Mellencamp rule? Public indignation while collecting royalties?

By   /   April 17, 2012  /   News  /   No Comments

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — Ain’t that America?

Rocker John Mellencamp may not care for conservative icons such as Wisconsin Republican Gov.Scott Walker using his pop anthems to pump up campaign crowds, but it seems Mellencamp isn’t turning down any royalty checks from GOP candidates.

A spokesman for the artist last week told The Associated Press news service that he sent Walker an email, reminding the embattled Republican governor of Mellencamp’s support of varied liberal causes.

Walker, like many conservatives before him, has used Mellencamp’s 1985 Top 10 hit, “Small Town,” on his campaign stops, as the governor fights a massive recall effort against him. The recall campaign, in large part, is driven by organized labor, both inside and outside Wisconsin, furious over Walker’s Act 10 which stripped collective bargaining from most public employees.

Bob Merlis, Mellencamp’s publicist, on Monday told Wisconsin Reporter that he is now under “standing orders” to reach out to conservative campaigns and tell them that they are free to use Mellencamp’s material, but that the musician stands behind organized labor and collective bargaining.

“I don’t know that he thinks much about Gov. Walker. I know he thinks people should have the right to collective bargaining,” Merlis said, noting the Farm Aid co-founder’s resume of liberal causes, like his appearance at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, and his involvement in the Vote for Change concert tour that same year opposing the policies of then-Republican President George W. Bush.

Mellencamp has on several occasions advised conservative campaigns that hit songs, such “Small Town,” Our Country,” or “Pink Houses,” aren’t the kind of “jingoistic, flag-waving, screw-labor” songs that Republican politicians believe them to be, Merlis said. Continue reading at Wisconsin Reporter.