By Alex Bregman
Joe Scarborough is best known for talking politics on his MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” but the Republican former congressman, who represented Florida, is also starting to make a name for himself in a whole new industry: music.
Music itself isn’t anything new for him, though; the politician turned morning show host has been playing and writing it since he was a young kid, and he’s racked up a library of around 400 songs.
In 2015, he took his passion for music to a new level and formed a band. He called it Morning Joe Music. This week Scarborough performed with his band on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” The band has now become a hit at the venue Prohibition in New York City’s Upper West Side, where it plays at least every month, even streaming a recent performance on the Nasdaq camera in Times Square.
As Yahoo News and Finance Anchor and “Morning Joe” regular Bianna Golodryga found when she stopped in at a recent performance, the show has become a gathering of Scarborough fans and politicos from both sides of the aisle.
Scarborough himself doesn’t think music belongs to any political party. He told Golodryga, “One of my pet peeves is when one side or the other thinks their music only belongs to one party.”
He recalled posting something on Twitter about R.E.M and said people responded with comments like “‘Oh, you know, you — you were a Republican congressman, you’re not allowed to like R.E.M.’ Country music fans will say that about [liberals]— it’s just stupid. Music belongs to everybody.”
Fred Brown, chairman of the National Black Republican Council, was also in the crowd. When asked about the importance of having events like the performance to take a break from politics, he said, “It’s very important because it’s bringing people together. Music [is] outside of the politics.”
Brown was there with Michael Rendino, chairman of the Bronx Republican Party, who agreed, “It’s fantastic. It’s great. I mean, what could unite more than a Republican on MSNBC that’s well-liked coming out, having a good time?”
Two fans in the crowd, Mary Anne Dennis, who said she voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and her friend, Kara Whitt, who was a Donald Trump supporter, were in town from Las Vegas and stopped by Scarborough’s show. Dennis told Golodryga, “It is a good break. I found after the election I really had to cut myself off a little bit because I was just so discouraged.”
Scarborough’s band already has at least a few groupies like Karen Danzinger, who said, “I tell everyone that my life revolves around ‘Morning Joe.’ And I will stop anything to be at his performances. I’ve been at every one and I’m a groupie — it’s insane.”
When asked which is his biggest passion, music or politics, Scarborough said that was easy: “Oh, music. It’s not even a close call.”
Answering the same question, Scarborough’s co-host, Mika Brzezinski, who was also at the show, told Golodryga, “I think it’s a tossup. I think, though, that his life has been more complete now that music is much a bigger part of it.”