I’ve been a fan of guitarist Paul Gilbert since I was in middle school.
(Me and Paul. 2006? 2007?)
In addition to being one of the best rock guitar players ever, Gilbert is also a superb song writer, singer, lyricist, and not a bad drummer or bassist – something that can’t be said of the great majority of “shred” guitar players. Most “shredders” usually never become known for anything other than their ability to mindlessly wank through scale shapes and sweep arpeggios. There seems to be a positive relationship between guitarists’ speed and their lack of talent in all the other aspects of music. But not Gilbert. He has it all. He was even one of the first DIY producers well over a decade ago, producing his own surplus of albums out of his home.
Gilbert has carved out his own small, but firm, place in the music market. He won’t ever be a household name, but he has near complete control over every aspect of his career. Little is outsourced. He cheaply produces the bulk of his albums out of his own home, reducing his production costs and therefore raising his profits. He’s been making his own line of very funny and very helpful instructional videos since he was a kid – which have not only probably brought in a lot of money, but have also probably acted as the best business card that could have ever been invented to advertise his music. And there’s never a shortage of bands and projects that Gilbert can join when he gets bored. He’s done sixteen solo albums, been a main contributor to twenty-one collaborative albums, appeared as a guest on thirty-nine other artists’ projects, and has released eighteen DVDs. He’s been a non-stop productive musical entrepreneur since he was fifteen.
Kinda like how after you buy a certain car you all of a sudden start to notice other people driving that car around town, I became really sensitive to other people’s libertarianism after I discovered I was a libertarian. It always feels awesome when you notice evidence that one of your role models shares your personal views and I was definitely pleased to find indications that Paul Gilbert… is a libertarian.
Gilbert has an anti-cop song called “I’m Not Afraid of the Police” (lyrics here). Any real libertarian hates cops. Cops are the only group within society who actually claim the official authority to routinely violate other people’s rights. As a heavy metal youngster it is very possible Gilbert had some run-ins with state enforcers that inspired this song.
Gilbert has recently and often been wearing a shirt that says “Voting is for Old People”
I won’t assume that Gilbert has read Hoppe’s Democracy: The God that Failed, but a shirt like this does display a healthy disdain for politics. It’s difficult to imagine any serious advocate of democratic statism wearing this shirt.
The sentiment behind this shirt is one also shared by the radical, pure anarchist libertarians. Lewrockwell.com, the best-read libertarian website in the world, has an entire section of articles on the barbaric practice of settling society’s problems through mob rule.
When the clothing store Urban Outfitters carried this shirt before the 2004 election, there was an outcry from the fanatical believers in mob rule about the shirt specifically because it was influencing young people to disrespect the idea of mob rule.
Paul Gilbert lived in Japan for several years, something that no flag-waiving, nationalist American would do. American soil is sacred and magical and anyone who leaves it is a damn traitor!
Again I present these simply as indications that Paul Gilbert may have, at the least, libertarian leanings.