President Donald Trump has been using songs in his campaign videos and rallies without permission throughout his term, and Nico Vega has now compiled all of those tracks into a convenient and aptly titled “Cease and Desist” playlist.
In response to Trump’s unauthorized use of their song “Beast” in a “Fight for Trump” video last week, former members Aja Volkman-Reynolds and Dan Epand, who now make up the band Two, issued a statement on Twitter.
“To be clear, we do not support the use of our song ‘Beast’ in the recent Trump video,” the group wrote. “We have love and empathy for people of all backgrounds, races, and beliefs, and we feel sick how ALL Americans’ fears and vulnerabilities have been exploited over the last four years and more,” the band says. “We will not participate in a form of propaganda that pits Americans against one another. The meaning of this song is to love thy neighbor. To stand up for the underdog and to rise together around the commonality of LOVE. Without division!”
To be clear, Nico Vega DOES NOT support the use of our song “Beast” in Trump’s recent video. Please read the attached screenshot for our full statement. https://t.co/jijBNp7cjS pic.twitter.com/k2qatmT66U
— Nico Vega (@nicovega) December 20, 2020
“It sends out a message to people that music isn’t respected or valued as craft,” Volkman-Reynolds added in a press statement. “It hurt me that someone took our music without asking, and twisted the message to fit a political agenda. We don’t want our song to be used to manipulate anyone or to tell half of a story that might cause divisiveness. We are a small independent band with a mighty message and though this puts a target on our back, we cannot sit quietly in silence. Our song is about bringing people together. We must stand by the message of our song ‘Beast.’”
The statement was accompanied by a 31-song playlist, highlighting bands that have had their music used without permission by the 45th President of the United States. Among the tracks are “Beast,” Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World,” Elton John’s “Rocketman” and “Tiny Dancer,” Rihanna’s “Please Don’t Stop the Music,” Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and more.
See it below.