Saturday, October 27, 2007



I had already left Warner Bros by the time our Nashville division had released its first album with Big Kenny (Alphin) and John Rich (pka, Big & Rich). When I first heard Warners had a hit artist called Big & Rich I thought they had finally broken into the rap business. They hadn't.

I was vaguely aware they had a big, albeit humdrum, wedding song last year called "Lost in This Moment," and that the first album, Horse of a Different Color went platinum a couple times. Other than that, I wasn't hearing much about them... until Thursday. Thursday I started getting barraged with e-mails from distraught former employees of mine all complaining about Big & Rich being homophobic.

It stems from half the duo, John Rich, going on a gay-bashing, Santorum-like jag for his political hero, Frederick of Hollywood. Rich is a regular commentator on Steve Gill's radio show in Nashville, where he spouts his Limbaughesque nonsense to an audience where marrying one's cousins and aunts is a lot more common than gay marriage. After a thorough tequila-fueled search for the most backward of the pathetic pygmies™ vying to personify a third George W Bush term, Rich has endorsed Thompson. And in a slap at the cousin-marrying Rudy Giuliani and at gay-Americans, he spouted off about gay marriage on Wednesday:
"I think if you legalize that, you've got to legalize some other things that are pretty unsavory. You can call me a radical, but how can you tell an aunt that she can't marry her nephew if they are really in love and sharing the bills? How can you tell them they can't get married, but something else that's unnatural can happen?"

I suppose far more "natural" would be Rich's own lifestyle as an embarrassing and philandering slob. He may be hysterical and obsessive about his irrational zombie-like hatred for Hillary Clinton but reports from the road are that when he's got enough substances in him there isn't a woman breathing he doesn't try to jump on.

Gay employees and straight non-bigots at Warner Bros, and that pretty much accounts for almost everyone who works there, are pretty disappointed, to put it mildly... and I'm not the only one getting complaints. One person who has worked on the Big & Rich projects wrote, "I tend to support all of our artists unconditionally even when some of their politics don't necessarily coincide with mine. I have been made aware of comments made by Big and Rich and I must say this is a real blatant slap in the face and it's somewhat scary to think that I'm helping to make artists' voices such as theirs heard out in the world. I feel deeply torn by comments that they've made recently and can't help but feel really uncomfortable having to see or hear them played in this amazingly diverse environment of Warner Brothers Records that to me has always spoken on behalf of the eccentric and artistic."

Another WB employee, an out front gay men, is torn between his disapproval of censorship and his disapproval of bigotry. He feels it's the company's duty-- their moral responsibility-- to take a public stand against this denigration of a class of people. "Rich's comments are not a political position, they are words of hatred that denounce an entire community and are taken as a personal attack on many of our families. CBS did not tolerate Imus's racist remarks against Blacks nor should we with Rich's remarks about gay families."

I spoke with one of Tennessee's most influential and respected radio programmers. He was still dismayed today and he said most everyone he knows in the music business is as well. This is what he told me:
"Much of the Nashville music scene is ashamed of John. We have felt betrayed because many of us had embraced him and his mantra of love everybody. John has made a career on the backs of many people, and a lot of them are gay. More than anything, his hateful comments have hurt them and they feel especially betrayed. John is entitled to his opinion. However, comparing gay marriage to incest was unforgivable. I have urged those who feel as I do to stop buying his records and songs that he writes."

That sounds like a very sensible suggestion.


Not a pretty place! People are sending me reports from tequila bars, houses of ill-repute and of wildly careening Bentleys. And I now know more about Big & Rich than I ever wanted to. Like they're such big Sean Hannity fans that not only do they go on his HOP propaganda show, they have him come and perform with them onstage (in front of people). And then I'm hearing the more serious charges that the fix is already in and they are winning a shit-load of awards next month (from the Country Music Awards on Wednesday, Nov 7 and the American Music Awards on November 18.)

And one of their fans even defended them by saying they have a gay song called "Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)." I used to be a dj at a couple of gay country bars, The Cinch and the Rainbow Cattle Company and I'd rather go to a dentist everyday for a week than play this musical turd. And... Perez Hilton indicates there are "rumors" about John Rich! Well, well, well... so another Larry Craig?? He doesn't mention what kind of rumors but he did call him a "queen."


Turns out Big Kenny is a normal American. Not only that, he's an empathetic humanitarian and he and his wife just returned from Sudan where they delivered school and medical supplies (and musical instruments) to orphans in Darfur. He also donated $2300 to Barack Obama's presidential campaign. His only previous political donation was to right-wing Democrat Harold Ford last year when he ran against even further right Republican Bob Corker. Rich never donated to anyone.

