May 6, 2013 § 3 Comments
First of all, I’d like to congratulate you all on your exiting projects! They were all well presented and I learned a whole lot from all them. I hope you all enjoyed mine, or at least sparked some interest in my subject. As I mentioned many times before in the past, today we tend to overlook over music censorship. I find it peculiar that the 80’s was a time in which notable religious organizations and the PMRC lashed out at what they considered to be “morally deviant” music, but in retrospect, would you agree that today’s music is more grossly explicit? I cannot believe at how demeaning, sexually charged, and “morally deviant” music has gotten over the last two decades or so. Is there a connection is another of my questions, is this “informal cultural movement” just one of many to blame for today’s mainstream music biz? These are all questions I will be researching over the summer and could possibly use as a conclusion/analysis of my research. As a collector of music and historian, we are living in a time where no one is willing to talk about the music played on the radio-waves, many of which play tunes ranging from themes of sex to fostering our society’s rape culture (yeah, I said it). Where is the PMRC now? Were the repercussions so severe that no religious group is willing to lead the fight anymore?
I wanna give a special thanks to Camille for sparking my interest in the subject and encouraging me to dig deeper. You really helped and inspire me pursue this further. When I first brainstormed this topic I thought it would be met with criticism considering that it is a fairly contemporary topic, but after taking this class and sharing my thoughts and views with a lot of people, I am amazed at the good reception and constructive criticism. Thank you for that. I am meeting, or will potentially be working with Felicia (per recommendation of Camille). She will help me on potential methodology so I get to work this summer on it. I want to make it perfect, my name will forever be attached to this work, and I want to make sure I do a good job. Whether or not it will be picked up as a possible guide for future researchers really isn’t something I know, but I will feel better, I will be satisfied with the fact that I am contributing back to “the scene” that watched me grow and be the person I am today. Unfortunately there aren’t a whole lot of Metalhead academics, I am one of the few, the better prepared I am, the better this project will be.
If you’d like to see future updates on my research project please follow my WordPress, I will be writing weekly findings, thoughts, reflections on Heavy Metal, the PMRC, Music Censorship and all of the above. It is a great way to practice my writing, too. Keep in touch everyone, god bless! cheers
Tilo Eduardo Lopez
Here is a profile of my band if you want to see what I’m all about..
April 26, 2013 § Leave a comment
I spoke to my history professor of the Civil Rights movement to talk to her about my project and see if she could give me any leads. She said she would get to me on Monday. I am really glad I went to talk to her, she listened diligently, took notes, was impressed with my topic and was glad to see me enthusiastic about it. She told me not to get “too defensive” in my paper especially since I am writing about the PMRC, and it tends to gets pounded on by the mainstream today. I was advised to try to correlate other events to my case study, like court cases, or other contemporary events that may have helped influence the decision by the Senate to place censorship labels on music. I went over some of the books I picked up before I started researching about my topic and found the perfect case in one of them. Surprisingly it involved one of my favorite bands of ALL time, the world famous JUDAS PRIEST.
Amid the legal battles of whether or not to censor music deemed “harmful” and “immoral” to the general American public, two teenagers committed suicide while listening to a Judas Priest track, Better by You, Better Than Me (awesome song). The case was highly publicized, not only was the band sued for “reparations,” major record label CBS was brought to court with them. Their claim was that on top of the explicit lyrics, the plaintiffs claimed that the song noted had a subliminal message that said “do it” (suicide). The argument was that if you played the record backwards that you could hear the words. It led me to question, who listens to a record backwards???
Anyways, after several trials, which I will discuss further somehow in my paper, the case was adjourned. Priest was free and found NOT guilty. The two teenagers had an apparent trouble with drugs and long history of domestic violence. One of the two survived the shotgun blast to his face, lived through the trials and then committed suicide (again) a few years after.
I found the original article published by the New York Times if anyone is interesting in reading about it.
This is also a video from the actual Court Trial
April 23, 2013 § 1 Comment
Hello my friends,
I was writing a paper for one of my classes and was asked to pull up some primary sources on my topic on the Brown Power/Third World Liberation front. I was told that the best place to go was either San Francisco State (too far) or here on campus at our Chicano Studies library. So I went, not only were they really helpful there, it is in one of my opinions probably one of the best places to study if you don’t wanna walk all the way to the library from Southside of campus.
Naturally, after the Third World Liberation Front protests in San Francisco that demanded for courses in ethnic history and for more professors of color to be part of the faculty, SF State instituted an Ethnic Studies department there. Berkeley soon followed in 1972 creating an ethnic studies department for the university. There is a wide array of subjects within the library that may be of some use to any studying ethnic diasporas or the experiences of immigrants in the country. Since we can claim to be one of the first UC’s that actually instituted this collection here. We have a lot goodies! I was told by someone in the library (whose name will remain anonymous for the sensitivity of the issue) that we even have Native American artifacts of high value that are wanted back by Native tribes and have took the university to court of them.
