9 Of The Craziest Crusades Against Rock And Metal
Music has always frightened people who want control over others. The bodily response caused by certain rhythms has an almost magical affect over listeners that other art never quite reaches, and promotes a sense of freedom that’s deeply upsetting to those whose livelihood is based on manipulation and guilt. The Vatican even went so far as to ban the infamous Devil’s Tritone during medieval times, claiming it was inherently satanic (when in fact it was just super sexy). But of all the musical styles that has been demonized over the ages, none have been rallied against like rock, punk, and metal.
Ever since Elvis Presley gyrated on television and vaguely implied that people have sex sometimes, moralists have led crusades against rock music. Under the guise of Christian values or societal standards, these self-designated soldiers for clean living have launched campaign after campaign against rock and metal bands. What they might not realize is how idiotic they look doing so, and that anyone who has ever raised their fist at a concert can see them for the total fucking clowns they are.
Here are nine of the craziest crusades ever launched against rock and metal…
Ban The Beatles
In 1966, an offhand interview with the Beatles turned into a witch hunt when John Lennon made disparaging comments about Christianity, including the infamous line, “We’re more popular than Jesus.” While the jab didn’t do much in the UK, it picked up in the States when Tommy Charles and Doug Layton, two broadcasters from Birmingham, Alabama, used the comments to spearhead a ‘Ban The Beatles’ campaign over Lennon’s “blasphemous” commentarty. One wonders what they would have thought of Behemoth.
Punk Paranoia In The '80s
By the mid 1980s, punk had become enough of a widespread youth culture that parents could no longer ignore it. The elaborate hair, nihilistic attitudes, and gender-bending make-up of the movement spawned a series of “informative” television programs, including an episode of the show Quincy that focused on the dangers of slam-dancing. Most famous of these, though, will always be The Day My Kid Went Punk, a TV special about how one typical sweet American kid started dressing like a member of Flock Of Seagulls. Horrors.
The Satanic Panic
Due to a series of sensational tell-all books, most infamously the entirely baseless Michelle Remembers, parents in 1980s America became obsessed with the idea that Satan was coming for their babies, most notably in the form of heavy metal music. This launched the Satanic Panic, a series of talk show specials and TV deep-dives where musicians like Ozzy and King Diamond were taken to task for corrupting the youth of America. Of these terribly-produced TV spots, the pinnacle was Geraldo’s Exposing Satan’s Underground, a must-see video for metalheads looking to laugh their asses off at squares getting everything wrong.
Though a well-known driver of the Satanic Panic, Bob Larson gets his own entry in this list for being an especially vicious attention whore. Larson became famous for his tendency to invite famous rock and metal stars onto his program and then just shout at them angrily; he also went on tour with Slayer to prove they were satanists, only to become deeply disappointed when they turned out to be just dudes. But nothing compares to Bob’s radio show conversations with Deicide’s Glen Benton, on which an unhinged Larson and an inebriated Benton fire insults at each other and accomplish absolutely nothing.
The Peters Brothers
Dan, Jim, and Steve Peters made it their mission in life to make Bob Larson look charismatic. The Minnesota born-again crusaders appeared constantly on ‘80s late-night TV and at rallies in small-town America, claiming that rock music was harmful to young people. Unlike their contemporaries, though, the Peters Brothers didn’t just focus on metal, making claims like, “The cover of an Alan Parsons Project album has girls with syphilis sores on their faces cloaked by veils!” and “John Denver says that with the help of his guru, he will become God!” Sounds legit.
Most infamous and misguided of the crusades against rock music is the Parents Music Resource Center, led by Tipper Gore. The group’s public MO was to keep parents appraised of the filth their kids were listening to, and created a list dubbed the Filthy Fifteen which broke down the 15 songs parents should be most afraid of, including everyone from Venom to Prince. The march came to a head during a hearing in Washington in which Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider calmly made Al Gore look like an utter tit in front of the entire nation.
The Wake Of Columbine
The shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, was one of the most tragic mass murders in American history. Adding to this tragedy was a whirlwind of traditional fearmongering about musicians like Rammstein and Marilyn Manson, who were seen as influences on shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. The accusations were of course a ridiculous attempt to justify such a terrible loss of life and move blame off of the parents and teachers involved. When asked by Michael Moore what he would say to the shooters, Manson put it brilliantly: “I wouldn’t say a single word to them, I would listen to what they have to say. And that’s what no one did.”
The Westboro Baptist Church
Since its formation, homophobic hate group the Westboro Baptist Church has come after rock and roll in the shittiest ways possible. The group has done everything from picket Fall Out Boy shows to threaten a protest at the funeral of Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman. However, the WBC’s thirst for publicity and their cartoonish slogan of ‘GOD HATES FAGS’ has made counter-protesting them an almost hilarious activity, as shown when Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe drowned out one of their protests with a kazoo play-along.
Juggalos Are Designated A Gang
Love them or hate them, the Insane Clown Posse are undeniably a band with a loyal and identifiable fanbase, known as ‘Juggalos.’ They’re so loyal and identifiable, in fact, that in 2011 the FBI officially designated them a gang (which even those who dislike ICP have to admit creates a slippery fucking slope). The wicked clowns responded with a march on Washington to protest the designation, though sadly to no avail — even today, the label remains, reminding Americans of just how messed up the FBI’s priorities are.
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According to the band’s Instagram, the exchange appears to be all in good humor.