It’s time to Separate Make-a-Difference Musicians from Political Poseurs


On Monday, former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic withdrew from the race for Wahkiakum County Clerk. The non-Foo fighter was running a “protest candidacy” for the made-up Grange Party in an attempt to draw attention to the top-two primary system in Washington State that the bassist feels is too easily exploitable.

Since Novoselic never actually intended to go all the way, we’re going to cut him some slack here and chalk it up to creative political activism — but it got us thinking about some other musicians who have tried their hands in the world’s dirtiest job. After the jump, we break these upwardly mobile musicians into a list of real rebels and poser politicians.


Jimmie Davis The man responsible for “You Are My Sunshine” Davis was also elected governor of Louisiana twice – “You Are My Sunshine” is now the state song of Louisiana, too. But don’t worry, unlike many other artists, Davis actually got to enjoy his success – he lived to the ripe old age of 101.

Gilberto Gil Some 40 years after being sent into exile, Grammy-winning guitarist and singer/songwriter has returned to Brazil and worked his way up the political ladder. Gil has held numerous positions in Brazil in addition to winning the United Nations’ nomination for Goodwill Ambassador in 2001 – all while maintaining his professional music career. In January 2003, incoming President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva named Gil the new Minister of Culture. Gil rocked the position so well that his first two attempts to resign were denied by President Lula (he let him go the third time around). The Plastic People of the Universe Forged under the fire of Soviet troops in the summer of 1968, The Plastic People quickly became the Czech Republic’s most subversive band. The group had their musicians license revoked, they were thrown in jail (convicted of “organized disturbance of the peace” ), fans were arrested for trying to go to concerts… these kids stuck it to the communist regime over and over again – fighting communist oppression through music = serious bad ass points = a spot on this list (even if they never ran for office).


Kinky Friedman If there’s one thing dumb Americans are more afraid of than foreigners, it’s sex. Kinky — And people thought Barack was a tough sell… Come on, just give up, dude! Seriously.

Jello Biafra While Dead Kennedys singer Biafra is a powerful figure in the Green Party, he is also a self-identified anarchist who counts such things as pranksterism among the political tools at his disposal. His 1979 run for mayor of San Francisco was NOT well received.

Roy Acuff A legend in the country-music world, Acuff twice ran for governor of Tennessee in the ’40s – and lost twice. Rumor has it that Acuff’s venture into the political realm was a response to then-Governor Prentice Cooper’s refusal to attend a ceremony honoring the singer – Motivation: Fail.

Sonny Bono You better sit down kids. Sure, Bono did win an election (a few actually), but, I mean, come on — it’s Sonny Bono!?