If you do find yourself writing about a subject within the Chicano studies context. These are the strengths of this specific collection. What I love about the library is that it is very focused and you can find all sorts of good stuff to include Mexicans/Chicanos/Latinos in your research. You can find charts, maps, labor force statistics, immigration related material. It is all accessible with your Berkeley ID.
- Mexican Americans
- Latinos in the U.S.
- Bilingual/bicultural education
- Administration of justice
- Chicano literature
Location: Stephens Hall 30
Times (Spring Semester)
April 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
Fortunately there are several film resources on my topic for me to use.
However, many of them take different approaches to how the development of the PMRC came about, how their ideology and mission statement was developed and the overall goal of their congressional hearings. This course has helped me condense the material that is available for use and has made me question their historical accuracy. Some of the documentaries on the subject that I came across are way too didactic, I felt there was no substance to them. Finally after doing my searches I came across a movie I didn’t even know existed until recently, after this assignment. The movie/documentary is called Parental Discretion. The reason why I chose this particular resource was because it is told from the Dee Snider perspective. I wrote about him last week and I still find him to be a central figure in my research, this is just another clue.
Just to show the more recent attention this topic has been getting. Most of the sources found were made within the past 10 years or so. This particular one was made in 2002. Unfortunately, Oskicat did give me a lot of resources on Music Censorship in the US, but the majority of them focused on gangster rap and more recent censorship initiatives (example: NWA).
April 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
Our guest lecturer led me to want to examine a little more closely and carefully the pictures taken at the first US congressional hearing on the censorship of music. So naturally I began trying to dig up pictures from the first congressional hearing on labeling music spearheaded by the PMRC (Parent’s Music Resource Center) at the exclusive Metal Archives. The website compiles everything about Heavy Metal, from pictures, bio’s, links and all that good stuff but unfortunately came up short on finding any material that I could use for this particular response.
None of our academic websites gave me satisfying results when looking for my visuals to write about this week. Instead I searched through dozens of sites and focused blogs to find pictures taken the day of, or as a response to the congressional hearings by any individuals attending and got some interesting findings that are of some use to my work.
In the photos of the first hearing, all men are nicely groomed,formally dressed in ties and suit. Even Frank Zappa was in suit when giving his testimony before the standing committee. Fascinating enough, Dee Snider was the only person without proper attire. Did he do it as a statement? What was the purpose of presenting himself before a C.H. in ripped up pants, wild hair, reading his prepared statements off a piece of wrinkled paper? They say that photos speak a thousand words. In this case they really do.
Dee Snider, vocalist and long time rocker in the American Heavy Metal scene is a central figure to my research because was one of the few individuals that agreed to speak on behalf of the “Metal” community during the Congressional Hearings of the PMRC. I found this photo in opposition to the censoring of music in the 1980’s.
April 3, 2013 § Leave a comment
Just got back to Berkeley and have been away from my computer for the last few days. We can talk more about your topic if you’d like sometime after class. These are just a few things that came to mind when I thought of your topic:
I read earlier that you were also interested in Vietnam, have you heard of the Pentagon Papers, the leaked Department of Defense memos published by the New York Times about the US political-military involvement in Vietnam ? I bring this up because since you’re into Foreign Policy related stuff, this leaked memo damaged diplomatic relations with tons of nations in the region and credibility to claim to be fighting for freedom abroad. Super fascinating stuff. I found a basic book title on it in case you want to read up more on it, Wikipedia is spot on, too.
Since you’re really interested in American Foreign Policy in the Mid East there are a few things I can suggest to you. But the most recent one and in my opinion crucial to American Foreign Policy is the case of Bradley_Manning
Because our technology is at its peak, combined with social media (which aided the Arab Spring) and international internet usage. Manning’s leaks damaged foreign policy in the Mid East. The Pakistanis were really angry with the reports (I know, not “tech” Middle Eastern). But the most angry of them all was obviously Iraq and Afghanistan. Though I am not entirely sure just how specifically it damaged diplomatic relations with both these nations. It certainly did hurt our foreign policy on the International stage. Along with the classified documents Manning released, he also issued videos to WikiLeak’s Julian Assange (who is currently in policy asylum to avoid US courts in Ecuador). The videos again permeated the idea of the US as a bully and world dictator.. this was met with hate to say the least. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25EWUUBjPMo
I know that you are still exploring the topic so these are just some things I find cool and totally related to your work. I am not sure if you know about these cases specifically, but they are pretty contemporary, both the Pentagon Papers and the Manning case play an important role at how we look at International politics and foreign policy. These leaked documents and videos were meant only for a few to be seen, for a reason. We got a lot of bad rep and heavy fire when they were out. So much so that the Supreme Court of the US took on the White House vs the New York Times case over the leaked P.P. There are many ways to get creative and include these particular moments into a cool middle eastern Foreign Policy history paper!
