09 Apr

Wig Out at The New Hampshire Primaries

As one of your over-thirty friends has undoubtedly informed you, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke loves hardcore.And the hardcore band he loves is not, despite his name, Los Crudos or that song from The Departed. He loves Fugazi. Setting aside such pedantic distractions as “judging a human person, positively or negatively, by their taste in music is best left to, and god love them for it, literal teenagers,” loving Fugazi is, empirically speaking, always correct. Citing Ian Thomas Garner “Garno” MacKaye’s best-selling post-punk concern has become in some ways cultural signifyin’ shorthand for “my band may be playing Coachella and I myself may work at Spotify but, trust, this knit-cap-pushed-back still counts for something.” Fugazi, itself, is innocent; guilty, if anything, of being hella tight.

Along with Beto’s announcement of his love of Fugazi (secondary in importance to the announcement of his candidacy for President Of The United States), came what we have come to love and expect in 2019: online shenanigans! Indie types, with varying DIY credentials, celebrated our new punk president. Dudes of varying commitment to the DSA yelled at them online, and all my friends of varying age between 35-55 drew swords as to whether Fugazi was “fun” or not. Beto then posted a picture of himself eating ice-cream, to the endless amusement of roughly fifteen people.

What was lost amongst all this hubbub was the fact that all the presidential candidates love hardcore, or at least post-hardcore. I don’t blame the masses, brainwashed by the MSM as they are, for not knowing this. Through my sources (casting runes upon a burning Food Not Bombs shirt, skimming the first few pages of The Psychic Soviet, etc.), I have determined this to be incontrovertibly true. And, as luck would have it, they all love hardcore bands that people who enjoy my making semi-obscure hardcore references on Maggie Vail’s internet will be familiar with. Like the sphinx asking “what reads MRR in the morning, Punk Planet at noon, and The Baffler in the evening?,” the answer to “who needs to know what hardcore band does my preferred candidate pick up change to?” is “you,” man. Respecting the edicts of Revolution Summer, we shall not dive in. Rather, let’s respectfully mill forward, arms crossed, tall dudes in the back. And, like we were hanging from a basketball hoop, with a stoic and unswerving sense of FUN (goddammit).

Beto O’Rourke - Fugazi, as stated. The fact that Beto’s vague gestures towards an overly reasonable liberalism give off more of a Lollapalooza vibe is neither here nor there. We’re not here to question the validity of anyone’s taste. I’m just saying that when the inevitable shirtless photoshoot happens, I won’t be shocked if there’s an “End Of Silence” tramp-stamp involved…

Kirsten Gillibrand - At different times, Gilbrand has expressed a fandom for both H20 and Hot Water Music. While she has often, with a knowing look to the camera, expressed concern for the “moms that have been struggling since I was three,” and her popularity with men in beards and baseball caps not-commensurate to their socioeconomic background remains reasonably high, it’s unclear if she knows that they are two separate bands.

Bernie Sanders - Sanders, in a bid for accessibility, has stated a preference for the Kingston Trio, and there was the now famous gaffe where he wore a Proletariat pin and was unable to name a single song of theirs, claiming, “I’m from New Hampshire. We don’t fuck with Boston shit.” While a stated disdain for Blood For Blood has hurt his working class bona fides and his Bad Brains shirt was seen as a pandering move, too little and too late (and one tone-deaf to the LGBQT community at that), Bernie is actually a UK stench-core aficionado. He not only hates capitalism, he DISapproves of it. This also explains his terrible taste in reggae. (Little known side-fact; in ‘80s Nottingham squatter culture, “Concrete Sox would have won” was a common catchphrase used to enrage panhandler-averse Thatcherites.)

Amy Klobuchar - Being from the midwest, Klobuchar came up on Die Kreuzen (even boldly claiming to prefer the ambition of October File to the self-titled debut!), but it’s been reported that her aids’ inability to procure Bikini Kill tickets resulted in the defenestration of her entire staff.

Kamala Harris - Harris is a favorite with the center-left but the LEFT left doesn’t trust her attempted pivot on carceral issues. The fact that she was revealed attempting to sell her Madball Droppin’ Many Suckers test press for $95 dollars, and the same discogs user name (xLocKamalax) was notorious on B9 message boards for voraciously and nonsensically defending Joe Queer, really hasn’t helped. Alternate not-at-all-a-joke from source, Dan “Deep State” Trombly: “Life’s Blood, but only after the singer became a cop.”

