Rocker Tommy Vext doesn’t think, or vote, like most of his peers.
He’s pro-Trump, anti-BLM-inspired riots and uneasy about aggressive pandemic lockdowns. And he’s paid the price for sharing those views.
Lawsuits. Band break ups. Big Tech oppression.
He refuses to stay silent, nor let naysayers disconnect him from his fans. Vext, formerly of Bad Wolves, just wrapped up a stint with the God Bless the Outlaws tour alongside country rapper Struggle Jennings.
The tour hit venues that don’t enforce vaccine mandate rules, and that’s no accident.
“We’re making a stand,” says Vext, who successfully beat back COVID-19 twice in recent months. He’s “disgusted” by states like New York that are putting fire fighters and First Responders alike on unpaid leave for not getting the jab.
Vext’s political thinking led to his departure from the band he co-founded.
Both Vext and Bad Wolves recently agreed to an amicable divorce late last month. The singer sued his former band earlier this year, claiming it forced him out due to his political opinions. The band, known for Vext’s hard-charging lead vocals and an exhilarating cover of The Cranberries’ “Zombie,” counter-sued, charging him with copyright infringement, unjust enrichment and breach of contract, according to Billboard. The latter suit also alleged Vext tried to sabotage the band’s upcoming release, recorded without him on lead vocals.
Vext, his voice a bit weary from the road, says he never had a problem with his former bandmates’ politics.
“We were all friends … those guys were all liberal, a few being vehemently liberal,” he says. Rock journalists, he says, lean the same way and threatened to ignore his music for daring to support President Trump.
It wasn’t a new feeling. Vext says he’s routinely targeted by major platforms for his political views.
“I’ve been shadow banned on Facebook and Instagram,” he says, adding he steers mostly clear of Twitter due to its incendiary nature.
The rocker got clean 13 years ago, and he says the press previously captured both that element of his life as well as his philanthropic work. That includes Bad Wolves steering $250,000 from their Cranberries’ cover — which amassed nearly half a billion plays on YouTube — to the children of the group’s late singer, Dolores O’Riordan.
The tone of his media coverage soured in recent months, though.
“Once I came out against ‘The Narrative,’ they started to flag my content,” he says of Big Tech. “The mainstream rock media came after me, [too]… a relentless, never-ending campaign.”
The latter, he says, includes domestic abuse charges leveled by ex-girlfriends Nicole Arbour, a YouTube comic, and personal trainer Whitney Johns, against him.
Vext denies both charges.
The former hardcore punk singer grew up poor, a condition which filters how he sees both America and the current political landscape.
“My mom was a crackhead who abandoned me … I got sober in my late 20s and turned my life around,” he says, forever grateful to live in a country that allows for second chances.
“This is one of the countries where it doesn’t matter what you’re born into, just work hard and also learn and ask questions and take personal responsibility for your losses,” he says. “You can become anything.”
It helps that a touring rocker sees other nations, especially lands where Communism reigns supreme. “There’s a lack of opportunity, a glass ceiling of government over people’s heads.”
Not in his home country.
“It’s called the American dream for a reason,” adds Vext, who says he considered himself a Democrat until he “woke up” roughly seven years ago.
Vext remains proud of his Bad Wolves legacy, especially the way the group’s songs connected with fans.
“Our hit songs are all autobiographical,” he says. “It’s impossible for my experiences not to pour out into the lyrics.” Fans routinely approach him to share their personal stories and how they overlap with his songs. Those moments are therapeutic for the singer as well as his fans.
“It’s healing to have people say, ‘me too,’” he says of his confessional songs.
Vext knows firsthand how hard it can be to buck the mainstream. His travails have taught him the importance of having a solid group of friends at his back, for starters.
“I lost a lot of people in my life, but I gained a lot, too,” he says. “The actual quality of the people in my life is so different. I’ve replaced all the leeches and the takers with people who bring stuff to the table.”
Taking a stand has another vital side effect.
“You’ll attract other people of integrity to you,” he says. He wouldn’t mind having more support, though, and not just for his sake.
“A lot of the things that happened to me wouldn’t have happened if other big bands said what I said,” he says of his musical colleagues. It’s not just confined to music, though. He notes how outspoken stars like Dave Chappelle, Nicki Minaj and Nets star Kyrie Irving make an impact by challenging accepted norms.
“People need to band together,” he says.
For now, Vext takes comfort knowing he stood up for his beliefs when doing the opposite offered the path of least resistance.
“When I’m an old man and people talk about 2020, I wanna say I did what I thought was right in a time when doing the right thing was almost like guaranteeing personal destruction,” he says.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.