Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Shock Rock"... What a CROCK.

Creepy masks. Funky costumes. Profanity. Makeup. Fake blood. Satanic symbols. Moshpits. And that's not even the tip of the iceberg. Public nudity and urination. Simulated sex acts and killings. Defamation of women. Defamation of the Bible.

If you can't figure it out from the name, "shock rock" is basically rock music - and I use that term lightly - combined with theatrics for the purposes of shocking the audience/listeners/moms within earshot.

Last night I watched a program with my 14-year old son called "Metal Evolution". This week's episode focused on the history and background of this incredibly inane genre of music, and I was forced to bite my lip on a number of occasions as my son shouted out various band member's names as they appeared on the screen like it was Norm walking into Cheers. Names like "Lemmy" (who is so popular that nearly everyone knows that's Lemmy Kilmister from  that trippy band Motörhead, "Joey" (Joey Jordison from Slipknot, (RIP bassist Paul Gray, who died in 2010 from an overdose. SHOCK!), "Oderus" (Oderus Urungus from that cooky dress-up band GWAR) and let's not forget Brian Warner, aka Marilyn Manson. And I'm not even going to link to these parasites - it just feeds their depravity.

Honestly, I could write volumes on my intense disgust of these bands, but that proclamation only seems to fuel their fire. Here's what I see. Take Slipknot for example. They all wear these really crazy masks, from a clown to some sort of weird face cast with spikes sticking out of it. Their vocalist says, "It's our way of becoming more intimate with the music. It's a way for us to become unconscious of who we are and what we do outside of music." But then last night on this Metal Evolution show, the Clown guy says, "It's for every kid who listens to us who feels lost in life - like he has no identity and struggles to fit in. I grew up in an alcoholic family, so this is my way of masking my pain." I look at my son: "Do you feel lost in life? No identity?" Son: "No." Me: "You don't come from an alcoholic family. You have a good family. We're sitting here on a Saturday night snuggled under the blankets in front of the fire eating popcorn and watching Slipknot. How much better does it get?" Son: no reply.

The way I see it, these are misguided, whiny, self-serving, judgmental narcissists who have gotten lucky enough to get their mug and their trashy messages on TV and radio in order to infiltrate and pollute the immature and completely volatile minds of young teenagers. 

Oh, wait. They have a message.

Enter Alice Cooper, the grandfather, if you will, of shock rock. What he did back in the 70's today makes him look like Karen Carpenter. And I must say, if I have to pick a favorite shock rocker, and I hope I never do, it would probably be him. Anyway, he starts explaining the rationale behind this shock rock. When Marilyn Manson rips pages from the Bible onstage, he's not propagating destroying the Bible. He's trying to get across his issues with Christianity. When Slipknot "sings" about nihilism and killing, they're really talking about how society is singlehandedly killing itself. Oh, and it's really all just for fun. This Clown guy? He lives in Iowa with his wife and four children. How proud they must all be of their daddy when he comes back to the cornfield for the weekend.

Oh, wait, NOW I get it! How silly of me! What better way to make the world a better place than by dressing up, performing lewd acts on stage and screaming lyrics about killing your mother to a crowd of kids you affectionately call "Maggots"! Kind of a "hair of the dog that bit ya", is that it?

And an aside here. Remember back when Tipper Gore and her motley crew were crusading for that "Parental Advisory - Explicit Lyrics" on any albums or CDs that fit the criteria? Shock bands all over the word THANK you, Tippie, because you just made those bands that much more palatable to your young influential brood.

Here's my opinion, and I'm sure it can be picked apart in a myriad of ways. I get that music is an expressive art. I get that there is Freedom of Speech. I get that these bands will basically argue that they are only expressing their personal, political and societal views utilizing drama and song, kind of like Glee on meth. But here's the deal. IT'S MY KID. And I don't like how you profess your views. And I don't like your masks. And I don't like your screaming. And I don't like your lyrics. And I don't like your message. But you have an edge on me. You're bigger than me. You are everywhere. You're on the radio. You're on YouTube. You're on my kid's iPod. You're his ringtone. You're at his friend's house. You're in his school. And I want you OUT. NOW. Before you do any more damage.

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as "Well, don't let your child listen to that garbage!" Um, do you have a teenager? Can you police him 24 hours a day? And if you forbid it, doesn't it make it that much more palatable?

What I'd like is a little help here. I can go into a whole other post about how we as a society have allowed the entertainment industry to back us into a corner - to push the envelope of decency, morals and how far they streeeeeeeeetch that whole Freedom of Speech to include "whatever the hell you want". Somebody is misinterpreting that one BIG TIME. And I want to do something about it.

