From Slayer to Alice Cooper & Megadeth: Hard Rock's History of Conservative Comments

Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic
Tom Araya of Slayer performs at The Warfield on March 23, 2016 in San Francisco. 

Slayer bassist/singer Tom Araya set off a controversy this week with his social-media support of President Donald Trump, an endorsement his bandmates made it clear they did not share. Despite the stereotype of the musical community as a haven for liberals, Araya's comments were in keeping with a recent history of hard rockers speaking out on behalf of conservative causes.

From long-time Republican boosters Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper to Kid Rock, Megadeth's Dave Mustaine and Aerosmith's Joe Perry, hard rockers haven't been shy about lining up behind Republican candidates and speaking their mind about liberal causes and leaders.

A few recent examples:

Slayer

On Wednesday (Jan. 25) bassist Araya took to the band's Instagram and re-posted a photoshopped image of the band with new president Trump (which was reportedly taken down after its initial posting last week) along with the message, "Believe it or not this picture was posted by me Tom Araya on 1/20 cause I thought it was funny ... I was amazed at the comments about the picture some positive some negative more amazing was in 2 hours there was 10,000 likes ... But i never would have guessed that there where so many snowflakes commenting their distaste for the new president. Like him or not he is the president ... woke up the next morning and found someone had deleted the post ... can some one please explain why...?"

The rest of the band sent a statement to Billboard on Thursday (Jan. 26) which read:  "As was verified by Tom, this was his post, is not something the band would have posted if asked, and does not belong on a Slayer social page. We all have our personal opinions, some of which we have voiced in the past, but Slayer has never endorsed any political party or any candidate, and the band intends to keep it that way." 

3 Doors Down

The Mississippi rockers took tons of heat for being one of the only name bands willing to perform at Trump's inauguration. While they didn't talk about the gig, after the online backlash guitarist Chris Henderson said he was moving on from days of "troll-baiting on Twitter."

Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)

The controversial lead singer/guitarist has made it clear he's an independent and has voted for both Republicans and Democrats in the past (and supported Republican Rick Santorum). It makes sense that he's been painted as a conservative in the past, though, given his comments claiming that President Obama wasn't born in America (which he has since claimed was a joke), and his belief that the former commander-in-chief staged the Colorado theater shooting. In keeping with his pot-stirring persona, Mustaine has also stated that a lot of those comments were taken out of context.

Ted Nugent

The Motor City Madman has been one of the most vocal supporters of conservative causes in rock. The NRA-supporting gun-toting guitarist even drew a visit from the Secret Service in 2012 after making comments that some took as threatening toward President Obama, a sequel to his on-stage comments at a 2007 show where he called Obama a "piece of s--t" and vowed in 2012 that if "Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."

Alice Cooper

The original shock-rocker is a born-again Christian who has claimed to ping-pong between the two main parties based on the candidates running for office, but reportedly supported George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and referred to Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin a "breath of fresh air" in 2008. As for the most recent election, he reportedly said in an interview last year that he thought Trump was a "doer, he's not a sayer, he's a doer. I think that's what the American public are looking at."

Kid Rock

The rapper-turned-Southern-rocker and American Bad-Ass makes no bones about his conservative views. After campaigning for the GOP's Mitt Romney in 2012, Rock said in 2013 that like Cooper, "I don't like the hardcore views on either side, and I'm not in bed with anybody." Last year he didn't make any bones, though, saying unequivocally "I'm digging Trump... My feeling: let the motherf--king business guy run it like a f--king business. And his campaign has been entertaining as s--t."

Sully Erna (Godsmack)

Back in 2004, Erna made it clear: "I'm a Republican. I want Republican. I don't necessarily want Bush to win. I don't like that choice, but I gotta tell you, I don't truly believe in the Democrats either, man," he reportedly said in an interview.

Gene Simmons

The outspoken Kiss mouthpiece also endorsed Romney in 2012 (after backing Obama in 2008, a decision he would later say he regretted), believing like Rock that "America is a business and should be run by a businessman." Makes sense, then, that Simmons told Rolling Stone last spring that Trump is "the truest political animal I've ever seen onstage" -- though he was clear that he did not support some of the "very vile, unkind things" the former Celebrity Apprentice host said in his campaign, and he never officially endorsed the New York real estate mogul.

Joe Perry

Aerosmith's guitarist was crystal clear in 2012 when he told Noisecreep.com that he's a "definite old-school Republican," saying that he was taught that "you get what you put into it. You can be anything you want to be if you work hard enough at it, and you can earn your place."

President Donald Trump Inauguration

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