Throughout the past several weeks, Soundcheck has been accepting nominations for our first Musician In Chief. Soundcheck's bullpen contributors have nominated musicians, and made a case for why that artist should become the leader of the free world. So far, we've heard arguments for Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Jay-Z, Dolly Parton, and Sean "Diddy" Combs. Soundcheck host John Schaefer weighs in to explain why Aimee Mann deserves your vote.
Candidate: Aimee Mann
Nominated by: John Schaefer
Reason For Nomination:
Aimee Mann is a true independent. Having dealt with the polarized, politicized music industry at the height of its powers, and succeeded on her own terms, she is uniquely qualified to take on a government crippled by partisanship and driven by lobbyist funds. She knows what it's like to swim in shark-infested waters: When her band 'Til Tuesday had a huge hit with "Voices Carry" in 1985, the industry wanted more of the pretty girl who could sing. She wanted to grow as a songwriter, and as an instrumentalist.
Mann helped create the mold for today's ubiquitous indie music. This is a woman who has trained as a boxer and written an album (The Forgotten Arm) full of pugilist imagery. Even her love songs contain references to cordite, fuses, and other combustibles. Paunchy bespectacled senators will not faze her. Industry lobbyists will fear her.
I'm told that "Kicking Ass and Taking Names" will not fly, even though I can totally see Aimee Mann saying that. So I'll go with "A Declaration of Independence: Vote Aimee Mann."
Probable Running Mate:
How about Chuck D? He became the voice of a generation with Public Enemy's albums It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back and Fear Of A Black Planet, in 1988 and 1990 respectively, and the teenagers of that generation are now poised to start running the show. He's never been shy about his politics. In fact, he’s never been shy about anything.
When he was hosting his show on Air America radio, Chuck D also occasionally played catcher for their softball team. I remember him keeping up a running stream of trash talk about each of us on the WNYC team as we stepped to the plate. Most of us, I'm glad to say, thought it was hilarious -- and possibly something to tell the grandkids ("Yes, Billy, I met Chuck D. He said I was 'no batter, no batter'").
As the potential tying vote in a divided Senate, I see this as a great way of deciding contentious issues without hard feelings. Of course, there is the problem of file-sharing: Aimee Mann is a big proponent of musicians protecting their copyrights; Chuck D is a vocal supporter of peer-to-peer file-sharing. But hey, if Paul Ryan can pretend he all of a sudden agrees with Mitt Romney's health care plan (do we know what that is anymore?), then Chuck and Aimee can reach an understanding.
Core Campaign Issues:
1. Campaign Finance Reform. 2. Corporate tax reform. 3. Limits on industry lobbying – both in terms of finances and access to lawmakers. 4. Limited legal use of waterboarding in enforcing Issue #3.
During First 100 days in office, what will your candidate achieve?
Barack Obama's White House basketball court will be replaced by a boxing ring, as feuding politicians are forced to settle their differences in a three-round match. Marquess of Queensbury rules will be suspended for matches involving women's rights.
Aimee Mann will name Fred Armisen as her Minister of Percussion. The SNL comedian and actor is also an absurdly virtuosic drummer, as his brilliant and funny Youtube videos show. And if every country had a Minister of Percussion instead of a Secretary of State or Defense Minister, we'd have no more problems.
Ever see what happens when two or more percussionists get together? Doesn't matter if you don't know the other guy’s language, or culture, or intentions -- percussionists from anywhere can find common ground right away, spend a few hours grooving together, and walk out with a genuine understanding of the other side. Plus he owes Mann after casting her as a cleaning-lady version of herself in Portlandia.