Rock gods and politicians seem worlds apart, but for Delaware County Treasurer Jon Peterson and State Auditor Dave Yost, music permeates all – the two have been in a band together for about 10 years.
They call themselves The Geezers, according to Peterson, who said, “We have an abundance of grey hair and a few years between us.”
The band includes other workers for the state and county, and while Peterson says The Geezers play mostly house shows and backyard barbecues, he and Yost were a part of another group who performed at the state treasurer’s conference.
For the show, they called themselves the T-Notes, a term referencing a government debt security.
Peterson says both groups cover classic rock from the 1960s and 1970s, including songs by the Rolling Stones and Tom Petty. Peterson said his instrument of choice is the guitar, while Yost plays the keyboard and bass guitar.
In addition to playing for his peers, Peterson says Yost uses his music to show who he is as a politician. Their video for “Music to my Ears,” released during Yost’s re-election campaign, features Yost, Peterson and others playing in Yost’s living room.
“[Yost] used his music to convey what he is,” Peterson said, adding, “[Music and politics] are concurrent…even during that time as an officer, that doesn’t disclude the love for music.”
Peterson pointed out connections between other politicians and music, including President George H.W. Bush’s former campaign manager, Lee Atwater, who surprised the public with his skill at the blues.
Yost has played in other bands as well. He played for The Pink Flamingos while he worked as a journalist at the now defunct Citizen-Journal in Columbus.
Ohio Wesleyan journalism instructor TC Brown, who also played with The Pink Flamingos, said the band had quite a following of other political journalists and even played at the governor’s mansion.
Peterson, who worked in the Franklin County administrative offices at the time, agreed, adding he was a part of a fan base that “followed them around.”
Brown says he, Yost and Peterson jammed together once or twice, having fun by playing covers.
According to Peterson, he likes playing guitar for the therapeutic value. Quoting the Rolling Stones, Peterson said, “It’s only rock and roll. But I like it.”