Julian Castro - The Dicks! Yay!

John Delaney - Weirdly, really into Nausea. Despite his hairline receding in front, he keeps a dreaded rat-tail tucked into his suit jacket. Wild, I know.

Tulsi Gabbard - Black Flag (reunited Ginn version only)

Andrew Yang - Yang, a strong tech start-up proponent, has taken the controversial stance of “only like(ing) Gilman Street bands that signed to the majors.” Despite this oft repeated stance (“I just believe Dear You is Jawbreaker’s strongest album”), volunteers on the ground claim Yang’s Universal Basic Income initiative was largely born of obsessive poring over of Blatz lyrics and artwork. A spokesperson said by email “Cometbus is obviously an important ur-text, but nobody in 2019 should be forced to live in a punk house with two walls and plumbing made of dogs.”

Marianne Williamson - 108, Shelter. Despite her low profile it should be noted that when Paul Ryan espoused his fandom for Rage Against The Machine, Williamson was the only public figure to sidestep the whole “lol a Republican likes a major label leftist band” cliche kerfuffle and say outright what we were all thinking: “The speaker may enjoy what he likes. That’s his right as an American. But, if I may be as so bold, real heads only get down to the Inside Out “No Spiritual Surrender” EP. More like Sposeur of The House, amirite?” So kudos to her for that.

Corey Booker - Blink-182, probably.

John Hickenlooper - Besides Deep Throat, Hickenlooper has accompanied his mother to multiple screenings of “Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies.” In fact, Mr. Hickenlooper has stated that because he associates it with a romantic tryst he was engaged in on 9/11, it’s no longer possible for him to listen to “Bite It You Scum” without tearing up.

Jay Inslee - Tree. Inslee has the lyrics to “Whales” (“Save the whales/the whales are cool…Captain Ahab deserved his fate...”) as a distractingly busy chest-piece.

Tim Ryan - Is he the one who likes the Replacements? No? Are you sure? These people all look the same. Let’s hedge our bets and say that Tim Ryan is REALLY into early Soul Asylum or Beach Slang or something. Do with that information what you will.

Elizabeth Warren - My mom lives in Massachusetts and I see her regularly and if you think I’m going to make jokes about Elizabeth Warren, you have me confused for a far less dutiful son. Warren digs Antischism for their lyrics but spins GangGreen after a couple drinks, and I say good for her.

Seth Moulton - If this square-jawed Massachusetts motherfucker tries to steal the shine from my mom’s girl, Liz Warren, he deserves whatever electoral curb stomp wicked ensues. He’s from Salem so I bet his favorite Boston “hardcore” band is Converge. Fuckin’ c’mon, Seth.

Wayne Messam - Probably won’t run but he attended FSU (the Florida university not the Boston hardcore gang, but still) so it would be ungrateful to turn down our nose on such bounty. So… Wayne Messam is a fan of Wrecking Crew. This is now canon.

Mike Gravel - 86 Mentality

Pete Buttigieg - When Buttigieg was quoted as saying “I think (Nation of) Ulysses is extremely relevant. People believe (Ian Svenonius’s early ‘90s pre-Make Up outfit, Nation of) Ulysses is this complex, difficult, inscrutable text full of references. And it is a difficult text, but its subject matter couldn’t be more democratic. It’s about a guy going about his day for one day. That’s the plot of (Sassy Magazine’s 1990 Sassiest Band In America, Nation of) Ulysses. And, to me, that’s what makes it very touching.” The internet, or at least its librarian-with-Bad Religion-tattoo contingent, flipped out in smugness-tinged rapture. Finally, a smart candidate, who appreciated that there was a third way from pious Unrest earnestness and NYC Pussy Galore nihilism! At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what people were excited about. Politics can be hard to parse.

William Weld - In another one of the sad ironies of Weld’s life/career, his favorite band ever is Chisel.

Donald Trump - All the Skrewdriver albums except the first one.

Joe Biden - Biden doesn’t listen to hardcore. Biden is a fucking cop.

By Zachary Lipez, distributed under a Creative Commons CC-BY license.

Image by Thomas Hawk, distributed under the CC-BY-NC creative commons license.

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