The Silversun Pickups want Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign to immediately stop the use of the rock group's song "Panic Switch." And the Romney campaign has no problem with that.
The Los Angeles-based band's attorney sent a cease and desist letter to Romney on Wednesday. A news release says neither the band nor its representatives were contacted for permission to use the 2009 alternative rock hit and the group "has no intention of endorsing the Romney campaign."
"We don't like people going behind our backs, using our music without asking, and we don't like the Romney campaign," Silversun Pickups lead singer Brian Aubert said in the 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 spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an email that the song was inadvertently played during the setup for one event before Romney arrived. The band learned about it in a tweet from Romney's North Carolina stopover.
"As anyone who attends Gov. Romney's events knows, this is not a song we would have played intentionally," she wrote. "That said, it was covered under the campaign's regular blanket license, but we will not play it again."
Saul says the campaign has licensing agreements with BMI and ASCAP. Silversun Pickups publicist Ken Weinstein says the group's attorney doesn't agree that the song's use is covered. The band, its management and attorney declined comment, but did supply a copy of its letter to "Mr. Romney."
"As the former governor (of) the state of Massachusetts, a graduate of Harvard Law School, and candidate for U.S. President, we're pretty sure you're familiar with the laws of this great country of ours," it reads in part. "We're writing because we, like you, think these laws are important."
"Panic Switch," which seems to be an indictment of "red views" that "keep ripping the divide," helped the quartet earn a Grammy nomination for best new artist in 2009 and joins a long list of songs allegedly purloined by politicians.
These types of dustups are nothing new.
There was Ronald Reagan's appropriation of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA." Tommy Petty and Michelle Bachmann squared off over "American Girl." And John McCain's campaign ran afoul of a number of acts in 2008, including Jackson Browne and Foo Fighters.
Republican candidates aren't always targeted. Soul singer Sam Moore asked President Barack Obama to stop the use of "Soul Man" in his 2008 campaign.
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