Brian May has followed in the footsteps of REM and Neil Young by becoming the latest rock A-lister to complain about Donald Trump’s use of his music.
On Tuesday, having triumphed in the final round of presidential primaries, the Republican presumptive nominee walked on stage at his televised victory conference to the strains of We Are the Champions by Queen, earning the opprobrium of the band’s guitarist.
“This is not an official Queen statement, but I can confirm that permission to use the track was neither sought nor given. We are taking advice on what steps we can take to ensure this use does not continue,” May wrote on his website, brianmay.com. “Regardless of our views on Mr Trump’s platform, it has always been against our policy to allow Queen music to be used as a political campaigning tool. Our music embodies our own dreams and beliefs, but it is for all who care to listen and enjoy.”
May had been responding to fans who had written to him, drawing his attention to Trump’s use of the song. He also commented beneath the letters, saying: “I will make sure we take what steps we can to dissociate ourselves from Donald Trump’s unsavoury campaign.”
Last September, former REM singer Michael Stipe reacted angrily to Trump using It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) at a rally, saying: “Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you – you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.”
Neil Young, meanwhile, responded to Trump’s use of Rockin’ in the Free World when he announced he was standing for the presidency by saying: “Had I been asked to allow my music to be used for a candidate, I would have said no.” Last month, he took a more conciliatory line on Trump, saying: “He actually got a licence to use it. I mean, he said he did and I believe him. So I got nothing against him. You know, once the music goes out, everybody can use it for anything. But if the artist who made it is saying you never spoke to them, if that means something to you, you probably will stop playing it. And it meant something to Donald and he stopped.”
In a new interview with Billboard, Young spoke about Trump: “I don’t think much about what it would be like with Trump. It’s kind of out of my realm. I hesitate to say too much about him. He’s an interesting guy – he has made some totally off-the-wall statements that I don’t agree with. But parts of his personality and his upbringing are like George [W] Bush, insomuch as you can tell if he really believes what he’s saying.”