Please do let me know if you have any more questions. Thank you for reading and excuse the delay in responding to your suggestions.
You got this,
March 19, 2013 § Leave a comment
This weekend I called a long time Metalhead fan in Los Angeles to talk about the Metal scene in the 80’s, the Sunset strip, Glam Metal, the Underground music scene and the distinctions between posers and Metalheads as well as the daily life of a Metalhead in those “glorious” days. Major thanks to Adrian SOS for participating in this little project of mine.
Tell us what were the general perceptions of Metalheads in the 80’s by the general public?
A: Devil Worshippers! Haha, isn’t this still the case today? Well, I was a senior in High School in the Fall of ’86. I was too young to keep these things in mind, I never payed much attention to it, but we were called “Satan Legion” by all the preppy kids. We were considered to be rebels without a cause. There was a big group of us in those days. We were a click of youngsters. Parents would tell their kids not to hang out with us. Our music was the devil’s music and there was no way around that. It didn’t help that we had Ronald Reagan in power either. That guy was ultra-christian!
What was the best year in your opinion in Heavy Metal history, and why?
A. I am going to have to go with 1984. Tons of California bands debuted that year, Florida’s first Death Metal wave was at its peak that year. I remember bands from all over the world wanting to come play in Los Angeles! This was the place to be if you were a Metalband. MTV paraded all the Glam Metal bands from Los Angeles so we always got bad rep for being the City of makeup Metaldudes but lots of hot chicks were into Metal dudes those years. It was wild. Some of the most legendary albums (that you know of already) were released this year. I made contacts and became pen pals with a handful of musicians on their tour around the States. We knew the majority of bouncers at big hot shot venues so we usually got in for free, or we’d pretend to be roadies for the band. I had long hair and I looked like your typical 80’s Thrasher so I fit right in the crowd, and was mistaken as a traveling musician a lot of the times.
You mentioned Glam Metal, a byproduct of Los Angeles Metal. Tell me more about it, did you hang out in the Sunset Strip often?
A. Nah, that’s where all the posers hungout. The so-called “Metalheads” that dressed like girls to impress and pick up girls. In many ways we were ashamed of Glam Metal because MTV, Headbangers Ball, and other major music distributors dubbed LA to be the home of Metal Ballads and Glam Meta (which wasn’t necessarily the case)l. The Sunset Strip was legendary in its own sense in those years, it was a hot spot to kick it during the glorious 80’s, but just like today it was overpriced. A lot of characters passed through there. Rockstars would hang out there and make fun of other dudes that had less money than they did. It wasn’t my scene. I loved (still do) going to the Rainbow though, that place was alright in my book. I met a lot of REAL Metalheads there.
Today we like to set distinctions between the “old-school” Metalheads and “nu-Metal/hardcore/metalcore” Metalheads. It seems to me that this was also the case in the 80’s. How did you and your friends distinct the categories of Metal in those days?
A. Hahahahaha! Well, we relied solely on what the majority of MTV played. Most of their “top-hits” were Heavy Metal GLAM artists that were just awful and often wore more makeup than your sister and mother did combined. They knew nothing about other bands outside of their MTV bubble. Even though we did like some of the bands on that channel, personally Motley Crue and bands like Dokken, there were horrible bands like Hanoi Rocks (ughh) and Poison (literally, poison). In many ways I think the younger Metalheads today like you, even though you are more open minded about music have always been judgmental and skeptical with what bands have been trying to get our of the scene. I have always said to do what you want musically, theatrics and presentation as long as you don’t claim to be the Real sound of Metal because that is judged solely by the fans themselves and them only.
What was an average day like in your life as an 18year old Metalhead?
A. Lots of drinking, for sure! Cassettes were the nest big thing in those years but many of us still resorted to Vinyls! So we’d get together on Friday’s after school at my buddy’s house and listen to them on maximum volume! I tried getting a band together in many occasions, but there was always some lagger in the band, including myself. We would have to argue about what shows to go to and after reaching a consensus 15 plus of us would take public transportation and go to a gig. Fights, lots of fights… especially against racist skinheads that thought they were better than Metalheads, hehe. Those are great memories, thankfully I can still see all of this today. Except… we didn’t have Facebook or Myspace in those days!
I never had the opportunity to randomly call my source and ask him these questions without a legitimate reason. I had no expectations about this interview. This was to a degree a “bonding” moment because I came off as a professional and genuinely interested in talking about his past! It was interesting that he affirmed my notion that the general American public in the 80’s thought of Metalheads as Devil Worshippers. This pretexts even far before that. This was a great exercise! I will be continuing these these of exercises with a more detailed and focus approach next time.