Porn Wars

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From: Vladimir Sovetov <>
  Let us be introduced to 1985 agenda by third partie.
[From the Los Angeles Times, Aug. 25, 1985]


(By Patrick Goldstein)
  When Susan Baker was in high school, she used to go out dancing on the weekends at a club called the Teenage Retreat. "It was a neat place," she said. "They played all sorts of great rock 'n' roll -- Chuck Berry, Elvis, Buddy Holly and Fats Domino. We always had a good time."
  Today, rock has changed and so has Baker. She's a mother of "a big-batch of kids," including a 7-year-old daughter, and she's "shocked" by the transformation that rock has undergone since the days when Elvis caused an uproar by swiveling his hips on "The Ed Sullivan Show." In fact, as vice president of the Washington-based Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), she's in the forefront of the fight to clean up rock, a battle that has seen PMRC leaders denounce such popular performers as Prince, Sheena Easton, Madonna, Judas Priest and Twisted Sister.
  "We're telling parents that they've got to wake up and see what's going on," said Baker in a phone inteview. "Rock is much more sexually explicit than it was even 10 years ago. The fringe has become the mainstream. Bands like Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and W.A.S.P. are on the cover of Hit Parader teen magazine these days. "Have you heard the lyrics to 'Sugar Walls' (a million-selling hit single written by Prince and recorded by Sheena Easton earlier this year)? They go: "The blood races to your private spots, lets me know there's a fire, can't fight passion when passion is hot, temperatures rise inside my sugar walls."
  "And you should hear the way she sings those lyrics, using this very sexy, erotic voice," Baker said, putting extra emphasis on the word erotic. "Well, you don't have to be much older than 10 to know what she means."
  To attract the record industry's attention, the center has waged a high-profile media campaign, which has seen its members widely quoted in the national press as well as making appearances on such influential programs as "Today" and "Donahue."
  The center has another important weapon at its disposal. The group, widely known in the press as the "Washington wives," is headed by the spouses of several prominent senators and Reagan Administration officials. Baker, for example, is married to Treasury Secretary James Baker. The group's other vice president is Tipper Gore, wife of Sen. Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.). Led by President Pam Howar (wife of a Washington construction firm executive), the centre's membership also includes Nancy Thurmond, the wife of Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), as well as the spouses of several other congressional leaders.
  The center wields considerable political clout. Last year, the PTA's national leadership requested that the music industry label records for profanity or sexual content, a plea that was widely ignored. But barely four months after the center was formed, it has won significant concessions from Stan Gortikov, president of the Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA), who pledged that record companies will put labels on albums to warn parents and children about potentially offensive and sexually explicit lyrics.
  A key question, which most record industry leaders refuse to discuss -- at least on the record -- is whether the record association's swift acquiescence was prompted, in part, by the industry's fear that a nationwide debate over bawdy rock lyrics could affect the industry's campaign for government legislation protecting it against record piracy, copyright violations and granting record companies royalties from the sale of blank tapes.
  The proposed legislation could eventually come to a vote before the Senate Judiciary Committee, now chaired by Sen. Thurmond. The nine-member Senate Communications Subcommittee, of which Sen. Gore is a member, has already announced that it will hold a hearing on the controversy over rock lyrics next month.
  RIAA officials stopped short of accusing the PMRC of throwing around its collective political weight. "They haven't made any direct threats, at least to my knowledge," said RIAA spokeswoman Patricia Heimers. However, she quickly added, "Let's put it this way -- the PMRC leaders haven't been at all reluctant to make known their political connections."
  "You bet it's helped," Baker said. "There's no doubt that it's played a part in helping us get some attention. However, there's no quid pro quo here. But let me tell you this -- there are an awful lot of parents in Washington, D.C., in politics and other areas, that are very upset by the blatant sexuality and raunchy, explicit language in rock today."
  The few record executives willing to discuss this political connection tried to downplay its significance. "I don't see this affecting any of our legislative efforts," said MCA Records President Irving Azoff. "I can't imagine any linkage -- separate issues are separate issues."
  However, outspoken pop star Frank Zappa isn't so sure.
  "The RIAA didn't agree to this stickering of albums on moral grounds, but business ones," he said. "The industry has a huge financial interest in anti-home taping and piracy legislation. And guess who runs the committee that oversees this legislation? Sen. Strom Thurmond, whose wife is a member of the PMRC. I think the connection's pretty clear. The record companies are willing to chop up artists' civil rights so that they won't have to lose any potential profits from their anti-home-taping and piracy campaign."
