Silversun Pickups Tell Romney to Stop Using 'Panic Switch'

GOP hopeful is 'using a song that describes his whole campaign,' singer Brian Aubert says

Silversun Pickups
Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images
August 16, 2012 9:50 AM ET

Silversun Pickups have told Mitt Romney to stop using their song "Panic Switch" at campaign events, sending a cease-and-desist order to the Republican presidential hopeful. "We don't like people going behind our backs, using our music without asking, and we don't like the Romney campaign," singer and guitarist Brian Aubert said in a statement. "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."

Romney is merely the latest GOP candidate to appropriate music without permission: The McCain campaign in 2008 drew the ire of Jackson Browne, Heart, Foo Fighters, John Mellencamp and country songwriter Gretchen Peters; and former Florida governor Charlie Christ was forced to apologize to David Byrne after the singer sued him for including a snippet of the Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere" in a 2010 campaign ad. And Tom Petty sent a cease-and-desist letter to Michele Bachmann in 2011 after she played "American Girl" at a rally announcing her campaign for president.

A rep for Romney told the Los Angeles Times that the song was played during set-up for a rally. "As anyone who attends Gov. Romney’s events knows, this is not a song we would have played intentionally," spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. "That said, it was covered under the campaign’s regular blanket license, but we will not play it again."

Romney's campaign has also been using Kid Rock's "Born Free," with the singer's blessing. 

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »