25 Musicians 'Feeling the Bern' for Bernie Sanders - Rolling Stone
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25 Musicians ‘Feeling the Bern’ for Bernie Sanders

Sanders has the support of everyone from Killer Mike to Jackson Browne, and Diplo to Cat Power

musicians for bernie

Bonnie Raitt, Killer Mike and Dave Matthews are among the prominent musicians who support Bernie Sanders.

Donald Trump may have the market cornered on oddball celebrity endorsements like Tila Tequila and Hulk Hogan, and Hillary Clinton may have locked down female superstars like Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian — but Bernie has the musicians.

His bench is deep. Back in September, 128 "artists and cultural leaders" signed a letter endorsing Sanders' "new vision for our country." The list cut across genres: Jackson Browne next to Jello Biafra, Killer Mike just above composer Hans Zimmer.

Since then, yet more musicians have come out to declare they're feeling the Bern; Diplo, Z-Trip and Bassnectar from the world of electronic dance music, rappers Big Boi and Lil B and rock legends like Roger Waters and Neil Young have all pledged their support to the campaign. 

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Best Coast

Best Coast

In November, Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino tweeted from her band's account, "I want Bernie Sanders to be my surrogate grandfather and take me out for breakfast at a diner." Was that an official endorsement? Her followers wanted to know. "#FeelTheBern" she tweeted back to their questions. 

Constantino was more direct a few months later, posing in a Sanders t-shirt on Instagram. "Your mom is voting for @berniesanders," she wrote, adding a peace sign and wine glass emojis for effect.

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Tom Morello


Tom Morello

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Morello hasn't issued an outright endorsement of Sanders, but he's expressed positive, if slightly jaded, feelings about the senator on both Twitter and Instagram

"He certainly seems like the person with progressive politics and integrity," Morrello said in an interview with Maxim. "But I worked as a scheduling secretary for Sen. Alan Cranston for two years, so I got to see how the sausage is made, and it's not pretty. My emphasis has always been on direct action activism, and the kind of change that comes from below, not from electing someone and crossing your fingers that they’re a messiah."

His former bandmate, Tim Commerford, was less optimistic. He recently told Rolling Stone electoral politics is "all bullshit" and Sanders is no exception. Whoever is elected, he said, is not "calling the shots. Whether it's the heads of the corporations or the military guys that have been in there for 30 years, there's no president coming in every four years and telling those motherfuckers what to do."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Bonnie

Michael Tran/Getty

Bonnie Raitt

Country crooner Raitt was one of 128 artists who signed a letter distributed by the Sanders campaign, endorsing "a new vision for our country… a vision that pushes for a progressive economic agenda… a vision that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment, and gets big money out of politics."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Art

Grammy Award-winning American singer Art Garfunkel performs on stage at the Bloomfield Stadium in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, on June 10, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GIL COHEN-MAGEN (Photo credit should read GIL COHEN MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)


Art Garfunkel

Garfunkel and his former musical partner, Paul Simon, gave the Sanders campaign permission to use their song "America" in a campaign TV spot. It was an easy decision, according to Garfunkel. "I like Bernie," he told CNN in January. "I like his fight. I like his dignity and his stance…I like that Bernie is very upset by the gap between the rich and the poor."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Greg Lauren

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 18: Recording artist Anthony Kiedis attends the Greg Lauren fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2015 at ArtBeam on February 18, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/WireImage)

Bennett Raglin/Getty

Red Hot Chili Peppers

The members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers have all come out in support of Bernie Sanders. In February, they hosted a fundraiser concert for the presidential hopeful in downtown Los Angeles. Z-Trip (also a supporter) opened for the band.

On stage at the event, frontman Anthony Kiedis told the crowd, "We love Bernie Sanders, we are honored to be here, thank you so much for supporting… Now is the time!"

