Nathan Olivarez and his brother Jacob have been playing music together for over 15 years, mostly with a metal band called State of Insomnia. Together, they've released six albums with dozens of songs. But in December, they launched a side project—Brothers N Arms, a band focused on "supporting Trump, second amendment rights, and all that is America."
The brothers had the idea in December, after they attended a Trump rally. "When we heard Trump speak we said, 'Hey, we're going to back this candidate up,'" Nathan, the elder brother, told me. "This thing is going to be a movement. We have to do something."
The band's first single "Trump for America," is a musical collage of patriotic clichés—including a sample of children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The song started gaining traction when the Right Side Broadcasting Network, a conservative news site, included the song every time they broadcast a Trump rally. To date, it's been viewed on YouTube over 55,000 times and in addition to airtime on a few conservative radio shows, it will be played at an upcoming Trump event in Bakersfield, the brothers' hometown.
If it seems like the Olivarez brothers have lost all respect for their music by forming their pro-Trump rock band, at least they're not alone. This election season, pro-Trump songs have become a whole niche genre onto itself. There's Toots Sweet's "Make America Great Again," which is reminiscent of "America, Fuck Yeah" from Team America: World Police, but with a pumped-up chorus about building a wall on the border. That's not to be confused with Aeyess's "Make America Great Again," which is mostly an ode to national monuments, or "Pump the Trump,""I Wanna Be Like the Donald," and no one could ignore the "The Official Donald Trump Jam," performed by the preteen group of Freedom Girls.
YouTube and the internet play a big role in how original campaign songs are getting exposure, but it's far from a modern concept. Songs crooning candidate support date back to at least 1828, when John Quincy Adams used a song called "Little Know Ye Who's Coming" as part of his campaign package. (It didn't work.) One of the most well-known campaign songs in American history is William Henry Harrison's "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too," which the presidential hopeful used to rile up support on the campaign trail. (Tippecanoe was Harrison's nickname and John Tyler was his running mate. Listen to a great contemporary version of the song here.) It was so effective that political pundits of the era said it "sang Harrison into the presidency."
There are plenty of other examples: Howard Taft's catchy campaign "Get on a Raft with Taft," Dwight Eisenhower's earworm "I Like Ike," and Richard Nixon's 1960 campaign jingle, "Click with Dick," which included the amazing lyrics: Come on and / Click with Dick / The one that none can lick. (Not so successful come election day, apparently.)
The tradition has continued into contemporary politics, except now, it's political supporters who are making the songs—think "Time for Truth," the rap for Ted Cruz's campaign, or the pro-Bernie Sanders song "El Quemazón" (translation: The Burn) which has over 230,000 views on YouTube.
Nathan told me he never thought about doing a political song before "Trump for America," but after the Trump rally, he "wanted to give what I could to the movement."
Nathan, who is Latino, says he supports Trump on all fronts, especially his tough policies on immigration. "When you come illegally, there's the word—you're 'illegal,'" Nathan said. He has been called a traitor within the Latino community for musically supporting the man who wants to build a wall to keep out Mexicans, but it doesn't seem to phase him. "To me, I don't even know what I'm a traitor of," he told me. "I'm a fifth-generation [Mexican-American]. I don't even have family in Mexico, not one single relative."
Besides the pushback from Latinos and the occasional criticism ("this is the biggest hunk of crap I've ever heard," said one YouTube commenter) "Trump for America" has surprisingly positive online feedback. "Pro-America propaganda. About damn time," reads one YouTube comment. Another reads: "This song reminds you of a country when the people were true Americans and proud of it!!!"
Nathan says he sometimes gets supportive messages from people in other countries, including Sweden, Austria, Australia, and Canada, saying things like: "I'm not even American and I love this song" or "I wish we had a leader like Trump in my country too."
"Trump for America" was released as a single, but the Olivarez brothers are in the middle of writing and recording an entire Brothers N Arms album, which will feature both pro-Trump and pro-American tunes. As far as immediate gigs go, the Olivarez brothers are waiting for word from the big guy upstairs (Trump, not Jesus).
"I only see myself right now playing at Trump rallies. I'd like to be the headliner to be honest," he said. "I'll tour later when I have more time. Other than that, if Trump asks me to play, I'll go play." His dream gig would be to perform at the Republican National Convention.
I asked him if he's heard anything from Trump or his people, inviting him to play, but he said no. Despite that "Trump for America" has gone viral in conservative circles, the band has yet to get any recognition from The Donald himself. But they have faith that one day, they will.
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