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Random Things of The '80s Rock Legend Dee Snider Sounded Off Against Censorship In A Speech To Congress

  • Snider Told Congress There Were Some Very Simple Ways To Figure Out If A Song Was Appropriate - None Of Which Involved Labels on Random Things of The '80s Rock Legend Dee Snider Sounded Off Against Censorship In A Speech To Congress

    (#8) Snider Told Congress There Were Some Very Simple Ways To Figure Out If A Song Was Appropriate - None Of Which Involved Labels

    When asked how he would find out if a song was right for a kid to listen to, Snider gave three options.  First, he'd look at the cover:

    Well, quite simply, as a parent myself and as a rock fan, I know that when I see an album cover with a severed goat's head in the middle of a pentagram between a woman's legs, that is not the kind of album I want my son to be listening to.

    Second, he'd read the song list and lyrics:

    If I read a title on the back of, say, Somebody's Ice Cream Castle, a title called "If the Kid Can't Make You Come," whatever it is, I realize that is a sexually explicit song. By just looking at the cover, looking at the lyrics, looking at, I should say, the titles, that should cover just about all bases. 

    Finally, he'd listen to it:

    The few albums that do not express their intentions on the cover or in the song titles, I think a parent could take it home, listen to it. And I do not think there are too many retail stores that would deny them the ability to return the album for something different.

     

  • Snider Made It Clear That He Worked Hard And He Shouldn't Be Punished For It on Random Things of The '80s Rock Legend Dee Snider Sounded Off Against Censorship In A Speech To Congress

    (#12) Snider Made It Clear That He Worked Hard And He Shouldn't Be Punished For It

    Dee Snider didn't hold back when it came to being honest with the committee. He told them he believed in his music and that he was an entertainer, just like actors and others. Snider was out to have fun, not to corrupt his audiences. He thought rock bands had a bad reputation, but he also believed wasn't part of the problem; he was working to fight sexism and other negative aspects of the music industry. 

    In the end, Snider's only recommendation for change in the music industry involved some sort of return policy that parents could use to return material they deemed inappropriate. Snider lost that battle, however, when the RIAA caved and agreed to start labeling albums in November 1985.  In 1990, the "Parental Advisory" label became standardized.

     

  • Many Musicians Protested The Label With Reactive Music on Random Things of The '80s Rock Legend Dee Snider Sounded Off Against Censorship In A Speech To Congress

    (#13) Many Musicians Protested The Label With Reactive Music

    After the decision to include Parental Advisory labels, many musicians and artists protested through song. Punk group NOFX released an EP titled, THE P.M.R.C. Can Suck on This in 1987.

    Danzig's 1988 song "Mother" managed to break into mainstream radio and contained lyrics calling out the problems with the PMRC:

    Mother, tell your children not to walk my way.
    Tell your children not to hear my words.
    What they mean, what they say, mother.

    Ice-T's 1989 album The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech... Just Watch What You Say contains several lyrics bashing the PMRC. One song in particular, "Freedom of Speech," is a blatant jab at Tipper Gore:

    Yo, Tip, what's the matter? You ain't gettin' no d*ck?
    You're b*tchin' about rock 'n' roll - that's censorship, dumb b*tch
    The Constitution says we all got a right to speak
    Say what we want, Tip - your argument is weak

    Even decades after the decision, musicians like Eminem still attacked the decision. In his song "White America," the outro includes a direct "f*ck you" to Tipper Gore and the PMRC.

  • Snider Implied Tipper Gore Had A Dirty Mind on Random Things of The '80s Rock Legend Dee Snider Sounded Off Against Censorship In A Speech To Congress

    (#2) Snider Implied Tipper Gore Had A Dirty Mind

    In his testimony before the Senate, Snider directly addressed Tipper Gore's contention that Twisted Sister's song "Under the Blade" was sadomasochistic and about bondage. The song, according to Snider, was written for the band's guitar player, Eddie Ojeda, who was having surgery. Tipper Gore, however, claimed there was a sexual message in the lyrics

    Your hands are tied, your legs are strapped, a light shines in your eyes
    You faintly see a razor's edge, you open your mouth to cry

    Snider told the Committee "Ms. Gore was looking for sadomasochism and bondage and she found it," indicating the bondage was a metaphor for fear. Snider later wrote for the Huffington Post that he enjoyed the "raw hatred I saw in Al Gore's eyes when I said Tipper Gore had a dirty mind." Al Gore was also on the Senate subcommittee. 

    Snider later got Senator Gore to admit to liking John Denver and Frank Zappa, although he wasn't a Twisted Sister fan. 

  • Dee Snider Wasn't The First Choice To Testify on Random Things of The '80s Rock Legend Dee Snider Sounded Off Against Censorship In A Speech To Congress

    (#10) Dee Snider Wasn't The First Choice To Testify

    Dee Snider later stated he wasn't the ideal candidate to testify in front of Congress - he knew it and they knew it - which is why they originally wanted Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil. Snider thought this was because "Vince is not very articulate. He actually is a life-styler, so he probably would have been half in the bag going in there. They would have smacked him around, because he's incapable of fighting at the level. As far as going and having an intellectual debate on something, he'd be pretty defenseless."

    Other music industry professionals, aside from Frank Zappa and John Denver, included the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) president Stanley Gortikov and radio DJ Cerphe Colwell, who had been invited by Zappa to appear.

     

  • Snider Argued Lyrics Weren't The Only Thing About Music That Mattered on Random Things of The '80s Rock Legend Dee Snider Sounded Off Against Censorship In A Speech To Congress

    (#6) Snider Argued Lyrics Weren't The Only Thing About Music That Mattered

    When asked by the committee chairperson, Senator John Danforth of Missouri, if parents know what is on the albums they buy their kids or that kids buy themselves, Snider was blunt when he admitted it didn't matter. Snider stated he didn't know everything on each of the albums he listened to, and even on the albums he knew well, the lyrics didn't make him do bad things.

    According to Snider, "I know that AC/DC, one of my favorite bands, sings a lot of songs glorifying hell and damnation. I am a Christian. I do not believe - I do not want to go to hell and I do not want to be damned for all time. But I do like the feel of the songs. The lyrics have no effect on me."

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For rock fans, Dee Snider, the lead singer of Twisted Sister, is definitely one of the most well-known legends. His famous song "We're Not Gonna Take It" was Trump's campaign song during the 2016 U.S. election. He not only achieved great commercial success but also made great contributions to the development of rock music. In the 1980s, PMRC began to the mandatory requirement to promote music censorship and grading, which was strongly opposed by many rock musicians.

As a member of the hearing, Dee Snider publicly expressed his opposition to censorship, his speech shocked everyone, and the video of this hearing is still available online. The random tool lists 13 details about his attitude and speech to fight against censorship.

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