Every member of the band signed their names to a letter in support of Sanders as well. Bassist Flea has been even more outspoken about feelings about Sanders, going so far as to pen a piece for Rolling Stone outlining the reasons for his support. In it, he writes, "The concept of a president in this country who is not beholden to corporate lobbyists is such a beautiful idea."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Billy Bragg

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Billy Bragg waits to perform before the start of an anti-austerity protest during the first day of the Conservative Party Autumn Conference 2015 on October 4, 2015 in Manchester, England. Up to 80,000 people are expected to attend a demonstration today organised by the TUC and anti-austerity protesters. Conservative Party members are in Manchester for its first conference as a party in a majority government since 1996. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Christopher Furlong/Getty

Billy Bragg

Bragg expressed his support for Sanders on Twitter in October. He responded to a tweeted quote from Sanders about the golden rule, writing "@SenSanders I'm with you all the way Bernie," and linking to his song "Do Unto Others."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Ezra Koenig

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 06: Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend performs with SBTRKT at YoungArts and III Points Presents SBTRKT on the YoungArts Campus on December 6, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for National YoungArts Foundation)

Frazer Harrison/Getty

Ezra Koenig

Vampire Weekend's Koenig has been an outspoken supporter of the Vermont senator's bid for president, hosting a concert for Sanders ahead of the Iowa caucuses. The event featured a singalong to "This Land Is Your Land" — one of the songs Sanders covered on his 1987 folk album

"I see a consistency in him that's rare in most human beings and politicians," Koenig told CNN, adding, "I think there's something so cool about Bernie running as a Democrat, a guy who was the only independent in the House for a long time, the only independent in the Senate. A guy who comes from an outside structure and kind of bringing that to the Democratic Party, there's something so much more exciting than someone that comes from within."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Ani DiFranco

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 07: Ani DiFranco performs on stage at Sala Apolo on September 7, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Jordi Vidal/Redferns via Getty Images)

Jordi Vidal/Getty

Ani DiFranco

Alt darling DiFranco spoke warmly about Sanders on the podcast Kreative Kontrol. "Bernie Sanders is a really strong voice out there now, and I'm very heartened to see the momentum behind him," she said. "I mean, he's pretty darn awesome. And that's what I think we need to see more of. I mean the evidence is right there — all around the Trump superstardom — that people are longing for people to buck the system, to not play the game, to speak their mind."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Dave Matthews

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 05: Dave Matthews from Dave Matthews Band performs at Le Zenith on November 5, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns)

David Wolff - Patrick/Getty

Dave Matthews

Matthews feels the bern in a serious way. "When I hear someone like Bernie Sanders talking, I think there's a hope. And I have no party affiliation," Matthews told Rolling Stone last year. "That's a guy who is talking about something real and that isn't insulted by being called a liberal. Someone could call me a liberal, and I'd say, 'Thank you.' Someone could call me a socialist, and I'd say, 'I wish I was a socialist.' I should get a shirt that says, 'Tax me! Tax the fuck out of me!'"

"At least we're hearing more of a voice from him by having him out there and speaking in complete sentences rather than a bunch of slogans that don't mean anything. So I feel like there's hope as long as some people are speaking to the real problem in this country," he said. 

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Killer Mike

Joshua Lott/Getty

Killer Mike

Killer Mike is probably the most visible of Bernie Sanders' supporters. The Run the Jewels rapper has accompanied Sanders on the campaign trail, spoken out about his platform at every opportunity and tweeted about him practically every day. In December, he conducted a six-part interview with Sanders, touching on everything from prison reform to health care to public eduction and raising the minimum wage. 

Introducing the senator at an Atlanta rally in November, Mike declared, "In my heart of hearts, I truly believe that Sen. Bernie Sanders is the right man to lead this country."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Lil B

Frazer Harrison/Getty

Lil B

Rapper Lil B officially aligned himself with Bernie Sanders — casting aside his previous support for Hillary Clinton — in a series of tweets in July. He said Sanders' history as a civil rights activist and his support for free public eduction influenced his decision to switch candidates. 

"As much as I want to a woman leading the USA, right now it's all about Bernie," he tweeted. "I herd [sic] Bernie… marched against segregation in the 60s which was not long ago! I love that brave dude!"

In an interview with CNN, he clarified, "Once the people started telling me about Bernie Sanders and comparing what he was doing back in his younger days and what she was doing, it made me kind of look at her different — not really respect her as much as I thought."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Diplo

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Diplo of Major Lazer performs at Alexandra Palace on October 17, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Burak Cingi/Redferns)

Burak Cingi/Getty


In January, Diplo tweeted a mock campaign logo that read "Nobody 2016" — but he followed it up with the addendum, "Unless Bernie Sanders get the nom."