  Pop lyrics have always been subject to censorship, for real -- or imagined -- sexual content. A recently published list of songs that had been banned at one time or another include such now-established standards as Rodgers and Hart's "Bewitched," Cole Porter's "Love for Sale," Irving Berlin's "Heat Wave" and Cahn and De Paul's "Teach Me Tonight."
  But today's songs are clearly more explicit, some too explicit to be printed in a family newspaper. Berlin lead singer Terri Nunn has sung, "You can buy me a daiquiri, you can take me home and tear my clothes off." Heavy-metal veterans Kiss bellow, "Burn bitch, burn."
  Even Marvin Gaye, who once sang mellow ballads like "Your Precious Love," made a posthumous appearance on the charts this year with a song called "Sanctified Lady," which referred to women as "nasty little slaves" and contained graphic sexual images.
  The biggest offender, according to PMRC leaders, is Prince, who has penned lyrics about such raunchy topics as oral sex, masturbation and incest. The song that angry parents mention the most -- "Darling Nikki," from Prince's Granny- [sic] and Oscar-winning album, "Purple Rain" -- describes "Nikki" as a "sex fiend" who arouses herself by reading sex magazines.
  Even Bruce Springsteen, the '80s All-American boy who has been embraced by such political heavyweights as President Reagan and Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), has been criticized by the PMRC for promoting loose sex. As Howar told one interviewer -- referring to Springsteen's recent hit, "I'm On Fire" -- "Even Bruce isn't clean."
  According to Baker, her involvement with PMRC began when she hear [sic] her 7-year-old daughter singing along to hit songs by Madonna that she had heard on her clock radio. "While those songs are basically more suggestive than explicit, it awakened me to what's going on in pop music today," said Baker, who said her other children are either grown or off at college. "I think parents have a responsibility, instead of telling kids to turn down the music, to listen to what the music is saying.
  Cole Porter used suggestive music, sure. But those were double-entendres aimed at a mature audience. Now we're hearing songs about pure sex and even forced rape that are geared toward kids. I've walked into a record store and seen an album cover with a naked girl whose body has been painted blue, with her genital area covered with a chain and a lock.
  Now I don't think my 7-year-old should see that flipping through records in a store."
  With that in mind, the PMRC has launched a campaign to clean up the record business. It's stated goals include: album jacket warning stickers, inclusion of lyrics on all album jackets and a move to put albums with explicit album covers under the counters at record stores. The group has also asked that record companies exert pressure on broadcasters not to air explicit records and music videos as well as reassess the contracts of pop stars who display violence or sexual behavior in concert.
  After several meetings in recent months with industry leaders, the RIAA announced recently that it will have record companies put labels on albums to warn parents and children about potentially offensive and sexually explicit lyrics. However, the PMRC is still not satisfied. "We were pleased to see the record association agree to a generic warning," Baker said. "But we'd like an official panel, consisting of industry executives and community officials, who would set up general guidelines for industry standards."
  RIAA chief Gortikov refused to comment on the continuing negotiations. However, RIAA spokeswoman Heimers, who criticized the center's "strident press campaign," said that the association has "rejected" the idea of an advisory panel.
  Many record company chieftains, including Warner Bros. President Lenny Waroner, CBS Records Chairman Walter Yetnikoff, EMI President Jim Mazza and Elektra President Bob Krasnow, as well as top executives at PolyGram and Atlantic Records, refused to comment on the issue, preferring to let the record association speak for them.
  However, the uproar has prompted many industry leaders to lambast the center for applying rigid standards to song lyrics that are so ambiguous that they can be interpreted in many ways.
  "I can't believe they're serious -- I think this whole thing is ridiculous," said Jay Boberg, 27-year-old president of I.R.S. Records. "I would fight to the death any review board that would rate our records. It's a complete intrusion of artistic expression and constitutional freedom of speech. It would be a very dark day if we were ever forced to go along with anything like that."
  Boberg insisted that any ratings system would merely encourage kids to seek out albums that carried a warning tag. "When you put ratings on things, it just arouses kids curiosity and makes them want to hear them all the more. That's what happened with the movie ratings. I know that when I was 16, which wasn't so long ago, if a movie was rated R, that just whetted my appetite to see what I was missing."