I may sound like a fuddy duddy. I'm sure my parents didn't like my Van Halen, Def Leppard and Aerosmith from back in the 80's. But at least the worst most of those lyrics consisted of was dancing the night away, jumping or at the very worst, being hot for teacher. I'd like to think that I've tried to follow my son's musical tastes with an open mind - at least trying to learn the moral behind the madness. But I've come to the conclusion that there is none. And it pisses me off.

Attention shock rockers: Take your screaming, violet, foul-mouth angst and put it back in your basement. Or your parent's garage. Or that rock you crawled out from under. I don't need you yelling it into my kid's brain. And to the powers that be that think this is "fine" and that they're free to do whatever they want? I hope you're not around to see how this country is run when all these little "Maggots" grow up. It's going to be a shocking world.






22 comments:

  1. Motorhead isn't shock rock....sorry. And I'm sure that Shock Rock isn't the only genre where band mates O.D. Also, M. Shawn Crahan or "Clown" is the percussionist. Corey Taylor is the vocalist. For the record, all you are doing is fueling their fire. Very inaccurate. Should have done a little more research. they are asking you to tell them that you don't like their masks, or makeup, or on-stage acts.

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  2. Ha ha ha - I am thinking my son sent this 'anonymous' post. And yes, I know who they all are. And I did mention the dangers of "fueling their fire". I'd love for one of these guys to read me. But if they are going to speak their mind to anyone who will listen, then I suppose I have the right to do the same. Believe me, son, I did my research.

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  3. And your research consisted a single viewing of Metal Evolution and a few Wikipedia searches? Unfortunately, your argument is the same every generation has faced since Elvis first shook his hips on Ed Sullivan.No substance, just an ill-formed opinion of a someone who does not understand the genre of music they believe is corrupting their precious children. Sorry, soccer moms of America. Slipknot and Marilyn Manson are not the reason your kids are sullen and disrespectful, try as you might to use that as an excuse. Unfortunately it is obvious from the tone of your post and response to the first comment that there is no rebuttal that could sway your opinion on this subject. Def Leppard was notorious for excessive drinking and famous for having sex with groupies under the stage. Steve Clark died of alcoholism. Eddie van Halen has been a known alcholoic for years, Michael Anthony used to chug Jack Daniels on stage as part of the show, and the various members of Aerosmith have been in rehab for more years than most of us have been alive. And you're upset about a guy in a clown mask.

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    1. Oh, Honey - you've obviously been smelling what they're stepping in. Your only rebuttal is that the antics of those in the 80's are comparable to the shock rockers of today? Next you'll be comparing the full frontal nudity on cable to the "one foot on the floor" rule of the 50's. Do you know what I'm talking about? And I hate to tell you, but I blame them - and all the fallen morals of today's society - and those that police them - for the corruption of my precious - and yes they are - children. Do you have children? If so, I pray for them. If you think that I'm "upset by a guy in a clown mask", you need to learn how to read a little deeper and get off your high shock rock horse.

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    2. Maybe you should give the children a little more credit. I listened to Def Leppard in the 80s and Tupac , Marilyn Manson in the 90s as a teenager. My parents disliked it and as you say I did it anyway. I discarded all of the morals and traditions of the adults around me that didn't have much meaning to me. I am now hard working and well paid. I am nice to other people. I don't expose myself in public or set fires becuase I saw beavis and butthead do it. No matter how much you may try you cannot control someone's mind. Kids will be kids and they will eventually decide what is right for them regardless of what you want. I look at the reality programming on TV today and it drives me nuts that it is near impossible to find a decent program on anymore. To me its mindless garbage, but there is simply nothing you can do to control the freedom of expression. The more you fight it, the more they will to. And they will win, they always do because they will out live you. Better learn to change a little yourself because your son will be the one who eventually changes your diapers for you.

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    3. I love this, Anonymous. What I love most about it is the predictability. In essence, you must either not be that old or not that bright. Read my post again. And I feel this way EXACTLY because one day they will be changing my diapers. But thanks for this - it truly made me smile!

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  4. Well said Amy.. All of it. I concur that our children are bombarded with negativity and as parents we struggle to identify and promote enough positive to compensate.

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  5. I agree with that guy. There is no use defending them. They are making millions off of posts and news like yours. You are just another one of those "paranoid moms" that us rockers laugh at and there's no changing that.

