The Top Seven Broadsides Against The PMRC

The Top Seven Broadsides Against The PMRC

The PMRC is one of those faint memories that music fans that grew up in the '80s try to brush away. The Parents Music Resource Center was launched in 1985 by a group of Washington power wives—the most visible face being the wife of then-senator Al Gore, Tipper—who saw rock and rap as, in Ms. Gore's words, "a poisonous source infecting the youth of the world with messages they cannot handle."

While the PMRC's power eventually only yielded one major change—the ubiquitous black-and-white "Parental Advisory" insignia that you can still find on physical copies of albums—at the time the metal, punk, and hip-hop artists that it would have affected most made some loud and vehement statements against what they saw as potential censorship of their work. With that in mind—not to mention Mother's Day and the current pieces of proposed legislation that are threatening our access to information in the modern age—let's take a quick stroll down memory lane to take a listen to some of the best of the anti-PMRC bunch.

7. Danzig, "Mother"

It took until 1993 for this dastardly little song to capture the attention of headbangers and Beavis & Butt-Head fans around the States. But when it was written back in 1987 (it originally appeared on the first Danzig album and was re-recorded after a live version went into heavy rotation on MTV), it was a response to the PMRC's work, telling some nameless parents that that can't keep their children "in the dark for life." 20+ years later and I still shudder at the thought of what "bleeding" Glenn is promising once he finds hell with him.

6. Rage Against The Machine's appearance at the Philadelphia stop of Lollapalooza '93

Long after the PMRC had lost any semblance of political power they once wielded, the members of Rage Against The Machine—angry that their debut single "Killing In The Name" had been "banned on the radio because of bad language," according to drummer Brad Wilk—took to the stage at JFK Stadium wearing nothing but electrical tape over their mouths. On their chests were written the letters for PMRC, and the only sound coming out was a squall of feedback. They stood there for 14 minutes and then vacated the stage. As you might imagine, Philadelphians were less than pleased with the display. Wilk: "The first 10 minutes, they were going nuts, but after 10 minutes, they were getting pissed." The band returned to Philadelphia later that year to play a free show as penance.

5. Warrant, "Ode To Tipper Gore"

Never a group known for their subtlety, the late Jani Lane and company tacked a minute-long aural middle finger directed toward the song's namesake onto the end of their double-platinum 1990 album Cherry Pie. Stitched together from recordings of the band playing live, the track is nothing more than Lane cursing his pretty little head off. Plenty of "fucks" and references to blowjobs abound, as well as more tame notions that Warrant fans "kick ass." Great mix tape fodder for that little bit of cassette left on the end of a side.

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