  "The whole nature of rock has always been the double-entendre -- that's what has made it so alluring and intriguing," said A&M President Gil Friesen. "What it comes down to is that we're a democratic society and the freedom of options that comes with that is not something to be taken lightly."
  Other execs feel the PMRC move would set a dangerous precedent. "There is too much glamorization of drug use and sexual license," said Geffen Records President Eddie Rosenblatt. "But what's the next step -- are you going to regulate controversial political ideas or philosophical ones? Rock music doesn't make these things happen, it mirrors what you see in society. A rock song never made any kid want to go out and get laid."
  Frank Zappa was also critical of the whole record-rating campaign. "The whole thing is preposterous -- it seems like the kind of campaign a bored Washington housewife would dream up when she's at a summer barbecue," he said. "The record industry is acting like of bunch of cowards. They're scared to death of the fundamentalist right and want to throw them a bone in hopes that they'll go away. But this stickering program will just start a precedent -- they'll always want more."
  Other record execs seem to view the center as Keystone Kops-style adversaries. "I just wish that Prince was on my label so I could have all these problems," quipped MCA Records President Azoff.
  Speaking more seriously, Azoff added, "I think it's really unfortunate that at a time when pop figures have been in the forefront of so many important causes, like Live Aid and USA for Africa, that this kind of issue is getting so much media attention."
  Many industry leaders have complained that rock n' roll is being singled out for attack when sex is used to sell everthing [sic] in America from cars and jeans to cosmetics and after-shave. Is Prince or Madonna any more suggestive than "Miami Vice" or "Dynasty"?
  "We're not picking on the music industry," Baker said. "I've written Calvin Klein to complain about his ads, which are a debauchery. I just flipped on the TV a few minutes ago and turned the channel to an R-rated movie with a love scene, right on daytime TV. I just couldn't believe it.
  "But we think that parents have to make their thoughts known. Did you know that in the most recent FBI statistics, that crime in general was down 2%, but rape was up 7%? Now, we're not blaming that all on rock music, but it's an indication of how things are going.
  "Listen, all four of us (PMRC executives) are mothers with young children. We're not blind -- most parents today have danced to rock n' roll and loved it. But the blatant and explicit sexuality you hear in rock today is targeted at our children and we feel as if it's our right to protect them."
The reason for this hearing
is not to promote any legislation,
(indeed, I don't know of any suggestion
that any legislation 'd be passed),
but to simply provide a form
for airing the issue itself,
for ventilating the issue,
for bringing it out in the public domain.
  The passage from the OPENING STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN JOHN C. DANFORTH, Missouri at The U.S. Senate, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation meeting, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 1985 at 9:40 a.m., in room SR-253, Russell Senate Office Building
From: Bill Lantz <>
  I think FZ found alot of humor in the "ventilating the issue" comment, as did I.
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Senator Hollings?
  ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, South Carolina
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I find that it's inaudible.
I have a hard time understanding it.
Paul, since I travelled the country for three years
  The only Paul at this meeting I was able to spot in the records was Senator Trible
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Senator Trible?
  PAUL S. TRIBLE, JR., Virginia
This must be the end of the world!
All the people turning into pigs and ponies
I can't let it happen to me!
  This seems to be words from the legendary Lumpy Gravy panchromatic session
  See also Civilization Phase III
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What is the reason for these hearings...
Thank you, I think that statement...
...tells the story of these many...
Listen you little slut...
  Line from the song "Golden Shower" by the Mentors. Mentioned many times during the hearing. See also comments to "smell my anal vapor" line below.
From: Patrick Neve <>
  I was a Mentors fan way before "FZMTMOP" came out. They really are sick slimy bastards. It's a three-piece punk rock group that wear black excecutioners hoods and no shirts to expose their horrible beer bellies. This anonymoty apprantly gives them license to sing truly horrible songs and not have to take personal credit for it. The lead singer is also the drummer.. El Duce. His drum kit is covered with a homemade lacqered-over collage of pornography snipped from magazines, and he occasionally plays drums with a pair of enourmous oversize dildos. I believe they are still together. I've seen them play in a couple of basements some years ago. Unlike groups like The Meatmen, who celebrate vulgarity with tongue in (ass) cheek, The Mentors definitely cross the line into the area of no socially redeeming values, celebrating themes such as rape, racism, and shit-eating. Not my cup of tea, to be sure. But still very tame compared to the likes of GG Allin.
