Singer-songwriter Jim Bianco, whose “Easy Street” was used to torture Daryl (Norman Reedus) when he was a prisoner of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in Season 7 of The Walking Dead, took a stand opposing his song’s use against ICE protesters in 2018.
Bianco issued a cease and desist letter to the Department of Homeland Security, who “acknowledged” the use of the song and said it would no longer use The Collapsable Hearts Club’s hit made famous by its use on the show. “My song was used in a malicious way to hurt people,” Bianco told AV Club.
In July 2018, the Williamette Week reported protesters outside the Portland headquarters of U.S. Immigration and Customs were being subjected to “Easy Street” on loop. A tweet from @OccupyICEPDX shared video of the scene, writing, “ICE has been playing children’s music for 5 hours now.”
A spokesperson for the anti-ICE organization told Willamette Week the song played for more than 10 hours as part of a “continuous loop.”
It was previously reported by Week Metallica’s “Threatening Dad Rock” and “Enter Sandman” were also used to disrupt protesters’ efforts, a maneuver Federal Protective Service spokesman Robert Sperling denied: Sperling said the Department of Homeland Security “wouldn’t do something like” blasting loud and disruptive music against the camped out protesters.
AV Club notes the protesters ultimately “recorded their own version” of “Easy Street,” but with rewritten lyrics.
“Exactly how the song got into their hands is a mystery to me, but when they heard it, the show reached out and asked to use it,” Bianco said. “I didn’t really understand why a show like The Walking Dead would want to use such an upbeat over-the-top, in your face ‘happy’ song but now I understand — to torture someone, of course.”
The episode, “The Cell,” used the song “brilliantly,” Bianco added. “We’re happy to be a part of such creative use of music in such an iconic show.”
Reedus later told Independent he only heard the song once he viewed the episode, admitting the chirpy song “sucks.”0comments
“We didn’t hear that song while we were filming. We were just imagining a song,” Reedus said. “Then in the script, it was like a kids song, and that’s what I expected it to be and then that ‘Easy Street’ came on and I was like, ‘God this song sucks.’”
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with its Season 10 premiere Sunday, October 6.