Sun Ghost, Captain Squeegee on Ron Paul: Excerpts From Our Interview
We've done a lot of coverage on the Rock the R3volution tour, from its announcement to almost inevitable collapse. The confluence of music and politics has always been interesting to me. Political art can be cringe-worthy ("boot up 'yer ass," anyone) or undeniably beautiful ("a change is gonna come").
Trevor Denton of Sun Ghost and Danny Torgersen of Captain Squeegee aren't your typical conservatives. They are young guys who voted for Obama during the last go-around, but they are typical of the strange sense of unease that permeates our culture. Nearly everyone is fed up with the unwillingness of Washington to accomplish anything, and a pro-weed, anti-war guy like Ron Paul represents a dynamic shift away from the establishment.
Of course, that isn't all he represents. It's hard not to identify with the Libertarian ideals of self-sufficiency, accountability, and personal liberty, but there's a certain fatalism to the you-do-you and I'll-do-me ideology. In my interview with Henry Rollins, he hit the nail square on the head: "Ron Paul and Rand Paul say this hilarious bullshit like, "If my house burns down in Texas or gets swept away, it's not up to the people from New York to help me. I don't want to take their money. They worked hard for their money; they should keep it for their own state." No Ron, it's the United States, so when a twister comes through your state and Texas is out of money -- as crazy as you are -- me, the Californian's money is coming to help you. Because you're my countryman. That's team America. And that's real patriotism -- where he is my neighbor."
The Rock the R3volution tour is a strange, fascinating case. Like the Occupy Wall Street Movement, it's shaky, not all that organized, and features a lot of fringey, pretty scary weirdos. But it also features some genuine voices, and some unique ones, members of the 99%, people who might not have all the answers, but are willing to ask the questions outloud.
Torgersen, Denton, and I discussed our differing views on Paul, his policies, where he seems to have a valid point and where he seems pretty wacky. We ended up with far more than I could fit in print. Read on for some extra bits about the role of the federal government in our lives, and even more important (for the purpose of this blog, at least) the role of politics in music.
Up on the Sun: When I think of Ron Paul, I don't really think of rock 'n' roll.
Danny Torgersen: He probably doesn't listen to much rock 'n' roll. I think he probably just listens to audio books about Austrian economics. [laughs]
But I guess regardless of your criticisms of him, he's pretty punk. The guy is consistent -- which is rare in his line of work.
DT: It's been decades, too. That's what's crazy. I didn't even know until about a year back -- I've liked him for a while -- but he's been a congressman for 33 years. 33 years. That is so long. You have to really like America [to stick around that long].
UOTS: For a good chunk of those years, he's been considered the crazy old uncle of the Republican party. And now a lot of people are taking him very, very seriously. He's got more traction this time around than he did in 2008.
Trevor Denton: He does a lot of yelling [laughs]. But we were just talking about that. He's been saying the same things for so long, and now that he's successful, it's not because he's been pandering for votes, it's because everyone else is kind of caught up to what he's saying, like "Holy shit," you know?
DT: He's also been kind of an economic prophet. He was the only congressman in Congress, in 2006, to warn everybody about the housing bubble. Everyone was like, "Crazy Uncle Ron," and now that these things have come to fruition, people are a little more willing to listen to him. It's almost like a movie script: It's like the crazy guy warning everyone about the Apocalypse, and then it's starting to happen, and maybe he's not so crazy after all.
UOTS: Do you guys consider yourselves conservatives?
TD: No, not at all.
UOTS: You guys both voted for Barack Obama in 2008. It wasn't my first election, but voting for Obama was the first time I felt really excited, like I wasn't just voting for the lesser of two evils.
TD: I felt that way, too.
DT: If he had actually done half the things he said he'd do, I'd still be agreeing with him to some degree. You know, I was definitely motivated by the anti-war stuff, I was pretty fed up with the situation. He seemed like someone who would do something about that.
TD: To me, Democrats should really pay attention to Ron Paul. I'm more of a Democrat than I am a Republican, and I consider Ron Paul the top candidate, mostly because of the anti war stance, and the [stance on] lobbyists. It ties into the Occupy Movement; it's not the point-by-point things we should be arguing about. Disagreeing on issues is putting the cart before the horse...
DT: I think there are a lot of young people who are into the idea of dropping the paradigm. Where it's...we've had the left/right thing for so long. Now we're looking a top/bottom thing coming [laughs]. You know, where the actually pie chart for where you are positioned, it's conservative or progressive, or libertarian or fascist. So there's all these people wanting Libertarian ideals. The opposite of libertarian is fascist - a lot of Germans had no idea what their country was doing. I think that this is the time for everyone to look into this.We've been so indoctrinated with the left/right thing. Maybe both of them are contributing to a problem.