Irreverent and deep. Informal and smart. Funny, gritty and a tad bit raunchy…
It’s right up our alley.
It’s called Johnny Rocket Launch Pad (JRLP).
JRLP is a fast-paced, blue-collar libertarian rock show.
The next minute they’re talking about pounding double-shots (if not actively pounding them) and introducing lesser-known rock bands. It’s light and entertaining, yet hard enough to make it burn a little going down.
Certainly an artform we appreciate.
As Ehric McVey put it, it’s “Libertarianism for the working class.” And it’s what the world needs.
“I think a lot of people are libertarians,” Johnny said in his latest episode, “they just don’t know it yet.”
That’s one of many reasons why, today, we’ve invited Johnny Rocket to talk to us about his radio show, how the first rock n’ roll libertarian show came about and why he identifies as libertarian.
Libertarianism For the Working-Class
CHRIS: Hey, Johnny. Thanks for joining us.
To begin, how about you tell us a little bit about yourself.
JOHNNY ROCKET: Well, I wear a leather jacket, I smoke cigarettes, and I like to drink.
How about that for an intro?
By the way, I just wanted to thank you Chris for this interview. We are humbled for this opportunity especially with Laissez Faire Books. It’s a great honor.
C: Thanks. It’s an honor to have you on. I’ve been enjoying the show.
JR: OK. So, about me. Believe it or not, I was a helicopter pilot in the U.S Army, and I’m the former lead singer in a rockabilly band.
I guess I took those influences and ran with them. During my time in the government I saw the fraud, waste and abuse that occurs at the expense of the American taxpayers.
I always complained about the money being wasted while I was there. And here I am now, exposing the wastefulness. And, more than that, I see it as a public duty to inform the common person about the principles of freedom and liberty.
C: I see. I dig it. So, tell us a bit more about the show and your crew. Who else is part of JRLP?
JR: Well, first, I really have to give a ton of credit to my co-host Curt Nelson from Speed of Sound and Tommy Sound for giving the attention to detail in making the show sound so professional.
Curt has a magic ear.
What I love about him is that he provides the “average non-political guy” perspective on Liberty. Curt is irreplaceable, and has been a true and loyal friend.
Also, the real magic behind the show is my girlfriend, and “voice of reason” of the show, Heather Nixon. She’s my stability, my anchor, and keeps me focused on topics, because I seem to have a short attention span.
She’s usually the one who excels at digging up facts, while I generally focus on the big picture of the show and editing.
While Heather is sharp, quick witted and can hang with the best of them, she is the ultimate badass with that sexy radio voice.
I just have to say, I feel sorry for anyone who crosses her.
C: Haha. Awesome, so that’s the crew. Anyone who listens in will quickly notice the incredible dynamic between you guys.
So, as I mentioned… and will probably mention again… the show is great. You guys get some heavy-hitters to come on, too. Which is awesome.
How did you come to create the first and, as far as we know, only rock n’ roll libertarian radio show?
JR: Good question. I think we became the only rock n’ roll libertarian radio show because… drum roll… NO ONE ELSE CLAIMED IT.
All-in-all, though, I think normally politics and music don’t really “gel” all too well. And that’s a really big challenge to make work.
Think about it, music is usually from the heart and politics is from the head. I really love music, and I love politics and liberty, so we try to combine those two things to make a fun, engaging, educational and entertaining experience.
You have to be extra slick when one minute you’re talking about the NSA, and then immediately turning around and talking about this great song or band.
The show is constantly switching gears, and I think the Launch Pad Crew has gotten very strong at creating a seamless transition from serious topics to light hearted banter, and music.
C: I admit, I normally have the attention span of a gnat. That aspect of the show, though, is definitely what keeps me tuning in and coming back.
JR: That’s great. I really think our show appeals to balanced left and right brained individuals. And being creative and logical at the same time is a real challenge.
I really wanted to create something that I personally would enjoy listening to. And the concept of this show hadn’t been done before.
The bigger benefit is I think having a fun approach to the ideas of liberty is really inviting to the common person.
And by using music as the common ground, it’s a lot less shocking to people who have loved the government their whole lives, when I come along and CRUSH IT. Music definitely softens the blow of libertarianism to non-liberty lovers.
C: Hmm… noted.
JR: The overall goal of the show is to inform the common person with the hope that those individuals can pick up some of the libertarian philosophy or free market economics in the process. Only time will tell.
The Johnny Rocket Launch Pad is really a laboratory for liberty, and we’re constantly experimenting.
C: A rock n’ roll lab for liberty. Sounds good.
So, for those who might not be too familiar with libertarianism, who maybe stumbled across this interview on our website, why do you consider yourself libertarian?
JR: Why am I a libertarian? Well, I have always gone against the grain. Maybe that is why libertarianism has appealed to me.
