Beto O'Rourke, the newest presidential candidate in an ever-widening pool, has a secret talent. And it has nothing to do with politics—unless you count singing the National Anthem—Beto O'Rourke was in a punk rock band, Foss, at one point. And, yes, there's video.
O'Rourke, who almost won the Senate seat from Republican Ted Cruz, is known for his talent of keeping large crowds engaged. Turns out, O'Rourke may have learned it from being a bass player in the band Foss, as well as other punk music experiences he's talked about in multiple interviews and during his campaigns.
Here's proof, as well as more info about O'Rourke's music past (and present!), which he'll hopefully talk about as he goes on the campaign trail.
He fell in love with music young.
Per Rolling Stone, he fell in love with punk rock after hearing The Clash in 8th grade. He and bandmates Arlo Klahr, Mike Stevens, and Cedric Bixler-Zavala formed Foss in the early '90s. They released an album, The El Paso Pussycats, while O’Rourke was simultaneously attending Columbia, and they even went on tour in the U.S. and Canada and even attracted the attention of the band Feist. Beto gave Rolling Stone a digital version of their song "Rise."
There's old YouTube video of him playing with Foss.
It's, uh, an interesting sound. Beto, in case you didn't spot him immediately, is the fellow in the tan jacket on bass. Look at that long hair! Much fuller than his recent beard, but still.
The Texas GOP tried to use it against him.
In a strange tweet during the election, the GOP tried to argue...that...Beto had a gig instead of debating Cruz? Using a photo from decades ago? They also used the fact that O'Rourke had been arrested twice when he was young to try and attack his character.
It was a weird move, and it absolutely backfired: "Twitter users focused on O’Rourke’s perceived attractiveness and fun background as a musician and skateboarder," per Vox. It's thought that Beto is popular with millennials in part because of his punk past.
And he references his history in his campaigns.
Beto told Vox all about about his time at Foss and the 1980s punk label Dischord Records. "When you're putting out your own records and booking your own tours and writing your own songs, you get to control what you say. The campaign is the same thing."
Beto continues to perform occasionally.
In 2018, he joined Willie Nelson on stage at an Austin rally to sing "On the Road Again." In his button-down and slacks, he looks like the polar opposite of Willie, but they look like they're having fun.
Also, he once performed in a sheep mask and onesie.
Could we see him grabbing the guitar again during his presidential run??
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