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A night of infamy.

Jeff Tweedy (D-Rahm) Has Broken Our Hearts

"For knowledgeable music fans, two things jump out from the list of donors to the campaign of mayoral frontrunner Rahm Emanuel," Jim DeRogatis reports. "The first is the contributions from the two top executives at Ticketmaster/Live Nation, the monopolistic giant that has become the most reviled entity in the music business.

"Executive chairman Irving Azoff, the notorious 'Poison Dwarf' of the music industry and a man who's been pushing concert ticket prices ever higher since he started as manager of the Eagles, gave the campaign $10,000. And CEO Michael Rapino, as ruthless a figure as the music business ever has produced, gave $5,000.

"The second fact that leaps out is that no fewer than 15 employees at William Morris Endeavor, the Hollywood super-agency run by Ari Emanuel, have donated a total of $141,000 to his brother Rahm's campaign. Not coincidentally, William Morris co-owns Lollapalooza, which has a tax-free sweetheart deal with the city of Chicago that keeps it in Grant Park through 2018."

Just the latest reportage that makes one wonder: What the hell is Jeff Tweedy doing not only endorsing Rahm Emanuel but playing a fundraiser for him?

"The bigger picture, though, is that the approval of the unholy marriage of Ticketmaster and Live Nation marked one of the most disappointing decisions of the Obama administration's Justice Department, as noted numerous times in this blog and my previous forum at the Sun-Times," DeRogatis writes. "And many political insiders and Beltway pundits saw the influence of two key people behind that decision: the President's Harvard roommate and longtime pal Julius Genachowski, formerly on the board of directors of Ticketmaster and now the chairman of the FCC, and Rahm Emanuel, then the President's Chief of Staff.

"Rahm's brother Ari, the inspiration behind super-agent Ari Gold on the HBO series Entourage, not only is CEO of William Morris Endeavor, one of the most powerful talent agencies in the world. He also is a member of the board of directors of Live Nation, and a key figure in pushing the winner-take-all, to-hell-with-the-little-guy policies of that voracious and all-consuming mega-company."

Earth to Wilco: Is transmission being received?

*

In Greg Kot's Wilco: Learning How To Die, Tweedy complains that Mermaid Avenue collaborator Billy Bragg thought he and his bandmates were a bunch of political rubes.

It would seem so.

"I've been to EVERY city and all other cities suck a little bit," Tweedy once said. "Except Chicago."

Right. Nothing about Chicago sucks - not the nation's worst segregation, the nation's worst gang problem, the nation's worst corrupt political culture, not the coal plants poisoning Hispanic kids and Jon Burge's torture. But San Francisco? Yuk! New York? Brutal! Austin? Borrring!

*

From Kot's book:

"In contrast, Bragg embraced Guthrie's politics. He insisted that the pro-union 'I Guess I Planted' and the Mussolini-bashing 'All You Fascists' be recorded, while Tweedy rolled his eyes."

And:

"But Wilco and Bragg could never agree on a tour, and their joint success was short-lived. Quarrels ensued over everything from paying union fees for guest musicians to festival concert commitments, or the lack thereof."

In other words, Tweedy didn't want to pay union scale. Now it's making sense.

*

Is it fair to judge Tweedy for his political choices? As long as he's using his influence to put money behind those choices, absolutely.

It's also fair to wonder where his political impulses come from, given the subject matter of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which Kot once described thusly:

"Its themes couldn't be more contemporary or universal; it's a meditation both musical and lyrical on what it means to live in the world's most prosperous country."

*

Yeah, well, I've always been a huge Wilco fan, but with Jeff Tweedy I've always had the uneasy feeling there was less there than met the eye.

*

"It doesn't happen that frequently but every now and then I get stopped in the street by a perfect stranger saying, 'Didn't I see you in that movie?'" Howie Klein wrote in 2008. "Hmmm . . . which movie? 'You know, the one with Wilco.' Oh yeah, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart. I was president of their record label and when I retired the very first move the label did was drop Wilco. Big mistake; Wilco is a signature band and the Warner Music Group soon ate shit and signed them up again - for even more money. I was in the film talking about this stuff.

"I doubt I ever had a political discussion with Wilco although it isn't inconceivable that I told them what I thought of Bush stealing the 2000 election or what I thought of his Iraq agenda or something like that. I'm positive I never discussed Chicago politics with them. In fact, until I read it in CongressDaily today I had no idea that their vile representative had asked them to play a fundraiser for him. Had I know, you can bet I would have chimed in. Hint: they live in Chicago.

"Rahm Emanuel was a little put off when Wilco played a fundraiser for Obama last month. Emanuel is playing it neutral even though he's part of the Clinton Machine because Obama is the home state boy but he was pissed because after Clinton 'gave' him the congressional district as a reward for narrowly pushing through NAFTA, Emanuel had to face actual voters and he asked Wilco to play for him. Being polite, Wilco said they don't do politics. Emanuel now says 'Their perspective has changed.' Either that or they're smarter than he gives them credit for being."

*


"As Rahm himself loves the salty language, let's dispense with politeness," Steven Walcott writes. "Rahm Emanuel is a dickwad and the best part of him ran down his mama's leg. He's the kind of Democrat who hates unions and poor people - it's not an accusation, it's true. He's a high-end corporate shitbird, period.

"And why Wilco frontman would want to get down with this prick is beyond me. I like a couple of their records from the '90s, but the last few have been a big ol' cup of sleepytime tea"

*

"Coincidentally, as the savvy folks at Pitchfork Media have already noted, Wilco just released their rendition of 'The Jolly Banker,' a droll anti-capitalist ditty by Woody Guthrie," Andria Lisle wrote in a 2009 Memphis Flyer post called "Is Wilco's Jeff Tweedy Living The Life He Sings About?"

Lisle provides the song's third verse:

When money you're needing, and mouths you are feeding,
I'm a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.
I'll plaster your home with a furniture loan,
Singin' I'm a jolly banker, jolly banker am I

Does Tweedy know that Rahm was once a ridiculously overpaid investment banker and later sat on the board of Fannie Mae in a patronage job? And if so, what does he think about it?

*

From Kot:

"As a result of Tweedy's feelings on the political nature of some of the lyrics, Bragg recorded mostly political songs while Wilco recorded more neutral songs."

Maybe we've been wrong all along. After all, remember this?

*

And there was this Tweedy quote, oy:

"If you love someone, set them free, right? I mean, Sting said that, and he knows a few things about music."

Dude, you're breaking my heart.

*

Maybe he's making nice so his wife can get her club back.

*

"The all-ages [Rahm fundraiser] show starts at $85 for general admission, and costs $150 for guaranteed seating with one drink ticket."

*

I meant to pull Tweedy's voting record to see if he has regularly gone to the polls, but I didn't have time.

*

Comments from the Huffington Post's "Wilco's Jeff Tweedy To Headline Rahm Emanuel Fundraiser":

Dameocrat
Maybe he is managed by emanuel's brother. Having said that, it is amazing that people who made their career on Woody Guthrie's music would support that anti-union goon.

*

stewajf
This only confirms my dislike of Wilco for being impostors. The Waco Brothers would never endorse Rahm.

*

KCFreedom
Jeff, put away the smoke. Your judgement is cloudy. Rahm is NOT on your side.

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Rahm has no real comment.

*

Jeff Tweedy oughta be ashamed.

-

Comments welcome.



Permalink

Posted on February 10, 2011


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BOOKS - The Onion vs. Gone Girl.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: Sixteen Movies Ago.


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