A few weeks later he tweeted a fake mixtape cover titled FEEL DA BERN, with the caption "Been won my vote."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Jeff Tweedy

Mark Horton/Getty

Jeff Tweedy

Wilco frontman Tweedy declared his allegiance to Sanders during a recent concert in Burlington, where Sanders kicked off his political career, as mayor. "I love this town," Tweedy said. "I hope our next president lives here."

Tweedy's name is also found among the 128 artists who signed a letter endorsing the presidential hopeful. 

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Roger Waters

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Roger Waters of Pink Floyd poses for a portrait on November 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images Portrait)

Noam Galai/Getty

Roger Waters

Rogers Waters expressed his admiration for Bernie Sanders in an interview with HuffPost Live, charmingly pronouncing his name "Saunders."

"I have a certain faith in Bernie Sanders," the Pink Floyd singer said. "He seems to be to be a man of his word, and it's hard to look at any of the other candidates and think that they are not conniving or manipulating in some way. Another thing about Sanders is he seems to actually genuinely care, given his performances in the Congress, about what happens to middle America, what happens to the working class."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Big Boi

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 17: Big Boi of Big Grams performs on Treasure Island at the Treasure Island Music Festival on October 17, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage)

C Flanigan/Getty

Big Boi

Rapper Big Boi — best known as half of Outkast — confirmed he's supporting Sanders in an interview with Rap Radar

"I'm for Bernie Sanders because he's with prison reform and things like that," he said. "I'm for anything that's helping the good of people and helping people get out of poverty and getting people sentenced to these long unjust prison sentences out of jail and the legalization of marijuana. I'm for that."

Big Boi, who identifies as a libertarian, supported Gary Johnson in 2012. Back in 2013, he told HuffPost Live, "Anything that benefits the public and not just big banking, that's what I'm with."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Reggie Watts

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 20: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) American comedian Reggie Watts poses during a photo shoot in Sydney, New South Wales. (Photo by Carly Earl/Newspix/Getty Images)

Carly Earl/Newspix/Getty

Reggie Watts

On Christmas, Watts tweeted simply, "Bernie Sanders." He followed that up with a brief but powerful message nine days later. That one said "#FeeltheBern." 

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Serj Tankian

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: Serj Tankian of System Of A Down performs at SSE Arena Wembley on April 10, 2015 in London, United Kingdom (Photo by Joseph Okpako/Redferns via Getty Images)

Joseph Okpako/Getty

Serj Tankian

The System of a Down singer declared his support for Bernie Sanders on Facebook in August, encouraging his fans to attend a rally for the Vermont senator in Los Angeles. 

"Couldn't help myself with this one," he wrote. "When it comes to standing up to the oligarchs, leading the fight for civil rights, income equality, and so much more, no other politician has been so consistent and incorruptible as Bernie Sanders."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Julian Casablancas

Rick Kern/Getty

Julian Casablancas

The Strokes vocalist was among Bernie Sanders' early supporters. In May, Casablancas, who rarely tweets, used the platform to tell his followers, "Bernie Sanders guys, c'mon y'all. he's the only candidate not bribed and the only one fighting for good (just in case you were wondering)."

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Nash, Young, Crosby

Steve Jennings/Getty

Graham Nash, Neil Young and David Crosby

Three out of four members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young agree: Bernie Sanders should the next president. Nash, Young and Crosby signed their names to a letter endorsing Sanders' bid for the White House. Crosby has also tweeted about his admiration for Sanders.

After Donald Trump used his song "Rockin in the Free World" during his campaign announcement, Young declared publicly that Trump was unauthorized to do so, but that Sanders was free to use it. 

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Thurston Moore

Frank Hoensch/Getty

Thurston Moore

The Sonic Youth guitarist declared he was backing Bernie, adding his name to a letter of endorsement signed by 127 other artists. 

Bernie Sanders; Musical Endorsements; Election; 2016: Bassnectar


Bassnectar (real name: Lorin Ashton) expressed positive feelings for Sanders in an interview with Galore in August. Ashton said, "I definitely like the mentality of Bernie Sanders, but I don't expect to see him as a winning candidate. It'd be wonderful if he did! He appears to be someone that really does care about his values. Most other people that I’ve heard, have really shit values, or don’t really care too much or use vague political statements. They’re more behind a typical corporate agenda."

He added, "I think politics are such a distracting circus in our country, and when candidates speak, it's seldom critical, and doesn't reflect what they tend to do. I like that Bernie has some conviction."

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