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    1. Then we shall agree to be disgusted with each other.

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  6. I've known a lot of really great kids who listened to (in my opinion) really terrible music. The best runner I ever coached, who also graduated with a 4.0, listened to Scandinavian death metal which makes Slipknot sound like Ashley Tisdale. Music is like hair and clothes for teenagers. They like to experiment and with them and use them for shock value. None of which should worry us as none of them are permanent. (Unlike tattoos and piercings.)

    "Sorry, soccer moms of America. Slipknot and Marilyn Manson are not the reason your kids are sullen and disrespectful, try as you might to use that as an excuse." -- I'm going to have to agree with "anonymous" on that one. Sorry mom. :-)

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    1. "Sorry, soccer moms of America. Slipknot and Marilyn Manson are not the reason your kids are sullen and disrespectful, try as you might to use that as an excuse."

      Just for the record, I don't recall ever saying that they were the reason for any sullen and disrespectful behavior. And I wholeheartedly disagree that this kind of music has no ill effects. I'm simply saying that I think that there should be some sort of regulation as to how prevalent and accessible this kind of trash is to impressionable minds.

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  7. I think it's genetic that parents end up not liking their kid's music (and sometimes vice versa).

    Morality shifts from generation to generation based on how the world has evolved since the 20 or 30 years since we were younger.

    "The way I see it, these are misguided, whiny, self-serving, judgmental narcissists who have gotten lucky enough to get their mug and their trashy messages on TV and radio in order to infiltrate and pollute the immature and completely volatile minds of young teenagers." - this could have been said by our parents. verbatim.

    In some sense, to condemn the morality of millennials (what with their shocking, misguided, lewd, disrespect for authority) is to exalt the morality of our parents or grandparents (what with their racial bigotry, hatred of 'fags', oppression of women). Not all change is welcomed, but not all change is bad either. Every new crop of teens engages in some screaming, foul-mouthed angst. You remember reading "Catcher in the Rye", right?

    I'm not saying you have to like it. In fact, you (we) aren't *supposed* to like it, any more than our parents were supposed to like Van Halen, Def Leppard and Aerosmith. I think of my job as a parent as not to innoculate Campbell's environment from everything I don't like, but to give him the tools, the critical thinking skills, the moral framework to allow him to navigate through situations that I know that I can't even imagine right now. You seem to be doing that pretty well, and I'm sure your kids will be just fine in the end. Even if they do listen to some lousy music.

    Funny (absolutely true) story; I remember one Saturday afternoon I was "blasting" some of my favorite music on the stereo. My dad came in and flipped out, shouting at me to "turn that garbage off right now!" I looked at him and said "Dad! It's the Doors. This is YOUR record!"

    - Dan

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    1. Check back with me when Campbell starts making metal masks with roofing nails in the basement while belting out some "Porno Creep" by Korn. :)

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  8. Amy, I'll 100% agree with ya! :)

    It makes me so mad when people shrug off things that I find offensive to my kids (and me) and try to make me look like the one with the problem.

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  9. "His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac...It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people."
    -Frank Sinatra, 1950s
    He was talking about Elvis.

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    1. I won't hold my breath waiting for Slipknot to be placed on the same pedestal as Elvis, but nice try.

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  10. Have you even listened to their music? Actually listened? Have you even tried understanding their lyrics and who they are, instead of just picking out bits and pieces that seem offensive?
    Marilyn Manson, Korn, Alice Cooper, Slipknot, and so many other bands are GREAT for teenagers. Their music might be offensive, but their music is about being a teenager, about all of the bullying they've been through and just the real nightmares that come with life. They teach kids to be themselves, to stand up for themselves and to be okay with who they are. Not mention all music is is art. It's a expression of ones self. And would you rather have your kid listen to rap music? Which is usually about being a gangsta and banging multiple hos.
    And Def Leppard? Van Halen? And Aerosmith? Sweety, where have you been? Their music or their actions are no better than those of Marilyn Manson and Slipknot. 80's bands were all about partying, doing drugs, and having sex. Not to mention they had masks, maybe not physical masks, but they all wore makeup and dressed drastically at one point or another to be more obscene. Bands like them and AC/DC and Kiss are what influenced bands like Slipknot and Marilyn Manson. Before them it was Elvis and the Beatles, they weren't acceptable in their times, they were rebels and obscene. Rock music from no matter what generation has always been about being obscene and offensive.

