Exposed: Mothers Against Noise
LET YOUR ARROW FLY
Destroying the machine
Morons Complaining About Morons (excluding you, of course, and myself)
From: Zach Baron To: Nick Sylvester Subject: Re: Fw: [rh] What you people have caused, shame on you Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 10:45:32 -0500 (EST)
dude just go to this website: http://www.geocities.com/motheragainstnoise/
A trip back to mid 90s personal homepage mania--pastel backgrounds, multicolor text laid out sloppy but proud as fuck still, all that's missing are the Netscape 2.0 and under construction GIFs--and this too:
Hello, and welcome to the Mothers Against Noise webpage! If you are a concerned parent whose child is listening to NOISE and would like to do something about it you have come to the right place.
WHAT IS NOISE?
Noise is music that uses unpleasant or painful or extremely loud or discordant sound. Noise is also a very dangerous musical trend that is hell bent on destroying civilized culture, this anti-cultural movement is quickly sweeping the globe, and is very dangerous to our youth.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH NOISE?
Plainly put: Noise music causes ear and brain damage!!
Citing "rebellion," "violence," "anti-god/anti-authority," and "self-mutilation" as noise music inevitabilities, Mother Against Noise founder M. Smith lays it out one scroll down:
Plainly put: Noise music is offensive and damaging to our children. Don't let your child by negatively effected by music that is design to cause them harm.
She names names too. On M.A.N.'s watchlist, top offenders include:
Wolf Eyes: "alcohol fueled beevis and butthead antics"; "They tour around the world playing their brand of rebellion at extremely loud volumes and encourage there [sic] fans to break laws and are hell bent on destroying civilization"
Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore: "being a father of a teenage daughter he should wake up to his wrongs!"
Merzbow: "Japanese noise uses a mix of technology, sex, nihilism, occult themes and violence to further their aims. "
Radiohead, a noise music "gateway band": "They use alot electronic noise and noise imagery within compositions and it may on the surface seem harmless but once our kids get hooked on dissonance they will only go further down the road for a bigger kick."
From: Zach Baron To: Nick Sylvester Subject: Re: Fw: [rh] What you people have caused, shame on you Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 10:54:48 -0500 (EST)
Looking at it again I'm pretty sure it has to be a hoax.
And it did seem like a put-on. All the misspellings, the pro-am of it all, "parents just don't understand," the sheer level of research and detail (Prurient?!)--at the very least this had to be a parody of Mothers Against... type groups at large, a joke on/for/by noise kids. Seems that was the path of communication for me at least.
After New Years the link's sent to me again, but the site's completely different. Mothers Against Noise.org, turns out, is in fact a parody of Mothers Against Noise.us, which is the actual parents organization on an "anti-noise crusade," to keep their children from the limited-edition splits and cassette runs they love. The .org site had completely hijacked the .us site's html, made it slightly sloppier and just laid it all out on one page, and ratcheted up the funny. The Radiohead blurb wasn't in the original .us site, for instance, neither was Sonic Youth, nor was the following:
Lets take a slight roll down history lane, shall we?? First there was Mozart, then Beethoven, then Glen Miller, and all was fine in the world.. :) then the bomb called Elvis was dropped, soon came Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, this was the rage called rock and roll. And the world would never bee the same again, Parents disdained it and generally their opposition was based on the sound and style of the music. But the underlying theme had become the anthem for the youth culture. To many this theme became far more important and influential than the actual music. This theme was more than just an image--- IT WAS THE SPIRIT OF REBELLION!! Music was no longer an organized structure of melody and notes, rock and roll introduced dissonance and unpleasant sound at extremely loud volumes.
The mothersagainstnoise.org hoax artists went further though, and accused mothersagainstnoise.us of being a hoax itself--a grassroots new media marketing campaign. Running a simple whois on the domain revealed that the contact organization's address is 825 Eighth Avenue in New York--the Universal Music Group. Said Mothers Against Noise.org:
" Meaning that, originally, "Mothers Against Noise" (as represented by www.mothersagainstnoise.us) is a marketing hoax to build hype for a Big Record Company "alternative" release."
The release is that To Live and Shave in LA album, which as somebody here pointed out, was the only band listed on MAN.us with outside links.
Granted, it seems weird that the phone number listed in the whois directory would be the main exchange at Universal, and the directory itself isn't the most policed section of the internet--from what I understand it's not difficult to forge this stuff, since nobody checks it. Either way, this was next level--something was more than twisted.