- I might be interested to see what toys your kids ever had
- Why would you be interested?
- Just as a point of interest in this ah...
- Well, come on over to the house and I'll show them to you.
- Really!
- I, I might do that!
  This is a part of actual dialog between FZ and Senator Hawkins.
  The CHAIRMAN. Senator Hawkins.
  Senator HAWKINS. Mr. Zappa, you say you have four children?
  Mr. ZAPPA. Yes, four children.
  Senator HAWKINS. Have you ever purchased toys for those children?
  Mr. ZAPPA. No, my wife does.
  Senator HAWKINS. Well, I might tell you that if you were to go in a toy store -- which is very educational for fathers, by the way; it is not a maternal responsibility to buy toys for children -- that you may look on the box and the box says, this is suitable for 5 to 7 years of age, or 8 to 15, or 15 and above, to give you some guidance for a toy for a child. Do you object to that?
  Mr. ZAPPA. In a way I do, because that means that somebody in an office someplace is making a decision about how smart my child is.
  Senator HAWKINS. I would be interested to see what toys your kids ever had.
  Mr. ZAPPA. Why would you be interested?
  Senator HAWKINS. Just as a point of interest.
  Mr. ZAPPA. Well, come on over to the house. I will show them to you.
  Senator HAWKINS. I might do that.
  Interesting to note here that Sen. HAWKINS isn't listed among members of 1985 committe.
JOHN C. DANFORTH, Missouri, Chairman
ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, South Carolina
RUSSELL B. LONG, Louisiana
SLADE GORTON, Washington
J. JAMES EXON, Nebraska
BOB KASTEN, Wisconsin
ALBERT GORE, JR., Tennessee
PAUL S. TRIBLE, JR., Virginia

RALPH B. EVERETT, Minority Chief Counsel and Staff Director
  So we could only wonder who and why let the asshole:-))) in?
  Heh, that's me, Vladimir once again:-))) And here is the answer to the above question I've just found in Don Menn FZ Interview. "Zappa!" p.51
  "One of the stars of hearing was Paula Hawkins, the Nancy Reagen lookalike from Florida - she had the reputation of being the least effective senator; she was really a disaster. Another one of her outstanding features was that all Watergate burglars had found employment in her office in Florida. She was just this miserable thing. She wasn't memeber of committe, but she was having trouble getting re-electedm so Danforth, who was the chairman of the committe, did her a favor - one Republican to another - and allowed her to participate in the media circus, make some comments, and. you know, to grill me. She was the one who wanted to know what kind of toys my children had."
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Thank you very much, Mr. Zappa.
You understand that ah,
the previous witnesses were not asking for legislation
And ah, I don't know,
I can't speak for senator Hollings,
but I think that the prevailing view here is
that nobody's asking for legislation.
The question is just focusing
on what a lot of people could feel that could be a problem.
And you've indicated that you at least understand
that there is another point of view.
Really nearly over the year...

Senator Gore?
  ALBERT GORE, JR., Tennessee
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They don't even understand their music...
of course nobody does, but ah...
They don't, they don't even know what they're doing
I've, I've seen 'em a couple of times...
Did you, did you see their uniforms?
Which ones? They're the red ones?
All those rhinestones of their rings and things like that
Do you know what I...
Gold lame hoof-covers
  Once again Lumpy Gravy dialogs.
  ... "gold lame hoof covers"? you know that shiny stuff that people like, um...i dunno...the Jackson Five would wear? very 70's
From: (Biffyshrew)
  "Gold lame hoof covers" (Pronounced la-MAY--a metallic fabric.)
From: Bill <>
  Gold lame (with an accent thingie over the "e") is a clothing material that was popular with singing groups of the 50s.
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Maybe I could make a good rock-star!
Gonna drive my love inside you!
It's outrageous filth!
Come with daddy
Rock, rock, Porn Rock!
  Another rock-song quote. Here is an excerpt from the testimony of Mr. Jeff Ling introduced by Mrs. Baker as the PMRC consultant.
  The band Great White in their album "On Their Knees" sings these words "Knocking down your door, going to pull you to the floor, taking what I choose, never going to lose, going to drive my love inside you, going to nail your ass to the floor."
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And I think your suggestion is a good one
if you pledge those words.
That would go a long way for...

All we have to do is
find out how it's gonna be paid for...
