Video premiere: Rock legend, ‘MacGyver’ star Michael Des Barres gets political on ‘Living in the USA'

Lyndsey Parker

British rock legend Michael Des Barres has done and seen it all — from fronting bands Silverhead, Detective, Chequered Past, and the Power Station; to co-writing Animotion’s hit “Obsession”; to acting in everything from the Sidney Poitier classic To Sir With Love to MacGyver, on which he played the famous villain Murdoc.

But 2018 is shaping up to truly be Des Barres’s year. Not only will the ageless icon turn 70 on Jan. 24 and reprise his Murdoc role in the new MacGyver reboot on Feb. 2, but he’s releasing a timely new political single, “Living in the USA.” Yahoo is excited to premiere the track’s controversial video, directed by Marianne Spellman.


“Suddenly the ‘news’ became a source of division and anxiety for us all,” Des Barres tells Yahoo, explaining the inspiration for the fiery rock ‘n’ roll anthem that features his former Chequered Past bandmate, Blondie’s Clem Burke, on drums. “I realized that if I didn’t stand for something, I would fall over. The only weapons I have are music and images, and this video reflects my honest sentiments. I love this country, which has been my adopted home for decades. The concern from my listeners was and is so intense that I wrote this song to honor America, not to demean it. Kindness, courage, and three chords are a powerful force. Kick ass… don’t kiss it.

“To turn away from an accident and not help is analogous to not addressing the greed, elitism, and injustice that is happening in our beautiful country and around the world. This is why I wrote ‘Living in the USA,’” Des Barres concludes.

Michael Des Barres (Photo: Daniel Rothenberg)

“Living in the USA” is available both digitally (iTunes, Amazon) and as a limited-edition red vinyl 45 (with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” on the B-side) via Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records. The indie label evolved from Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM, on which Des Barres hosts a popular weekly syndicated show.

Michael Des Barres will appear on CBS’s MacGyver on Feb. 2.