Over the course of their prolific career, the Beastie Boys have traditionally rejected licensing their music for ads—with a few exceptions that are more notable because of this anti-licensing stance (see: that one Star Trek trailer). On the whole, the Beastie Boys have honored the wishes of the late Adam Yauch, whose will stipulates that his music specifically not be used to advertise products. But surviving members Adam Horovitz and Mike Diamond made another exception, if you can even call it that, for the latest ad from the 2020 Biden/Harris campaign, which features “Sabotage”:
The ad aired over the weekend, during a commercial break for Sunday’s NFL game between the Steelers and the Browns, and focuses on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting live music venues—and, similarly, restaurants and bars. Biden and Harris’ campaign specifically highlights the Blind Pig, a 50-year-old venue in Ann Arbor, Michigan that was forced to shut down due to the pandemic. Joe Malcoun, the club’s co-owner, explains how the Blind Pig—along with restaurants and bars—has been affected by the pandemic under the current extremely bad and dumb presidential administration:
The Blind Pig has been one of those clubs that attract artists from all genres. For 50 years, the Blind Pig has been open and crowded, but right now, it’s an empty room. This is the reality of Trump’s Covid response. We don’t know how much longer we can survive without any revenue. A lot of restaurants and bars that have been mainstays for years will not make it through this. This is Donald Trump’s economy: There is no plan and you don’t know how to go forward. It makes me so angry. My only hope for my family and for this business and my community is that Joe Biden wins this election.
The ad also serves as a reminder of the value of live music venues across the country, and not just in the bigger cities that immediately come to mind like Austin. And, for those of you who are able but haven’t done it yet, the ad is a reminder to go fucking vote like your life depends on it because it does.