John Weekes

John Weekes is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Feelers won't stand up for Key

The Feelers say the use of their song should not be taken as an endorsement of John Key or any of his policies.
Photo / Supplied
The Feelers say the use of their song should not be taken as an endorsement of John Key or any of his policies. Photo / Supplied

Pop band The Feelers wrote the soundtrack of National's election campaign - but they're not willing to "stand up" and be counted among the party's supporters.

Lead singer James Reid says the song's use should not be taken as an endorsement of John Key or his party's policies. "I don't get involved in politics," he added.

The band's song Stand Up sets the tone for a National Party ad starring two construction workers. On the left, wearing red, one has a stop sign. To the right, in blue, the other sign reads "go".

It is this year's second controversial appearance for The Feelers. The band hit the headlines when it covered the Jesus Jones song Right Here, Right Now to promote Rugby World Cup ticket sales. There was public outrage that New Zealand couldn't find a song of its own with which to promote the Cup. But Reid said he was pleased with the prominence enjoyed by the band this year.

"I'm very excited about this," he said. "As an artist, it's very exciting to cross over to art and politics. But I've never been one for politics."

During the 2008 election campaign, Muttonbirds singer Don McGlashan wrote to complain at the use of his song Anchor Me on a television clip about National leader John Key.

But McGlashan has always worn his left-wing politics on his sleeve, and just this weekend performed in Auckland at the launch of the Keep MMP campaign.

Reid, by contrast, would not say whether he usually votes, or would vote, this year.

His partner Davita said the song was not an endorsement of the National Party or its policies, though "a major decision" was always involved before letting advertisers buy rights to a song. She said Feelers' fans would decide for themselves who to pick on election day.

Auckland-based musician Gareth Thomas, who was in the band Goodshirt and whose brother Matt was in the Feelers, said other artists were likely to be approached by campaign managers as the election race heated up.

The Feelers would have few regrets about letting National use their sound, he said.

"I'm sure they'd be happy to make some money out of it," Thomas said.

- Herald on Sunday

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