by Aimee Levitt
Update April 23: Fired Up! Missouri says they have obtained documents that show that Tom Schweich did, in fact, approach the Dandy Warhols to request permission to use "a few themes" from "Bohemian Like You." A letter from Schweich's attorney to the Warhols claims that Schweich is "a big fan" and was considering calling his song "Conservative Like You." Schweich even offered to pay for intellectual property rights.
Wrote the lawyer: "Tom wants to show his respect for the band and wishes to have the band's and record company's cooperation and blessing, if possible."
The Warhols denied his request.
Election day may not be for six more months, but Thomas Schweich, devoted family man, public servant, ambassador, State Department official, best-selling author (of a business-law textbook, true, but a bestseller nonetheless) and the GOP's candidate for Missouri state auditor has just attained his greatest dream:
His band just released its first video! Yep, you can now watch Ambassador Tom and the Disenfranchised Youth rocking out to the Schweich-penned "Gimme Back My Freedom" on You Tube.
And already the haters are starting to circle. No, not because of the lyrics. It's because of the catchy little tune.
The Dandy Warhols claim -- via Twitter -- that Schweich blatantly ripped off their equally-catchy 2000 song "Bohemian Like You." The similarity was first noted by Fired Up! Missouri, but the Warhols apparently heard about it via the Tumblr blog The Epitome of Profundity. The Warhols' official reaction: "WHAAAAAT?"
Wow, look at that! The "Gimme Back My Freedom" also shows the lyrics and somebody working on a car! Also, Schweich's campaign slogan is "I Like Schweich!", an echo of the "I like you! I like you!" refrain of "Bohemian Like You." That cannot possibly be a coincidence, can it?
The St. Louis Beacon responsibly looked into the matter. Schweich told the Beacon that he had been playing guitar for 30 years -- he even played in a band when he was in the State Department -- and was upset by allegations that he had ripped off the Warhols. "The words and music are my own,'' he said. Also, his true artistic inspiration is the Rolling Stones. Just look! In the "Gimme Back My Freedom" video, he wears a striped shirt just like Mick Jagger's!
OK, so maybe Schweich was ripping off "Brown Sugar":
(The Stones liked this riff a lot. It's in "One Hit to the Body," too. Which Schweich probably already knows.)
Which would make "Gimme Back My Freedom" totally different from "Bohemian Like You" if the Warhols' inspiration was, instead, "Little Bitch" by the Specials. (Similarity first noted by the always-astute Annie Z.)
Interestingly, Schweich's main duty while ambassador to Afghanistan under President George W. Bush was to develop the first ever U.S. Counternarcotics Strategy for Afghanistan. The Dandy Warhols are proud supporters of "U.S. marijuana legislation reform."