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.