Looney Tunes

John Kasich: Congressman, Fox News host, governor … aspiring music critic?

Sep 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm
click to enlarge Hip Hop crew Odd Future makes John Kasich feel sad for our youth.
Hip Hop crew Odd Future makes John Kasich feel sad for our youth.

In 1999, a young Ohio State alum named John Kasich was featured in a newspaper article about his potential run for President of the United States. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But what was a bit strange, in hindsight, was the way the paper (the San Francisco Chronicle, no less) described this young buck looking to become the most powerful man on the planet. 

“By far the hippest candidate on the year 2000 presidential campaign trail is a Republican,” Marc Sandalow wrote of Kasich in the piece, which mostly described the then 46-year-old’s youthful energy and even more youthful musical tastes. The article begins with an anecdote about Kasich lighting up upon meeting a 60-something man in New Hampshire on the campaign trail and discovering he was from the home of one of America’s most cutting-edge music scenes.

“Seattle?” Kasich reportedly responded excitedly when learning of the man’s hometown. “Do you like grunge?”

As it turns out, this wasn’t just some flustered slip of the tongue. Kasich is a passionate music lover whose tastes are usually associated with people more inclined to wear flannel, smoke pot all day, drink copious amounts of cheap beer and vote for anyone but a Republican (if they vote at all).

On his official Facebook pages, Kasich’s “Favorite Music” lists “U2, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Oasis, The Offspring, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Snow Patrol.” And, in 2009, Kasich marked his efforts to return to public service by writing blog posts for Andrew Breitbart’s conservative-spun entertainment site, Big Hollywood, that sounded more like someone auditioning for a job at Rolling Stone magazine, not running to become the next governor of Ohio. 

Aside from an entry about the TV show 24, the posts were all Rock & Roll-related. Essentially concert reviews, Kasich wrote with a strange mix of politico carefulness and (most surprisingly) knowing insight, critiquing the performances of Fleetwood Mac (“a perfect rock show”) and U2 (“one of the world’s greatest rock bands”). While drooling over those Classic Rock acts (U2 was noted for the way they worked together as “an exquisite team”), Rock trio The Police didn’t get off so easy. Kasich actually nails it with the David Fricke-worthy observation that the band seemed “like three solo acts who weren’t willing to play together” on their reunion tour. But his other point of contention was more in line with people of his age group: “On top of it, they didn’t let Sting play any of his hit songs.” 

Fascinated — and facing a fast-approaching deadline for a fall music preview piece — I decided to reach out to the governor to see if he’d like to reignite his fledgling career as a music critic. Assuming a message to his official e-mail address would just get trashed by some office flunky, I sent my request for some cool picks for the Cincinnati fall concert season to [email protected] and, to my shock, instantly received the following brilliant musings on shows coming to Cincinnati over the next three months. 

I’d never, ever vote for someone who is trying to completely destroy the rights of public workers in my home state. But, assuming these quick blurbs actually did come from the fingertips of Kasich, I might hire him for freelance work. Get in touch, Governor — we don’t pay well, but, if you get your way, it’ll be more than teachers, police officers, firefighters, postal employees and other public servants will be raking in by this time next year. 

• Emo gods

Death Cab for Cutie

bring their tour supporting Codes and Keys to Riverbend’s PNC Pavilion on Sept. 30. (Tickets: ticketmaster.com)

Guvn’r John Sez

: “While their new album lacks the purity and naturalness of Transatlanticism, I’ve always admired Death Cab for signing to Atlantic Records — small businesses are great, but the tax breaks that Atlantic’s parent company Time Warner receives annually means more money to promote the band (after the CEOs get their cuts, of course). I actually like The Postal Service better — no, not the blood-sucking government institution that delivers mail; Ben Gibbard’s ElectroPop duo.” 

• World-music-influenced Indie Rock faves


come to Bogart’s on Oct. 11. (Tickets: livenation.com.)

