These days, it seems like no one with a podcast is safe from the ire of the public. Inciting rage in some of folk music’s most legendary stars, however, is a different level of public outrage. For podcaster and comedian Joe Rogan, it is all in a day’s work.
Rogan sparked controversy in his Spotify-exclusive podcast when he publicly questioned the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. In response to Rogan’s spread of misinformation, folk megastars Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have pulled their music from the streaming service. To appease fans, Rogan announced he will record the beloved folk tunes himself.
“I want to honor my fans who are caught in the crossfire,” Rogan said. “If the people want this music so badly, I figure it can’t be that hard to cover. So, who am I to keep the people from what they want?”
To avoid copyright violations, Rogan’s legal team advised him to alter the songs slightly. Rogan decided to sing about what he knows best: Cannabis.
Young’s hits such as “Harvest Moon” and “Heart of Gold” are now “Harvest (that Flower under the) Moon” and “Heart of Green.” Mitchell’s hits will also be reworked in this style, including “Urge for Smoking” and “Cannabis Tree.”
“I will not be another comedian brought down by cancel culture,” Rogan said from his ergonomic gaming chair.
To his immediate right, the George Foreman grill that still sizzles with the greasy residue of MorningStar Xtra Meat Sausage Links, the floor to his left littered with dated bottles of his own urine.
“My father and his father did not employ people to work for them just so my first amendment right to free speech could be diminished by some decrepit lyrical cowboy and a lady who looks like she gets lost in the Fred Meyer produce aisle,” Rogan said.
His recording booth has been equipped with a bed and hamster-style drip bottles for water. Personal decor touches include family photos, a “Don’t Tread on Me” mug and a framed so-called “N-Word pass.”
“We had a difficult time finding session musicians,” Rogan said. “So we’ve employed middle school rock band The Weenuses.”
Rogan plans to release his version of Young’s discogaphy as early as April 1 and Mitchell’s in July. Mitchell, known for her effervescent vocals, has tunes that span quite a large range, posing a challenge to even the most accomplished musicians. Rogan disagrees.
“Honestly, I don’t find her vocals a challenge,” Rogan said. “I rarely find things that are too high are a problem for me.”
Rogan has found inspiration in the cover work. “Both Sides, Now (When Convenient for Me),” he explained, is his new motto when interviewing.
As fans around the world call for Rogan’s removal, the podcaster hopes to win them over.
“Well, if (the releases) are not what they want, it is something they never knew they needed,” Rogan said. “I suppose I am a little bit like Jesus. He was really a man of the people.”