  The main FZ's alternative proposal was idea of printing plain lyrics on the album's covers instead of biased warning label.
  Here is quote from the hearing records
  Senator HOLLINGS. Well, you and I would differ on what is ignorance and education, I can see that. But if it was there, they could see what they were buying and I think that is a step in the right direction. I think your suggestion is a good one. If you print those words, that would go a long way toward satisfying everyone's objections.
  Mr. ZAPPA. All we have to do is find out how it is going to be paid for.
  And another explaining the pro et contra a liitle more
  Senator GORE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I found your statement very interesting and, although I disagree with some of the statements that you make and have made on other occasions, I have been a fan of your music, believe it or not. I respect you as a true original and a tremendously talented musician. Your suggestion of printing the lyrics on the album is a very interesting one. The PMRC at one point said they would propose either a rating or warning, or printing all the lyrics on the album. The record companies came back and said they did not want to do that. I think a lot of people agree with your suggestion that one easy way to solve this problem for parents would be to put the actual words there, so that parents could see them. In fact, the National Association of Broadcasters made exactly the same request of the record companies.
  I think your suggestion is an intriguing one and might really be a solution for the problem.
  Mr. ZAPPA. You have to understand that it does cost money, because you cannot expect publishers to automatically give up that right, which is a right for them. Somebody is going to have to reimburse the publishers, the record industry.
  Without trying to mess up the album jacket art, it should be a sheet of paper that is slipped inside the shrink-wrap, so that when you take it out you can still have a complete album package. So there is going to be some extra cost for printing it.
  But as long as people realize that for this kind of consumer safety you are going to spend some money and as long as you can find a way to pay for it, I think that would be the best way to let people know.
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No question!
Burn the building!
Burn! Burn! Burn!
  An attemts to explain this recurrent motif of burning?
  I think it is playing off of the at-the-time-current *shudder* Def Leppard album which was called "Pyromania" and had a burning building as cover art.
From: Olivier Collin <>
  At many moments during the song "Porn Wars" a male voice is heard saying (almost screaming) "Yeah!". I believe this is in fact the singer Dee Snyder from the band Twisted Sister, who was with FZ one of the rock artists who participated to the senate hearings. Twisted Sister was one of the bands under fire at the time, as one of their videos ("We're not gonna take it") was very popular on MTV and suggested teenage rebellion against strict parenthood.
From: Patrick Neve <>
  This is just one of those stupid little minute details but one I haven't seen mentioned.
  I just realized that it's Johhny Guitar Watson's voice that says "Yeah!" on "Porn Wars". Listen to "I Don't Even Care" at 3:40 into the song, and there's the source for that sample.
  I know, big deal.
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Les' face it, peoples!
Ugly as I mights be,
Ain't that right,
Hmm hmm! Oh, oh yeah! Thass right!
  This potate-head SISTER is a character from THING-FISH play. And the narrator here is another incarnation of THING-FISH himself done by unforgettable niggra:-))) Ike Willis.
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Senator Gorton?
  SLADE GORTON, Washington
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Mr. Zappa, I ah, am astounded at the ah,
courtesy and soft-voiced ah,
nature of the comments of my friend
senator from Tennessee.
  Well, this of course was then Albert Gore.
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Is this private action?
  The actual FZ vocal reaction to the statement of Sen. Gorton
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I don't think this is constitutional...
The voluntary labelling is NOT censorship...
Bend up and
smell my anal vapor!
  Another line from the song "Golden Showers" of the Mentors.
"Listen, you little slut, do as you are told,
come with daddy for me to pour the gold.
Golden showers. All through my excrement you shall roam.
Bend up and smell my anal vapor.
Your face is my toilet paper.
On your face I leave a shit tower. Golden showers."
From: Biffyshrew <>
  I always wondered if FZ got written permission from the publisher of "Golden Showers" to make commercial use of these lyrics, or did he just claim that anything spoken in Congress is automatically in the public domain? What would he think of someone else sampling Zappa lyrics under similar circumstances?
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The voluntary...voluntary...voluntary... not censorship...
Is this private action?
In chains...
Listen you little slut...
There's no absolute rock...
There's no absolute rock...
Well... ... Bend up and smell my anal vapor!
There's no... There's no...
Mr. Zappa, thank you very much for your testimony.
Thank you.
Next witness is
John Denver...
  The complete Senate hearing records</A> could be found at

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