Oliver Anthony, the viral musician whose hit song still sits atop the Billboard Hot 100, sat down with Joe Rogan for an hourslong interview that covered politics, porn, mental health and much more.
Many assumed the lyrics in Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond” — which discuss “minors on an island” and people abusing welfare — denoted a Republican mindset, but Anthony has since tried to separate himself from any political affiliation.
During his interview on “The Joe Rogan Experience,” the overnight sensation similarly took a measured approach to discussing his political stance. However, he admitted that most of his friends in Virginia “vote red” and support Donald Trump. He also at one point took a shot at Barack Obama.
“I love freedom of speech and I love the Second Amendment,” Anthony shared, although he said he knew both issues have been used as “triggers” by the right to drum up support from their base.
At many points in the conversation, Rogan seemed to try to get Anthony to discuss the more controversial points in his song — such as when he sings “If you’re 5-foot-3 and you’re 300 pounds, taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds.”
The country singer, however, would deftly skirt around most of those talking points.
“Fat people shouldn’t be buying f---ing fudge rounds with food stamps,” Rogan said.
“Yeah, and that’s sort of a conversation that got blown multiple ways, and really I’d like to let a song be left up to the interpretation of the listener,” Anthony responded.
He then connected the issue to General Motors (GM) “being bailed out of the recession after making all these terrible decisions,” saying he’d really like to write a song about that.
The conversation then veered into various territories, including aliens, hunting, the Bible and even pornography.
“That stuff’s terrible for people,” Anthony said about porn, adding “that’s one thing I had to give up because it does disconnect you from reality in many ways. I think a lot of the weird perversion we see coming out now at this point — I even reference some of it in the song, of course, but you read about a lot of the weird things people are doing that maybe wouldn’t have been accepted 100 years ago.”
Anthony continued to be fairly vulnerable with other topics, including his battle with anxiety and depression, going “on a run with SSRIs” (which he said didn’t help), and finding peace partially through reading scripture.
He even shared that he first started uploading his music to the internet because he thought he was going to die and wanted to leave something behind for his family.