President Barack Obama may enjoy rubbing shoulders with supporters who are mainstream Hollywood superstars and pop music behemoths like Beyoncé. But on the fringes of fame, either because they have faded from the spotlight or because they never sought mainstream approval, are a number of celebrities using their media microphones from time to time to voice disapproval of the President — often quite eloquently.
Joining the ranks of Hank Williams Jr. and Motor City Madman Ted Nugent, acclaimed punk rock legend Glenn Danzig, founder and driving force of The Misfits, Samhain and Danzig, pointedly criticized the President and the Democratic Party in a recent interview with Minneapolis City Pages.
Danzig’s name has been recognized by fans of punk and heavy metal music since 1977. And if you have less affinity for heavy metal than you do politics, you may still recognize him as a musician who took a stand, along with the likes of Twisted Sister front man Dee Snider and the legendary Frank Zappa, against the Parents Music Resource Center formed in 1985.
The PRMC was a Democratic-led effort, spearheaded by Tipper Gore (wife of Mr. Global Warming), to decide what should be deemed appropriate for American listening audiences. Proposals from the group ranged from all-out bans on records containing lyrics deemed explicit by government censors to the later-adopted practice of affixing “Parental Advisory” stickers to offending albums and disallowing purchase by minors.
While Zappa and Snider, along with folk rocker John Denver, testified before Congress about the chilling effect the PRMC proposals would have on free speech, Danzig set about writing “Mother,” one of the only songs protesting the censorship effort to reach widespread acclaim.
Speaking with Minneapolis City Pages, Danzig said of “Mother,” “Yeah, you know, Al Gore wanted to tell people what they could listen to and what they couldn’t, what they could record. It was basically coming down to the idea that he wouldn’t let anybody record any music that he didn’t think you should be doing. There was going to be an organization that would tell you what you could and couldn’t record. And certainly if you couldn’t record it, you couldn’t put it out. It was really fascist.”
The same problem illustrated in the Democrat-led effort to censor music in 1985, Danzig went on, remains today. Many Americans see the Democratic Party as one of hip, liberal ideas. But it’s a ruse.
“My view on Democrats is that they’re fascists disguised as liberals, or liberal moderates. You’re not allowed to say anything that they don’t agree with. You’re not allowed to do anything,” Danzig said. “Also, the whole Obama, ‘I can kill anybody with a drone with no trial,’ is kind of disturbing. I’m surprised that more people who are supposedly liberal aren’t more disturbed by it. I think whatever Obama does is OK with them, because he’s Obama. It’s bullshit.”
As for why a Danzig album with none of the seven words on George Carlin’s infamous list was slapped with a parental advisory sticker, the singer said that the government simply doesn’t want lyrics that make people question authority to be deemed acceptable.
“We’re making people think. You’re not allowed to make people think in the United States,” he said. “You’re not allowed to have them question the government or authority.”
Find below the 1985 PRMC hearings:
Some key moments from the testimonies:
Zappa contended that “the PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years dealing with the interpretation and enforcement problems inherent in the proposal’s design.”
Denver testified that censorship, in any form, is dangerous.
“That which is denied becomes that which is most desired, and that which is hidden becomes that which is most interesting,” he said. “Consequently, a great deal of time and energy is spent trying to get at what is being kept from you.”
And Snider, speaking of a song he wrote about a friend’s fears of undergoing a surgical procedure titled “Under The Blade,” defended his work, noting that Gore must simply have had a dirty mind.
“The only sadomasochism, bondage, and rape in this song is in the mind of Ms. Gore,” he stated, “Ms. Gore was looking for sadomasochism and bondage, and she found it. Someone looking for surgical references would have found it as well.”
Snider concluded his testimony with a rebuke of the Democratic Party’s long held and enduring belief that government knows best: “The full responsibility for defending my children falls on the shoulders of my wife and I, because there is no one else capable of making these judgments for us.”