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, (opens in new tab) at one point. And, yes, there's video.
O'Rourke, who almost won the Senate seat from Republican Ted Cruz (opens in new tab), 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.
Per Rolling Stone (opens in new tab), 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."
Beto was also a drummer (opens in new tab) in the band Swedes in the mid-'90s. According to Beto (opens in new tab), his bandmates have "all gone on to successful musical careers, confirming their talent and my lack thereof."
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 (opens in new tab), 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.
Maybe Beto can’t debate Ted Cruz because he already had plans... pic.twitter.com/LdqKTh3yK4August 28, 2018
It was a weird move, and it absolutely backfired (opens in new tab): "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 (opens in new tab) 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."
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.a
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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Everybody Running for President In 2020
Please Allow Me Time to Process Beto O'Rourke's New Beard
Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.
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