I like to think for myself. I know deep down I’m a true libertarian because I have always respected the individual. It is really about protecting the individual.
The “mob rule” mentality is scary, and people are all about promoting and legislating their personal agenda.
I want people be able to do what they want, even if I disagree. Freedom is an amazing thing. Diversity should be celebrated. But having a government that forces these ideas down your throat is disgusting.
Libertarianism is the most beautiful thing yet, because we respect everyone’s choices, regardless of our own personal opinions.
C: Absolutely agree. Well put. OK, so Ehric McVey called your show “libertarianism for the working class.”
It’s fitting. The best part of the show is how you guys bring everything down to earth, but aren’t afraid, at the same time, to tell it like you see it. It’s refreshing.
JR: Yeah. I think we do appeal to the working-class because we are not speaking from some “ivory tower”.
We are not part of some think tank. We swear, we cuss and for the most part we tell it like it is. If things are messed up, we will point it out. If some policy is infringing on other people’s rights we will make sure to it out.
Our goal is to basically translate economics and philosophy into laymen terms so that everybody understands. The ideas of Mises and Hayek are amazing, but I think having a down-to-earth example is also important.
I guess sometimes we are Liberty translators for the blue collars. The Launch Pad has been able to relate to the blue collar Americans, because we can talk their talk, and walk their walk.
I cannot stand statements from progressives; they constantly try to villainize us.
If you’re a successful person, why are you evil? Just because some loser hippie never worked a day in his life, doesn’t mean he is society’s responsibility.
That loser needs to man up, gain skills, gain experience and bring value to society. We need to understand that personal hardships can be handled by charity. The first step is not to rely on the government.
C: Yes, step away from the State. Absolutely.
So, in your opinion, what do you think of the liberty movement overall?
Recently, Gary Johnson, Reason, FEE, The Blaze and many others have claimed that America is becoming more libertarian. Do you agree?
JR: I love the liberty movement! But, I don’t think the U.S. is necessarily becoming more libertarian, I think everybody already is a libertarian; they just don’t know it yet.
Being a libertarian takes balls. I don’t think most people have them.
I have a ton of respect to those individuals who put their asses on the line for liberty. I love all those guys and gals who are striving to make a difference.
It takes a lot of minerals to go against the system. I think the bigger or more financially sound the advocate for liberty is, the more they have to lose.
And I might get flak for saying this, but I love the Koch brothers, what they have done for the libertarian movement is amazing. I know it’s not “cool” to like the Koch brothers nowadays.
But I think, personally, they are what this world needs.
They have done so much for the libertarian message, and they need more libertarian support. They have also funded this amazing website LearnLiberty.org.
How can these men be that evil? They created the best libertarian learning center ever!
C: Yes. OK. So, I currently, for the time being, live in Baltimore. And I hear the absolute craziest things while talking to people here.
I even turned it into a series called “Talking to Strangers Who Hate Capitalism” because I was getting so many good sound bites.
For example, in the past few weeks I’ve heard “I think the government isn’t big enough”… “Property is theft”… “Yoga is cultural appropriation”… and much more.
A lot of them, of course, identify under the moniker “democratic socialist.” What do you think is most important for the democratic socialists to understand?
JR: In a word: Economics. If this world understood basic economics, it would be a better place! I find it sad.
It’s the same people who hate capitalism so much that turn around and charge you outrageous prices for their so-called “craft” beer.
If they hate capitalism so much, why do they try and make a profit on it? Why are they selling it in the first place? Finally, why don’t they give their beer to the people who can’t afford it? It’s hypocritical.
They are free-market capitalists, and yet they are against the system that is paying their rent and putting clothes on their back.
C: Haha. Yes, absolutely.
So, last question: Why should Laissez Faire Today readers listen to your show? Give us the elevator pitch.
I’ve already tuned in and I love it.
It’s one of three podcasts I listen to regularly, in fact. But I want the reasons for its greatness to come from the horse’s mouth.
Also, please tell us the easiest way to stay tuned to each episode.
JR: It’s a great show!
We pride ourselves in having some of the best professors, politicians, and experts on libertarian issues.
And we are also blessed to have some of the greatest bands featured from all over the world! If you can get past our occasional swearing, and controversial subjects, we believe we are one of the most entertaining libertarian shows out there right now.
Our radio show is growing and the audience is growing as well. We are constantly bringing the party to politics”. I recommend going to www.johnnyrocketlaunchpad.com, or visit us at iTunes, subscribe, and leave us a review!
Rock n’ Roll and thanks Chris, I had a great time! I would also like to thank you again for the opportunity to do this interview!
C: Thanks, Johnny!
Check out the Johnny Rocket Launch Pad right here at this link.
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today
P.S. Have something to say? Say it! Chris@lfb.org.