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    1. Oh, Sweetie. It is you who is living in the dream world. Do you have kids? Have you seen firsthand the influence the crap of today has on children versus the crap of the 80's? Times have changed and there are perhaps a few equal comparisons from bands of now with bands of then, but overall there is no way you can lump a band like Van Halen with Slipknot (off-stage antics aside). And if you think I haven't spent countless hours listening to lyrics and riffs and "meanings" behind this "music" you are mistaken. I'm not some soapbox mom ranting about how this band or that band made my kid slit his wrists, but I can guarantee you that the 80's hair and makeup bands pale in comparison to the shock rock of today, much like the amount of sex and violence of TV shows back then versus now. So stop trying to validate that this trash somehow "helps" children cope with their teenage angst. It only propagates the hatred and makes them feel somehow entitled to become narcissistic complainers about everything in this world that is a little rough - which, incidentally, is the stuff they need to suck it up and face if they will ever become upstanding adults who can handle conflict and adversity.

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  11. Today's music isn't any harmful than 80's music, or even the music before the 80's. I don't have kids, but that doesn't matter. I've been a teen, I know what teens are like and I'm sure a hell of a lot closer to being a teen than you. If your kid is a good kid then why does it matter what he listens to? If he misbehaves that's on you and him, not the kind of music he listens to. Teens misbehave because they're stupid kids and it's better to get it out when they're young rather than when they're adults. My mom let me listen to or watch whatever I wanted, she let me be me, because of this I respect my mom a lot, she made me strong and independent. I take care of myself, I work two jobs to put myself through college. I did dumb teenage crap while I was in high school, but that's all out of my system now. I've seen my high school friends grow up into adults, the ones who were constantly told what to do by their parents and whose parents censored them, they grew up into dumb adults. They can't hold down a job, they're out partying every night, they don't talk to their parents now because they resent them. My best friend during high school was always trying to pregnant because her parents treated her like a kid throughout her whole high school life and she wanted something to make her grown up. You've got to let your kid be who he is, if he likes this music then so what? He may even grow out of it. Teens go through sooo many trends and phases. If you don't like him listening to shock rock, don't try and keep him from listening to it just introduce him to these 80's bands you think are soo much better. As for shock rock making kids whiny about their problems? That's total bs. I grew up on rock n' roll, including shock rock, it never made me whiny. I never once complained about my problems to my parents or to my friends, I dealt with everything myself, and these rock stars, I loved their music because it shows me they've been in similar situations to me, they got through it, and I'm not alone. So don't go knocking music because you don't understand it or because they dress weird. The bottom line is you have to be the parent and you have to be a role model for your kid. All teens are looking for is some respect and to be treated like they're not a kid.

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  12. So you're concerned about your kid because he listens to "shock rock"? That's fine and all, but as you pointed out, your kid has a good home and a decent family. He's not gonna act out or become some immoral thug because of the music he listens to, if he were going to be such a person, it would be from his upbringing. And as you said, and as your child agreed, he has a good home and loving parents. He'll be absolutely fine. I listened to bands like Slipknot in my early teens (now I listen to much heavier stuff; Mayhem, Deicide, etc etc...) and I'm an honor roll student with no history of violence of troubles. I have a good family and good parents. I got my morals from them, not from the music I like. If people act out, and happen to listen to "shock rock", it's not the music. I guarantee, in every case, there's going to be something else going on. Emotional trauma of some kind, abusive relationships, etc etc. It's never going to be the music. If they identify with the lyrics due to problems with their own lives, that's not a problem with the music. You can't just pass the blame for someone's actions onto artists. If I like a band, or a movie, or a painting, or any other form of expression, it's not because I was born innately enjoying that thing. It's because I can relate to some aspect of it. If I kill someone, it's because I wanted to kill them, not because I listened to a song about killing by some metal band. If media truly has such a massive impact on the way people act, then you should never allow your children to watch the news.

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  13. My apologies for beating a dead horse and/or being stupid enough to comment on an article around two years old, but the author doesn't get the joke. Not that shock rock itself is a joke, but (at least Alice Cooper) the theatrics were never meant to be taken all that seriously.

    I for one just enjoy darker humour. It's my thing, and if you don't like it that's cool. But writing a paranoid, one-sided, under-researched article is really just giving yourself a bad name. Forget about the fact that you attacking them just makes them stronger. You being so closed minded just shows that you don't trust your kid with entertainment that is SLIGHTLY edgier than the bubble gum "light and happy" stuff that you think is wholesome.

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    1. Publishing this because I have no problem hearing the other side, even when that other side completely missed the point. Thanks for your input, "Anonymous."

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