In 1985, Dee Snider, Frank Zappa, and John Denver faced off with Al and Tipper Gore and the other goones and stepford wives of Captial Hill in defense of an artist's right to express themselves the way they see fit. The goones and stepford wives were trying to basically step in and control lyrical content and take out what could be deemed as sexually explicit or violent. What if these goones had won? Can you imagine how different the entertainment world would be? I doubt us indies would have been exempt from such a catastrophic fate. Now, this would probably initially had gotten rid of the 2 Live Crews of the world (I LOVE 2 Live Crew) but would it have stopped there? I'm sure if one really wanted to nit pick, they would find content that could be taken as "violent" or "dark" ("dark" usually translating to "evil" in the progressive minds of many an uptight, prudish person with a stick up their ass) in my own album, POET. My friends of the bands Bonfire Night and Norsewind write songs about viking legends and other barbaric heathenistic cultures of old. Would they have censored that? In fact, many metal and progressive rock bands write similar content to that. Would they have made record stores get rid of old Beatles, Led Zepplin, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd records and other bands that they thought proposed 'questionable' behavior thus robbing future generations of being exposed to some great music? Would the goth, punk, hip hop, and other subcultures actually be able to HAVE their subcultures? Where would it have ended? Or would it have ended at all?
Dee Snider, John Denver, and Frank Zappa will always be my heroes for putting their necks onto the chopping block for all of us artists. I'll be damned if anyone is going to tell me how I can and cannot express myself artistically or personally. Whether or not you are into their music, they did a wonderful thing for artists, musicians, filmmakers, etc everywhere. Music fans should be grateful too. A couple years ago, I got a taste of how uptight some self righteous people can be. My song and music video for "Ashes to Dust" was rejected from a radio station because it was claimed to be promoting "evil and satanism" (their words) when it was the furthest thing from it! The song and video represent me coming out of a very dark time in my life. Apparantly, the same thing had been done to other artists whose music was outside the norm by the station in question. Can you imagine if EVERY station (and not just commercial radio) had to comply with such things?
Now those who are familiar with the music of John Denver, you would think he would never have to face censorship, right? You know, the guy who is famous for the song, "Take Me Home, Country Road" (a really good song)? Wrong! In his speech to the goones on Capital Hill, he mentions how his song, "Rocky Mountain High" was banned because some uptight morons decided the song promoted drug use and didn't even bother to really know what the song was actually about (it was about being up in the Rocky Mountains and getting the natural high of being in the mountains and with nature). Now if John Denver was banned and censored, whose to say that your favorite artist wouldn't have been. Who's to say that your favorite artist would even had been allowed to exist? Take a moment to really think about how the music industry would be today had Al Gore, Tipper Gore, and the other goones and stepford wives of Capital Hill had been allowed to win their argument. What if Denver, Zappa, and Snider hadn't stuck their necks onto the chopping block and offered their educated arguments to the senate? Would music even be the same?
Please take a moment to listen to the speeches of these three artists. Dee Snider, you are still doing an awesome job. Frank Zappa and John Denver, the music world misses you. You are in the presence of other musical greats with God given talents. Always RIP and know that your efforts were not in vain. There are still those of us fighting the fight of self expression and will continue to do so should any of us have to face off with those trying to stifle us.
More often then not, those trying to stifle us have no real clue on what the song is really about. They just see that it's different from what they are used to and deem it as "bad."
John Denver's BRILLIANT speech
A Great Interview on the ordeal with Dee Snider. The "Filthy Fifteen" consisted completey of bands I like. HA!
Frank Zappa's speech before the senate and proved to be very articulate and educated. He wiped the floor with the goones and stepford wives.
Zappa owned em! "Not all parents want to keep their children totally ignorant" and "I think a buzz saw blade in between a guy's legs (on an album cover) is an indication that it's not good for little Johnny." BEAUTIFUL!
The John Denver song that got banned....??????