Primal Scream react to Internet rumour of their song being played at Tory Conference…

Primal Scream express disgust at the Tories using ‘Rocks’ at the Conference

Imagine how shocked Primal Scream were to see Theresa May walk off stage at the Conservative party conference on Tuesday after her not very rock n roll speech to the sound of their 1994 hit, ‘Rocks’. It’s the moment every band dreads. Radical rockers hijacked by the establishment, the Tories waving their triumphant, yet flabby arses to their snake hipped anthems.

Some say that rock n roll and politics don’t mix and others say that politics is showbusiness for the ugly and whilst that may not be totally true there something slightly wrong about the use of the rebel rock soundtrack by the right to veil themselves with some kind of hipness.

We have already laughed at Dave the Rave Cameron’s love of the Smiths and pondered if this was PR spin or a genuine enjoyment of the lyrical content of ‘The Queen Is Dead’ and whilst there is no reason on earth why he can’t like music made by the ‘other side’ it certainly never smacked that true.

At this week’s Tory Party conference in Manchester the soundtrack in the main hall was rumoured to have been Primal Scream’s ‘Rocks’ which certainly didn’t thrill Primals frontman Bobby Gillespie, an old school Glasgow left winger whose father once stood for Labour in a by-election in the city.

Rumours and counter rumours about the use of the song have bounced around the Internet (though it now seems that it wasn’t “Rocks”, it was the Dandy Warhols “Bohemian Like You”, which has a similar riff).

The Primals have hit back at the indignity of their song being used at the Tory party conference releasing the following statement.

‘Primal Scream are totally disgusted that The Home Secretary Theresa May ended her speech at the Tory party conference with our song Rocks.
How inappropriate. Didn’t they research the political history of our band?
Hasn’t she listened to the words? Does she even know what getting your rocks off means? No. She is a Tory; how could she?
Primal Scream are totally opposed to the coalition government, Cameron, Osborne, Gove, Howard, Clegg etc. They are legalised bullies passing new laws to ensure the wealthy stay wealthy, taking the side of big business while eradicating workers rights and continuing their attacks on young people, single parents and OAP’s by slashing education and social security budgets, and persecuting the poor for being poor.
We would like to distance ourselves from this sick association.
The Tories are waging a war on the disenfranchised, They are the enemy.’

It could be argued that a song, once it’s released has become public property but the use of such music by the stiff hipper Tories seems odd. Maybe the lines about dealers keep dealing got some of the higher echelons of the party all excited…

Maybe It’s like Boris Johnson’s love of the Clash, I guess it’s one of those’ I don’t listen to the lyrics’ moments.

What do you think? Who owns the music? Does it matter or does the idea of Boris Johnson doing his air guitar posing in his y fronts in his office to the Clash ruin the band for you?

Or is music free for anyone to enjoy? Can a political party use any music it wants? Do the bands have the right to be pissed off?

Do you think it makes David Cameron a better Prime Minister when he carefully places the Smiths album cover over his Phil Collins collection?

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. La, la, la; happy, happy music. Let’s all be friends, hold hands and dance around the Theresa maypole; music unites! Let’s hug a Tory! Three cheers for Boris! It’s a smiley, smiley world; haven’t you noticed? Who cares about silly old politics? Who cares about shouting your lungs out with PURE, RED, PRIMAL (SCREAM) ANGER ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THIS COUNTRY? WE ARE SCREWED. DON’T BE POOR. DON’T BE OLD. DON’T GET SICK. DON’T BE YOUNG. FORGET ABOUT JUSTICE. NO FUTURE. Smooth your brow old Mr. Rebel, you’ll never win. Take your poppity-pop pills and get some X-factor in your life. You Tube Groove. Wii Groove. iGroove. Everythang’s Groovy. Don’t you know, the war is over and God sells butter.


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