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At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't mistake "Love" for approval of everything someone does.

At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Mary Mancini said...

Ironic, ain't it, that the Muzik Mafia's slogan is, "Music without Prejudice."

At 5:43 PM, Blogger mike weber/fairportfan said...

John is entitled to his opinion. However, comparing gay marriage to incest was unforgivable. I have urged those who feel as I do to stop buying his records and songs that he writes.


Didn't we already play that game with the Dixie Chicks?

(Understand, i am probably just as upset with this dork's remarks as anyone not directly in his line of ejaculation ... errr ... of fire, but i have to stand up and say that i think he should be free to say anything bloody stupid thing he wants, without fear of professional reprisal.

(Of course, if people decide to stop buying CDs, that's a different story.)

At 10:14 AM, Blogger Milt Shook said...

Wow... imagine this... I'm about to be controversial...

The idiots who boycotted the Dixie Chicks had every right to do so. It made me (and a few others I know) go out and buy their CD, even though I wasn't much of a fan. That's how the free market works.

In this asshole's case, i will defend to the death his right to say whatever bigoted shit he wants to spew. But he does not have a right to a paycheck as a result. If it was my record label, he'd be gone as fast as i could put my foot up his ass. There are plenty of other labels to choose from; let him sell his crap at one of those. let Rupert Murdoch start his own record label, and sign this jagoff and Ted Nugent.

Supporting someone's right to be a bigot does not require anyone to enable the bigot to say whatever he wants without consequence. I'm all for free speech -- if someone was trying to censor Rush Limbaugh, I would support Limbaugh against that. But that doesn't mean I'm going to give Limbaugh a job and a pat on the back.

Let everyone know what a bigot this moron is, and let them decide if they want to boycott him. There is nothing wrong with a boycott; I've boycotted Fox Noise for years, and I have never spent a dime on anything wherein Ted Nugent or Courtney Love might make money from it. it's my right as an American.

Bigots have the right to be bigots, but the rest of us also have the right to disapprove of the bigotry.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger mike weber/fairportfan said...

That's what i said. (Incidentally, i *did* write my Congresscritters in support of a campaign to bet Rush dumped off Armed Forces Radio over his "phony soldiers" crack.)

I once caught some grief for asaying that i'm all for letting the loonies on both sides rave all they want - it makes them easier to find if necessary.

Banning someone from the air because of what he says smacks too much of the McCarthy era for my tastes, but i do heartily urge people not to buy "Big & Rich" albums as a protest.

(Personally, i'll have to not buy each album twice, since i wasn't going to, anyway...)

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Pat Offender said...

Modern C&W is just lamely-played rock. Nashville sucks eternal!!

At 3:15 PM, Blogger mike weber/fairportfan said...

Modern C&W is just lamely-played rock. Nashville sucks eternal!!

That's why there's "".

At 10:15 AM, Blogger H.L. Cherryholmes said...

I'm actually glad he said it. Now I know he's homophobic and I won't give anymore money to him by buying his music. I just wish I'd know this earlier. I grew up on Country music and I remember the days of anti-hippie sentiment when I was told that having long hair made a person anti-American. Seems some folks haven't changed their tune only who they're singing about. The difference between then and now, though, is that I can choose to turn off the radio and not buy his CDs. Thanks for letting me know how you really feel.

At 10:56 AM, Blogger mike weber/fairportfan said...

"... I remember the days of anti-hippie sentiment when I was told that having long hair made a person anti-American."
About fifteen or twenty years agop, i was walking along at a small strip mall near Folsom Louisiana, and i passed two people going the other way - a classic dried-up-looking redneck swamp-stomper and a small boy. (I would say i had a about six inches height and a hundred-plus pounds on the old guy; then as now my hair was around shoulder length [Though rather less grey].)

As they passed, i clearly heard the kid say "Look at his hair, Grandpa. Is he one of them faggots?" I looked around and smiled nicely at them, and had the satisfaction of seeing Grandpa take one look at me and drag loudmouth kid away...

At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this bigot has pulled the wool over the eyes of the public and is a absolute hypocrite liar and a thieve he steals his songs, love ?
it should be hate some people

At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is sad, but most country music
listers wouldn't accept that some artist are gay, for intise joe nichols made a gay feature film before he caught his break and the record company bought all of th copys to cover it up !

