Joe Biden ad enlists Beastie Boys & Pixies to highlight struggling music venues

Photo Credit: Ben Stas for Vanyaland

From Great Scott and Thunder Road to The Milky Way and The Cantab, the Boston area has seen its share of live music venues shuttered by the seemingly never-ending coronavirus pandemic. Now, months after a National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) survey concluded that 90 percent of stages across the country could close due to COVID-19, and with just 15 days until Election Day, a new Joe Biden for President ad turns national attention on the crisis rock clubs have been dealing with since March. And it’s soundtracked by Beastie Boys, Pixies, The Breeders, and others.

Airing yesterday (October 18) during NFL Sunday and immediately made public to view on Biden’s YouTube channel, the ad centers on a long-time Michigan live music venue in Ann Arbor called The Blind Pig.

As Blind Pig co-owner Joe Malcoun talks about the devastating effect the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19 has had on his club — echoed by virtually all venues across the country — Beastie Boys “Sabotage”, Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?”, “Cannonball” by The Breeders, and other songs give the ad a heightened sense of awareness.


Variety reports that a Biden campaign spokesperson says the Beastie Boys had “never licensed music for an ad until now,” and gave permission to use their classic 1994 hit “because of the importance of the election.”

It certainly jumps off the screen. As do the struggles of The Blind Pig.

“Everywhere I go, people have a story about the Blind Pig,” says Malcoun. “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.”


Watch the ad below.