and stick with Power of 12 throughout the presidential election season.


Often guilty, never convicted. Serving 15 years to life at MTV News.