At 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John's father is a minister. He didn't say he hated gays. He just said that, if you legalize that, you have to legalize other things. It was his opinion, and he's entitled to it! This is America, and each person has a right to their opinion -- without threats from insecure people. If you don't like his music, don't buy it. If you want to marry a monkey, go for it! He answers to himself and God. He's a great singer and writer, like the Dixie Chicks. If you ask a stupid question, you get a stupid answer! And if you think he's stupid, then ask your Congressmen how THEY are going to vote on this and other issues; but, then again, you would have to worry about a bigger issue in this world! Since more people divorce than marry, it makes this whole argument kind of ridiculous! :)

At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Rich quote appears to be an excerpt from a longer on-air appearance, but there is nothing in that excerpt that sounds offensive. He didn't say he wants to kill gays, or that we should hate them, or even not accept those of our friends and relatives who might be homosexuals. He merely pointed out a very reasonable and logical question to the homosexual marriage lobby, and that is, where do you want to draw the line? Once you have achieved your goal, which is to have society redefine, in your favor, its basic building block-the two-parent family, centered on a man and woman, are you going to say that others who want to redefine marriage further are to be denied?
Your problem is that you crave acceptance, not tolerance. And your knee-jerk reaction is every bit as bigoted towards conservatives, as what you accuse them of doing to you. Where's your tolerance?

At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for pointing this out. I don't want "Big & Rich" being blamed for something that only John Rich has said. Big Kenny forever!!! Love Everybody in the FREAK PARADE!! (that's Big Kenny talk, not John Rich)

At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

whats wrong with you people???
God forbid someone say something that YOU might get upset about.
How many times have YOU said something that was taken out of context? We can all pick apart sentences and use other peoples words against them, or for ourselves. I have no problems with people living their lifestyles, but believe me you, I will say something about it,it usually is in a joking way. The big picture is its not up to us to make jugdement on people, that is saved for the Creator of life. Just remember we all have to explain ourselves at the end of our journey. So relax let people be who they want to be.

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gays are like drug attics. Bad behavior that you cannot control

Being gay is a bad thing, not a great thing (as our media and schools whould lead you to believe)

At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Romans 1:24-32 (KJV):
[24] Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
[25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
[26] For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
[27] And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
[28] And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
[29] Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
[30] Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
[31] Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
[32] Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

amen i love everyone but dont always agree with what they say or do but John is like most of us that was brought up in a bapist church . i agree with john ..

it aint right

At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

john rich can;t even pick a singer!much less a president.and i sure like your fur coat.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Joe said...

This is where social liberalism is at its finest. The voice, thoughts, beliefs and views of the few are to out way the many. Like another comment-or said that John did not come out and say that gays are bad but that where do you draw the line. When and if gays do get the right to openly and legally marry (God forbid) who will be the next poster child group for "lets change our entire belief and moral system to encompass the few?" Heroine or meth addicts? Child molesters, pedophiles, rapists, gang members, drug dealers, killers, thieves and liars would all have you believe that they should have the right to do what the do with no social, moral or even legal repercussions. So why not lets everybody look at the big picture and see what John really said and not pick out the parts and use them for your own devices.

At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont care about his views, but his music and that stupid ass hat he wears make me want to smash his face with a tack hammer

At 7:03 PM, Blogger Badger31201 said...

I find it hard to believe that John Rich *isn't* gay. It's always the bit dog that yelps the loudest. And look at that moustache... right outta Village People. The video looks like Gay Pride.

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry. I like John Rich. Why is it that you can offend anything else in the USA but dare you say anything about homosexuality, your damned. I don't think it is fair that big companies like DuPont will pay for insurance for the lover of a gay man or woman but if it is between a man and woman they will not. I get what John Rich is saying and its not being homophobic. It is called being rationaln sensible and fair for everyone and not just one cause. And by the way, my sister is gay and she is my best friend. Everyone needs to get over the "gay issue". Not everyone cares!

At 7:34 PM, Blogger shizeklipxx said...

to the bible quoter---"Judge ye not or lest ye be judged" im a gay american and I dont beleieve I deserve to die

At 8:05 AM, Blogger Paul Doe said...

I say YOU are a bad thing, based on your words and attitude. Luckily for you, my opinion doesn't make it so, just as your opinion on gays doesn't make it so. Funny thing is you probably have a gay friend or relative and don't even know it, due to them hiding it so they won't have to deal with your bigoted ways.


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