Guvn’r John Sez

: “My good friend Bono is always trying to get me to listen to the Pixies, but their music sounds messy and scary to me. I much prefer this band called Beirut, who I’ve been texting Bono about constantly (he hasn’t gotten back to me in a while, but I’m sure he’s busy saving Africa or something). I love how they reclaim the name (it’s some sort of frightening Muslim country over in the Middle East, right?) and their music is very soothing — reminds me of the Soft Rock of my college days.”

• The Southgate House presents the riotous, face-melting double bill of

The Supersuckers


Nashville Pussy

on Nov. 6. (Tickets: www.ticketfly.com)

Guvn’r John Sez

: “When is this show? Is it something I’ll need to alert local authorities about? Oh, it’s in Kentucky? Pffft, sounds about right. Good luck with that, Beshear.”

• Gavin Rossdale’s recently revived band


comes to PNC Pavilion on Oct. 7. (Tickets: ticketmaster.com)

Guvn’r John Sez

: “When I first heard Bush was coming to Cincinnati, I thought, ‘Wow, Dubya finally did it! He’s taking his Country band on the road!’ When I realized it was one of my favorite Grunge groups, I was even more excited. They’re from the U.K., a perfect example of outsourcing done right.”  

• Debauched Hip Hop crew and critical darlings

Odd Future

perform at Bogart’s on Oct. 15. (Tickets: livenation.com)

Guvn’r John Sez

: “I’ve been reading about these guys on Pitchfork a lot, but when I listened to them, I didn’t get what the big deal was. It makes me sad for our youth. These guys are no doubt the result of a public-school education — if their parents had school vouchers and we’re able to send them to a nice, private Catholic school, they’d probably be the next DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.”


Sept. 17: Tapes ‘n Tapes
Mad Hatter, 620 Scott Blvd., Covington, 859-291-2233

Sept. 20: They Might Be Giants
Southgate House, 24 E. Third St., Newport, 859-431-2201

Sept. 21: Chris Brown with Kelly Rowland and T-Pain
Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Twp., 513-232-6220

Sept. 22-24: MidPoint Music Festival
More than 180 musical acts from Australia, New Zealand, China, Wales and 29 U.S. states as well as Greater Cincinnati. Various venues in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. mpmf.com.

Oct. 7: Machine Gun Kelly
Madison Theater, 730 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-491-2444

Oct. 8: Ray’s Music Exchange
Southgate House, 24 E. Third St., Newport, 859-431-2201

Oct. 10: Brett Dennen with Blind Pilot
Madison Theater, 730 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-491-2444

Oct 14: Mac Miller
Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, 513-872-8801

Oct. 16: Plain White T’s
Madison Theater, 730 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-491-2444

Oct. 16: Matthew Sweet
20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-731-8000

Oct: 19: Melt Banana
Southgate House, 24 E. Third St., Newport, 859-431-2201

Oct: 20: The Misfits
Southgate House, 24 E. Third St., Newport, 859-431-2201

Oct. 21: G. Love & Special Sauce
Madison Theater, 730 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-491-2444

Oct. 22: Darius Rucker
U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown, 513-513-421-4111

Oct. 22: Thrice
Madison Theater, 730 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-491-2444

Oct. 22: Bettye Lavette
McAuley Performing Arts Center, 6000 Oakwood Ave., College Hill, 513-681-1800

Oct: 27: Sebadoh
Southgate House, 24 E. Third St., Newport, 859-431-2201

Oct: 29: Cyndi Lauper & Dr. John
Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-232-6220.

Oct. 30: The Tillers (release party)
Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-542-3603

Nov. 6: Panic! At The Disco and Foxy Shazam
Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville, 513-872-8801

Nov. 8: Judas Priest
U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown, 513-513-421-4111

Nov. 12: BRINK
Annual showcase of the best new local bands. Various venues in Northside. 513-665-4700.

Nov. 13: Skeletonwitch
Southgate House, 24 E. Third St., Newport, 859-431-2201

Nov. 20: Cincinnati Entertainment Awards
15th-annual celebration of Cincinnati’s awesome music scene. Madison Theater, 730 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-491-2444.