Calling all “Rogues”

Joe Kellen

You may have heard of Jeff Wagner before. You probably saw the mayoral candidate for the first time emerging from a lake, promising to swear off strip clubs and kickbacks. Wagner’s a laid back dude, and even though his campaigning is unconventional (if you haven't watched all of the stuff on his YouTube channel, you ought to), he’s got an odd charm. I talked to him over the phone a few nights ago to find him in a characteristic half-chill, half-manic mood. Wagner reminded me that he doesn’t do drugs after asking me my age and if I knew the meaning of a colorful bit of unpublishable slang.  

"I'm a dude who believes in people and I show love and they show love back,” he said when asked about his videos and their angle. "Most candidates have [expletive] handlers and scripts to read and they go into these debates and everything's already decided. They’re misallocating money left and right, but now, with this new music we’re putting out, we’re throwing all our [expletive] dice down," he continued.

New music? Wagner informed me that he’d been working with some artist friends of his on putting an album together for his campaign. The first single from it, "Rogue Anthem," dropped on Halloween.  

Wagner isn’t on the track, but he directed the vision of the tune, appearing in and around the city of Minneapolis for the video and doing a little writing. It’s a bit of a callback to his past as “Uncle PNX” on his music video revue program "MRTC". Wagner said the “PNX” moniker may serve as the title for his album. Hailing it as a dance record that could be “bigger than Gangnam Style,” Wagner tentatively plans to release the record on Nov. 5, election day, although he’s still working on it. Ultimately, Wagner wants to use the music “as an anthem for everyone who is fighting back against media and money.”

As far as the future goes, Wagner wants to make his voice national, particularly with “MRTC.”

"If I win this by some sort of computer glitch, I know I'll be the most popular mayor Minneapolis has ever had,” he said. “People give me [expletive], but then I can get a national TV show and then my record drops and we just bitch slap 'em every week on national television."

Wagner is anything but oblivious to the naysayers (see 0:28 of “Rogue Anthem”), and, if it wasn’t obvious, is happy to be a part of the race. What’ll happen come election time? We’ll just have to wait and see if Uncle Wags’ record illuminates why Minneapolis residents should vote for him.

“I’m [expletive] up!” he said. “But personally, I think that’s what we [expletive] need.”