At Wednesday’s tea-party Stop the Iran Deal rally in Washington, DC, Trump took the stage with R.E.M.’s 1987 song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” playing over the loudspeakers—and members of R.E.M. were not in the least bit pleased.
When founding member Mike Mills was asked for comment on Twitter, he repeatedly replied, “Cease and desist.”
“Personally, I think the Orange Clown will do anything for attention. I hate giving it to him,” Mills continued. Leader singer Michael Stipe was even less charitable.
“Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you—you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men,” Stipe said in a quote emailed to The Daily Beast. (He was likely referring to Trump and Cruz, two Republican presidential contenders who spoke at the rally.) “Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.”
On Wednesday evening, the band posted the following statement on their Facebook page: “While we do not authorize or condone the use of our music at this political event, and do ask that these candidates cease and desist from doing so, let us remember that there are things of greater importance at stake here.”
This sort of visceral reaction isn’t new for R.E.M. In 2012, after “Losing My Religion” was played in Fox News’s coverage of the Democratic National Convention, the band demanded that the channel cease and desist from the unauthorized use of their music. “We have little or no respect for their puff adder brand of reportage,” Stipe said at the time. “Our music does not belong there.”
Here’s the song that got Trump and Cruz in trouble today:
John Avlon contributed reporting