This sort of new media campaigns aren't new, but the extent to which whoever's keeping up this ruse is pretty fascinating, staying in character and being pretty consistent about the facts. I shot the founder of Mothers Against Noise a few questions:
What put you over the edge? Me personally starting MAN came from dealing with my son and watching him slowly decline and become possessed by this Noise Music and feel helpless about it, I could not find anywhere to turn or no experts on the subject or effects this music has on the listener. So we are in the process of becoming that authority to help other parents and concerned citizens of this problem and what we can do about it.
How many kids do you think listen to noise music? We may never know the actual number, many cells exist around the globe. One thing is certain as with dealing with my son and watching this this thread in culture and researching it, its not going away and only getting stronger and more wide spread of a problem. Something has to be done.
Do you think there is one group or person behind the noise conspiracy? As a group this is a big point of discussion and dissagrement, some parents dont see any "conspiracy" and think this is a just a trend, me personally as I said in my essay:
The reason why a conspiracy can exist is by the fact that not everyone involved knows that they involved, for a successful conspiracy to work it must work in layers and involve unwitting dupes. Also take in account that most peoples actions are reactionary--they respond uncritically to what they are given. The people at the highest levels of a conspiracy are the ones who fully understand the implications of their actions and manipulate a particular system to reach its goals.
So YES I think there is one person behind it, this person has a core group of individuals/ bands/writers/agents who spread the message, if they are aware of the full extent of their own actions is not certain, this we can never be sure of but we can see the effects on society very clearly.
Are there any noise bands you secretly like? NO
Do you think noise bands are afraid of you? Some
Is there any validity to your affiliation with Universal Music? would that necessarily be a bad thing? No, Yes.
What music do you enjoy listening to? Clasical [sic] Music and Hymns
Do you use noise-cancelling headphones (maybe even a little ironically?)? No, my house is well insulated.
Proud of their discovery, mothersagainstnoise.org people concluded the following:
"As usual, the Big Record Companies take the public for idiots and keep trying to royally fuck them in the ass. Feel free to gobble all the mindless hype you were fed at www.mothersagainstnoise.us. Or feel free to send them a big "fuck you"."
Hey noise guys, come the fuck on already. Mothersagainstnoise.org's claims against the Man (which somebody pointed out somewhere are the initials for Mothers Against Noise, beside the point but underscores the level of paranoia here)--that the Man's commodified noise music and selling it as an alternative release, but it's not really an alternative release because the man's still behind it--strikes me as exactly the reason people deride noise music and noise listeners in the first place--it's not about the music at all, just what it means to listen to it. In other words, they're as image-conscious as the people who will buy To Live And Shave in LA as their "alternative release." The crit is entirely one-dimensional, marvelously idiotic: that anything major is bad, indie is good, and the more obscure the better.
From Jess Harvell's Seattle Weekly screed against "horrible noise dudes":
According to received wisdom, noise is a bulwark against pop, a venue to be scatological in public, a rent in the social fabric. It's also shockingly middlebrow, very white, and masculine to the point of camp. (Keenan described noise grandpa Merzbow's guitarmy recordings as a "series of endless money shots.") Its anti-PC slant usually masks a pathology no deeper than the desire to act like a seventh-grader in public, but occasionally spills into real fascism or nihilism. Needless to say, it's very insular.
Here's an idea: Who the hell cares if mothersagainstnoise.us is a marketing plan? You saw the wires of an otherwise pretty brilliant marketing campaign for a record that, even with this push, won't spark that much interest--congratulations, but so what? This is advertising! It's like the difference between lying and flirting, intended to spark interest in a roundabout, unexpected way in a world that's increasingly smacked with ad after ad after ad. So wait, it's not real noise because it's not on some ass cassette tape?
If noise is a viable bulwark against pop, can stand on its own musically--as an aesthetic removed from D-I-Y politicking and half-assed takes on commercial art--why are they so goddamn nervous about it? Shouldn't noise dudes be excited when Sub Pop gives Wolf Eyes a bigger push? Or here, when a major label actually gets behind a rock band that isn't a Strokes knockoff? Shouldn't we be glad, encouraged even, that To Live and Shave in LA is a major label's alternative release to the Killers, and not We Are Scientists or whoever, who are not even really an alternative? Don't we always complain about major labels not taking enough chances on smaller bands? And then they do it, and that's bad?
Here's a question: Who still has a cassette deck anyway?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.