Last month I took note of the curious new genre of Tea Party-themed protest music. No musician, save for perhaps Ted Nugent, has capitalized on the conservative movement's career-building potential as successfully as Lloyd Marcus—a self-identified "black unhyphenated-American" who has headlined dozens of Tea Party rallies across the country since last spring. His stage presence, like any successful artist's, is distinctive: He sports a braided rat tail and performs in a black vest and cowboy hat. Marcus is currently touring the country with a handful of other Tea Party troubadours and conservative speakers as part of the Tea Party Express tour sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. I caught up with the singer at the tour's first stop—in Harry Reid's hometown of Searchlight, Nevada.
TM: Who would say are your biggest influences?
LM: Sammy Davis Junior, Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Nat King Cole. [Laughs.] That's a bizarre combination. But, like a lot of people have called me a combination of all three. Oh! And I like Michael Jackson.
TM: Really? What's your favorite Michael Jackson song?